French priest, Marcellin Champagnat, founded the tradition of Catholic education that is known as ‘Marist’ in 1817.
Today, Marist schools, colleges and universities are found in over seventy countries around the world, encouraging hundreds of thousands of young people to be what Marcellin believed each of them could be – good Christians and good citizens.
From the beginning the Marist schools reflected many of the qualities of Marcellin himself; they were places where hard work and excellent achievement were valued, places where the individual was genuinely loved and prized, warm places where a strong family spirit was evident, places characterised by a lack of pretense but rather by simplicity and calm determination.
A special concern was afforded to those students who found school most difficult. Above all, the schools were places that had the Gospel at their heart, encouraging students to respond to it with the same faith and generosity as Mary did.
At Marist College North Shore, we ask students to do one thing – their best. To achieve this we must instill in them a sense of self-belief that they can be great learners. As learners, our boys can achieve so much more if they work together; work with each other and with their teachers. Our goal is to have these young men become the men that God wants them to be. We want them to develop their God given talents. We want our boys to achieve their purpose in life, the purpose that God has for them.
The son of a farmer who was born in a mountain village in the south of France, Marcellin grew up in the years of the French Revolution. His formal schooling did not begin until he was fifteen years old. To the surprise of his family and friends, he decided to become a priest, and, in spite of many difficulties, he did so.
He founded a Congregation of Brothers to work with the youth in his own area, though his vision went beyond his own hills. “Our field of work lies in every diocese of the world”, he used to tell his Brothers. He also told them that his Society would prosper more and more after his death. Following his death in 1840, aged 51, there were 280 Brothers in the south of France. Today, there are 3,552 Brothers and 72,762 laypeople who undertake the work of Marist Education in 79 countries around the world.
With six other Seminarians, Marcellin pledged to work for the creation of a Marian Society, similar to the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola.
This inspired vision led to the formation of the Marist Brothers (FMS), the Marist Fathers (SM), the Marist Sisters (SM) and the Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM).