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Born at Rheims, France in 1651, St. John Baptist de la Salle’s feast day is on April 7. He was oldest of 10 children born to nobles. He withdrew from studying for the priesthood when his parents died and took care of his siblings. As they matured, he resumed religious studies and was ordained in 1678. He took a Doctor of Theology degree in 1680.
John Baptist de la Salle taught teachers through establishment of a college at Rheims in 1687. He followed that with teachers colleges at Paris in 1699 and Saint-Denis in 1709. He pioneered the technique of learning in classrooms rather than by one-on-one tutoring. He emphasized teaching in French rather than Latin.
John Baptist de la Salle died of natural causes at St. Yon, Rouen on April 7, 1719. Pope Leo XIII canonized him in 1900. Pope Pius XII named him patron of teachers in 1950.