The first “Lasallian” school was established here through the efforts of Adrian Nyel, along with the active work of De La Salle.

Leading citizens from Reims gathered at his home for advice and direction regarding this new school for the poor.

Almost at the corner of the Rue du Barbatre and Rue St. Maurice (the presbytery, which is not very old) recalls the curé (priest) Fr. Dorigny (a friend of De La Salle’s) who in 1678 was looking for someone associated with the Church willing to live there and run a school in the parish.

Dorigny eventually received — with enthusiasm — the suggestion of confiding the school to Adrien Nyel. From April 15, 1679, Nyel and his young helper lodged at the presbytery opposite the side door of the church.

Depiction of young boys playing during the period De La Salle was establishing schools.

Depiction of young boys playing during the period De La Salle was establishing schools.

The church of St. Maurice suffered an incendiary bombing in 1943 and only the chapel of Our Lady, built in 1546, remains from the church that was known to Nyel and De La Salle. At each side of the door are statues (damaged) of Nicholas Roland and De La Salle (a Brother kneels before him with two boys). A plaque erected in 1881 is inscribed:

“To the memory of the Venerable JBDe La Salle,
Canon of Reims, born at Reims, 30 April 1651;
Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools;
1679 the first Christian school opened at the presbytery of St Maurice;
M. Nicholas Dorigny. Cure 1881”

The Former Jesuit College

The imposing building in the Place du Musee, to the right of the west front of the church of St Maurice is an ancient hospice — now a museum. It was once the College of the Jesuits and it was here that Nicholas Roland studied. It was partly from here that Roland and De La Salle took a strong devotion to Our Lady.



For Reflection

  • This was the first location that De La Salle arranged for Adrian Nyel’s educational enterprise? Why was it successful?
  • What was it about Adrian Nyel that may have impressed De La Salle enough to make such an effort on his behalf?
  • At this point, do you think that De La Salle saw, perhaps in a very small way, that he might become more involved in education? Why or why not?

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