The Christian Brothers

Since Central Catholic High School opened in 1927, the administration and faculty has included Brothers of the Christian Schools, popularly called “The Christian Brothers” in the United States. This religious congregation of the Roman Catholic Church is a society of celibate laymen who profess the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and are dedicated solely to the ministry of Christian education.

John Baptist de La Salle, a young priest of seventeenth-century France, founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Concerned about the lack of appropriate education for sons of the poor and the working class of Rheims, he opened a free school for boys in 1679, with the aid of two teachers and a parish priest. Within six months he opened a similar school in a neighboring parish. These free schools prospered, more young men joined De La Salle, and the Brothers of the Christian Schools have been in existence ever since. To perpetuate his work, De La Salle resigned his position at the Cathedral of Rheims, distributed his wealth among the poor, left his own home to live with the teachers in a rented house, and vowed to devote his entire life to the Christian Schools. With the help of the Brothers, he wrote a Rule for the community, prepared textbooks for the students, opened training schools for teachers, and composed a manual on teaching and school management that is still consulted today.

De La Salle died in 1719. His Institute, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, was officially approved by the Church in 1725. The Brothers’ society was suppressed in France during the Revolution, but it was reorganized in that country in 1803. Since then the Brothers have opened schools in nearly every part of the world. Today nearly 7,000 Brothers of the Christian Schools teach hundreds of thousands of students in 80 nations. De La Salle was declared a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1900 and was named “Patron of All Teachers of Youth” by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

The Christian Brothers at Central Catholic, members of the congregation’s Eastern North American Province, live in the faculty residence on campus. Their community life as vowed religious men, their Lasallian vision of the ministry of Christian education, and their professional training contribute actively to Central Catholic’s consistently excellent program of studies and extracurricular activities.

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