The arrival of the Brothers in the Philippines was put into motion by one man, Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty, the first American Archbishop of Manila. He arrived in Manila during a time where strong anti-friar sentiments, mainly due to the aftermath of the Philippine Revolution, were causing the established Catholic institutions to lose ground to their secular counterparts. Archbishop Harty maintained a passionate belief in Christian education. It was his ardent desire to establish a school that would provide young boys with a solid Catholic Education and, at the same time, teach them the English Language.
The American Archbishop had a great admiration for the type of education that the Brothers of the Christian Schools offered. In 1904, he requested Br. Clementian, then Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, to open a school in the Philippines, but his initial request was rejected. However, Archbishop Harty persisted with his requests and eventually received a Papal mandate in 1907 for the Brothers to formally open a school in Manila.
On the 10th of March 1911, the three Founding Brothers arrived in Manila via Europe. Brs. Blimond Pierre (Eilenbecker), Aloysius Gonzaga (McGiverin) and Augusto Correge became guests of Archbishop Harty. In two months time, on 13 May, the six remaining Brothers of the Founding Community arrived in Manila. They were Br. Ptolomee Louis (Duffaux), Br. Goslin Camillus (Henri), Br. D. Joseph, Br. Celba John (Lynam), Br. Imar William (Reale), and Br. Martin.
De La Salle College officially opened its doors to 125 youngsters on 16 June 1911 in a 13,000-square meter property on Nozaleda Street in Paco, Manila. By 10 July, the total number to students reached 175. Forty were boarding students, while those who took a mid-day meal on campus were termed half-boarders. Br. Blimond, a native of France, became the first head of the college.
Today, there are now 50 professed Filipino Brothers. These men continue the legacy set forth by the Founding Brothers and the mission of the Founder 300 years ago.
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