Who We Are

MontagneIn the U.S. there are more than 150 Marist Brothers who live in 32 communities in eight states. Marist Brothers strive to make a difference in the world by showing young people that they are loved, safe and cared for. They minister in schools settings, parishes, retreats and spiritual accompaniments, at-risk youth settings, young adult ministry and overseas missions. Marist Brothers are educators, counselors, spiritual directors, social workers, youth leaders and missionaries. Every day they influence and transform the lives and situations of thousands of young people through education and spirituality, challenging young people to live their fullest potential in Christ.

The Marist Brothers were founded in 1817 by Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest who founded the order to combat the illiteracy and spiritual poverty in post-Revolutionary France. Marcellin believed God called him to help young people, especially those in need. He responded by forming a religious community of Brothers dedicated to educating youth and conveying the love of Jesus Christ through Mary.

While still in the seminary, Marcellin joined a small group of seminarians that pledged themselves to form a new society dedicated to Mary and open to religious and laymen and women alike. Six months after his ordination, after encountering a dying teenager who knew little of the Catholic faith, Marcellin founded a religious community called The Little Brothers of Mary — now called The Marist Brothers of the Schools. His goal: to make Jesus Christ known and loved through the Christian education of youth, especially the most neglected.

Like many youngsters of his day, Marcellin did not attend school regularly; the French Revolution wreaked havoc on civic life in that period. Although gifted with natural intelligence, Marcellin’s lack of formal education caused him to struggle as a seminarian. From those difficulties sprang his educational philosophy, “To educate children you must love them and love them all equally.”

The Marist Brothers are an international community of more than 3,000 Catholic Brothers dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.

Today Marist Brothers are located in 79 countries in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Oceania.