Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools
|Brothers of the Christian Schools|
St. John Baptist de la Salle (also: Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle), (1651-1719), Founder
|Motto||"Signum fidei" Latin, ("Sign of faith")|
|Type||religious teaching congregation|
|Headquarters||Generalate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools|
Bro. Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, F.S.C.
|Key people||St. John Baptist de La Salle (or Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle), (1651-1719) - founder|
"The Brothers of the Christian Schools" (also known as the "Christian Brothers", the "Lasallian Brothers", the "French Christian Brothers", or the "De La Salle Brothers"; French: "Frères des écoles chrétiennes"; Latin: "Fratres Scholarum Christianarum") is a Roman Catholic religious teaching congregation, founded in France by Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle (also known as Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle) (1651-1719), and now based in the "Eternal City" of Rome, in Italy. The Brothers use the post-nominal abbreviation of "F.S.C.", after their name to denote their order and membership therein and use honorific title of "Brother" (or "Bro.")
Founder, his Rule and the Mission of the Institute 
The Founder is St. John Baptist de La Salle, (1651-1719), a French priest who lived in the 17th century. He came from a wealthy family. He focused his life on teaching poor children in parish charity schools. He was canonized as a saint on May 15, 1900. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared him to be the "Special Patron of All Teachers of Youth in the Catholic Church".
He emphasized the virtue of faith for the brothers: "The spirit of this Institute is first, a spirit of faith, which should induce those who compose it not to look upon anything but with the eyes of faith, not to do anything but in view of God, and to attribute all to God." (Rule 1718). He also said that “To touch the hearts of your students and to inspire them with the Christian spirit is the greatest miracle you could perform, and the one that God asks of you, since this is the purpose of your work.”
The Brothers Rule states that the Mission of the Institute is “to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, according to the ministry entrusted to them by the church.”
"Ignorantines" ("Frères Ignorantins") is a name given to the brethren of the Christian Schools ("Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes"). In addition to the three simple vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the brothers were required to give their services without any remuneration and to wear a special habit of coarse black material, consisting of a cassock, a hooded cloak with hanging sleeves and a broadbrimmed hat.
The name Ignorantine was given from a clause in the rules of the order forbidding the admission of priests with a theological education. Other popular names applied to the order are "Frères de Saint-Yon", from the house at Rouen in France, which was their headquarters from 1705 until 1770, "Frères a quatre bras", from their hanging sleeves, and "Frères Fouetteurs", from their former use of the whip (fouet) in punishments.
The order, approved by Pope Benedict XIII in 1724, rapidly spread over France, and although dissolved by the National Assembly's decree in February 1790, was recalled by Napoleon I in 1804 and formally recognized by the French government in 1808. Since then its members have penetrated into nearly every country of Europe, and into America, Asia and Africa. They numbered about 14,000 members at the beginning of the 20th century and have over 2000 schools, and are the strongest Roman Catholic male order. The "De La Salle Christian Brothers" are the largest Roman Catholic lay religious order of men exclusively devoted to education.
The Institute now conducts educational work in 80 different countries, in both developed and developing nations, with more than 800,000 students enrolled in its educational works.
Other activities 
From 1882 until 1989, a non-profit arm of the Brothers ran a winery in the Napa Valley (most famous agricultural and wine-growing region of America, northeast of San Francisco Bay and the large cities of Berkeley and Oakland) at Greystone Cellars near St. Helena, California. Most famous wine vintage and brand is for Christian Brothers Brandy, the operation and rights to the name were later sold to Heublein, Inc. in 1989.
In 1981, the Institute started Christian Brothers Investment Services, an ethical or socially responsible investment service for Catholic organisations. The service attempts to use its shareholdings to influence the way the companies in which it has invested operate. Lasallian schools and institutions usually incorporate the "Signum Fidei" as a mark of their heritage.
Lasallian saints 
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools|
- De La Salle Christian Brothers
- De La Salle Christian Brothers, Province of Great Britain
- Brief history of the Lasallian Institute
- Catholic Encyclopedia article
- Works by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools at Project Gutenberg