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An order of clerics, founded in 1597 by St. Joseph Calasanctius. The name Piarists comes from the last word of their official title, which is "Poor Regulars of the Mother of God for Schools of Piety." They began by opening free elementary schools, and ever since, their principal apostolate is teaching. they were approved as a congregation by Pope Paul V in 1617, and they take a vow to devote themselves to the education of the young.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.