France – La Rochefoucauld School celebrates 300 since its Foundation in 1717 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in the footsteps of Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle!

France – La Rochefoucauld School celebrates 300 since its Foundation in 1717 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in the footsteps of Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle!

Three hundred years of history, or rather three hundred years of stories, were recounted on Friday June 9th as part of a great open air spectacle entitled “Once upon a time and a faith: La Rochefoucauld, 300 years of stories”. This was an original stage production written and directed by three teachers of the Collège and Lycée, and it was accompanied by a choir led by the college music teacher. It was the occasion for over one hundred aspiring actors and singers of all ages to make the story of their school come alive. It told of the arrival of Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle, the generous aid given by the Marquise de Trans, how the torch was taken up by Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld, the first stages of the work by the Brothers for the of education the children and presented the various Directors in turn. It was a remarkable production, very touching in the sincerity displayed in the pupil’s performances, and it brought to mind not only the origins of La Rochefoucauld but also the importance of Lasallian values which the school still tries hard to transmit today.

The Saturday morning saw what was ubdoubtedly the major event of the tercentenary celebration, namely a High Mas of Thanksgiving in Saint-Sulpice, attended by more than 1,700 children, parents and friends of La Rochefoucauld. It was witnessed by eight Brothers of the Christian Schools who had come to attend a ceremony which meant a lot to them. The Mass was concelebrated by several bishops and priests, some of them former pupils of La Rochefoucauld who were happy to be part of such a special anniversary celebration. A few weeks prior to that, Monsieur Champagne had addressed this message to the pupils, “Whatever your approach to God may be,  you who are here at La Roche are all invited to the Mass, and there will be a place for you in Saint-Sulpice”, and the message was clearly received!

After the Mass, the children, parents, teachers and other staff, former pupils and friends of La Roche (some 1,500 people in all) went to the recreation area of La Roche Malar for a great picnic to the delight of children and parents! In the traditional file-past of the nursery school children, the little ones were in their finest clothes, some wearing crowns with stars and the figure 300 to recall the years that La Roche has been part of the Lasallian network. A giant cake in all kinds of colours was carried before them to symbolise the great anniversary!

Some hours later, La Roche-Malar opened its doors once again for a big dinner-barbecue social, when everyone could see La Roche in its brightest lights, in a lively happy atmosphere with music and singing. At 22.30, all went silent for the showing of a video that had recently been made in which various pupils, parents, former pupils and staff members of La Roche expressed in their own words what it is that makes La Roche the place it is. This moving film was followed by words spoken by Monsieur Champagne, who briefly reminded us why the atmosphere at La Roche is so friendly and fraternal that it makes everyone feel that their school is like a second home.

The tercentenary celebrations were completed the next day, Sunday 11th, in sporting and cultural activities, including a big rally around the 7th Arrondissement, in which 150 participants overcame their tiredness from the night before and with the sun duly shining on cue! It was a great all-age activity, done with joy and good humour, and it finished in a big tea party and a distribution of prizes!

Five beautiful days…One beautiful feast…

In the words of one teacher of the Collège spoken in the video shown on the Saturday evening, “To the next 300 years, La Roche! We hope you’ll still be there and still true to your values.”

Roxane de Maisonneuve (Responsible for Communications)

 

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