Society of Mary (Marianists)

The Society of Mary, a Roman Catholic Marian Society, is a congregation of brothers and priests called The Marianists or Marianist Brothers and Priests. The Society was founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a priest who survived the anti-clerical persecution during the French Revolution. The Society is one of the four branches of the Marianist Family. Along with the other branches, the Marianist Brothers and Priests look to Mary as a model of faith and spirituality. They believe that the best ways to live a spiritual life are to share their faith with others, work with the poor, and educate and nourish the mind, the body, and the soul.

Marianists around the world

There are about 1,200 Marianists: 405 priests, two bishops, and 800 brothers, on four continents and in 38 countries. The Marianists say that they "devote the major part of their efforts to inculturation to become rooted in new countries, in Asia and Africa, and also to be in tune with the surrounding cultures that challenge us and that we call modern or postmodern."[1]

Formation process

Men who pursue a vocation with the Society of Mary follow an intense formation process that leads them to examine themselves and their spirituality. The first step to becoming a Marianist is to be a Contact. Contacts learn about the religious institute and themselves through retreats and through the guidance of a Marianist whom they contact regularly. The next step is the Aspirancy - a 10-month journey of living with a Marianist community and following its daily practices. Each aspirant works in a ministry to further his understanding of Marianist spirituality and his own faith. At the end of this period, one enters the Novitiate, which is a 20-month period divided over 2 years. During that time, the novice learns about the institute, and spends time deeply discerning his call to the institute.

At the end of the Novitiate, the novice professes Temporary Vows. He must annually renew the vow for at least 3 years. At the end of that time, the brother can decide to enter into Perpetual Profession, in which the brother professes the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. In addition, some brothers study to become priests at the International Marianist Seminary in Rome, Italy.

Marianists in North America


The Marianists are active in Canada, where the late Archbishop Raymond Roussin, S.M., D.D., one of their number, was head of the archiepiscopal see of Vancouver from 2004 to 2009.

United States

The United States is home to two Marianist provinces: the Province of the United States and the Province of Meribah.

The Province of Meribah, which became separate in 1976, operates only in the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York. There it runs an educational complex: Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School (including the Bro. Joseph C. Fox Latin School Division, for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders); and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School (pre-k though eighth grade). It also runs three retreat houses.[2] The Provincial of the Province of Meribah is Brother Timothy Driscoll, S.M.[3] Since the Province of Meribah was created, it has maintained the common life of prayer, the common dress of the religious habit, and the common apostolates of education. The brothers' motto, Servire Quam Sentire, captures well the spirit which animates the members of the Province. They seek to put their own fears and reservations aside, and to serve the Lord with gladness and with joy.[4]

The Province of the United States recently updated their mission statement as follows:

"Empowered by the Holy Spirit and inspired by the dynamism of Blessed Chaminade's charism, we —- brothers and priests —- vowed religious in the Marianist Family, live in community as equals. Through lives of prayer and Gospel service, we dedicate ourselves to the following of Jesus Christ, Son of God become Son of Mary. Wherever we are sent we invite others to share in Mary's Mission of making Christ present in every age and culture by forming persons and communities of apostolic faith that advance justice and reconciliation. Committed to education, we minister with youth and in solidarity with the poor."[5]

Members of the Marianist Province of the United States are concentrated in Honolulu, Hawaii; St. Louis, Missouri; Dayton, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio, and San Antonio, Texas. The Province runs three universities (the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH; St. Mary's University, Texas in San Antonio, TX; and Chaminade University in Honolulu, HI), 18 high schools, six elementary schools, two middle schools, five retreat centers and seven parishes. Actor and activist Martin Sheen has credited his dedication to public causes to his Marianist education at Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. Charles J. Pedersen, 1987 Nobel laureate in chemistry, attended a Marianist high school, and chose to attend college at the University of Dayton, because the university was also run by the Marianists.[6]

Marianists in Europe


The Marianists remain active in France, where they first were founded. The Society's Province of France includes 112 brothers and priests in 17 "houses," or community residences, in France, Belgium and Tunisia. 58 are posted to the Ivory Coast and Congo region. Within the French Province, the Marianists operate eight schools. They also run three spiritual centers (at La Madeleine, St. Avold and Le Vic), two residences for university students, and an extensive scholarship program for Marianist schools. In addition, they serve in youth ministry, pastoral work and hospital chaplaincy.[7]


The Marianists' world headquarters are located in Rome, Italy.


In 1967, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid of Dublin invited Marianists from the United States to establish a mission in Ireland. Still part of the Province of the United States, the Irish Marianists operate St. Laurence College in Loughlinstown, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. They have also been active in diocesan youth ministry, school and prison chaplaincy, drug rehabilitation, work for peace and justice, and parish work. Four Irish Catholics have permanently joined the religious institute since 1976.


They came to Spain in 1830. In 1977, the Marianists in Spain established the Santa Maria Foundation, which publishes Marianist Editions and organizes pedagogical programs.[8] They operate the Colegio del Pilar in Madrid, the Santa Ana y San Rafael and 15 more schools, which some of them are considered the best schools in Spain.


Fr. François Kieffer, a French Marianist priest, established the Villa St. Jean International School in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1903, which operated until 1970.

Marianists in Latin America


The Marianists arrived from Spain in 1932, and founded their own school in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Caballito in 1935. It is still located there.[9] They have also presence in Junín and Nueve de Julio, in Buenos Aires province, and in General Roca, Río Negro province.


The Marianists have been active in Chile since 1948, invited by Cardinal Jose Maria Caro. In 1982, the institute formed the Province of Chile, along with the Province of Argentina, by dividing the Province of the Andes. The Marianists' educational institutions in Chile include Colegio Santa María de la Cordillera, Colegio Parroquial San Miguel, Instituto Miguel, and Instituto Linares.


The Marianists have founded various educational institutions such as Colegio Santa Maria Marianistas,[10] Colegio Maria Reina Marianistas,[11] Colegio San Antonio Marianistas, Colegio San José Obrero Marianistas[12] and El Instituto Chaminade Marianistas.

Puerto Rico

The Marianists have been active in Puerto Rico since 1938 when Colegio San José was founded. The leading educational college preparatory institutions of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Marianists in Africa

Marianists came to Africa as missionaries in 1946. They are active in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, and Tunisia.


The Marianists operate Our Lady of Nazareth primary school and the IMANI counseling, job training and child care center in Nairobi, and the Marianist Development Project, a similar institution, in Mombasa. They serve members of the Sudanese Diocese of Rumbec in northwest Kenya. They operate the St. Bakhita Formation Center, with a seminary and training schools for nurses, teachers and catechists. In 1925, they founded the prestigious Mangu High School in Kenya.


The Marianists' projects are the Chaminade Secondary School and M.I.R.A.C.L.E., a rural job-training service for youths orphaned by AIDS.


The Marianists teach at Matero Boy Secondary School, reach out to the alumni of that school, and help the surrounding diocese by celebrating mass with their neighbors.[13]

Marianists in Asia


The Marianists arrived in the Philippines in 2004. The congregation chose the southern part of the Philippines in the big city of Davao as their mission area to establish presence.


Bro. Richard Joyal, a member of the Marianist Region of Canada was sent by the Marianist General Administration to research a possible foundation in the Philippines. He arrived in Manila on January 22, 2004. He spent several months visiting Bishops and religious communities. In July, Richard experienced community life again at the International Meeting for Marianist Formators held in Nairobi, Kenya (June 13-July 11, 2004).

On the basis of his reports, the General Administration decided to establish the first Marianist religious community in Davao City on the island of Mindanao. (Alive in the Philippines December 2004).

Bros. Oscar Kerketta and Victor Sahayaraj from India arrived on September 23; Fr. Pablo Rambaud from Spain on the 28th joined Bro. Richard Joyal from Canada. The Marianist religious community in Davao City was now completed. The Community considers Oct. 2, 2004 as the date of its establishment in the Philippines.


Fr. Pat Devlin SM (Marist Fathers) began caring for Filipino Street Children on May 4, 1989. Fr. Pat worked with Caritas of the Archdiocese of Davao until the program was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as "Foundation of Balay Pasilungan INC".

The center was turned over to the Marist Sisters who worked with Filipino Street Children up to fifteen years of age (1999-2005).

In 2005 The Marianists in Davao adopted Balay Pasilungan as their Community apostolate. The center is accredited and is licensed to operate from the Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD). In 2006 The executive Director was Bro. Richard Joyal, The Deputy Director was Fr. Pablo Rambaud with assistant Bro. Oscar Kerketta.


Marianists sent five expatriates to Japan in 1887 and established a mission school, Gyosei Gakuen in Tokyo in 1888. It also established Kaisei Gakuen in Nagasaki in 1891, Osaka Meisei Gakuen in Osaka in 1898, St. Joseph School in Yokohama in 1901.


The local parish priests of the western suburbs of Melbourne Victoria purchased a large block of 8 hectares in Altona that was transformed into the setting for St Paul’s by the parents of the first students. The main 3-storey classroom block was completed in 1969.

The Marianists conducted the College for twenty years, under Headmasters Brother John McCluskey, Brother William Callahan, Father Daniel Winters and Brother Donald McCoy. In 1985 the first lay principal, Mr. Christopher Dean, was appointed. In 1997 Mr. Christopher Stock was appointed principal.

A number of specialist buildings at St Paul’s campus have been named in recognition of the proud Marianist tradition of the College: Chaminade Library, Winters Arts Building, Our Lady’s Chapel, McCoy Hall, and Cassidy Technology Centre. The Jubilee Building was named in honour of the Jubilee Year of 2000.

The names of the College Houses also reflect Marianist heritage: Winters (green), Cassidy (red), McCoy (navy), McCluskey (yellow), Chaminade (sky blue).

Meanwhile, the Marianists were invited by a committee headed by Father Joseph Kealy to establish a boys' college in the southern Melbourne suburb of Frankston for Years 7 to 12. Marianist College opened in February 1973 with 166 boys and a staff of six under the direction of Brother Don Neff, SM. After preliminary discussions in 1976, it was announced in 1977 that Marianist College Frankston would merge with the adjacent Stella Maris College establishing a new regional coeducational college. After consultation with the Archbishop of Melbourne, parents and students, the College Board determined that "John Paul College" would be the official name of the school. "John Paul College" was chosen in a desire to express the changes which had been happening in the Catholic Church as a result of the 2nd Vatican Council, (1964-68). Four popes had led the Church during this period; John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II.


  4. Who We Are
  6. Charles J. Pedersen Biography
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