The Marist Brothers were founded in 1817 by Marcellin Champagnat, a newly ordained priest raised in France during the French Revolution. Together with two recruits, Marcellin sought to combat the spiritual and educational devastation the war had inflicted on young people.
That was almost 200 years ago.
Today, Saint Marcellin Champagnat’s legacy still lives on in the more than 4,000 Marist Brothers worldwide, including 170 in the United States. Each day in large cities and remote villages, across 76 countries 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.
And this year marks the 127th anniversary of the Marist Brothers’ presence in the United States! We have grown, and we have thrived.
But now we have a problem.
Prior to Vatican II, in the late 60’s, the large number of younger Brothers easily supported the financial and medical needs of the few elderly and disabled Brothers. After Vatican II, the large number of younger Brothers with few older Brothers became reversed—we now have a large number of older Brothers and few younger Brothers. And then came 9/11 in 2001. And then came our current economic troubles.
The perfect storm.
In their dedication to our educational mission—to bring Christian education to young people, especially those who are most neglected—the Brothers consistently put the needs of their students ahead of themselves. We didn’t see the “perfect storm” building: caring for a large number of elderly Brothers. Now it’s here.
In 2001 we began a program of reaching out to our friends, relatives and others to assist us in meeting the needs of our elderly and disabled Brothers. And this is where we are today.
We would like to have weathered the storm, but we haven’t. We continue to experience the ever-increasing numbers and needs of our elderly and disabled Brothers, those who have given the gift of their lives, the best of their years and the length of their days to the youth of America through education.
For the past 13 years we have been graciously and generously assisted in their care by you and our many friends. As we continue seeking assistance, we often find ourselves on our knees thanking God for all that we have received. We are blessed by your friendship.
Permit us to end this story with our Thanks!… for your interest and your support of our Brothers in need. You, your intentions and your loved ones are in the daily communal prayers and Mass of the Brothers.
For additional information on the Marist Brothers, please visit the Connect with Our Marist World page for links to our Province website and to our International website.