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Be a Disciple like Mary

Jean-Claude Colin, founder of the Society of Mary
Jean-Claude Colin, founder
of the Society of Mary
Marist founder Jean-Claude Colin envisioned a multi-branched congregation of priests, sisters and brothers, and lay people united by a common name and spirituality that made visible Mary's spirit to the Church.

In 1872 Colin formally laid out the vision for the Marist Laity from which the groups today derive their inspiration. Essentially, bearing the spirit of Mary, the Laity would relate to the Society of Mary but be its own independent branch of the Marist family. Its mission would be apostolic – bearing God's love and mercy to all people.

Marist lay persons were active as early as the 1820s in Cerdon, France, where founder Jean-Claude Colin was assigned after ordination to assist his brother in pastoring his church. In the early 1830s in Lyon, under the motto 'be exemplary Christians in public, religious in private,' Marist lay persons worked in parishes, schools, orphanages, hospitals, and prisons.

There were more than 300 members in various groups throughout France by 1850. Lay women involved in Marist ministry in the islands of the Pacific later became the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary.

Today in partnership with the Society of Mary three lay groups of men and women – Marist Laity, Marist Associates, and the Third Order of Mary – embody that original vision and are doing the work of Mary.

We invite you to explore the Marist Way.

Read "The Whole World Marist".

Marist LaityMarist lay groups are "graciously chosen by Mary" to take on her mind and heart and bear the love of Christ to others.




To be a Marist is...

  • to have the faith of Mary that God would like to work wonders through us if only we humbly receive God's gift.

  • to evangelize like Mary in a "hidden and unknown" manner, with a listening heart fully engaged in life with others.

  • to be "an instrument of Divine Mercy" as Mary, welcoming all people.

  • to be a disciple like Mary in helping to build and renew the Church.

  • to live prayerfully in the presence of God as Mary did – to intercede for the sake of God's love for the world, especially for those who are lost or seem far from God.

  • to live simply, unselfishly, and compassionately like Mary and to stand against the forces of greed, pride, and violence.




Marist lay groups
take on a
variety of structures
and works to
express that spirit.

Visit Marist Laity in the United States at

Marist Family
Year of Prayer 2009-2010

"Mary, Mother of Peace"
May Marists throughout the world be people of PEACE. We are all invited to "focus on Jesus so that his peace fills our hearts and overflows into the lives of others."

a Prayer Bookmark

the Prayer Card

Prayer Intentions
I pray for peace …
- In my heart
- In my family
- For those troubled
by mental illness
- For the innocent
in war zones
- For the combatants
in war zones
- Between nations
- In our neighbourhood
-Between races
and cultures
- Between religions
In the Middle East
- In African nations
- In the Holy Land
- In European nations
- In the countries of
the Americas
- In Pacific countries
- In Asian countries

Some groups pray
and study together,
others work in
a Marist ministry,
and still others
pray in communion
with other Marists
for the whole
Marist family
and their mission.