Gregory Wright, FSC, Ph.D.
In post-1517, in Christian Western Europe, there was a great interest in providing schools that educated poor boys and girls, the children of the working class whose families formed the lowest socioeconomic base of society. Various Protestant churches were engaged in this activity, perhaps because their members were told to learn the teachings of Jesus Christ by reading and interpreting the Bible for themselves. In time, the Church of Rome also showed an interest in creating and conducting schools to instruct its members and to lead them to salvation. Thus, instructing the mass of the faithful in their religion was given a high priority in the Catholic Reform. In France, however, because of the so-called “Wars of Religion” (1561-1598), it was only after the 1600s that this movement began to occupy an important place in the life of the French Church. Many of the previously established charity schools for boys and girls had suffered greatly during this conflict. However, if the seventeenth century began as a time of crisis for these schools, there were also forces working to revive them. One of the main goals of the post-1600 Catholic Reform in France was to find “the means of preserving Christianity in the souls of the common people.” The Corps of Christian Professional Educators that De La Salle created showed themselves to be a powerful instrument for accomplishing this task.
De La Salle; Instructional pedagogy; Lasallian pedagogy;
About the Author
Gregory Wright, FSC, Ph.D.
A native of New Orleans, Brother Gregory Wright, FSC, has been a De La Salle Brother since August 1945. He received his primary and secondary education in New Orleans and Lafayette, and in 1952 received his B.A. in Social Studies and English from St. Michael’s College (after 1965 the College of Santa Fe.) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Between 1959 and 1964 he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in European History from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition in 1976-77 and 1980-83 while living in Rome he further immersed himself in various aspects of European and related history. Between 1958 and 1988 he served as a faculty member and in other capacities at his undergraduate alma mater. Having done his dissertation on St. John Baptist de La Salle as a minor historical figure of the Age of Louis XIV, during the 21 years he was a faculty member at De LaSalle University – Manila, Philippines, he continued his research on the Founder of his religious order while making Lasallian presentations to interested groups. Shortly before he left Manila De La Salle University awarded him the St. La Salle Medal in recognition of his contributions to Lasallian research. Since returning to his home District he has continued doing some research and writing on the Founder while composing a monthly Lasallian Essay for the NO-SF District News & Notes that is shared with some other areas of the Institute.