Society of Mary; Marist Fathers

Religious order of priests and lay-brothers founded at Lyons in 1816 by Jean Claude Colin, approved by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836. The work of the order includes missions, both domestic and foreign, colleges for the education of youth, and seminaries for the training of clerics. In France the Marists developed rapidly, and outside of France the first field of labor offered them was the Vicariate Apostolic of Western Oceania. The immense area of the vicariate, together with the presence at its head of a secular bishop, soon necessitated the creation of smaller vicariates under Marist bishops. These missions have progressed steadily under the Marist fathers who, besides their religious work, have largely contributed to make known the languages, fauna and flora of the South Sea Islands, and helped in their colonization. In the British Isles the Marist foundations began in 1850 at the request of Cardinal Wiseman. The Society of Mary has taken a firm hold in the United States and even extended into Mexico. Rome is the seat of the mother-house and the procurator-general.

New Catholic Dictionary

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