Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools
Latin: Institutum Fratrum Scholarum Christianarum
French: Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes
Formation1725 (299 years ago) (1725)
FounderJean-Baptiste de la Salle
Founded atRheims, Kingdom of France
TypeLay religious congregation of pontifical right (for men)
HeadquartersVia Aurelia 476, Rome, Italy[2]
2,883 members as of 2023
Secretary General
Br. Antxon Andueza, FSC[3]
Br. Armin A. Luistro, F.S.C.[4][3]
Vicar General
Br. Carlos Gabriel Gómez Restrepo, FSC[5]
Latin: Signum Fidei
English: Sign of Faith
Main organ
Parent organization
Catholic Church
Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, the founder of the De La Salle Brothers

The De La Salle Brothers, officially named the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Latin: Fratres Scholarum Christianarum; French: Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes; Italian: Fratelli delle Scuole Cristiane) abbreviated FSC, is a Catholic lay religious congregation of pontifical right for men founded in France by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle (1651–1719), and now based in Rome, Italy. The De La Salle Brothers are also known as the Christian Brothers (sometimes by Lasallian organisations themselves[6]), French Christian Brothers, or Lasallian Brothers. The Lasallian Christian Brothers are distinct from the Congregation of Christian Brothers, often also referred to as simply the Christian Brothers, or Irish Christian Brothers.[7] The Lasallian Brothers use the post-nominal abbreviation FSC to denote their membership of the order, and the honorific title Brother, abbreviated "Br."

The Lasallian order stated that as of December 2023 the Institute had 2,883 Brothers, who helped in running 1,154 education centers in 78 countries with 1,160,328 students, together with 107,827 teachers and lay associates.[8] There are La Salle educational institutions in countries ranging from impoverished nations such as Nigeria to post-secondary institutions such as Bethlehem University (Bethlehem, Palestine), Manhattan College (New York City), US, College Mont La Salle (Ain Saadeh, Lebanon), and La Salle University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US).[9] The central administration of the Brothers operates out of the Generalate in Rome, Italy and is made up of the Superior General and his councillors.[citation needed]

A number of Lasallian institutions in several countries have been accused of, and have admitted and apologised for, long-standing and serious physical and sexual abuse against their charges.


Historical numbers

Main article: Jean-Baptiste de La Salle

In March, 1679, Jean-Baptiste de La Salle met Adrian Nyel in a chance encounter at the Convent of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus. Nyel asked for La Salle's help in opening free schools for the poor boys in Reims. A novitiate and normal school were established in Paris in 1694.[10] La Salle spent his life teaching poor children in parish charity schools. The school flourished and widened in scope; in 1725, six years after La Salle's death, the society was recognised by the pope, under the official title of "Brothers of the Christian Schools".[11] La Salle was canonised as a saint on 15 May 1900. In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared him to be the "Special Patron of All Teachers of Youth in the Catholic Church".[citation needed]

The order, approved by Pope Benedict XIII in 1725,[12] rapidly spread over France. It was dissolved by a decree of the National Assembly set up after the French Revolution in February 1790, but recalled by Napoleon I in 1804 and formally recognised by the French government in 1808. Since then its members penetrated into nearly every country of Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia.[13]

The Order

As religious, members take the three usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.[12] The Institute's headquarters is in Rome, Italy. The order has five global regions: North America (Région Lasallienne de l’Amérique du Nord, RELAN), Asia/Oceania (Pacific-Asia Regional Conference, PARC), Europe/Mediterranean (Région Lasallienne Européenne-Méditerranéenne, RELEM), Africa (Région Lasallienne Africano-Malgache, RELAF), and Latin America (Region Latinoamericana Lasallista, RELAL).[14]

During the International Year of Literacy/Schooling (1990), the Unesco awarded the Noma Literacy Prize to Lasallian Institutions.

The order says that its key principles are faith in the presence of God, concern for the poor and social justice, inclusive community, respect for all people, and quality education.[15]

In 2017 the Institute had 3,800 brothers, 75% fewer than in 1965. The decline is due partly to many brothers reaching retirement age, and the small number of new recruits. In the same period the number of students in Lasallian schools increased from about 700,000 to over a million.[16]

Superiors General

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (June 2020)

The following have served as Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers:



Main article: Lasallian educational institutions

La Salle initiated a number of innovations in teaching. He recommended dividing up of the children into distinct classes according to their attainments. He also taught pupils to read the vernacular language.[12]

In accordance with their mission statement "to provide a human and Christian education ... especially [to] the poor" the Brothers' principal activity is education, especially of the poor. The Lasallian order stated that as of December 2023 the Institute had 2,883 Brothers, who helped in running 1,154 education centers in 78 countries with 1,160,328 students, together with 107,827 teachers and lay associates.[8]


Protection of the environment

English Lasallian lay brother and missionary Paul McAuley went to Peru in 1995 as part of his ministry in the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and set up a school in a poor shantytown in Lima; after a few years he was honoured with the British award of MBE for his work. He gave the award away and said that he would otherwise have returned it in protest at British companies' activities in the rainforest. In 2000, he founded the La Salle Intercultural Student Community, a hostel for indigenous schoolchildren in Belén, a neighbourhood of the jungle city of Iquitos. He helped tribes in the Amazon rainforest to fight against oil and gas companies expanding into the rainforest; local news media described him as a "Tarzan activist", "white terrorist" and "incendiary gringo priest". In July 2010, the Peruvian government revoked his residency permit for participating in activities "such as protest marches and other acts against the Peruvian state which constitute a breach of public order." He fought the expulsion in Peruvian courts and won his right to stay.[22][23]

On 2 April 2019, his dead body was discovered in the same hostel he founded in Iquitos; his body had been burned after his death. Peru's episcopal conference praised McAuley and called on the authorities to investigate the crime.[24]

Other activities

Investment services

In 1981, the Institute started Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS),[25] a "socially responsible investing service" exclusively for Catholic organisations, saying that it "encourage[s] companies to improve policies and practices through active ownership".[26]


The Brothers arrived in Martinez, California, US, on the southern edge of the Carquinez Strait, part of the greater San Francisco Bay in 1868. In 1882 they began making wine for their own use at table and as sacramental wine. They also began to distill brandy, beginning with the pot-still production method that is used in the cognac region.[27] Their production expanded until 1920, when prohibition limited their production to wines for sacramental use.

In 1932, at the end of Prohibition, they relocated the winery to the Mont La Salle property in the Napa Valley and continued making wine, in larger quantities. In 1935 Brother Timothy Diener became wine master, and he served in this position for 50 years.[28] In the 1950s they acquired Greystone Cellars near St. Helena, California. Varietal wine was made at the Napa Valley facility, generic wine and brandy were produced at Reedley in the San Joaquin Valley, and barrel ageing was handled at Greystone.[27]

The Christian Brothers winery operated under the corporate name "Mont La Salle Vineyards". In 1988 the winery employed 250 people and produced 900,000 cases of wine, 1.2 million cases of brandy, and 80,000 cases of altar wine.[27] Proceeds from sales helped to fund the Christian Brothers programs and schools, such as Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, and the care of ageing Brothers.[29]

In 1989 the vineyards were sold to Heublein, Inc. The sacramental wine brand was purchased by four former Christian Brothers winery executives who as of 2023 carry on production under the name "Mont La Salle Altar Wines".[29] The Brothers retained the Mont La Salle property and have a retreat located there.[27]

Child sexual abuse

In the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), an inquiry into institutional sexual and physical abuse in Northern Ireland institutions that were in charge of children from 1922 to 1995,[30] the De La Salle Brothers admitted in 2014 to the abuse of boys at two institutions: the former De La Salle Boys' Home Rubane House in Kircubbin, County Down, and St Patrick's Training School in west Belfast, and apologised to its victims. The order accepted that one of its earliest overseers engaged in sexual offences.[31] Representing the de la Salle order, Kevin Rooney QC said the brothers recognised that some of their members had caused "immense pain" to children which was "in contradiction to their vocation".[32] Senior Counsel Christine Smith QC said, "...[T]hose homes operated as outdated survivors of a bygone age."[33]

According to Tom O'Donoghue, in contrast to the more elite boarding school, "...schools for the lower social orders usually had the highest pupil-teacher ratios, resulting in many turning to corporal punishment as a behavioural management strategy". He also notes, " ...they were often... placed in charge of huge numbers of children from troubled backgrounds at a time when there was no professional child-care training."[34]

The Inquiry's first public hearings were held from January to May 2014 with the inquiry team reporting to the Executive by the start of 2016[needs update].[30] Module 3: De La Salle Boys Home at Rubane House, Kircubbin, started on 29 September 2014 and was completed on 17 December,[35] when the chairman paid tribute to the victims who testified. By October 2014 about 200 former residents of Rubane House made allegations of abuse, and 55 alleged that they themselves were physically or sexually abused. Billy McConville, orphaned when his mother Jean McConville was abducted and shot by the IRA in 1972, waived anonymity and described repeated sexual and physical abuse, and starvation, at Rubane House.[36] During the inquiry counsel for the De La Salle order said compensation had been paid, and accepted that some members had abused young boys at the home, but that the order believed that some claims "did not take place".[37]

Brother Francis Manning FSC said that the order welcomed the inquiry.[38] Before the abuse issue had become public a Brother wrote in a letter to an alleged abuser "It is best forgotten and I have told some brothers that no reference is to be made to it among themselves or the boys. The whole affair is best dropped with the prayer that all will learn that lesson that our holy rule is very wise in its prescriptions". The order conducted dozens of internal interviews in this case, but did not report the matter to police.[39][40]

On 11 March 2022 statements of apology were made in the Northern Ireland Assembly by ministers from the five main political parties in Northern Ireland and by representatives of six institution where abuse had taken place, including Br Francis Manning representing the De La Salle Brothers.[41] Several abuse survivors and their family members were critical of the apologies that were made by the institutional representatives.[42]

In the 1960s the deputy headmaster of St Gilbert's approved school (for young minor offenders) run by Brothers from the De La Salle order in Hartlebury, Worcestershire, England, was convicted of six counts of sexually abusing boys at the school. He was subsequently reinstated as a teacher at another school. In 2014, former pupils of the school described "a 30-year campaign of sadistic and degrading abuse" including rapes and beatings.[43] A headmaster, a deputy headmaster, and Brothers were reported to have been among those responsible. Police launched an investigation into allegations of abuse at the school between the 1940s and 1970s after former pupils were interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester, and documents intended to be unavailable until 2044 were released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In 2017 and 2018 two former staff members were tried for serious sexual offences, assault causing actual bodily harm, and child cruelty. They were acquitted of all charges other than three charges of child cruelty against one of the defendants, on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.[44] Other, named, abusers were reported to have died.[43]

There were other cases with many victims in countries including Scotland (St Ninian's in Gartmore, Stirlingshire; St Joseph's in Tranent; St Mary's in Bishopbriggs),[45] Australia,[46][47] and Ireland.[48] Serious and detailed allegations about decades-old abuse have been reported in the US, with several lawsuits being settled in favour of victims.[49][50][51][52] After the scandal became widely known, branches of the Order apologised, publicly or to individual victims, for several of these cases.[43][46][48] At St William's residential school in Market Weighton, England, between 1970 and 1991 many boys were abused; 200 now-adult men have said they were abused. Abusers including the principal, James Carragher, were imprisoned in 2004 for past sexual abuse at the home. Five victims started High Court action for compensation in 2016. Four of the cases were dismissed in December 2016 The De La Salle order repeated their apologies for and condemnation of the abuse.[53] In Australia the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse,[54] which started in 2013, reported in December 2013 that in the period 1 January 1996 to 30 September 2013, 2,215 complaints of abuse were received by the Catholic Church's Towards Healing programme, mostly relating to 1950–1980. "The Church authority with the largest number of complaints was the Christian Brothers, followed by the Marist and then the De La Salle Brothers. The most common positions held by the Church personnel and employees subject to a Towards Healing complaint at the time of the alleged incident were religious brother (43% of all complaints), diocesan priest (21% of all complaints) and religious priest (14% of all complaints)."[55] The De La Salle Brothers also operated the controversial BoysTown school between 1961 and 2001, which is known for having the largest case of child abuse at a single institution in Australia's history.[56]

Investigations and trials continued into 2022 involving a number of other schools[57] and the De La Salle order has only apologised where they have been legally found guilty and not where the allegations haven't been prosecuted. This had brought about a widespread condemnation from former, allegedly abused pupils who lack the evidence to bring about a prosecution.[58]

Lasallian Saints and Blesseds



See also


  1. ^ "Identity & Mission". De La Salle Philippines. 2019.
  2. ^ a b Lasalians, De La Salle Brothers
  3. ^ a b "Members of the Chapter". La Salle - 46th General Chapter. 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Election of the new Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools". La Salle Worldwide. Rome. 18 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Elección del Hermano Vicario General". La Salle - 46th General Chapter. 19 May 2022.
  6. ^ "The Christian Brothers at La Salle University". La Salle University. 4 January 2023. The Christian Brothers are at the heart of everything
  7. ^ Slattery, John Luke (1913). "Christian Brothers of Ireland" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. The schools of the Irish Christian Brothers are of many types ... the Christian Brothers' schools ...
  8. ^ a b "Statistics 2023 of Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools". La Salle Worldwide. 20 May 2024. Summary of statistics as of December 2023, with link to detailed 136-page report.
  9. ^ Morgan, G., F.S.C., Lasallian Education – 150 Years in Toronto, 2001.
  10. ^ Anderson, Gerald H., ed. (1998). "La Salle, Jean Baptiste de". Biographical dictionary of Christian missions. New York: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 384. ISBN 0-02-864604-5. OCLC 36017191 – via Google Books.
  11. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "La Salle, St Jean Baptiste de". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 231.
  12. ^ a b c Joseph, Paul (1913). "Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  13. ^ C. Moe, "Hardly a soft landing: the first Australian foundation of the De La Salle Brothers – Armidale 1906", Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society vol 28 (2007), pp. 67–73.
  14. ^ "Regions – Christian Brothers Conference". Lasallian Region of North America. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  15. ^ "5 Core Principles". Christian Brothers Conference. Lasallian Region of North America. 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015.
  16. ^ Susan Klemond (6 January 2016). "Christian brother reflects on life, future of Lasallian tradition". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Death of Br. John Johnston". Lasallian Family, Hong Kong. 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017.
  18. ^ "HGS - Hermanas Guadalupanas de La Salle". Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  19. ^ ""La Salle Sisters", La". Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  20. ^ "Lasallian Volunteers – what lvs do". Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  21. ^ "Lasallian Volunteers – benefits". Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Christian Brother found dead in Peru". The La Salle Collegian. 92 (20). Philadelphia: La Salle University: 3. 11 April 2019.
  23. ^ de Jersey, Marc (30 July 2010). "English Brother risks all for the Indians". Catholic Herald. Reissued 3 April 2019
  24. ^ Collyns, Dan (5 April 2019). "Peru: British environmental activist was dead before his body was burned". The Guardian.
  25. ^ "Who we are". CBIS. 10 August 2022.
  26. ^ CBIS: Overview 2014 (PDF) (Report). 6.4. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 January 2016.
  27. ^ a b c d Berger, Dan (17 May 1989). "Christian Bros. Winery Is Sold to Heublein". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  28. ^ Saekel, Karola (3 December 2004). "Christian Brother Timothy -- pioneer in wine industry". SFGATE. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  29. ^ a b "Since 1882". Mont La Salle Altar Wines. 2023.
  30. ^ a b "Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry - the background". BBC News. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  31. ^ Crawford, Harriet (7 October 2014). "Rubane House 'like Hell upon Earth' for 69-year-old branded a liar for reporting his abuse as boy". Belfast Telegraph.
  32. ^ Connolly, Maeve (15 January 2014). "De La Salle brothers apologise for abuse". The Irish News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  33. ^ McDonald, Henry (14 January 2014). "Sisters of Nazareth become second Catholic order to admit to child abuse". the Guardian.
  34. ^ Tom O'Donoghue (2012). Catholic Teaching Brothers: Their Life in the English-Speaking World, 1891–1965. Palgrave Macmillan US. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-137-26905-8.
  35. ^ "Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry tribute to witnesses". BBC News. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  36. ^ "ITVX - The Streaming Home For All Of ITV And So Much More!". ITVX. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  37. ^ "HIA: De La Salle order 'to protect innocent brothers' from Rubane House". BBC News. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  38. ^ De La Salle Order Briefing. Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill - Official Report (Hansard) (Report). The Northern Ireland Assembly -Committee for the Office of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister. 19 September 2012.
  39. ^ "Abuse cases 'best forgotten', De La Salle brother decreed". Catholic Universe. 3 October 2014.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Rubane House: Sex abuse inquiry 'best forgotten' said senior cleric". BBC News. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  41. ^ McCormack, Jayne; Andrews, Chris (11 March 2022). "Abuse survivors hear Stormont public apology". BBC News.
  42. ^ Connolly, Gráinne; Glynn, Niall; McCauley, Ciaran (11 March 2022). "Abuse survivors apology delivered at Stormont (reported live)". BBC News.
  43. ^ a b c BBC News:Hymns and screams: Abuse at St Gilbert's approved school revealed, 1 December 2014. BBC News
  44. ^ "Former St Gilbert's headteacher cleared of child cruelty". BBC News. 7 November 2018.
  45. ^ "The Scotsman, Executive fights to halt £8.5m claim from abused former pupils, 17 January 2006". Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  46. ^ a b "Two female victims received an official apology but not much compensation". Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  47. ^ "Catholic church appears before Australian Royal Commission into sexual abuse". Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  48. ^ a b ie/rpt/01-01.php Government of Ireland:Establishment of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA):The De La Salle Brothers, 1.129–1.131
  49. ^ NEELA BANERJEE (25 December 2004). "$6.3 Million to Be Paid to Settle Abuse Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  50. ^ La Salle alumnus alleges sex abuse, 22 September 2014 Troy, New York
  51. ^ John Simerman (26 June 2009). "Former De La Salle teacher faces new sexual abuse allegations in Minnesota". Mercury News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  52. ^ PATRICK CONDON (7 December 2010). "Top Catholic School Program Concealed Sexual Abuse Knowledge". Huffington Post (from AP). Archived from the original on 7 March 2016.
  53. ^ "Victims take church to court over St William's school sex abuse". BBC News. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  54. ^ Final Report (Report). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 14 December 2015. Page with links to full final report.
  55. ^ Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at Sydney, Australia, PUBLIC HEARING INTO THE RESPONSE OF TOWARDS HEALING, paragraph 56, 9 December 2013
  56. ^ Robertson, Josh; Zwartz, Henry (26 July 2020). "Justice Denied". ABC News.
  57. ^ Hunt, Jane (19 November 2021). "Former RE teacher to face trial over sex assault charges". East Anglian Daily Times.
  58. ^ "St Joseph's College". Pat Mills. Retrieved 5 November 2019.