Marists try to follow Jesus as Mary did, bringing God's presence into daily life. By belonging in the Association of Mary we try to make this real everyday by growing in a sense of being open to God, like Mary, in every aspect of ordinary life: our family, work, prayer, relationships, church, social and community life.
We try to live with simplicity and generosity in the ordinary routines of life. Having a special bond with Mary, we remain close to her, and in that way, become like her and grow in her way of following Jesus. Marist virtues when lived, conform us to Christ as they did Mary. Mary wants everyone to be part of God's family. She helps us be open to the Holy Spirit, keeping Jesus at the centre of our lives.
We come together in her Association to:
- grow in personal holiness
- support the salvation and holiness of those we serve
- and love the Church and keep her faith.
Mary embodies the Church in Faith, Hope and Love. Marists try to live, breathe, work and pray in the spirit of Mary for the glory of God and the honour of his mother. Jesus calls people to follow him in the way Mary followed Him, as one who is humble, obedient, with great love for God and committed to living that out in love and mercy for our neighbour and the poor.
The Association is open to men and women, all cultures, races, married, single, young adults, students, diocesan priests, laity, mature years or young, raising a family, exploring a career, studying or in retirement.
We want to share God's love through simple prayer and works in ordinary ways like Mary, helping even those farthest from God experience mercy.
To achieve this we accept the invitation to belong in Mary's family by making a Lay commitment in her Marist Association. There are no set acts of service and the structure is flexible to suit the particular needs and make-up of each group.
You can join a group, start a group or join as an individual. This office offers groups and individuals regular material for prayer and spiritual support. People are encouraged to simple prayer routines achievable in a busy life that foster the spirit of Mary and to meet as a group to support each other and be encouraged in daily Marist living. What unites us is the spirit of Mary and our choice to respond to her and ask her help in our daily life and prayer.
The Association of Mary is a contemporary form of the Marist Third Order which is supported as a branch of the Society of Mary. Together with Marist Religious we carry the Name of Mary and are committed to imitating her way of living the Gospel.
There are many ways to be involved and Mary is calling people of all age groups in these days, so please feel free to contact us to learn more.
The Society of Mary
The name 'Marist' is a family name belonging to a great variety of groups: the four religious organisations:Marist Priests and Brothers (SM), Marist Brothers of the Schools (FMS), Marist Sisters (SM), Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary(SMSM), and many lay groups.
The Society of Mary is only part of something much greater. The first Marists called it "the work of Mary". This expression has a rich meaning: that Mary wants all people to experience the mercy of God. She calls others to share her concern: "I will give you my name and you will do my work." The work of those who live her spirit is to bring the gospel of love and mercy to the world. Mary has a special love and tenderness for those who bear her name. So when, as individuals or groups, we call ourselves 'Marists' we express our relationship with Mary, our commitment to be disciples of Christ like her and our desire to live in a certain way and participate in this work of Mary.
Laity Integral to the Full Vision
One of Fr Colin's early ideas – what he held on to and meant to leave to the Society – is that the Society essentially includes a branch for lay people "living in the world." The lay branch is part of the plan of the Society he presented in Rome in 1833. In 1834, a Marist Lay Confraternity was approved by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1850 this was upgraded to the Third Order of Mary which is for Laity and secular priests living the spirit of Mary in daily life with full Church approval.
In 1837 Fr Colin spoke of a world-wide Marist mission, saying that …the congregation of the Blessed Virgin… will have several branches. It will be open to all kinds of people... This applies above all to the Laity ... and has a variety of forms today involving intentional commitment to live as a Marist in ordinary everyday life. New groups established today either may use the original 'Third Order of Mary' or come under the Marist Association of Mary.
The recurrent emblem of a multi-branched tree serves as a reminder of how the lay branch is integral to the full Marist vision. The lay members were certainly given to understand in 1837 by their director, Pierre Colin, that they "belong to the order of the Marists." The point is this: The Laity are no mere afterthought; without them the Society of Mary would be truncated. Lay people belong in the Marist thrust. (Amended from Charles Girard,sm, A Certain Way)
Laity Not like a Planet Around Its Constellation
"In the mind of the founder, the Third Order and Laity ought not to be confined within the limits of the Society. It ought to be, in a sense, a work outside the Society, to which the Society ought to communicate its own spirit, which is the spirit of the Blessed Virgin. Its development, therefore, ought not to be restricted to the proportions of the Society; we are not to retain it in our hands, but only let it pass through them.
The Laity are not to be 'a piece of the mechanism in the Society's clockwork, it should not revolve around the Religious of the Society of Mary, ... like a planet around its constellation, but it should shine into the Church.' " Slightly amended from Cozon, A Certain Way
Who Can Be Marist in the Association of Mary?
In the mind of Fr J C Colin, the lay association should be open to everyone, with "short and simple practices", the sorts of spiritual practices "which seem suitable to all the faithful." There was to be unity in spirit – the same spirit for all Marists – but a healthy flexibility in the practical details, and a great variety in types of groups.
Any Christian attracted to be like Mary, with a love for the people of God, wanting to be supported by Mary as an effective disciple of Christ, bearing his presence to the world like she did is welcome. This is a way of simplicity open to all. To be like Mary is to be like a 'bridge to souls'; effective at reaching people because we are alongside them in everyday ordinariness.
The Society of Mary desires that we, her children, should be missionaries of prayer and missionaries of action.