What is in a Vow?

Posted By: Marisa Naryka On: 2023-11-21
Posted On: 2023-11-21

More than 330 years ago, on 21 November 1691, John Baptist de La Salle and two of the first Brothers made a life-time commitment—to God and to each other—that they would remain “in association and union” in order to establish what evolved into the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. So sincere were these three men that they promised to remain together, in this joint effort to establish “the said Society,” until death and even if they were the only ones remaining. Perhaps to add some dramatic flourish to their vow, they promised to pursue the establishment of the Society even if they were obliged “to live on bread alone.”

While this vow has been traditionally understood as “the Heroic Vow,” it seems equally appropriate and several Lasallian scholars have argued that it might more fittingly be referred to as the “the Founding Vow.” It was due to this initial and consequential commitment by De La Salle, Nicolas Vuyart, and Gabriel Drolin that the Society they vowed to establish continues today to thrive in more than 80 countries, 1000 institutions, educating a million students, and engaging 100,000 educators.