Marist Education Authority
Marist schools are situated within the mission of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) and within the special vocation of the Catholic Church to continue the mission of Jesus Christ in every place and age. As such the Marist School will be clearly identified as Catholic and Marist. Its teachers and attitudes will seek to express the faith of the Church in the contemporary situation. The timetable and curriculum will take into account the need to learn how to pray and worship, appreciate feasts and fasts, give quiet but regular service to the needy. The décor of the school will include elements discreetly recalling the spiritual life, the local and world-wide mission of the Church and the Society of Mary.
As their name suggests, Marists seek to orientate themselves and their activities with particular reference to the person of Mary, to the intuitions of the Marist founders, particularly Venerable Father John-Claude Colin, and to the living tradition of the Society of Mary. The characteristic “Marist spirit”, derives from the Gospel, meditation on the presence of Mary with Jesus in Nazareth, on her presence with the apostles as they waited in prayer for the coming of the Spirit, on her hidden presence in the early Church, and on her unique significance for the Church today. Therefore the Marist School community will seek to reflect the service, commitment and acceptance which are evident in Mary’s life.
The tradition to which the Marist school belongs is rooted in the mission of the Church, the spirituality of the Society of Mary and the local environment in which the school is situated. The Marist school will value that tradition: always seeking to express the faith of the Church in the contemporary situation, adapting to the conditions of modern times as the early Marist Fathers did in post revolutionary France in the nineteenth century and aware of the Marist spiritual heritage to which they are party the Marist school will take due care to actively pass on that tradition to the future generations of pupils, staff and parents.
A Marist school will seek to help each student become his/her best self in the context of the Catholic community of faith, and of our world today. In doing this a Marist school will nourish, support and show due concern for the development of all the dimensions of a students life, inclusive of the spiritual, the intellectual and the physical along with the emotional, moral and social dimensions.
A Marist school must endeavor to combine a successful pursuit of excellence with the discretion, the simplicity we associate with Mary. The atmosphere and discipline of the school community should be as easy and cheerful as due order permits. The manner in which staff encounter pupils, allow pupils to speak to them, will approach more nearly to the personal, familial style rather than the institutional, again, in so far as the different circumstances allow.
A Marist school is a consciously nurturing community. It is a community of pupils, staff and families who have a shared endeavor where Mary’s way of believing and being present to others is made concrete; where there is agreement on the common task; where there is respect for the different roles within the community; and where there is an acceptance of the equality of dignity for all. By its actions, values and beliefs the school is specifically organised to draw families, teachers and pupils into community and to respect and affirm; the dignity of all, the specific roles and responsibilities of each, and the agreed task of the education of the young.
(Issued by the Provincial Council – Ireland 2007)
THE SOCIETY OF MARY
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 Marist schools in many regions of the world. In Ireland there are three colleges, St. Mary’s College, Dundalk founded in 1861, 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 1960’s 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.ie