founder of the Piarists. José de Calasanz was ordained in 1583 and held various positions in Spain. He went to Rome in 1592, intending to seek a well-endowed benefice, but he was moved by the condition of the children in the poorer parts of Rome and decided to devote himself to their Christian education. In 1597 he opened what L. von Pastor claims was the first free public school in Europe. To give permanence to the work he established a religious order, the Piarists (q.v.). In his schools (called ‘Pious Schools’), Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish children were admitted on equal terms. Feast day, 25 (formerly 27) Aug.