Skip to content

St. Marcellin Champagnat

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Marcellin Champagnat


Feastday: June 6
Patron of Education & Teachers
Birth: 1789
Death: 1840
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

In 1816, the newly ordained Marcellin Champagnat, consecrated to Mary, felt a personal call by God to found a religious community of Brothers that would bring the message of Jesus' love to neglected young people. Today his passionate spirit, daring vision and persistent work are embodied in the mission of Marist Brothers living on five continents.

Joseph Benedict Marcellin Champagnat was born in Marlhes, France in 1789. At the end of the French Revolution, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Lyon. Marcellin's concern for the education of children and young people was rooted in his own educational experience. Because of the French Revolution, Marcellin did not attend school until age 11, and that experience lasted only one day! Marcellin watched in horror as the school teacher beat a student who tried to answer a question that had been posed to Marcellin. He left school that day and did not return to formal education until he entered the seminary at age 16. Although gifted with natural intelligence, Marcellin's lack of formal education caused him to struggle as a student. With determination and perseverance, Marcellin managed to meet all his academic requirements. His memories of the school teacher who beat the student, and his own recollections of his academic struggles were the basis of his educational philosophy: "to educate children you must love them and love them all equally."

On October 28, 1816, three months after his ordination, Marcellin was called to the Montagne home where 16 year old Jean-Baptiste Montagne was dying. As Marcellin prepared to hear the confession of Jean-Baptiste, he realized that the young man had little religious or academic education. It occurred to Marcellin that Jean-Baptiste was one of many young people victimized by lack of education during and after the French Revolution.

Marcellin's own difficult school experience and his encounter with Jean-Baptiste Montagne convinced him that he had to do something to combat the illiteracy and spiritual poverty of the young people in rural France.

Six months after his ordination, Marcellin founded the religious community, "The Marist Brothers of the Schools" (also known as "The Little Brothers of Mary") to make known, through their lives and service, the love of Jesus and Mary - especially where access to love and support, education and catechism was remote.

For himself and his Brothers, Marcellin wished "goods which are more solid and real" than material possessions. He said of his community's mission that they were to "serve God with fervor, to fulfill faithfully all the duties of our state, to work every day to detach our heart from creatures in order to give it to Jesus and Mary, to open it to all the movements of grace." The Brothers would find their glory, Marcellin said, in their efforts "to imitate and follow Jesus Christ," guided and strengthened by the Spirit. In all their being and work among the young, they were "to make Jesus Christ known and loved."

A man of deep prayer, Marcellin was grounded in a loving community. His devotion to the love of God, Mary, and his Brothers inspired him to a universal mission. The Marist Brothers were known for their family spirit and simple Gospel way of being fully present to each other and all people. Their schools multiplied at a fast pace - almost a dozen a year, and by the turn of the century, the Marist Brothers had accepted invitations from many countries around the world.

Marcellin often proclaimed, "This is all God's work...this is all Mary's work." That remains true to the spirit of today's Marist Brothers and their lay colleagues as they respond in fresh, bold and creative ways to meet the needs of youth.

In 1955 Marcellin Champagnat was declared Blessed by Pope Pius XII. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1999.

St. Marcellin Champagnat Comments

More Saints

Browse Saints by Category

Popular Saints




Image of St. Peter

St. Peter

Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ... continue reading | shop


Image of St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete ... continue reading | shop


Image of Mary the Blessed Virgin

Mary the Blessed Virgin

Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Lea

St. Lea

A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Female Saints

Image of St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti

Born on October 16 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Ancona Province in Italy, her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. When he died of malaria, Maria's mother had to struggle to feed her children. Maria's mother, brothers, and sisters worked in ... continue reading

More Female Saints

Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts


Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading

Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Andre Bessette

St. Andre Bessette

When Alfred Bessette came to the Holy Cross Brothers in 1870, he carried with him a note from his pastor saying, "I am sending you a saint." The Brothers found that difficult to believe. Chronic stomach pains had made it impossible for Alfred to hold a job very long ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Paul Chong Hasang

St. Paul Chong Hasang

Feastday: September 20 The evangelization of Korea began during the 17th century through a group of lay persons. A strong vital Christian community flourished there under lay leadership until missionaries arrived from the Paris Foreign Mission Society. During ... continue reading

Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bl. Oscar Romero.

Surprising facts about Bl. Oscar Romero

By David Ramos and Elise Harris (CNA)

In his role as Vicar General, Monsignor Ricardo Urioste was one of the closest collaborators of Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador who was martyred for the faith in 1980 and beatified in 2015. San Salvador, El Salvador (CNA/EWTN News) - And this monsignor has ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.