The Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Latin: Ordo Clericorum Regularium pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum, Sch. P. or S. P.) or, in short, Piarists /ˈpaɪ.ərɨsts/, is the name of the oldest Catholic educational order also known as the Scolopi, Escolapios or Poor Clerics of the Mother of God (in both cases clerics can also become clerks, from the same etymology). Founded by Saint Joseph Calasanctius, the main occupation of the Piarist fathers is teaching children and youth, the primary goal being to provide free education for poor children. The Piarist practice was taken as a model by numerous later Catholic societies devoted to teaching, while the state-supported public school system in certain parts of Europe also followed their example. The Piarists have had a considerable success in the education of physically or mentally disabled persons. Some famous individuals of the last few centuries, including Pope Pius IX, Goya, Schubert, Gregor Mendel, and Victor Hugo, were taught at Piarist schools.
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