Montagne Day Mass

27 Oct 2021

On Wednesday, October 27th, the pupils and staff of St David's Marist Inanda gathered at the Fourviere Pool for Montagne Day Mass, in which we commemorate the life and death of Jean-Baptiste Montagne, and honour the important role he played in the founding of the Marist Institute.  

Over 200 years ago, on October 28 1816, St. Marcellin Champagnat, just weeks after his appointment as a parish priest to La Valla, was summoned to hear the dying confession of teenager Jean-Baptiste Montagne. Although the hearing of confession is no extraordinary event for a priest, Montagne's confession became a life-changing event in St. Marcellin's life. Jean-Baptiste was the product of a France that had been at war almost continuously for 26 years, and as a result public education had deteriorated and poverty was rife. At seventeen, Montagne had never learnt the most basic elements of the Catholic faith - he knew nothing of the principal mysteries, and did not even know whether God existed or not. To Marcellin, the early death of Jean-Baptiste in almost complete ignorance of the Catholic faith was a tragedy. In this boy, Marcellin saw countless other youngster who were suffering under economic, educational, and spiritual poverty. He then vowed to ensure that they did not suffer the same fate as Jean-Baptiste Montagne. This meeting was a defining foundational experience for St. Marcellin, and set him firmly on the path that would lead to the founding the Brothers, and ensuring that quality Catholic education is available to any child, no matter the circumstances into which they are born.

Every year, we remind ourselves of the story of Jean-Baptiste Montagne and the origins of the Marist Brothers. It is a day where we especially reflect on our roots as a Marist school, what it means to be Marist in 2021, and how we can learn from the story of Jean-Baptiste Montagne to help those around us today.  

The Montagne Day Mass also offered the opportunity for the new house and school drums to be blessed. These drums symbolise the heartbeat of the school and each house, and will be used at formal celebrations and house events. The school drum further represents the Marist journey that each student embarks from the moment they join the St David's Marist Inanda family as every boy will have the opportunity to beat the drum at various formal occasions, from their first assembly to their valediction in Matric, to signal each phase in their Marist journey.