Marist Family around the world celebrates 200 years

The Marist Family throughout the world has just celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Fourvière Pledge.

In Lyon more than 500 young people from 46 countries gathered for a week of activities. The celebration culminated in a Eucharist celebrated in Chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere on the 23rd July

It was on this day in 1816 that twelve newly-ordained priests, went to Our Lady’s shrine in Fourviere (In Lyons, France) and made a promise to consecrate themselves to “founding the pious congregation of Marists.”

The Marist Family that came into being as a result of this pledge went on to play a major role in the establishment of the Catholic church in the south west Pacific.

In the the second half of the nineteenth century Marist missionaries, sisters, priests and brothers and lay people, came as missionaries to Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Wallis and Futuna.

Marists in New Zealand Mark Fourviere Day

The original idea of the Marist project was never to see the light of day.

The plan of a vast congregation of priests, brothers, sisters and lay people, all working under one leader or Superior General, was too complicated for the authorities in Rome to grasp, and too full of potential difficulties.

It was something hitherto unheard of. Neither the Canon Law of the day nor the Church’s theology had any way of seeing clearly how and where this idea fitted in to the life of the Church.

The Marist family now has four religious branches and a lay branch

The religious congregations are the Marist Sisters (SM), the Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM), the Marist Brothers (FMS), and the Marist Fathers and Brothers (SM).

The Marist Laity are an equal and integral group within the Marist Family who all share a common spirituality and draw inspiration from Mary’s way of being in the early Church.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.