THE SOCIETY OF MARY was founded by Jean-Claude Colin (1790-1875) in 1836 in France against a background of political and social unrest following the events of the French Revolution and the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire. Members of the Society of Mary are commonly known as Marists. Marists have a special devotion to Mary and they are called to think, judge and act as Mary in all things.
From the very beginning Jean Claude Colin regarded the education of the young as “entrusted by providence to the Society of Mary”. The early Marists were committed to education and missionary work with a particularly strong presence in Oceania.
Two centuries later there are Marists schools in many regions of the world. In Ireland there are three colleges, St. Mary’s College Dundalk founded in 1860 Catholic University School in 1867 and Chanel College Coolock in 1955.
The original vision of Fr.Colin focused on the central importance of the task of educating young people as Christian Citizens and the value of every young person as a unique individual. These values continue to be core to the education mission in Ireland.
Until the 1960s this work was primarily carried out by the many Marist Fathers who taught in and managed our schools. Over recent decades this has changed. Today our schools are places of increasing partnership between lay staff, pupils, parents and Marist communities. The Marist Fathers are the owners/trustees of the three schools and continue to be committed to upholding the characteristic spirit of the founding fathers. This characteristic spirit or ethos is expressed in a contemporary context. To assist schools in their tasks the trustees, in 2003, created The Marist Education Authority which acts on behalf of the Marist Provincial and his Council in trustee matters with the primary objective of safeguarding and promoting the Catholic and Marist Ethos in the Marist Schools.
Teachers in our schools have an obligation to support and uphold the characteristic spirit or ethos of the Society of Mary as outlined in this documentation.
Further information is available at www.maristfathers.org