Who are we?
In Central West Europe, the Marist Brothers are active in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands.
In each of these five countries, the brothers are devoted to young people.
A simple lifestyle is inherent in the life of the Marist Brothers. In their name we find Mary. She was the mother of Jesus. Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived in Nazareth. Their lifestyle was simple and their attitude, as tradition has it, respectful of all people, hospitable to any passers-by, and ever mindful of the Torah, the Holy Book, which they treasured.
Marists live from the source of “Nazareth” and from the inspiration that was characteristic of Marcellin Champagnat. In La Valla, a mountain village south of Lyons, he began his life’s work with a small group of young men. They called themselves the “Little Brothers of Mary.”
As a young priest, Marcellin Champagnat wanted to give young people perspective in their lives. He wanted to give them the opportunity to experience that, through education, they could advance in life. He taught them to look beyond the boundaries of their family, their town, even themselves. From him they learned to look at their lives in a different way and not to judge people but to focus on their strengths. His inspiration showed young people that there is a Source from which life springs — a source we may call God.
For more information please visit www.champagnat.org
The lives of Jesus of Nazareth, Mary and Marcellin Champagnat are important sources of inspiration for the Brothers. It is this inspiration which helps them to be close to young people, to open up to what young people have to say to them. Wherever they can, they have a preferential option for young people on the margins of society. Attentively, they accompany young people during some stages of their life journey.
But the Brothers are not only companions to young people — they are also men in search of the Mystery of life. In this way, both young people and Brothers are students.
With their life attitude of looking at young people “with different eyes” they hope to be able to open doors which may otherwise remain closed, and to bring light to those who are in a place of darkness.
Formation and Accompaniment
Today Marists still live out Marcellin’s inspiration through the focus of their attention on young people. Through education, formation and accompaniment they offer young people new perspectives in life and a direction for the spiritual path they may take.
For more information cf. “Activities in the five countries” .
In the five countries people have joined the Brothers in different ways. They are fascinated by the Marist spirituality and work with or come together to share the lives of the Brothers.