St Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840)
St Marcellin Champagnat, a Marist priest, dreamed of a worldwide community of brothers wholeheartedly devoted to making Jesus Christ known and loved among children and young people, especially the least favoured. He embraced God’s call to found the Marist Brothers, the religious congregation that continues to pursue his dream today.
When seeing children and young people without schooling and knowledge of their faith, Marcellin would say, “We need brothers!” On 2 January 1817 he set in motion his plan for the Congregation of “the little brothers of Mary” with two young recruits.
At a ceremony and Mass in St Peter’s Square on 18 April 1999, Pope John Paul II declared that Marcellin is a Saint of the universal Church.
The institute was created on 2 January 1817, when Marcellin Champagnat founded in La Valla, France, the lay religious institute, or religious Institute of Brothers, under the name of the Little Brothers of Mary. He saw it as forming a branch of the Society of Mary. In 1863 the Holy See approved us as an autonomous institute of pontifical right. While respecting our original name, it gave us the title of Marist Brothers of the Schools (FMS, or Fratres Maristae a Scholis).
Marist Brothers are people consecrated to God, who follow Jesus in the style of Mary, who live in community, and are especially dedicated to the education of children and the neediest youth. Present in 80 countries, the brothers share their mission with thousands of laity who also embrace the Champagnat charism.
A Marist school is a centre of learning, of life, and of evangelising. As a school, it leads students “to learn to know, to be competent, to live together, and most especially, to grow as persons”. As a Catholic school, it is a community setting in which faith, hope and love are lived and communicated, and in which students are progressively initiated into their life-long challenge of harmonising faith, culture and life. As a Catholic school in the Marist tradition, it adopts Marcellin’s approach to educating children and youth, in the way of Mary.
Around the world
The circumstances and profiles of Marist schools around the world vary greatly, depending on their social, cultural, political and legal settings. They are to be found in the rural world as well as in urban areas. They include all three levels of education: primary, secondary, and higher education and teacher training. There are day schools, as well as those that offer boarding. They may belong wholly to the Institute, or be conducted by Provinces on behalf of a diocese, parish or government.
Community of educators
In all our settings, we express our sense of shared mission in the way we come together as a single community of educators: the teachers, non-teaching staff and parents, supporting one another in our complementary roles. Together, we seek to develop a pattern of relationships that reflect our Gospel and Marist ideals, and which witness to the values we want to pass on to our students.
To read more about the world of Marist, please visit champagnat.org/en/.
Marist Southern Africa
St David’s Marist Inanda falls within the Marist Province of Southern Africa, which includes Marist schools and communities in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Marist has a presence in 21 countries throughout Africa as a whole.
Responding to appeals for teaching Brothers from Bishop Grimley in the Cape, the first Marist Brothers arrived in Simon's Town in 1867. They opened the first Marist school on African soil in Cape Town, before going on to open a number of schools across South Africa.
The Marist Brothers arrived in Johannesburg in 1889, and opened the first boys’ school in Johannesburg in Koch Street.
Marist College, Observatory (now called Sacred Heart College) was founded in 1924 after the school outgrew its Koch Street premises and a second campus was needed. Continued growth saw the demand for a third school and Marist College, Inanda (now called St David’s Marist Inanda) was opened in 1941. In 1966, what was still the Koch Street School was transferred to new premises in Linmeyer to accommodate for growth and development, becoming what we know today as Marist Brothers Linmeyer (Marion College).
St David’s has strong relationships with the other four Marist schools in South Africa. Our schools share a common Marist charism, ethos and value system, but each has a distinct personality and offering that make it unique. The other four South African Marist schools are:
St Joseph’s Marist College, Rondebosch, Cape Town (est. 1918) – www.maristsj.co.za
Sacred Heart College Marist Observatory, Observatory, Johannesburg (est. 1924) – sacredheart.co.za
St Henry’s Marist College, Berea, Durban (est. 1929) – www.sthenrys.co.za
Marist Brothers Linmeyer, Linmeyer, Johannesburg (est. 1966) – www.maristbl.co.za