The monument erected here in honor of De La Salle is the work of the sculptor Falguiere. Brother Lucard, director of the teacher’s college, received help from all the authorities to launch a fund-raising campaign in the late 1800’s among the former pupils of the Brothers to cover the major part of the cost. The generosity of the benefactors was such that excess money was given to the city of Rouen. The statue was mounted in 1875 in the Place Carnot but was transferred to the quieter neighborhood of St. Sever because of the difficulties with traffic circulation in 1885.
Seemingly, the mayor had wished to dispose of the statue, but an alum of the school and a member of the city council managed to preserve it and bring it here. At the time of the occupation during World War II, the Germans were foiled in their attempts to move and melt down the statue. The bronze group of the statue weighs more than three tons. The total height is 12 meters (approximately 40 feet). Its transfer here in 1885 inadvertently saved it from destruction by bombing during the raids on Rouen in 1944.
The monument shows the Founder teaching a young child the way to heaven. A second pupil is deeply engrossed in reading. The work is of bronze. The base has the arms of the La Salle family (chevrons) and those of the Institute (star) as well as the crests of the cities of Reims and Rouen. The children placed at the four corners represent the four corners of the earth. The bas reliefs recall that De La Salle gave his goods to the poor and that he was honored with a visit from James II at the boarding school in Paris.