The Marists began with a group of diocesan priests burning with a desire to evangelize the lost and confused people of their time both at home and in foreign lands. They felt called to undertake this task modeling their lives on the life, faith and generosity of Mary.
They formed the Society of Mary and began working in home missions to forgotten rural areas of south-east France. In a region where Church structures had been destroyed by the Revolution, they preached missions and helped people to rekindle their Catholic faith.
Soon they were asked to help with Catholic education, and then to provide missionaries for the South Pacific. The small Society of Mary began attracting an increasing number of people who wished to serve the Church after the example of Mary.
The men of the Society of Mary continue to have that missionary spirit.
Today we evangelize in a variety of apostolates here in New Zealand and around the world. Marists work:
- in missionary parishes
- in inner city ministry – chaplaincy to the armed forces, to the police, fire brigade, and ambulance service
- across international borders in the virtual world using the latest technologies to engage with today’s people
- among the Maori, the principal reason Marists came to this country
- with Pacific Islanders and more recent migrants and refugees
- with young people, on retreats, on leadership programmes and sacramentally
- with people on the margins of society in social work agencies
- in colleges
- we continue to go on overseas mission.
Marists have no specific work. We do not necessarily have one apostolate during our life and we experience many apostolates during our lives according to the needs of our times.
All of our works are works of the Society and grounded in our communal life.
Marists seek to support the Church where it is fragile and to implant it where it doesn’t yet exist. Marists do lots of different things.