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The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility

A book written by John Baptist de La Salle as a reader for inner-city boys, showing the way that they should comport themselves and behave in polite society. This is a classic work on politeness, and fun to read.

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The first edition of this book was published anonymously in 1703 as a school reader and manual of decorum for students in the parish schools where the Brothers worked. Considering the nature and background of the urchins with whom it was intended to be used, we can only admire the idealism and objectives of the first Brothers. This book has had over 85 editions and was still in use in the mid-19th century. Some of the rules will amuse, and some will surprise, but De La Salle’s premise for Christian decorum and civility is simple: we are all children of God, worthy of the respect we give and receive. Some of the “rules” will amuse and some will surprise, but De La Salle’s premise for decorum and civility is simple: we are all children of God.

Sample Chapter Headings:

  • Deportment and Care of Your Body
  • The Nose and the Manner of Blowing Your Nose and Sneezing
  • Speech and Pronunciation
  • Yawning, Spitting, and Coughing
  • The Knees, Legs, and Feet
  • The Manner of Dressing and Undressing
  • How to Eat a Soup
  • Conversation and Laughter
  • How to Greet the Persons You Visit
  • How to Question, Inquire, Correct, and Give Your Opinion
  • How to Speak of People and Things

(1990; 152 pp.)

Translated by Richard Arnandez, FSC. Edited by Gregory Wright, FSC.

Volume 2 of Lasallian Sources: The Complete Works of John Baptist de La Salle, 1990.

Publisher: Christian Brothers Conference – Lasallian Region of North America