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Our story

Marist community has been part of Australian society since 1872.

Our inspiration

Marist180 is inspired by the spirit of Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist Community. He went out into the world to give hope, education and love to those in need – without judgement, limits or conditions. Like him, we advocate and work towards education, employment and social inclusion for young people and their families, empowering them to take steps to create positive change. 

From a small village in France to the shores of Australia, the Marist community has a rich history of helping others for more than 150 years. Founded by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, the Marist community has been part of Australian society since 1872. Starting with a small school, the Marist Brothers serve in the provision of care, accommodation, and an education for all young people, regardless of their circumstances. Throughout the 20th century, they have encouraged and empowered individuals and families with the skills and knowledge to create bright futures. We continue their work today. 

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Marist180 milestones

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Early history

The son of French peasants, Saint Marcellin Champagnat did not have access to an education. But he worked hard to become a priest so he could inspire faith in others and provide them with the same kind of safe, loving home that he had. In 1817, he founded our Marist community and devoted his life to empowering children through education and faith. At the time of his death in 1840, the Marist community comprised 48 establishments in France, 278 Brothers and missionaries. Marcellin Champagnat was canonised a Saint by Pope John Paul II in 1999. 

Arrival in Australia 

In 1872, the Marist Brothers were invited by the Archbishop of Sydney to assist in developing schools for young Australian people. The Brothers’ early schools were established in the most underprivileged areas of Sydney, in keeping with Saint Marcellin Champagnat’s devotion to young people deprived of the opportunity to learn. Their first social welfare service, St Vincent’s Boys Home, was established in partnership with the Society of St Vincent de Paul in 1896. Boarding schools would soon be set up in country towns to ensure remote students would also have access to education. 

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Marist in the 20th and 21st centuries 

By the 1940s, St Vincent’s Boys Home had become a large institution. However, in the 1970s, the Brothers began to focus more on facilitating foster care and reaching out to the whole of the Western Sydney community. One decade later, the Brothers had moved into houses within the community, opened their first youth refuge and begun a family restoration program.

By 2002, Marist Youth Care was established, and in the next eight years it would grow to encompass 300 staff members and volunteers and care for 1,000 people every year. The renaming of the organisation in 2016 to Marist180 was to reflect its commitment to creating positive change for everyone. 

Marist today

The Marist Brothers arrived in Australia in 1872 at the invitation of the Archbishop of Sydney. The Brothers in Australia operated as two Provinces (administrative units), centred on Sydney and Melbourne, for many years.  In 2022, a new ‘Star of the Sea’ province was established, comprising eleven countries across the Pacific.

 

The Brothers of the province are currently involved in a wide range of ministries:

  • Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education 

  • Education administration 

  • Social welfare 

  • Juvenile Justice 

  • Restorative Justice 

  • Chaplaincies 

  • Religious education in state schools 

  • Parish work 

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New ways of being Marist: Marist Association

In 2015, the Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat was established.  This is a vital faith community and expression of Church that embraces God’s mission with Marian joy, hope, and audacity. The membership numbers over 800, including Marist Brothers, lay women and men, and clergy, and draws on both the Marist tradition of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, and imagination, to be game changers for young people, particularly those most on the peripheries.

The Marist Association fosters connectedness and communion among the Association, with the Marist spiritual family around the world, and with the wider Church. 

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