St. John Baptist de la Salle

 

Innovator

Risk taker

Servant Leader

Mentor

These are the words that first came to our mind when we think of St. John Baptist de la Salle.  A wealthy priest who gave up his worldly possessions and canonry in his pursuit of serving the poorest of the poor through education.

He is the patron saint of teacher and rightly so for he has revolutionized the educational system, a system so efficient and effective, it is still being used today.  Back in his day, formal education was only for the rich ones who can afford to hire a tutor.  Being the innovator that he was, he transformed the education in the way that surprised and even angered a lot of people.  His idea of modern teaching is what now we know as the classroom setting, where a group of students learn together and communicate not just with the teacher but also with their classmates.  St. La Salle did not stop at teaching young boys, he was also a pioneer in training teachers and founded reform schools for delinquents.  St. La Salle is indeed a visionary.

 

St. La Salle photo

St. John Baptist de La Salle

When I think of St. La Salle and his selfless act of leaving his comfortable and sheltered life in favor of helping the marginalized, I feel so inspired to do good things even in my own little ways.  If he can do all those things and made a significant change not just in the educational system but in the society as well, then maybe I can contribute something good in this world too.   I can’t even begin to fathom how one could leave it all behind.  He was a man who was so keen on helping and making a change that he gave up not just his wealth but also his family and canonry.  His life story reminded me that even grand dreams that seemed impossible can turn into reality with enough determination and passion.

St. La Salle’s life story has left me with valuable lessons.   He did not just wanted to help the poor, he wanted to equip them with knowledge that in turn will give them better chances in life.  He saw a problem and instead of ignoring it or simply complaining about it, he found ways to solve it.  He was a man beyond his time.  He challenged status quo and fought for what he believe in.   He is a role model to me not just because of what he had accomplished as an educator but also as a leader who lead by example.  St. La Salle also taught me to give people a chance to redeem themselves despite their misdemeanors.  And most of all St. La Salle taught me to never be afraid to follow my dreams despite the lack of support from other people.  The decisions he made in his life weren’t easy.  He even risk his livelihood and very life in his quest to serving the poorest of the poor.  His is what I call a full and well-lived life.

St. La Salle inspires me to become better person.  I don’t have to be one like him, not that I can be like him.  St. La Salle makes me want to share something to the world.  It doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be my talent, skill or time.  He was innovative and made me want to think of ways to help this world become a better place.

Like St. La Salle I value education.  I strongly believe that education is one of the ways to bring people out of poverty and despair.  I hope to build an institution that will not only promote education but also make education accessible to all.  I had this dream of supporting just one student to finish college.  My only condition is that after he/she finished school, he/she will have to help another person finish school too.  We will build this community that will look after each other.  Enabling each member to follow his/her dreams and become a vital member of the community.

 

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