Generally known as Marist School Brothers. This religious teaching institute is modern in its origin, having been founded in 1817, in France, by the Venerable Benedict Marcellin Champagnat. This zealous priest, especially attracted to the care of the children of the people, worked zealously for their primary education. Besides the rules and constitutions of this society, he wrote valuable manuals and methods for the pedagogic training of his disciples. The Holy See definitively recognized and approved this educational institute by a decree of 9 January, 1863. Its development in the last sixty years has been wonderful. When the founder died (1840), his society consisted of 310 members and had the charge of forty-eight schools, all in the central part of France. Today (1910) it numbers 6000 members pursuing their educational labours in all parts of the world, as shown by the following statistics of these educational establishments : Spain, 81 schools ; Belgium, 41; British Isle, 25; Italy, 16; Turkey in Europe, 9; Switzerland, 3; Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, 1 each. When the "secularization law " was enacted in France (1903), the Marist Brothers had charge of 750 schools in that country. Cape Colony ( Africa ), 9 schools ; Seychelles Islands, 2; Egypt, 1; Australia, 20; New Zealand, 9; New Caledonia, 6; Fiji Islands, 4; Samoa Islands, 3; New Hebrides, 1; China, 27; Syria, 13; Turkey in Asia, 5; Ceylon, 2; Arabia, 1; Brazil, 36; Canada, 29; Mexico, 25; Columbia, 21; United States, 12; Argentina, 8; Cuba, 2; Chili, 3; Peru, 3.
The Marist Brothers were sent to Oceanica as coadjutors to the missionaries and the Marist Fathers in 1836. In 1852 they established their English province, which rapidly spread its branches throughout the United Kingdom and the British Colonies in South Africa and Australasia. The introduction of the Marist Brothers in North America (1885) was a very auspicious event for the dissemination of Catholic principles among the pupils entrusted to their charge in the field of education. The institute of the Marist Brothers is legally incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. The Marist Brothers do not limit their efforts to the ordinary work of the classroom, but labour in any form for the welfare of youth. Besides primary schools, they conduct boarding schools and academies, industrial schools, homes for working boys, orphanages, etc. The Marist Brothers are not ecclesiastics. They are a congregation solely devoted to educational work. In selecting postulates for the novitiate, they never accept anyone who has aspirations for the priesthood. Their aim is to secure recruits who are likely to develop special aptitudes for the mission of teaching. For the training and education of competent subjects, the institute possesses three kinds of establishments: the junior novitiate, the novitiate, and the scholasticate or normal school. The Marist novitiate, for the American province, is at Poughkeepsie, New York, and the scholasticate in New York City.
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