Although John Baptist de La Salle was born into a well-off family, he was led gradually to associate and identify with the poor and needy. In particular the sight of poor children wandering the streets and being led astray by bad companions "deeply moved" our Founder.
He decided to do something about it and so step by step, led by God's Spirit, he became involved in founding schools open to all but especially to the poor and not so well-off.
De La Salle's love for the poor went further. In order to become as poor and insecure as his first teachers, he decided to give away his earthly belongings to the famine-stricken people of his native city, Reims. De La Salle and his teachers would now work together in the schools to earn their daily bread but never at the expense of the children.
In his writings, La Salle shows his deep love and tenderness for the poor.
"You are required by your work to love the poor. Look upon them as images of Jesus Christ."
"Recognise Jesus beneath the poor rags of the children."
And he asks us some very direct questions.
"Do you love the poor children?
Do you honour Jesus Christ in their persons?
Do you have as much care for their salvation as you have for your own?"
When it came to love for the poor, La Salle practised what he preached.
Nowadays we realise we still have the poor and needy with us, even in the midst of plenty. It is our Lasallian mission to love and help the poor and needy of whatever kind through our educational service.