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Legacy of St. John-Baptist in Santa Fe

Today is the Catholic feast day of St. John-Baptist de la Salle. The Frenchman was born in 1651 and died in 1719. His lifelong quest was to educate all children, not just those of the wealthy. He became the patron saint of schoolteachers. He is also the founder of the religious order of the La Sallian Christian Brothers.

Santa Fe Legacy

The La Sallian Christian Brothers opened St. Michael’s College for boys and young men in Santa Fe in 1859. Their mission was to continue the work of its founder St. John-Baptist de Salle, who opened his first school in 1679 in Reims, France. The college later changed its name to St. Michael’ High School and in 1969, when Loretto Academy for girls closed, it became a coed school. The Christian bothers opened a four year college in 1947 in Santa Fe, which was formally called St. Michael’s College and later changed to the College of Santa Fe, it closed in 2009. Today, St. Michael’s High School is one of hundreds of schools in 80 different countries that continues the educational vision of its French founder.

Rosario Cemetery

Rosario cemetery on Santa Fe’s northside has been the only open cemetery for Catholics since World War II. In addition to the burials of local people, the Sisters of Loretto and the La Sallian Christian Brothers have a special place at the cemetery. The Loretto nuns arrived in Santa Fe in 1852 and the Christian Brothers followed seven years later in 1859. Both groups of educators can be found in a special plot located just north of Rosario Chapel.

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