The Marist Brothers were founded in 1817 by Marcellin Champagnat, a newly-ordained priest raised in France during the French Revolution. Marcellin and his first two recruits observed and fought against the spiritual and educational devastation the war had inflicted on young people.
Like today's Marist Brothers, the early Marist communities of religious Brothers were known for their family spirit and simple Gospel way of being fully present to each other and all people. Then, as now, the goal was to bring the love of Jesus and Mary to others through lives of service.
The first Marist school opened in LaValla, France in 1818 and is still in operation today. Marist schools began to multiply at the rate of almost a dozen a year. Marcellin's mission quickly spread to other countries, coming to the United States in 1885-86. By the turn of the 20th century, the Marist Brothers had accepted invitations from many countries around the world.
Today, Saint Marcellin Champagnat's legacy lives on in the more than 3,400 Marist Brothers worldwide -- 165 in the United States. Each day, in large cities and remote villages, across 78 countries and on six continents, Marist Brothers transform the lives and situations of thousands through education and spirituality, and by challenging young people to live their fullest potential in Christ.