Skip to main content

Marist Brothers


Officially known as Marist Brothers of the Schools (FMS, Official Catholic Directory #0770), also called the Little Brothers of Mary, a pontifical congregation of lay religious of men; it was founded Jan. 2, 1817, near Lyons, France, by St. Marcellin champagnat for the Christian education of French youth. Champagnat, ordained in 1816, was relieved of his parochial duties in 1824, to spend all his time in furthering and guiding the work of the brothers. At the time of his death (1840), there were 280 brothers teaching about 7,000 pupils in 48 schools in France. In 1851, the French government approved the congregation, and in 1863, it was officially recognized and approved by Pius IX.

Champagnat himself was one of the first members of the Society of Mary, or marist fathers, and he originally envisioned a single congregation of priests and brothers under one superior. This union never materialized, since the Holy See judged that the size and diversity of purpose of the two congregations would make such a union impractical. In the course of their history, the Marist Brothers have absorbed several other congregations of brothers: in 1842 the Brothers of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux in France; in 1844 the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Viviers, France; in 1956 the Brothers of St. Peter Claver, a congregation composed entirely of native Nigerians; and in 1959 the Brothers of St. Francis Regis, in Canada and France.

In the United States, the Marist Brothers have operated schools since 1886, when Canada and the United States formed a single province. In 1911 the United States became an independent province, which was divided into two (Esopus and Poughkeepsie) in 1959. The brothers provide Christian education to students on the primary, secondary, college, and university levels. They maintain academic, vocational, technical, and agricultural schools. The congregation is governed from the motherhouse in Rome.

Bibliography: j. coste and g. lessard, Origines Maristes, 17861836, 4 v. (Rome 196061). m. cotÉ, The Historical Growth and Development of the Marist Brothers in the United States (Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 1961).

[l. a. voegtle/eds.]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Marist Brothers." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 23 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Marist Brothers." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (September 23, 2019).

"Marist Brothers." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.