Rome: Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the Marist Brothers

Source: FSSPX News

Painting of Marcellin Champagnat.

On June 6, 2017, in Rome, the Marist Brothers celebrated their two-hundredth anniversary. The priority of this religious congregation founded in 1817 by Marcellin Champagnat is the instruction of children.

“I invite you to celebrate the 6th of June, in union with Marists throughout the world, (…) giving thanks to the Lord for the gift of the charism of Champagnat to the Church and to the world; asking forgiveness for our lack of faithfulness to God’s Spirit, renewing our commitment to Marist life and mission,” wrote the Brother Superior General, Emili Turú, to the members of the congregation he directs. The three volumes of the History of the Institution were presented in Rome on June 6, along with a photo exposition.


The congregation of Marist Brothers was born in 1817, under the action of Fr. Marcellin Champagnat, parish vicar in La Valla-en-Gier, a village in the Loire region. The Marist Brothers were a branch of the Society of Mary of Lyon, that was founded in 1816. Their apostolate revolved around the Christian education of country children in the 19th century. The congregation developed rapidly in France, especially in the southeast and in the north, creating an important network of schools. Marcellin Champagnat died on June 6, 1840, at the age of 51. On April 18, 1999, Pope John Paul II raised him to the dignity of the altar.


In 1903, although the congregation had 600 elementary and high school establishments (parish schools, industrial enterprise schools, boarding schools, formation homes) run by 4300 brothers, the French government refused its authorization —required by the law of 1901— to all masculine congregations. So the Institute of the Marist Brothers went international.


While they had 10,000 members in the early ‘60s, the Marists have not been spared by the post-conciliar torments: today, they have 3,500 members in 81 different countries, on five continents. The Institute continues its work of education, but has also diversified its activity, working in the high-school, college, and social areas.