El señor de La Salle is an inspiring story of a French priest who reluctantly became involved in educating poor children and in the process became the Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, an order known today as the De La Salle Christian Brothers.Mel Ferrer gives a heartfelt performance as St. John Baptist de La Salle, a priest from a wealthy upper-class family who gave up everything to serve the needs of educating poor children, facing tremendous opposition along the way.Luis Cesar Amadori directed this biopic.
Saint Jean Baptiste De La Salle was born into an affluent family of the French aristocracy in the year 1651. He was ordained in 1678 and was well known for his good breeding, education and intelligence. He was made a canon of Rheims Cathedral when he was just 16. He was well known for his charitable attitude to the less fortunate and was known to be most approachable despite his distinction. He used all his inheritance for the establishment of schools for the under privileged throughout France, and he revolutionized education for the masses, moving from the classical education that was common in those days to a more contemporary education that would be beneficial to his protégés in real life, for example, doing away with instruction in Latin in favor of the vernacular French, incorporating vocational trade, separating the students according to different levels of education, intellect and psychological development, and focusing on the children's special talents and striving to develop them to their full potential, not ignoring kids who are slower and so on.He was, in short, the father of the modern school.
This movie provides an excellent introduction to St. John Baptist De La Salle. Though in some places not historically accurate, it is nevertheless a good summary of the beginnings of his work and story. Particularly touching is the meeting of De La Salle and Adrian Nyel, which was a decisive moment in De La Salle's life. Those who want to go beyond this movie should read and study to know more about the saint.
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