Praying with Lasallian Saints

The first criterion for a person being officially declared a saint in the Catholic Church is that he or she has lived and been recognized by the public for an extraordinarily holy Christian life.

The second criterion involves miracles. This criterion is met after the person’s death when people have prayed to the person (presumably in heaven), begging him or her to ask God for a miracle on their behalf, and two such miracles have been documented as really happening. If these two criteria are met, the Catholic pope may declare someone a saint. This process is called canonization; it means the person is put on the list (the canon) of saints.

A person with an extraordinarily holy Christian life who has been credited with one miracle is declared blessed. This beatification is the last step before sainthood.

Read more about the canonization process.

The saintly Christian Brothers and their feast days are:

January 18 Saint Jaime Hilario
January 30 St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux
February 9 Saint Miguel Febres Codero
April 7 Saint John Baptist de La Salle
July 1 Blessed Martyrs of Valencia
August 13 Saint Benilde Romançon
September 2 Blessed Solomon Leclercq
September 2 The Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort
September 27 Blessed Scubilion Rousseau
October 9 Saintly Martyrs of Turon
October 23 Blessed Arnold Rèche
November 16 The Blessed Martyrs of Almeria

Saint Jaime Hilario, 1898-1937

Feast day: January 18
Picture and Biography

St. Jamie Hilario was declared a saint in 1999. Born Manuel Barbal Cosan 101 years earlier, he grew up in northern Spain. He joined the Brothers when he was 19 and then taught for 16 years. Bro. Jaime had hearing difficulties, so he left the classroom to work as a gardener at the young Brothers’; training center, known as a House of Formation. A civil war broke out in Spain in the 1930s. The communist party that took control blamed the Catholic Church for many of the Spain’;s troubles. They arrested and killed church leaders. Bro. Jamie was among those to suffer this fate in 1937. He refused to deny his religion, saying to the soldiers ordered to shoot him, “To die for Christ, my young friends, is to live.” When two volleys failed to meet their mark, the soldiers dropped their rifles and fled in panic. The frustrated commander then fired five shots at close range and killed Bro. Jaime.

Prayer:
Lord,
In a world in which being a Christian can be unpopular -even dangerous, help us stand up for what we believe deep inside our hearts. May we think of St. Jaime as we say like he would have said, too: “Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever.” Amen.

St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux, 1841-1917

Feast Day: January 30
Picture and Biography

St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux was declared a saint on December 10, 1989. Born in Belgium in 1841 where his father was a blacksmith and his mother helped run a café, Louis Wiaux joined the Christian Brothers, took the name Bro. Mutien-Marie, and became a grade school music and art teacher. He spent 58 years at the same school. He was known and loved for his patience and religious spirit. Indeed, his reputation spread through Belgium. He died in 1917.

Prayer:
Saintly Brother Mutien-Marie, we ask you to talk to God on our behalf.
Lord,
May the life of St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux remind us of the value of staying dedicated to a project. Give us a spirit that opens us to religion. Lord, give us today the blessings we need forever and ever. Amen.

St. Miguel Febres Codero 1854-1910

Feast Day: February 9
Picture and Biography

St. Miguel Febres Codero was declared a saint in 1984. He was born in 1854 in Ecuador, South American. His family was prominent in politics. Though he lived with a physical disability (he was crippled from birth), he was a good student and, later, a gifted teacher. In 1868, he became the first Ecuadorian Christian Brother despite his family’;s desire of a different career. Over time he wrote many books and was honored for his scholarship by Ecuador and Spain. His students admired his simplicity, directness, concern for them, and prayerfulness. He died in Spain in 1910 from pneumonia. Today, throughout the U.S.A., several San Miguel Middle Schools that serve inner-city neighborhoods have been named after him as a tribute to his love for teaching and his good work with younger students.

Prayer:
Lord,
May the life of St. Miguel (San Miguel) inspire us to be the best students we can be. Thank you for the talents you have given us and for the people who show their concern for us. Give us the courage to be productive in spite of physical or mental limitations. For our part, we will try to live simply and to pray often. We pray this in the name of Jesus, our brother, forever and ever. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, 1651 -1719

Feast day: April 7
Picture and Biography

St. John Baptist de La Salle was declared a saint on May 24, 1900 and Patron of Teachers on May 15, 1950. When he was a young priest, a chance meeting with a man who wanted to organize a school for girls put De La Salle on the path to forming the group called the Brothers of the Christian Schools, known in the U.S. as the Christian Brothers. De La Salle offered to help because he was good at organizing and had a concern for the poor of his hometown, Rheims, France. After a few more years, De La Salle was training unemployed men to be grade school teachers, eventually, allowing them to live in his home. He taught them new methods of teaching children. He reminded them of the presence of God in their lives and taught them how to pray. In the 1680′;s, this group of men became the first community of Christian Brothers. By the time De La Salle died in 1719, there were Christian Brothers all over France.

Prayer:
Lord,
We ask you today for the same ability that De La Salle had to respond those in need. Help us to see the struggles of other people and to work hard to find ways to help them. This is what we call zeal. Help us to trust that you will always with us. Help us to say, like St. John Baptist de La Salle, that you are present everywhere. This is what we call faith. Faith and zeal name the central spirit of the Christian Brothers who walk in the footsteps of De La Salle. Let us honor the founder of the Christian Brothers by asking God for more faith and zeal forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessed Martyrs of Valencia, 1936

Feast day: July 1
Picture and Biography

Five Christian Brothers lived in Spain in the days when the government was persecuting those who were Christian, and often executing anyone who was a Christian leader. Brother Florencio Martin was kind and optimistic and talented in art and music. Brother Bertrán Franciso was steady, frugal, patient, modest and hard-working. Brother Ambrosio León was a competent, distinguished, and highly respected teacher. Brother Elias Julián was a simple person always willing to serve. Brother Honorato Andrés was quiet, thoughtful, and understanding. These men had been working peacefully in the educational ministries of the Christian Brothers near Barcelona. Because of persecution there, they fled to Valencia so they could continue their service. When the authorities there discovered these five were professed Christian Brothers, they were arrested and executed. We honor these men because of the sacrifice of their lives for their faith and their commitment to their religion. They became martyrs for the faith sharing the same fate that befell Jesus of Nazareth who was brought to execution by government authorities.

Prayer:
Lord, these Brothers gave their lives rather than deny their faith in you. We stop to think: For what would we sacrifice our lives? (Pause.) And further, who are the people who make big sacrifices for us each day? (Pause.) Lord, help us grow in our sense of dedication to a cause that makes the world a better place, to a belief that honors you. Amen.

St. Benilde Romançon 1805-1862

Feast Day: August 13
Picture and Biography

St. Benilde Romançon was declared a saint in 1967. Born in southern France in 1805, he was quite a student. By the time he was 14, the Christian Brothers engaged him as a substitute teacher for their grade school classes. At first rejected as Brother because of his short stature, he was allowed to join the Brothers in 1820. He was a good grade school teacher and later a high school teacher for teens who had never been to school. He was a strict disciplinarian and had a strong religious spirit. Many men joined the Brothers because of his influence. He died in 1862.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for the example Brother Benilde gave us. “He did common things in an uncommon ways,” as Pope Pius XII said. Help us to do our daily tasks today to the best of our ability. There is holiness in doing so. As we look at the staff and teachers who work at our school everyday, perhaps there is someone with Benilde’;s spirit and strength among us. Who would that be? (Pause.) Help us to hang in there when the routine gets to us. Good can come to us in the end after long, steady efforts. Amen.

Blessed Solomon Leclercq, 1745-1792

Feast day: September 2
Picture and Biography

Blessed Brother Solomon Leclerq was beatified on October 17, 1926. Born in 1745, he lived in an exciting time in France, a time of revolution. The common people rose up against the kings of France, and established a more democratic form of government. As part of this revolution, the new leaders made times difficult for the official religion, Christianity. All Christian organizations became illegal. The Christian Brothers and their work were almost totally dismantled. Bro. Solomon was among these Brothers. He joined the Brothers in 1767, was a devoted teacher and skilled financial manager. These Brothers refused to swear loyalty to this new government. They had to live in secrecy. In 1792, he was arrested by the government, imprisoned with several other church leaders, and, in 1792, executed. He, and his prison companions were martyred about a month later.

Prayer:
Lord,
May our hearts be moved by the heroism of Brother Solomon. May our voices be energized to speak out for the rights of oppressed people. Blessed Solomon, beg God to give us what we need to build cities of peace. Amen.

The Blessed Martyrs of the Rochefort, 1794

Feast day: September 2
Picture and Biography

Brothers Roger, Leon and Uldaric lived in France in the 1790s, the years of revolution in that country. All religious leaders were required to sign an oath of allegiance to the government which would be more binding on a person than his or her allegiance to the Catholic Church. Many priests, brothers, and religious sisters refused to sign such an oath. Some fled the country. Some were arrested, put in prison, and tortured; among them were Brothers Roger, Leon and Uldaric. In 1794, 827 of these prisoners endured months of captivity on two boats –no more than large pontoons. Brothers Roger, Leon and Uldaric were three of the 542 who died on these boats. They were in a group 64 martyrs beatified in 1995. They all died as victims of suffering for the faith during the French Revolution.

Prayer:
O God,
In the face of such pain and suffering, perhaps our daily difficulties pale in comparison. Each of us in our own way is called to stand firm for values that uphold life, that support what is good, that ring true to what is best for our communities. Give us strength to remember how loyal these martyrs were to their faith, that we may be fervently loyal to the Gospel and faith in you. Amen.

Blessed Scubilion Rousseau, 1797-1867

Feast day: September 27
Picture and Biography

Blessed Brother Scubilion Rosseau was born 1797 and beatified in 1989. The young Jean Bernard Rousseau volunteered to teach religion classes when he was a teen and then joined the Brothers in Paris in 1822. He left France to do missionary work when he was 36 years old. For the next 34 years he worked among the enslaved natives of the island of Reunion off the coast of India. He was dearly loved by the people of this island nation for his kindness and devotion to his students. He was primarily a catechist, a teacher of religion. In his later years, he visited the sick, won sinners over to Christianity, and was highly respected everywhere on the island as a living saint among the people. He died in 1867.

Prayer:
Lord,
Let Brother Scubilion’;s life remind us to do what we can to help those who live enslaved by poverty in developing nations all over the world. Bless us with a vocation to which we can devote our whole life. Amen.

The Saintly Martyrs of Turon, 1934

Feast day: October 9
Picture and Biography

The Saintly Martyrs of Turon were canonized in 1999. The Spanish Civil War of the 1930s was both political and religious. Many in political power blamed the troubles of the country becoming more modern on the persuasion of religion. They also feared the influence religious leaders had on young people. Therefore, those with military might used it against priests, nuns, and brothers. It was an October day in 1934. In Turón, in northwest Spain, the Brothers defied the ban on teaching religion. They openly escorted their students to Sunday Mass. In an attempt to eliminate the religious zeal of the Brothers, the army arrested them and their priest chaplain, and then shot them all. Brother Cirilo, the Director, was 46 years old and Brother Marciano, the cook, was 39. Brother Julián was 32. The other five brothers were in their twenties. Aniceto, the youngest Brother, was just 22.

Prayer:
O Jesus who suffered,
help us to work hard for peace both near and far. Give us the fervor to work for justice that all may have their fair share of food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care. Let us always be aware and alert to the destruction that happens in the name of gain and power. Being bothered by evil can give us the energy to act so that all peoples may live freely. Amen.

Blessed Arnold Rèche, 1838-1890

Feast Day: October 23
Picture and Biography

Brother Arnold Rèche was born in 1838 and beatified in 1987. He grew up in a poor family in France, working as a stableboy, coachman, and construction worker. He was drawn to the Christian Brothers because of his religious spirit. He joined them in 1862 when he was 34. He learned math, science, agriculture and religion while teaching at a boarding school in Rheims, the town in which the founder of the Brothers, St. John Baptist de La Salle, grew up. When France was at war in the 1870s, he cared for the wounded from both sides. The Brothers asked him to train their new members, and many held him in great esteem. He has an amazing ability to sense what others were thinking. The Brothers remembered him saying often that the Holy Spirit of God “strengthens a person’s heart.” When he died in Rheims in 1890, he had a reputation for holiness.

Prayer:
Thank you, God, for the adults who have taken to time to coach and teach us so that we gain knowledge that will help us understand the world and skills that will help us create good lives for ourselves and our families. Like Brother Arnold, help us see a need and respond to it. Spirit of God, strengthen our hearts to care about others, no matter what their situation in life. Amen.

The Blessed Martyrs of Almeria, 1936

Feast Day: November 16
Picture and Biography

The Blessed Martyrs of Almeria were beatified in 1993. The Catholic Church holds dear anyone who endures the loss of life because they are Christians. During the first centuries of Christianity, this was the fate of thousands of early followers of Jesus. Sadly, this has happened in every century since the time of Jesus. In the 1930s, many were executed in Spain because they were religious leaders. Specifically, in 1936, seven Christian Brothers in Almeria, Spain, were arrested and condemned for teaching the Catholic faith.

Prayer:
Lord,
As we learn of the Brothers in Almeria, we remember that even closer to our time, in 1982, Brother James Miller from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, was executed by the government in Guatemala for doing what Christian Brothers do: teach young people their religion and help them develop the talents that God has given them. It is so sad to learn what misguided people with power can do. Bless us with wise and loving leaders. Help us resist temptations to follow others who would lead us into evil. May we never martyr someone in body, soul, or spirit by what we say or do. Amen.