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St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle Monument
St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (commonly known as De La Salle Brothers), was born in Reims, France on April 30, 1651. When La Salle was ordained as a priest, he dedicated himself mainly to educating youth and founded schools for the poor. Gathering his companions around him, they joined together to become the Congregation of the Brothers of Christian Schools. His pedagogical system introduced a number of innovations that significantly contributed toward improving the education activity. He faced and overcome many difficulties because of his educational work. La Salle died in Rouen in 1719. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1900 and Pope Pius XII declared him the patron saint of teachers in 1950.
The Brothers of Christian Schools in Močenok
The De La Salle Brothers were brought to Močenok by Nitra Archbishop Karol Kmeťko in 1928, when they relocated their novitiate to the town. With the blessing of Archbishop Kmeťko, the Brothers began teaching at the boys’ primary school in the 1929-30 academic year and then later at the town school. They organized cultural, educational, enlightenment and sporting events in addition to the diverse religious teaching. However, their work was forcibly terminated by the Communist regime on the night of May 3-4, 1950, when the De La Salle Brothers were rounded up and imprisoned in the manor where their monastery was located. They were gradually transferred to Belušské Slatiny and Hronský Beňadik for construction of a dam and to Bohemia for forced heavy labor. The Communist regime never let the brothers to return to teaching classes, where for more than 20 years the Brothers had educated Močenok’s youth with admirable results.
The Jean-Baptiste de La Salle Monument is located in Orlovňa, whose rooms were used for the boys’ primary school and where the De La Salle Brothers taught. The monument was installed by the Močenok parish and the Benesco civic association to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the De La Salle Brothers in Močenok.