Mission statement of the Piarists in Austria
„We grow in love, peace and joy!“ – (Delegate General Jean de Dieu TAGNE SP)
Saint Joseph Calasanz, the founder of the first Christian elementary school in Europe and the Piarist Fathers, was born in 1557 in Peralta de la Sal (Spain). Calasanz was a mediator to enrich the church with a new charismatic gift.
Nine years after Joseph Calasanz was ordained a priest, he went to Rome, where he wandered through the poorest district of the city. He heard the voice of the Lord, who told him, „Joseph, stand up for the poor. Teach these kids and take care of them.“
In the spring of 1597 he visited the Roman quarter Trastevere and discovered the community of Santa Dorotea. There he founded the „first popular and free school in Europe“ for poor and abandoned children.
At the heart of his pedagogical idea was respect for the personality of each child and the illumination of the image of Christ in them. He tried to meet the intellectual, physical and spiritual needs of young people.
To continue his educational mission, he founded the Order of Pious Schools, whose members are known as Piarists and exemplify four solemn religious vows: poverty, chastity, obedience, and commitment to youth education. In 1617, the church approved the order dedicated to the education of the youth.
Joseph Calasanz placed the Order under the special protection of the Blessed Mother. Therefore, in the coat of arms of the Order also the beginning and end letters of the words „MARY, Mother of God“ from the Greek.
Joseph Calasanz died on 25 August 1648 in Rome and was canonized. Pope Pius XII. declared him the „Heavenly Patron Saint of All Christian Elementary Schools“ in 1948. Pope John Paul II said that Saint Joseph Calasanz had taken Christ as a model and tried to convey the wisdom of the Gospel to young people and profane science To seize God’s loving action.
„Pietas et Litterae“ – „piety and science“ as motto
For four centuries we Piarists have been at the forefront of training and today we are providing education for children, especially for the more disadvantaged, and for the dreams and aspirations of the youth. We do not carry out this assignment alone, but share it with over one hundred thousand lay and religious communities that form the Calasanz family.
Already in 1697 the piarists were allowed to establish a branch (college, church and school) outside the gates of Vienna. Subsequently, the Piarist parish of Maria Treu was founded in 1719. Further locations of the piarists in Austria are St. Thekla in Vienna, Krems and Horn.
Evangelization of children and young people, especially the poor, through integration of faith and culture to renew the Church and build society in accordance with the values of the Gospel, to create a fraternal solidarity.
Public education is now considered the undisputed right in most countries. Saint Joseph Calasanz and the early Piarists started something the world had not known in the 17th century. They believed, and we still firmly believe, that society can only develop well if it educates all members without discrimination, especially the children. That’s how the Piarists began, which many see as the first system of public education. We are involved in the education of children and young people and teach them how to become competent citizens and Christians.
Now, the dream of giving all children a Christian education remains intact. We Piarist Fathers follow Jesus Christ through the education of youth in America, Europe, Africa and Asia. We have been advocates of education for more than four centuries, and we still care about the dreams and aspirations of the youth. Our religious community life is a testimony of the gospel: through education in the classroom, through the inspiration of young people in youth groups and through mediation to a God experience.
We Piarists discover Jesus in the children and we share the call of God. As Piarists, we believe that education is about promoting the development of all skills of young people. Social competence is the starting point for successful learning. This includes openness and respect for other religions.
The Piarists offer young people:
- good preparation for the challenges of life,
- promoting holistic development,
- openness and respect for other religions,
- Close cooperation with parents and educators.
Our educational community
The Piarists are committed to the cause of communicating education to future generations. The focus is on a permanent education process. The path of piaristic education is always open, sustainable, responsible and religious.
Klaus-Lukas Zimmermann, MA BA
Telefon: +43 676 35 00 181