Yves Poutet, FSC, Jean Pungier, FSC


This article provides an accessible orientation to the seventeenth-century France in which the Lasallian Educational Movement has its origins. Careful introductions are given to the vocabulary, influential persons and sociopolitical movements of the time and place in which John Baptist de La Salle and the first De La Salle Christian Brothers found what is now known as an international body of ministries responding to the needs of poor children and their communities. The era was characterized by rapid changes in relations between church, state, economies and social classes. In this context, De La Salle, a Canon and a member of the bourgeoisie, is moved to establish an order of consecrated laymen who respond to the needs of the poor by providing a human and Christian education gratuitously to sons of artisans and the poor living in urban areas. This examination of his life and times illuminates the apparent paradox of this pragmatic and radical endeavor.


Lasallian heritage; De La Salle Christian Brothers;


An Educator and a Saint at Grips with the Society of his Time: John Baptist De La Salle (1651-1719)

About the Authors

Yves Poutet, FSC

Yves Poutet, FSC, (1920-2009), wrote the most detailed study of John Baptiste de La Salle’s life and influence in his two-volume thesis for a doctorate (Docteur-des-Lettres). The title in French is Le XViie Siècle et les Origines Lasalliennes (The 17th Century and Lasallian Origins). This work has never been translated into English but the work in English, De La Salle: A City Saint and the Liberation of the Poor through Education by Brother Alfred Calcutt (a fellow novice with Brother Yves) is largely derived from this thesis. Another of Brother Yves’s major works, The Origins and Characteristics of Lasallian Pedagogy was translated into English by a group of Australian Brothers in 1997. During his years in an academic position at a French university, Brother Yves continued his research and published articles on Lasallian themes in various journals as well as in Lasallian publications.

Jean Pungier, FSC

Jean Pungier, FSC (1920-2011) was for many years the director of a catechetical center in France and authored numerous catechetical texts. He was from 1977 to 1985 one of the principal presenters on Lasallian topics at the International Lasallian Center (CIL) in Rome. His major study of De La Salle’s The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility has been published as Cahiers lasalliens #58, #59, & #60; and also published in English is his “Decorum and Christian Civility” in Lasallian Themes I (Rome: Brothers of the Christian Schools, 1992), 143-156.

ISSN: 2151-2515
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