The mission of Marist schools is to lead young people to know and love Jesus, in the way of Mary, in the belief that they can all become good Christians and good citizens. Marists have developed a distinctive way of undertaking this evangelising mission. Inspired by St Marcellin Champagnat, Marist educators, before all else, love their students.
The tradition of Catholic education that is known as Marist was begun by French priest Marcellin Champagnat in 1817. Today there are over 3000 Marist Brothers working in 80 countries on five continents. The Brothers directly share their mission and spirituality with more than 72,000 lay people, and together they educate around 654,000 children and young people.
Dismayed by the ignorance he found among the rural children of southern France and spurred on by a strong faith, St Marcellin initially established a network of schools in small towns. From the beginning the schools reflected many of the qualities of St Marcellin himself: they were places where hard work and achievement were valued, where the individual was genuinely loved and prized, where a strong family spirit was evident, and places characterised by a lack of pretence but rather by simplicity and calm determination. A special concern was afforded those students who found school most difficult. Above all, the schools were places that had the Gospel at their heart, encouraging students to respond to it with the same faith and generosity as Mary did.
In over two centuries since St Marcellin began his work, a tradition and a culture have grown up, displaying a distinctive educational style. In Australia there are 54 schools in the Marist Schools Australia network. These schools, in their attempt to inculcate the Christian faith in Australian culture, have become known for their academic, cultural and sporting achievements. Their approach is marked by simplicity, family spirit, love of work and presence in the midst of those whom they are called to serve.
Marcellin wanted Marist schools to be places where people relate to one another as members of a loving family. They offer a spirituality that is simple and accessible, grounded in practical love and transparent relationships.
On entering a Marist school, a person should find a community that is alive with the Gospel, a warm and hospitable place, a learning community with purpose and breadth of vision where there is a special care for those most in need.