“ The spirit of Mary is something most delicate and profound, obtained only through sustained meditation and prayer. ” - Jean Claude Colin, Founder Marist Order

The Marist Family

We are made up of the following branches:

  • Marist Fathers
  • Marist Brothers
  • Marist Sisters
  • Marist Laity
  • Missionary Sisters of Society of Mary

All Branches share the following:

A common undertaking – The Work of Mary

  • A common mission – To the secularised world, to the margins of society and to the edges of the Church
  • A common desire – To ‘gather all’ into one new People of God, one in heart and mind
  • A common leader – All branches look to Mary as their first and perpetual superior
  • A common approach – To live a life of simplicity and openness to God, seeking God alone, and bringing to the Church a maternal spirit
  • In three particular areas Marists share a common likeness: the name they bear, the spirit they share, and the virtues which are the cornerstones of their lives.

In three particular areas Marists share a common likeness: the name they bear, the spirit they share, and the virtues which are the cornerstones of their lives.

Marist Fathers

Also known as the Society of Mary the Marist Fathers were founded in France in the early part of the last Century. The Founder of the Marist Fathers is Fr. Jean-Claude Colin a Frenchman, born in 1790 and died in 1875.
“To be a Marist is to be called and chosen, through a love freely bestowed on us, to live the Gospel as Mary did, in a Society, which bears her name”. (Marist Fathers Constitutions)

Marist Brothers

The Marist Brothers began in 1817 as a response to the spiritual, educational and physical needs of the young and the poor. The founder, a young French Marist Father, Marcellin Champagnat, catered for these needs by training young men to be teachers.
“We do our best to remain faithful to the Spirit of the Risen Saviour, who gives us, as he did the first Christians, the grace to live “one in mind and heart”. (Marist Brothers Constitutions)

Marist Sisters

The Marist Sisters branch of the Marist project was due to the insight and zeal of Jeanne Marie Chavoin, from the town of Coutouvre in the South-East of France. With two others she began the first community of Marist Sisters in September 1823.
“Our congregation is characterised by the desire to make the mystery of Mary in the church the daily inspiration of its life and action, and not by any special work nor by the promotion of any particular form of Marian devotion….” (Marist Sisters Constitutions)

Marist Laity

The original vision for the Marist project saw ‘the whole world Marist’, through the lives of countless lay people taking on the spirit of Mary and sending ripples of Gospel vigour throughout the secular world. Lay involvement in the Marist Family first took the shape of a Third Order of the Society of Mary under Saint Julian Eymard sm. It has since developed into a wide variety of Marist Lay groups, formal and informal in different parts of the world. Read more about Marist Laity.

Missionary Sisters of Society of Mary

The Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary were founded by Francoise Perroton a French lay women who traveled to the island of Wallis in Oceania not long after the first Marist Fathers arrived there. She lived as a member of the Third Order of Mary and ministered especially to the women and children of the island. In 1931 the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary were approved as a religious congregation.
“We wish to respond to the calls of today with the daring and zeal of the pioneers. We want to keep alive this daring – simple, joyful and prudent – based solely on the love and power of God in order to announce the Gospel in its force and integrity, learning to adapt ourselves to different cultures and conditions of life. “ (Missionary Sisters Constitutions)