Trinity Sunday is an important day in the history of our Institute. On Trinity Sunday (June 6, 1694) De La Salle and the twelve principal Brothers made the first perpetual vows in the Institute. Luke Salm tells us: “Since it was wise to keep the event secret for the time being in order to test its impact, the ceremony was held in a remote room in the house at Vaugirard.” The formula of the vows was similar to that of the Heroic Vow of 1691.
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, prostrate with the most profound respect before your infinite and adorable majesty, I consecrate myself entirely to you to procure your glory as far as I will be able and as you will require of me. And for this purpose, I, John Baptist de La Salle, priest, promise and vow to unite myself and to remain in Society with Brothers Nicolas Vuyart, Gabriel Drolin, Jean Partois, Gabriel Charles Rasigade, Jean Henry, Jacques Compain, Jean Jacquot, Jean Louis de Marcheville, Michel Barthélemy Jacquinot, Edme Leguillon, Gilles Pierre and Claude Roussel to keep together and by association gratuitous schools wherever they may be, even if I were obliged to beg for alms and to live on bread alone, and to do anything in the said Society at which I will be employed, whether by the body of the Society or by the superiors who will have the government thereof. Wherefore, I promise and vow obedience to the body of the Society as well as to the superiors, which vows of association as well as of stability in the said Society and of obedience I promise to keep inviolably all my life. In testimony of which I have signed. Done at Vaugirard on this sixth day of June, feast of the Most Holy Trinity, 1694.
On the next day, De La Salle gathered those same Brothers for the election of a new Superior. He instructed them that they needed to choose one from among them to lead the group since the election would strengthen the bonds of unity among the group that had just professed allegiance to God and to each other. The Brothers would have nothing of that and, after two unanimous ballots in favor of De La Salle, they noted that his resistance seemed to be contradicting the will of God. De La Salle submitted to their demands and the same twelve Brothers signed a declaration that they freely chose De La Salle as their Superior, that this election would not be a precedent for the future, and that the Brothers would never accept a priest as a Superior.
Important days for our Institute!
As we renew our vows in a pious way on Trinity Sunday, let us pray that we might have the courage and conviction of those twelve Brothers who went before us in June of 1694.