Colin, Jean Claude Marie, ven.
COLIN, JEAN CLAUDE MARIE, VEN.
Founder of the marist fathers and marist sisters; b. Saint-Bonnet-le-Troncy, near Lyons, France, Aug. 7, 1790; d. La Neylière (Rhône), Nov. 15, 1875. During his boyhood his ambition was to lead a religious life as a solitary. He was ordained (1816) after studies in the seminary at Lyons, where he became interested in the plan for a society of Mary promoted by a fellow seminarian, Jean Claude Courveille. On the day after his ordination he and 11 others signed a promise to strive for the creation of this society. In 1817 Colin and Jean Marie Chavoin founded the Marist Sisters. While working as assistant to his brother Pierre in Cerdon (Ain), Colin composed the first rule of the Marist Fathers and received from Pius VII in 1822 a letter encouraging him to proceed with the formation of this congregation. When Colin was assigned to the Diocese of Belley, restored in 1822, the bishop placed him in charge of the missionary Marists of the diocese (1825–29) and head of the minor seminary (1829–45). Aspirant Marist priests elected Colin superior (1830). After the Holy See approved the congregation (1836) subsequent to Colin's acceptance of Western Oceania as a mission, Colin became superior general (1836–54). As head of the institute, he promoted mission and educational works at home and sent more than 100 missionaries to the Pacific area. Colin revealed enterprise and prudence as superior general and in his dealings with ecclesiastical and civil officials in Oceania he displayed diplomatic talent. By 1854 the Marists had 280 priests and brothers. Upon completing his term as superior general Colin spent his remaining years at La Neylière, where he completed the final text of the congregation's constitutions (1869), which were approved by Rome (1873). The decree introducing his cause for beatification was issued in 1908, and the decree on the validity of his process in 1926.
Bibliography: Le Très Révérend Père Colin, 6 v. Lyon 1895–98). p. mulsant, Le Vénérable Père Jean-Claude Colin (Paris 1925); L'Âme du vénérable Père Colin (Lyons 1933). j. bonnefoux, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932–) 2:1078–85. j. coste and g. lessard, eds., Origines maristes, 1786–1836, 4 v. (Rome 1960–66).
[s. w. hosie]