Marist Historical Timeline
On July 23, 1816, a group of twelve seminarians and newly ordained priests sign a promise to found a Society named for Mary.
The promise is called the “Fourviere Pledge” because it is signed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fourviere in Lyons, France.
On January 2, Father Marcellin Champagnat founds the Little Brothers of Mary with two young candidates.
March 9 is the date of the letter of Pope Pius VII praising the idea of the Society of Mary and encouraging its founders. This letter
marks the first papal recognition of the Society.
On September 8 in Cerdon, three women—Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Marie Jotillon and Marie Gardet—form the first community of
what will become the Marist Sisters.
The Marist Sisters hold their first clothing ceremony on December 8 and elect Jeanne-Marie Chavoin as their superior. She takes
the name Mother Saint Joseph.
On August 24, Pope Gregory XVI blesses the Marist confraternity at Belley, France, with a grant of indulgences. This blessing
marks the first papal recognition of the lay branch of the Marist family.
On January 10, the Church entrusts the missions of Oceania to the Society of Mary.
On April 29, Pope Gregory XVI issues approval of the Society of Mary as a religious congregation.
The first group of twenty Marist priests take vows and elect Father Jean-Claude Colin the first superior of the Society of Mary on
September 24. The first missionaries depart for Oceania on December 24.
Father Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers, dies on June 6.
Father Peter Chanel is martyred in Oceania on the Island of Futuna on April 28.
On November 15, Marie-Francoise Perroton sails for Oceania. She is the first of the pioneer women missionaries who began the
work that evolved into the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary.
John-Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars, is received into the Third Order of Mary on December 8 by Father Peter Julian Eymard.
Cardinal Louis de Bonald, Archbishop of Lyons, acting on authority given to him by Pope Pius IX on September 8, declares the
Third Order of Mary established as of December 8.
Mother Saint Joseph, first superior of the Marist Sisters, dies on June 30.
John-Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars, dies on August 4.
Marie Elizabeth Blot, Marist lay woman, dies February 10. She gave the Marist laity the symbol of a bridge—lay Marists are to be
bridges to souls.
The Church approves the Constitutions of the Society of Mary on February 28.
Father Colin finishes writing the Constitutions for the laity which are entrusted to Father Alphonse Cozon and are printed in 1875.
Father Jean-Claude Colin, Marist founder, dies November 15.
St. John-Marie Vianney is canonized on May 31. His feast day is celebrated August 4.
The Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary are recognized as a religious congregation by the Church.
St. Peter Chanel is canonized June 12. His feast day is celebrated April 28.
St. Peter Julian Eymard is canonized on August 1. His feast day is celebrated August 2.
The Conference of English-speaking Promoters of the Third Order of Mary meets in Rome, May 29 through June 8. The main
speaker is Father Jean Coste, S.M., Marist historian and writer, who speaks of Father Colin’s vision for the lay branch of the
The Council of the Society of Mary asks all provincials to implement Marist Founder Jean-Claude Colin’s vision for the laity.
St. Marcellin Champagnat is canonized April 18. His feast day is celebrated June 6.