January 2nd marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of a religious institute known as the Marist Brothers of the Schools.
currently counts over three thousand brothers, working alongside lay
associates in schools and other youth ministries in more than 80
countries around the world.
On January 2nd 1817, French priest Fr Marcellin Champagnat founded
an institute called the ‘Little Brothers of Mary’, with the goal of
educating and evangelizing young people, especially those most in need.
In a video message,
marking the bicentenary, the current general superior, Brother Emili
Turú speaks about the three attitudes of gratitude, forgiveness and
commitment which characterize members of the institute today.
giving thanks for the work of their founder and the dedication of past
members, he says, it is also vital to ask forgiveness for the suffering
caused by the abuse of children and the failure to protect those in
The video ends with a commitment to safeguarding young
people, especially those living in poverty and particularly vulnerable
Today there are some 72.000 lay men and women teaching alongside the
brothers in Marist schools and institutions on all five continents.
They are celebrating this bicentenary in a special way in La Valla,
France, where the institute was founded, but also in Nairobi, Kenya and
in Lujan, Argentina.
Brother Emili Turú is marking the anniversary in
Bangladesh, where he’s helping to launch a school for the sons and
daughters of tea plantation workers.
Later this year, on June 6th, the Marists will be marking the
anniversary here in Rome, where the headquarters is located, with the
presentation of a three volume History of the Institute and a
On September 8th, celebrations continue in Rionegro, Colombia, where
the Marists open their General Chapter, bringing together brothers and
other representatives from across the globe.
Throughout this bicentenary year, members of the institute are using
the social media hashtag #MillionMarists to bring young people together
and to share the vision of their founder, Saint Marcellin Champagnat.