In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Church experienced both political and philosophical opposition. During the troublesome years of this period, new religious orders were founded. St. John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719) founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
John Baptist de la Salle
John Baptist de la Salle was born at Rheims on April 30, 1651. As a young priest, he helped train teachers in the local charity schools. To identify with the men he was training, de la Salle gave away his fortune and lived in poverty.
De la Salle introduced the simultaneous classroom method in place of individual instruction. He organized the Brothers of the Christian Schools—–a body of trained teachers who dedicated themselves by religious vows to teaching gratis and for life. The bothers not only gave students intellectual formation, but moral and spiritual formation as well.
At first, de la Salle intended to have priests in his new congregation. He designed the gifted and capable Brother L’Heureux as his successor and was about to present Bother L’Heureux for ordination. However, Brother L’Heureux died suddenly, and de la Salle started to doubt whether his plan was according to the will of God. After much prayer, de la Salle laid down the rule that no brother should ever become priest nor should any priest be accepted into the congregation. The congregation was to confine itself strictly to the work of teaching.
There were numerous difficulties to overcome for the establishment of the new congregation: the defections of members, the opposition of teachers who took fees, false accusation against de la Salle as too severe towards novices, and a series of law-suits. However, with trust in God and deep humility, de la Salle led the congregation through the storms and their educational works flourished.
In 1717, de la Salle resigned as superior, and lived as a humble brother. To combat Jansenism, he promoted frequent and even daily Communion. He died on Good Friday, 1719. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared de la Salle as patron of all school teachers.
Alphonsus Liguori was born near Naples in 1696, and was ordained a priest in 1726.
As a priest, Liguori preached missions throughout the kingdom of Naples with great success. Later he would instruct missioners: “Your style must be simple, but the sermon must be well constructed. If skill be lacking, it is unconnected and tasteless; if it be bombastic, the simple cannot understand it. I have never preached a sermon which the poorest old woman in the congregation could not understand.”
Liguori founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) for the preaching of missions. He was also well known as a spiritual writer and a moral theologian.
Liguori took a vow not to waste a moment of time. He used his spare time to write devotional books such as The Glories of Mary, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and The Way of the Cross.
Opposing the rigorism of Jansenists, Liguori stressed the mercy of God and the help of Mary. He also promoted frequent Communion.
Liguori wrote the Moral Theology to prepare young missioners to hear confessions. Today, he is the patron saint for confessors and moralists.
At sixty-six, Liguori became bishop. He invited missioners to preach in his diocese. He recommended two things to the missioners: simplicity in the pulpit and charity in the confessional.
In his old age, Liguori suffered from infirmity. The difficulties faced by his new congregation and spiritual dryness also caused great sufferings for the elderly Liguori. He bore his sufferings patiently and died peacefully in 1787.
十七及十八世紀，聖教會的哲理和在政治上，遭到挑戰。在這期間，聖若翰. 喇沙(1651-1719)創立了「基督學校修士會」，聖師亞豐索(1696-1787) 創立了「贖世主會」。