Members of the Society of Mary, lay, brothers, sisters and priests are often known as Marists. They model their lives on the person of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The first Marists to leave France came to the South Pacific, and were based in New Zealand.
Arriving with Bishop Pompallier in 1838 they were also present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi; gaining religious freedom for all in New Zealand.
New Zealand Marists now number about 120 priests and brothers and are part of an international Religious congregation which has about 1000 members worldwide.
New Zealand lay Marists number some 1,500 people and are similarly part of an international lay branch of the Society of Mary.
In 1838, the first Marists sailed from France to help begin establishing the Catholic Church in New Zealand.
- Europe (Belgium, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain),
- Oceania (Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Western Samoa, The Solomon Island, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna)
- The Philippines
- The United States of America.
In general, Marists will do any work, as it is not so much what we do, but how we do it that matters.
However, as a matter of preference Marists are called to establish the Church where it does not exist and to renew existing communities rather than to participate in activities and places where the Church is already established with sufficient resources.
Unified in their approach and working from a Marist Community base, New Zealand Marists have always served the New Zealand Church in a diverse range of religious and charitable works.
The needs of a modern Church are diverse and while the Society of Mary attempts to address as many of these needs as it can, mission of New Zealand province of the Society of Mary is primarily focused in three areas, Youth and Education, Missionary Parishes and “Foreign Lands.”
Youth and Education
- Youth ministry in Schools
- Youth work partnerships with Logos and Challenge 2000
- Teaching at St Pat’s College Wellington
- Marist International English Language Novitiate
- Seminary lecturing
- Formation of Marist priests and brothers
- Missionary Parishes
- Support group for mothers
- Pastoral care of Maori people
- Parish Missions for our day
- In Every Way: A Network of NZ Marists
- Refounding and Pastoral Development ministry
- Marist Internet Project
- Online media ministry through CathNews NZ
- Onsite workplace support
- Refugee and Migrant ministry
- Spiritual Direction
- Marist Spirituality Centre