Bolivia: Noviciado de la Región América Sur
Santos: Fidel de Sigmaringa, Leandro y Alejandro
Le Rosey was one of the many hamlets which made up the town of Marlhes, whose total population was some 2700 inhabitants. It was a charming site, but the soil was only marginally fertile; conditions were difficult there and life was harsh. The calendar stood at the year of the French Revolution: 1789. Fourteen years previously, Jean Baptiste Champagnat, 19, had married Marie Thérèse Chirat, 29, from the town of Malcognière. She came to live in Le Rosey, whose people wove cloth, made lace, and augmented their income by farming and grain milling.
1. LE ROSEY: CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE (1789-1805)Le Rosey was one of the many hamlets which made up the town of Marlhes, whose total population was some 2700 inhabitants. It was a charming site, but the soil was only marginally fertile; conditions were difficult there and life was harsh. The calendar stood at the year of the French Revolution: 1789. Fourteen years previously, Jean Baptiste Champagnat, 19, had married Marie Thérèse Chirat, 29, from the town of Malcognière. She came to live in Le Rosey, whose people wove cloth, made lace, and augmented their income by farming and grain milling.On 20th May, the eve of the feast of the Ascension, Marie Thérèse gave birth to her ninth child; three had died in infancy, as would later be the case with her tenth and last. Two weeks before, on the 5th, the Estates General had met in Versailles. A new epoch was dawning: the Modern Age.The next day, Ascension Thursday, the baby was brought to the baptismal font in Marlhes; his godmother was his cousin Margaret Chatelard, and his godfather was his uncle Marcellin Chirat, for whom he was named. His full name would be Marcellin Joseph Benedict.During Marcellins first months of life, while his mother gave him all her care and attention, the national scene was evolving rapidly. In June, the Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly, and in July, proclaimed itself a Constituent Assembly.The Bastille, that symbol of royal authority and absolutism, fell on 14th July. Fear fell across France and floated in the air. Jean Baptiste, his father, an open, hospitable, understanding man, with a great deal of initiative, took the pulse of history, and entered its front ranks. He was an educated man, in proof of which we have his impeccable penmanship, his fluency in public speaking, and his leadership ability. Having already exercised several public functions in the area, he was named colonel of the National Guard for the department of Marlhes.The first light of the new age was rising. The Old Regime was coming apart at the seams.In 1791, Jean Baptiste accepted the position of town clerk of Marlhes, which was then an administrative center. About a year previously, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy had been promulgated, making all bishops and priests functionaries of the State. In addition to suppressing a privileged social class, it aimed at setting up a national church, controlled by the State and independent of Rome. The clergy became divided into those who swore allegiance to the new Constitution and those who defied it. To replace the latter, Jean Baptiste read from the pulpit (since Fr. Allirot the parish priest refused to do so), the announcement of an election to be held in the city of Saint-Etienne.He became totally involved in his public functions: speeches in praise of the Constitution; inspection of weights and measures; reading the pastoral letter of Bishop Lamourette, the constitutional bishop of the region of Rhone-and-Loire, full of progressive ideas; drawing up the minutes of the refusal of Fr. Allirot to take the oath; prohibiting the taverns from serving food and drink during religious services, etc.He ended in first place in the voting for delegates to elect deputies to the National Convention. The fall of the monarchy brought changes in the township of Marlhes, but Jean Baptiste remained in place as secretary, while taking on other minor functions as well. During the Convention he was named Justice of the Peace.Although he served the ideals of the revolution, as expressed by the Jacobins, the party of the far left, he gave priority to the concrete realities of his region, protecting the interests of its inhabitants. Commissioner Benedict Oignon, noting that his orders were not being executed swiftly, gave him an associate, his cousin J.P. Ducros, a fanatical Jacobin. Jean Baptiste greatly influenced his decisions, since at bottom Ducros was a man of weak character. Marcellin was four when the Reign of Terror began in France. From then on it was difficult for a political figure to avoid the violence, or at the very least, to avoid making controversial choices. Jean Baptiste was present at the burning of the feudal land-titles of Citizen Courbon, gave a speech in honor of the Goddess of Reason in the church in Marlhes, admitted to having taken the vestments from that church to burn them. None the less, he was able to avert the demolition of the church in Saint-Genest-Malifaux, gave sanctuary to his sister Louise, a Sister of St. Joseph, and tolerated the nocturnal participation of members of his family in a Mass celebrated by a priest hiding in one of the hamlets of the township. After the fall of Robespierre, he took precautions to put himself in a safe position thanks to his position as secretary of Peace and Justice. His partner Ducros died a violent death. Jean Baptiste disappeared for a year from the political scene until a decree of the Directory named him administrative president of the electoral district of Marlhes, a position which he did not much care for, and in which he was confronted by Trillard, a very ardent revolutionary.While these various political developments were taking place, Marcellin remained close to his mother and his aunt Louise. His mother was a moderating and well-balanced presence in her husbands life. Her strong temperament, their age difference, and her competence in managing the family and their upbringing made their task easier. She carefully educated her children, showing special predilection for Marcellin, stressing values such as piety, good manners and moderation. Marcellins aunt Louise, three years older than Jean Baptiste, was a Sister of St. Joseph, driven from her convent by the Revolution. The impression she made on the young man by her prayers, teachings and good example was so deep that he frequently recalled her memory with pleasure and gratitude. When he was six, he asked her, Auntie, what is the revolution? Is it a person or an animal? In that setting it was almost impossible not to have a sense of history in the making.Marcellins education took place in the crucible of new ideas brought in by his father, and the deeply traditional spirituality handed on by his mother and his aunt. In the bosom of his family, the problems of the day were lived in all their intensity and given a moderate solution, one which was positive and always respectful of persons.In France, the school situation had become dramatic. In 1792, all religious congregations had been suppressed, among them the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Everything had disappeared. There simply was no more public education. Young people were on the road to ignorance and depravity.Towards the end of 1799, Napoleon staged his coup détat. He overthrew the Directory and set up the Consulate. In December he promulgated a new constitution. A few days later, the 19th century opened its portals; it was to be the century of the school.His aunt undertook to teach him the rudiments of reading. The results were disappointing. Perhaps he had begun his literacy campaign too late. At that stage of his life, he thought about things a great deal, rather than merely learning by rote. None the less, it was unthinkable that the son of the president of the electoral district not know how to read or write. They decided to send him to the schoolteacher in Marlhes, Bartholomew Moine. The first day he appeared in class, the teacher called him to his desk to hear him read. While he was on his way, another student jumped in ahead of him. The teacher, reacting impulsively and thinking it would please his new student, slapped the boy who had tried to get ahead of him and sent him to the back of the room. This brutality traumatized the newly arrived student, increasing his fear. He rebelled interiorly: I will not return to the school of a teacher like that. By maltreating that boy for no reason, he shows me what awaits me. For less than nothing he could treat me the same way, so I dont want to receive lessons from him, much less punishments. Despite the insistence of his family, he did not return to school. His first day of class would be his last.After that academic fiasco, he learned about life in the school of his father. He followed him everywhere and acquired all the skills needed to maintain a farm. He gave himself enthusiastically to all those tasks, motivated by his dynamic temperament and his love for manual work. Marcellin already had a good character. Mothers, preferring good children to educated ones, proposed him as a model for their own sons. At the same time, he grew in piety and virtue in the school of his mother and his aunt.He took on himself as his primordial task catechizing young people. Something that happened at this time left a deep impression on him: Fr. Laurent, in charge of teaching catechism, with perhaps more zeal than skill, tiring of the antics of one boy, scolded him, gave him a nickname and made a rather unfortunate comparison. The boy remained quiet, but his companions would not let the nickname die. On their way home, they repeated it constantly. His anger served only to increase their taunting. He became sullen, unsociable, hardened. Years later, Marcellin said, There you see an education ruined and a child disposed, because of his bad character, to become a torture to and even the scourge of his family and neighborhood. And all because of a moment of impatience which could have easily been repressed.Around that time Marcellin received his first communion and his confirmation. That same year, 1800, Jean Baptiste Champagnat lost his position as president, but became a member of the new town council. His signature last appears in the town registers on 22nd August.The lack of priests was evident. There was an urgent need to open seminaries and recruit vocations. During the Easter vacation in 1804, Fr. Courbon, vicar general of Lyons and a native of Saint-Genest-Malifaux, sent a priest to the department to recruit students for his seminary. Fr. Allirot sent him to the Champagnat home. Jean Baptiste could not conceal his amazement when he heard the reason for the visit. But...my sons have never shown any desire to go to the seminary. Jean Bartholomew, who was 26, responded negatively to his fathers invitation. At that moment, Jean Pierre, 16, came back from the mill with Marcellin, who was 14. Turning to them, their father said, Look, there is a priest here who has come to look for you to take you to the seminary. Do you want to go with him? Jean Pierre answered his fathers question with a short, expressive no. Marcellin, on the other hand, stammered a few unintelligible words. The priest questioned him more closely. His ingenuousness, modesty, and open and frank character delighted the priest: My son, you must study and become a priest. God wants you to! The option he made a moment after was never revoked.His life now took a different turn. His plans to go into business with his brother Jean Pierre, backed up by his savings (thanks to his business acumen and the sale of two or three lambs which his parents had given him for the purpose, he had earned the considerable sum of 600 francs), were now set aside. His decision to go to the seminary demanded other skills: reading and writing French. His habitual and mother tongue was a local dialect of Franco-Provençal. His parents, foreseeing the difficulties ahead, tried to dissuade him, but all in vain. His goal was clear: to become a priest.A few weeks after Napoleon declared himself Emperor of the French, Jean Baptiste Champagnat suddenly died of a stroke. Marcellin was 15. He was confronted with a meditation on the meaning of life. He rededicated himself to study. During 1804-1805, he attended the school of Benedict Arnaud, his brother-in-law, in Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue. Despite the efforts of both, he made little progress, and Benedict finally tried to persuade him to give up. He told Marcellins mother the same thing. Despite the difficulties facing him, the boy had faith in his calling. He prayed often to St. John Francis Regis. He went on pilgrimage with his mother to the saints shrine in La Louvesc. His decision was irrevocable: I want to go to the seminary. I will succeed, because God is calling me.2. VERRIERES: THE MINOR SEMINARY (1805-1813)In 1805, a week after the French and Spanish fleet was destroyed by Nelson at Trafalgar, Marcellin entered the minor seminary of Verrières, a small town near Montbrison. About a hundred students pursued their studies there under spartan conditions. To begin with, there was not enough room, the building was very dilapidated, the diet was deficient. The strongest seminarians alternated study with manual work. The teaching staff were few and poorly prepared. It was not an easy beginning. At sixteen and a half, Marcellin was already very tall. His rough country manners, his habit of speaking Franco-Provençal, and his shyness in the face of such a new situation at first made him the butt of his companions jokes, which with the passage of time turned to admiration and friendship.The seminary curriculum consisted of a preparatory class, five classes which made up the basic cycle, three classes in the advanced cycle, and a philosophy class.  While Napoleon was sweeping across Europe in search of power and glory, fighting one battle after another, Marcellin was battling fiercely to conquer learning and piety. His conduct, noted as so-so during the 6th class year, evolved until it was qualified as very good. This is not hard to understand: the teacher of the 6th year did not have much pedagogical baggage.He made a great deal of progress in his personal development, thanks to, Fr. Linossier, who had degrees in civil and canon law, and had given up a university salary of 3000 francs. The arrival of this 46-year-old priest, who had been a friend of Marcellins father Jean Baptiste, had a positive impact on the development of the seminary. Together with Fr. Pierre Périer, he would be Marcellins spiritual director. He was adept at the art of commentary: he made many interesting observations, moral applications and ingenious comparisons.When Marcellin spoke to his brothers, he adopted the same techniques.To maintain discipline, Linossier made use of monitors. He soon appointed Marcellin a dormitory prefect. This duty increased his sense of responsibility and allowed him to take hours from his sleep to continue his studies. Military service, from which he was exempted through the intervention of the diocesan authorities, did not interrupt his progress.While he was doing his 3rd class year, his mother Marie Thérèse died. Marcellin was then 20.Two of his seminary companions also entered the pages of history: Jean Claude Colin, superior general of the Society of Mary, and Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars.His piety and apostolic activity among his companions, and his ability to cheer up those who were discouraged, were plain for all to see. While he was studying rhetoric, the 1st year, he took some retreat resolutions which concluded with a prayer -- the oldest document we possess in his own handwriting, dated 19th January 1812:My Lord and my God, I promise not to offend you again; to make acts of faith, hope, charity and the like, every time I think of it; not to return to the tavern without necessity; to avoid bad companions; in a word, not to do anything that goes against serving you; rather, on the contrary, to give good example; to lead others to practice virtue, as much as lies in my power; to instruct those who are ignorant of your divine precepts and to teach catechism to everyone, rich or poor, without distinction. Divine Savior, help me to carry out faithfully these resolutions I have just taken.3. LYONS: THE MAJOR SEMINARY OF ST. IRENAEUS (1813-1816)A few weeks after Napoleon extorted from Pope Pius VII the Concordat of Fontainebleau, and while he was making one European conquest after another, Marcellin entered the major seminary in Lyons, on 1st November 1813. He was then 24, as he began his first year of theology.The major seminary of St. Irenaeus had been in existence for a century and a half. It had been established in response to the decrees of the Council of Trent. It had been directed without interruption by Sulpician priests, save for a hiatus of ten years from 1791 to 1801; the latter was due to the refusal of the Sulpicians to take the oath to the new Constitution. They were expelled from the territory of Lyons by the municipal authorities. At the end of the 17th century, the superior, Fr. François Rigoley, was authorized to include in the coat of arms of the seminary the Marian monogram which would be adopted many years later by the Society of Mary in general and by the Little Brothers of Mary in particular.Marcellins three years of theology preceding priestly ordination were a privileged time of fervor, maturity, friendship, apostolic enthusiasm and plans for new foundations.Among his companions should be mentioned Jean Claude Colin, Etienne Declas, Etienne Terraillon, Jean Baptiste Seyve, Philippe Janvier, and Jean Marie Vianney, the future Curé of Ars. They did not all have the same economic resources to pay their seminary fees: some paid 50 francs; some, like Vianney, paid nothing.In his first examinations in December 1813, Marcellin received a grade of insufficient. The future Curé of Ars was graded as very insufficient. Pierre Zind comments: It is almost as if the charisms of the Spirit were inversely proportional to intellectual accomplishments.There were six on the faculty: the rector, the prefect of studies, and four teachers.  Regulations governed seminary life. At St. Irenaeus they were strict, and they had to be observed faithfully: rising at the first sound of the bell; morning prayers, followed by Mass, and in some cases communion (the latters frequency depended on whether one had received minor orders and the permission of ones spiritual director); before the midday meal, examination of conscience and reading from the New Testament; two visits to the Blessed Sacrament, one after the noon recreation, the other before retiring); in the late afternoon, spiritual reading; after the evening meal, night prayers, examination of conscience, and reading of the subject of meditation for the following morning. In addition, they recited their breviary and prayed to the Blessed Virgin. Whatever free time remained was to be spent in study. During classes, silence, attention and obedience were the rule.Such strict regulations and the authority of the rector helped to make up for the youth and lack of experience of the teachers.Cardinal Fesch, faced with the reality that some students had entered the seminary to avoid military service and to study at the expense of the diocese, decided to move up their ordination. Those who refused to be ordained had to leave. This is why Marcellin, on 6th January 1814, feast of the Epiphany, received the tonsure, minor orders and subdiaconate in the chapel of the archiepiscopal palace. From then on, he probably wore the cassock.The collapse of the Empire was imminent. Shortly after, Napoleon had to abdicate. Louis XVIII ascended the throne. Frances military campaigns had exhausted the country. Her borders returned to what they had been previously.The social climate was agitated. None the less, relative peace reigned in the seminary. The strict application of the regulations left hardly any time for outside interests.Events on the political scene gave a priest in the diocesan chancery, Claude Marie Bochard, free rein to found a religious congregation of which he had been dreaming for 36 years, ever since he had been in Paris. Since Pope Clement XIV had suppressed the Jesuits, he decided to found a congregation to replace them. They were called the Priests of the Cross of Jesus. The scope of their apostolate took in the missions, education, spiritual direction, secondary schools, and if necessary, the teaching of theology. Bochard would come to see Marcellins plans as a threat to his own. Difficulties would not be lacking.The coup détat by Talleyrand, which brought about the fall of Napoleon, who was exiled as Emperor on the island of Elba with an army of 800 soldiers, as well as the Treaty of Paris, were frequent subjects of conversation. As in previous years, new students entered the seminary on the feast of All Saints. Among the recent arrivals was one who went directly into the second year of theology: Jean Claude Courveille. Miraculously cured of blindness in 1809 at the shrine of Our Lady in Le Puy, he had later heard there an interior voice which urged him to found the Society of Mary. Bochard, once informed of this project, received Courveille into his own society, even though he came from another diocese.With the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum, Pius VII restored the Jesuits. At the same time, the Sulpicians, the Lazarists (Vincentians), the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, and the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit all reappeared on the scene. Recruiting campaigns took on major proportions. To prevent the emigration of diocesan clergy to the religious congregations, the archdiocesan council set up some formidable obstacles including the threat of suspension. New foundations continued to multiply. Bochard wanted to keep them at a minimum in order to push ahead with his own.Napoleon leaped back to the forefront of things by returning from Elba and reclaiming the throne, while the Bourbons fled to Belgium. He set up a more liberal imperial regime than the former one, and named Lazare Carnot as minister of the Interior, Public Worship and Commerce. For Carnot, the noble and philanthropic institution of the primary schools was one of the foundations of human perfection, since primary education was the one and only valid means for gradually raising everyone to the full dignity of the human person.On 23 June 1815, the bishop of Grenoble conferred the diaconate on Marcellin Champagnat, together with Jean Marie Vianney and Jean Claude Colin.While Louis XVIII was entering Paris for the second time, in the seminary of St. Irenaeus, a group of fifteen seminarians was gathering around Jean Claude Courveille, under the guidance of Fr. Cholleton. Their goal was to found the Society of Mary. Marcellin was among them, having been recruited by Courveille himself.A certain clandestinity and the stimulus of a project full of hope filled their meetings with enthusiasm. Their plan included priests, sisters and a Third Order. Marcellin, however, had his own special concerns. He wanted to found a teaching congregation. The imperative need for education at that moment in history, and his own personal experience, lay behind his decision: I have always felt a special attraction for founding a group of brothers. I am glad to join the rest of you, and if you are interested, I will take care of that part of the project. My own initial education left much to be desired; I would like to offer others the advantages of which I myself was deprived.His offer found no takers, so he kept insisting, We must have brothers.During his third year of theology, his studies were interrupted by illness. He returned home for a while, and leaving his books aside spent his time working in the fields, recovered his health and returned to continue his courses.The governments decree of February 1816, concerning primary schools, opened new horizons for Christian education.  While Fr. Bochard recognized on a trial basis the new religious society of the Cross of Jesus, the Society of Mary was taking giant steps forward. On 22 July 1816, Marcellin was ordained a priest, along with many of his companions from the seminary and from the original project. The next day, twelve newly ordained priests, Marcellin among them, went on pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fourvière, to place their plans under Marys protection. After Mass, Jean Claude Courveille read the text of a special consecration which can be considered the first official act, even though a private one, of the Society of Mary. This can be considered the date of its foundation. Then their pastoral assignments scattered them across the immense archdiocese of Lyons.4. PAROCHIAL VICAR IN LA VALLA (1816-1824)Within a society in tension, the restored monarchy of Louis XVIII claimed to be founded on a moderate position. It was a decade of relative tranquillity, during which the interests of the classes struggling for power were seething beneath the surface. On the same day that he received his first assignment, Marcellin, now a 27-year-old priest, went to La Valla to serve as curate.As soon as he caught sight of the church steeple, he knelt down and entrusted his apostolic ministry to the Lord and to the Good Mother.La Valla is surrounded by beautiful countryside, 700 meters above sea level, amid the mountains of the Pilat range.When he reached the priests residence, the scene that greeted him could not have been more disappointing. The parish priest, Jean Baptiste Rebod, 38, lived in total disorder. His Sunday homilies consisted of a few announcements. The parish was, for all purposes, abandoned.Three days later, on 15th August 1816, Marcellin officially introduced himself to the parish by giving a heartfelt homily, probably drawn from a pious book. He made an enormous impact.Two immediate pastoral tasks confronted him: to combat drunkenness and do away with dances. The latter were condemned not only by the Church, but even by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rural musicians had to stop playing at them if they wanted to receive absolution. Marcellin would suddenly arrive while a dance was in full swing, provoking the immediate disappearance of the merrymakers. His words from the pulpit, together with his appearance in any place where a dance had been scheduled, soon led to the suppression of these nocturnal gatherings.His first step toward the Christian renewal of the parish was to draw up a rule of life for himself. It laid great stress on his life of prayer, daily study of theology, and pastoral work: I will strive especially to be gentle, and in order to bring souls back to God, I will treat everyone with great goodness.Change would be possible only if he studied the realities of the parish. He lost no time in doing just that. The way in which the children had been abandoned only increased his concern and care for them through catechizing, education and instruction. His affectionate approach preferred rewards and encouragement to punishments, to which he hardly ever resorted.He turned his attention to the adults in his homilies and in the confessional, but the objects of his greatest concern were the sick and the poor.A young man named Jean Marie Granjon became friendly with Marcellin and accompanied him on some of his visits to the sick. He would become the first Marist Brother.An event that took place on 28th October set in motion his plans for his foundation. He was ministering to a dying boy of 17, Jean Baptiste Montagne, in the hamlet of Les Palais. He became aware that the lad was totally ignorant of the mysteries of the faith. For two hours he instructed him, since according to the regulations of the diocesan synods, one could not give absolution to anyone who was ignorant of the principal truths of religion. The boy died a few hours later. Marcellin could no longer fold his arms and wait. That same day, he shared his plans with Jean Marie Granjon, together with the role the latter could play in them. The time had come; it was urgent to move from plans to realities.It was true that about half of the local children received some schooling during the year, but the teachers often had little to offer. Their only preparation for their mission had taken place in the barracks and on the battlefields of the Revolution and the Empire.Marcellins statement about the need for brothers would soon take on dramatic proportions.Five days later, a young man, Jean Baptiste Audras, came to him to discuss his vocational problems, in the context of having been told by the Brothers of the Christian Schools to wait and to seek advice, because he was too young. Marcellin suggested that he come to live with Jean Marie Granjon.At about this time, Marcellin opened in Le Sardier a co-educational school that charged a small fee and was directed by a layteacher trained in the methods of the De La Salle Brothers.In the rural areas, teaching could be carried on at best during only a few months, from the feast of All Saints until Easter. That was the time when no one could work in the fields.On 2nd January 1817, Jean Marie Granjon, 23, and Jean Baptiste Audras, 14½, went to live in the Bonner house which Marcellin had rented. A few months later, he bought this combined residence and novitiate with the help of Fr. Courveille.They combined prayer with work and study. Their manual labor consisted in making nails to pay for their keep. Marcellin taught them to read and write, and oversaw their formation as religious educators.The people of the parish were unaware of what their curate was up to when he brought the two young men together. Three months later, he gave them a habit and a religious name. Jean Marie kept his own name, while Jean Baptiste received the name of Brother Louis.Before the year was up, a third brother entered the novitiate: Jean Claude Audras, who received the name of Brother Lawrence. He was the brother of Jean Baptiste, and had gone to La Valla to bring him back home. Marcellin told him, Instead of following your parents wishes, you would do much better to ask their permission to come here yourself. And so it happened.Four new vocations joined the group during 1818. These were Antoine Couturier (Br. Antoine); Bartholomew Badard (Br. Bartholomew); Gabriel Rivat (Br. François), who was 10 years old and had been consecrated to the Blessed Virgin by his mother at the altar of the chapel of the Rosary, and would become the first superior general; and Jean Pierre Martinol (Br. Jean Pierre), who would be the first to die in the institute.Two teaching methods were then struggling for supremacy: the mutual and the simultaneous. Under the mutual method, the teacher made use of monitors to impart his lessons. The monitors were taught from 8 to 10 a.m., at which time the school was opened to all the students. This method was criticized because it gave the teacher minimal influence, because of its democratic spirit, and because it was weak in the area of religious and moral training. The simultaneous method, commonly called the brothers method (meaning the De La Salle Brothers), was used by various congregations. Except for catechism and certain necessary explanations, the teacher directed the class in silence by the use of the signal or clicker. He taught the various subdivisions of his class in succession, with the help of monitors. The Church and conservative people in general upheld this method. For the first time in France, the question of the schools aroused violent reactions and became a struggle between political parties.Marcellin adopted the method of the De La Salle Brothers. For that reason he entrusted the school in La Valla to an ex-brother, Claude Maisonneuve, who remained there only a few months but enough to impart the method to the new teachers.In November 1818 the school in Marlhes was opened. Brother Louis was its first principal. Despite his youth and inexperience, the results obtained in a short time were obvious to the eyes of all. Behind the technical elements, there lay a whole style of education imparted by Marcellin: to share the life of the young people, to love them, and to lead them to Jesus under Marys maternal protection.New foundations followed one another slowly but steadily. Brother Jean Marie directed the school in La Valla. Brother Jean François, that in Saint Sauveur, opened at the insistence of the mayor, Mr. Colomb de Gaste, who was aware of the impressive results obtained by the brothers in Marlhes.Vocations were few and far between. There were many requests to open new schools.None the less, an orchestrated campaign arose against Marcellin and his work. Some people looked askance at the founders projects, the dedication with which he furthered them, and his frequent involvement in manual labor. Complaints reached the ears of the vicar general, Fr. Bochard, and of other church authorities. Shortly after Easter of 1821, Marcellin met with Bochard, who an extra period reproached him for having founded a congregation without first notifying his ecclesiastical superiors. He accepted Marcellins explanations, but only with the intention of eventually making him part of his own plans and projects.A short while previously, Marcellin had seen Fr. Courbon, the senior vicar general of the archdiocese. He had told him all about his community and asked his opinion about the project, telling him that he was ready to give it all up if Courbon thought that was the will of God. He was at his disposition, even for a change of assignment, if it came to that. That attitude removed all of Courbons reservations.A similar denunciation was made to the University (a sort of regional school board), apparently by Fr. Cathelin, the director of the secondary school in Saint-Chamond, who accused Marcellin of teaching Latin, a task reserved exclusively to the University, which would permit others to do so in return for twenty percent of the fees received. The University preferred to wait for the diocesan reaction. In point of fact, Marcellin was teaching Latin to Brother François and some others. The brothers were unaware of these mounting tensions. It was an extremely delicate moment.The following year, the school in Bourg-Argental was founded. The lack of aspirants contrasted dramatically with the requests for new openings. Champagnats confident prayer to the Blessed Virgin brought an unexpected response. A former De La Salle Brother asked to be admitted. Marcellin did not want to accept him. After a few days of trials and testing, the young man asked, Will you accept me if I bring you a half-dozen good young men? Marcellins evasive reply was, Yes, when and if you find them.In fact, he did recruit a number of youngsters, telling them that he was taking them to the De La Salle Brothers novitiate in Lyons. And so he presented himself anew, accompanied by eight others. Marcellin was extremely reticent, so he submitted them to many trials. He consulted a group of brothers about their admission and they were unanimously in favor. All were accepted, one of them being Jean Baptiste Furet, Marcellins future biographer.  In July, while Marcellin was busy improving conditions in La Valla to house the brothers more adequately, he decided to close the school in Marlhes, since the brothers were living in a very dilapidated building. Ten years later, when circumstances improved thanks to a change of parish priest, the school once again opened its doors.The papal bull Paternae caritatis, published on 6th October 1822, redrew the boundaries of the dioceses of France. Part of the archdiocese of Lyons became the diocese of Belley, and so the members of the Society of Mary found themselves in two different jurisdictions, which would create difficulties in establishing a central government.In February 1823, Champagnats biographer tells a significant story: after visiting the school in Bourg-Argental, Marcellin was returning to La Valla with Brother Stanislas. A blizzard obliterated all trace of the road. The cold was intense. Brother Stanislas collapsed. Marcellin directed a Memorare to his Good Mother. A fortuitous light from the Donnet house led them to a safe refuge. It was a fortuitous event which to the eyes of faith was providential.During that same year, Jean Claude Colin took steps toward the authorization of the Society of Mary. Pius VII, after a twenty-three year pontificate, died, and was succeeded by Leo XII.Marcellin opened three new schools. Tension, and opposition to his work, assumed dramatic and threatening proportions, because of the influence of Fr. Bochard. The new pope, Leo XII, named Bishop Gaston de Pins administrator of the archdiocese of Lyons. He took possession of his see after the premature death of Fr. Courbon and the abrupt departure of Fr. Bochard, which cleared the way for Marcellin.Bishop de Pins not only encouraged him in his work, after being well informed by Fr. Gardette, but even suggested the construction of a new and larger house which could hold more men. He authorized him to acquire a new motherhouse. On the banks of the Gier, with financial help from Fr. Courveille, he bought a property fairly cheaply, since much of it was solid rock.Courveille came to share Marcellins undertaking. On 13th May 1824, Fr. Cholleton, vicar general, blessed the first stone of the new house, which was erected under very difficult conditions, made easier by piety and a great spirit of community, which made it possible to put it up in less than half a year. The people of the area were amazed. As they passed along the road above the house, they liked to listen to the community singing. The difficulties presented by the rock were enormous. Ultimately, it became a house built upon a rock. It was called Notre Dame de lHermitage -- Our Lady of the Hermitage.5. OUR LADY OF THE HERMITAGE (1824-1840)Upon the death of Louis XVIII, his brother Charles X took the throne; he began his reign in 1824, with the backing of the Church and the ultraconservatives. Under his rule, laws were promulgated affecting education, the return of the Jesuits, the dissolution of the National Guard. The law of the thousand millions was passed, indemnifying the aristocrats who had emigrated during the Revolution. It was not to be a peaceful reign.Marcellin was freed from his ministry in La Valla to dedicate himself totally to his work as founder. The coming year, 1825, would prove to be one of his most stressful. The legal authorization of his institute would become a problem stretching across many years, with no definitive solution in sight. It would give him headaches, by involving him in bureaucratic red tape, many visits and much travel. However, he was much more preoccupied with his undertaking than with its legalization.From then on, Courveilles ambition centered around getting himself named superior of the brothers. His maneuvering and underhanded dealings met strong resistance from the brothers, who wanted Marcellin to direct them; the latter bore the intrigues of his priestly confrere with a deep spirit of faith and humility. He even called for a second vote on the question, after telling the brothers that other men were better qualified than he; the result was once again nearly unanimous in his favor.It is obvious that such events made him suffer a great deal, even though he showed nothing exteriorly. Courveille would not accept the results of the election and switched to a frontal attack via letters, conversations, persuasive arguments and criticism of his opponent. This stressful situation, together with his weakened health because of his many travels under dangerous conditions and in bad weather, brought him to his sickbed, and in a few days, all hope of saving him seemed to have faded.The Institute had perhaps never been so close to disappearing. Discouragement was rampant. Courveilles style of government, based on force and drastic measures, contrasted strongly with Marcellins honesty and goodness, to which they were accustomed.The foundational project, lived under the sign of unity, was coming apart into a multitude of personal plans. The brothers in the schools were on the fringe of this highly charged atmosphere.There was one brother who stood out as a true source of unity: Brother Stanislas. A man of total self-abnegation, he struggled against the brothers discouragement and Courveilles excessive and imprudent rigorism. He was the only one at the Hermitage who did not lose confidence, who remained faithful to the Institute and a true son of Fr. Champagnat. The waters slowly returned to their bed. Then followed, in a minor key, a sexual lapse on the part of Fr. Courveille, who had to leave the Hermitage. He went to the Trappist abbey of Aiguebelle, then worked in a number of dioceses before finally settling in the Benedictine abbey of Solesmes, where he died in 1866.Marcellin forged ahead with his work. The financial situation was delicate. Improvements at the Hermitage alternated with enlargements or innovations, always against a background of poverty and austerity. He received permission to bury the brothers on the property. On the other hand, the foundation of the Society of Mary was struggling along on its own journey.During the vacations of 1828, Fr. Champagnat, taking advantage of the fact that all the brothers had come together, promulgated a number of changes.  The clothing question came down to a better living of the values of religious life. As for the change in the method of teaching reading, it was inevitable in terms of better pedagogy, given the results of the former approach. The reforms were not well received. Two brothers created a certain climate of tension and opposition, due in part to lack of religious spirit or to feeling more comfortable with traditional ways. Marcellin, after consultation, and having entrusted these matters to the Lord in prayer, stuck to his positions.Both the brothers and the Marist Fathers fought for the authorization which would give them legal standing. Archbishop de Pins sent the brothers statutes to Paris, where they received the approval of the Council of State. All that was lacking was the kings signature. But the so called July ordinances, dissolving the Chamber of Deputies, imposing press censorship, and altering voting rights, set off the July Revolution, backed by the upper middle class. Charles X abdicated and fled to England. The bourgeois party, politically stronger than the republicans, proclaimed as King of the French Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, who was 57 years old. The tricolor flag returned, the Constitution was reformed (responsibility of ministers, abolition of censorship, laicisation of the State) and placed under the protection of the restored National Guard. So began the gilded age of the upper middle class. The kings signature was never put to the document, but rather there began a period of apprehensive questioning and suspicion in the face of this new situation.The brothers preoccupations contrasted with Marcellins sense of security and confidence. He had them continue to wear their religious habit, urged them to trust in Providence and in Mary the Good Mother, and asked the archbishops permission for another reception of the habit, which led the latter to exclaim, When everyone else is trembling, hes the only one afraid of nothing! Marcellin wrote to the brothers, Do not lose your inner peace, do not be disturbed; do not be afraid of anything affecting yourselves or your school; it is God who permits and governs everything that happens, puts everything right and makes it all work out for his glory and the good of his elect. Evil people have only as much power as he lets them have.His attitude in the face of events can be explained in these other words of his: The only precautions you have to take are: fear nothing, be prudent and circumspect in your dealings with the world and with the children, refrain absolutely from any involvement in politics, remain very closely united to God, redouble your zeal for your own perfection and the Christian education of your students, and finally, put all your trust in God. During this period only one school was closed, but Marcellin opened a new one. His ideas were clear and he did not recoil in the face of whatever might happen. It was at this moment also that he introduced among the brothers the pious practice of reciting the Hail Holy Queen each morning,Marcellin Champagnats personal journey and his attitude in the face of some of the most classic vicissitudes of history allow us to see that his work came to birth fully adapted to modern times. While many founders came from conservative families, Marcellin had lived from his infancy the rhythm of the Revolution and of change. Others stood against the government; he wanted to collaborate with it. One parliamentary deputy put it this way: He did not undertake anything without the authorization of the public authorities.For that reason he avoided many conflicts. He always kept himself on the political sidelines. He also sought permissions from the religious authorities.  A royal decree, dated 18th April 1831, regulated the requirements for teachers belonging to religious associations, subjecting to military service those who belonged to non-authorized congregations. That provision created problems for the brothers. Marcellin looked for solutions. His friendship with Fr. Mazelier, founder of another congregation of brothers, opened the door for him. Marcellin had vocations. Mazelier, on the other hand, had legal recognition, which exempted his brothers from military service.Receptions of the habit followed one after another. The Hermitage was a center of attraction. On 16th October 1831, there arrived Pierre Alexis Labrosse, a very intelligent young man with an excellent education. He would become the second superior general.Colin had the idea that the brothers of the Society of Mary formed one single group with two classes: the Marist Brothers, destined to be teachers, and the Joseph Brothers at the service of the priests in their residences. Marcellin was always opposed to there being two classes of brothers. To him, Marist Brothers, whether they were assigned to teaching or to manual work, would form one single category. In that regard, he was far ahead of his time.In his visits to the schools, besides speaking to the students, Marcellin guided the brothers and fostered a new attitude toward education. Instead of severity, which in other teaching congregations was suggested as the foremost virtue of an educator, Marcellin proposed simplicity and goodness, authenticity and openness. He also insisted on family spirit, kindness, and devotion to Mary, expressed more in action than in words, in treating the youngsters kindly, in the spirit of work, and in the ideal of a profoundly religious education which ought to stress ones trusting relationship with God. These qualities, along with others which could be mentioned, go to make up a special educational climate.It was not a question of a revolution in pedagogical methods, whose importance is indisputable, but of a way of looking at life, of presenting education, of guiding individuals, of leading them to maturity.... It was a matter of deeply-rooted attitudes,which together make up a style. It was therefore not surprising that requests for new openings always outnumbered any possibility of meeting them all. Devotedness also included overcoming any deficiencies there might be on the academic level. On 28th June 1833, the Guizot Law was promulgated, obliging all teachers to be officially certified. It was left for each township to work out the practical details: they were to pay the teachers salary, provide them with housing, etc.Some teaching congregations obliged their members to go three together and stipulated the salary they were to receive. Marcellin, in order to meet the most pressing needs, allowed his brothers to go two by two; he also would allow an individual brother to go to a school, provided he could live with others in a community. The salary he asked was minimal. Since in many places the brothers taught only during the winter, they had to find other work to keep themselves busy and to bring in some money, or else return for a while to the Hermitage to join in the work carried on there. It is therefore not surprising that the Marist Brothers worked mainly in the smallest and poorest towns. Their apostolic zeal made it easier to maneuver around structures which might have hindered them.While efforts to obtain legal authorization continued, Marcellin set up a secretariat at the Hermitage. Copies of letters sent and the minutes of meetings were henceforth kept in special registers.Among them was the letter of 29th March 1834, in which Marcellin, in addition to spelling out for Fr. Colin the conditions for admission to the novitiate, requested that his brothers never be put in charge of sacristies. We also have a letter from May of that year, to Queen Marie Amélie, which says in part: Having been ordained a priest in 1816, I was sent to a town near Saint-Chamond (Loire). What I saw there with my own eyes, concerning the education of children and youngsters, reminded me of the problems I had when I was young, for lack of teachers. I therefore hastened to act on the plans I had made to create an association of teaching brothers for poor rural towns, whose lack of funds in most cases does not permit them to bring in Brothers of the Christian Schools. I gave the members of this new association the name of Mary, convinced that this name alone would attract a large number of subjects. Rapid success despite our lack of financial resources, justified my belief and far exceeded my expectations... By authorizing us, the government would strongly assist our development. Religion and society would both benefit greatly.Marcellin had written in much the same terms to His Majesty King Louis Philippe, on 28th January.  Good intentions and letters did not suffice to obtain the legal authorization of the Institute. He had to go to Paris, he had to go to the center of power. Marcellins arrival coincided with a change of ministers. He did not even bother to present his petition.On 3rd October 1836, the new chapel of the Hermitage was blessed by Bishop Pompallier. That same month, for the first time, brothers took public perpetual vows. Once again, practice had anticipated law.The next year, the first printed Rules, a collection of norms originating in lived experience, appeared, and were much appreciated by the brothers. The number of vocations increased. Forty postulants received the habit that year. Sixty-six parish priests or mayors requested brothers.In 1838, Marcellin traveled once again to Paris with Brother Marie Jubin, who was going there to learn lithography.A few days after their departure, Marcellins brother Jean Bartholomé, the second oldest of the Champagnat children, died in the family home. Now only Marcellin was left, and, he was convinced, not for much longer. His health was failing. His biographer tells us, His exhausting trips to the capital and the troubles of all sorts that he had to put up with there, began to undermine his physical condition and drained what little strength he had left. When he returned, it was easy to see that he was not going to live much longer. He was suffering from chronic gastritis.Salvandy, the minister for education, began to negotiate with Marcellin. Despite his apparent friendliness, and despite the fact that Marcellin presented him with a recommendation from the archbishop, the endless round of bureaucratic obstacles made it evident that he had no intention of granting the authorization. Marcellins dynamism and practical foresight made it difficult for him to put up with such an absurd paper-chase with its ceaseless comings and goings.He read events with the eyes of faith and remained firm in his purpose. He would not rest satisfied with a very limited authorization.At the end of April, he returned to the Hermitage.After the feast of the Ascension, he made another trip. On 23rd June he wrote to Brother François, I still have great confidence in Jesus and Mary. I have no doubt that we will get what we want; its just that I dont know when. ... Dont forget to tell all the brothers how much I love them, how much I suffer from being far from them..... He would return the following month.The outcome of that trip was a further delay. None the less, his words would prove prophetic. In Paris, his religious practices had not suffered in any way. He said, I am as united to God in the streets of Paris as in the woods of the Hermitage. His spiritual life had already reached an exceptional level. In September, Mr. Libersat, a functionary in the Ministry of Education, informed him that the plan was to limit the approval of his institute to towns with no more than 1200 inhabitants. Marcellin did not want approval at such a high price. Opening schools in larger towns was indispensable for obtaining financial resources which could be used to support schools in smaller ones.Marcellin, faithful to the original project, wanted the brothers to be fully integrated into the Society of Mary, obedient to a common superior general. None the less, more were in favor of their having their own superior general, even if in the final analysis, the latter referred important matters to the superior of the Marist Fathers. Colin wanted to be sure that Marcellin had a successor before he died.On 12th October 1839, just before the end of the retreat, the 92 brothers who had the right to vote elected Brother François, who obtained 87 votes. Brothers Louis Marie and Jean Baptiste were elected his assistants. The singing of the Magnificat and a Mass brought the ceremony to a close.During the following month, Champagnat preached a retreat to the students in La Côte-Saint- André. The piety and goodness which shone on his face, together with weakness and pain, conquered every heart. They said to one another, This priest is a saint. On December 8th he opened a novitiate in Vauban. His physical pain and the delay in obtaining authorization never shook his trust in God; if possible, they even increased it. God was with him. Seventy-one postulants received the habit and twenty brothers made perpetual profession.At the beginning of 1840, Marcellin intensified his efforts: insistence on the study of religion, sending two brothers to the school for deaf-mutes in Paris, with an eye to assigning them to a similar school in Saint-Etienne.However, his illness was beginning its final assault. He continued none the less to follow the schedule of the house. He found great consolation in being with the brothers, praying with them, being in the midst of the community.Ash Wednesday brought violent kidney pains which stayed with him until his death. His legs began to swell. Realizing that his days were numbered, he wanted to put all his temporal affairs in order, so he sent for a notary; all the property of the congregation was still in his name. On 13th April, Holy Thursday, he said Mass in La Grange Payre. He went there on horseback.After Mass he spoke to the students: Often remember that Jesus loves you very much. ... If you have great confidence in Mary, she will obtain for you the grace to go to heaven, I assure you. The final events of his life picked up speed during May, at intervals of a few days: his last Mass, the Anointing of the Sick, the reading of his spiritual testament to the assembled brothers, a final visit from Fr. Colin with whom he spoke for a long while. Fr. Mazelier and many other priests also visited him.At times, lying there in bed, he reran the film of his life: his childhood in Le Rosey, his life in the seminary, his apostolate in the parish of La Valla, his efforts as founder... Only one thing had resisted all his efforts: God did not want to give me the consolation of seeing the Institute legally recognized, because I did not deserve that favor. But I am sure that we will get the authorization when it becomes absolutely necessary. Eleven years later, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, on 20th June, would sign the decree of legal authorization of the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary, or Marist Brothers.On 4th June, Thursday, he received communion for the last time. On Friday his sufferings became even more intense. Jesus, Mary and Joseph remained at the center of his life and of his prayers. The whole Hermitage became a temple. The brothers prayed constantly. Everyone took every precaution to avoid making even the slightest noise. On Saturday, 6th June, the Vigil of Pentecost, after an hours death struggle, he gave up his soul to God while the brothers were singing the Salve Regina. An artist from Saint-Chamond was called in to paint his portrait. On 8th June, a large group of clergy and civil authorities celebrated Marcellin Champagnats funeral. At the time, there were 280 brothers (49 others had already died) and 48 schools, in which 189 brothers were teaching 7000 students. The reality was impressive, but his horizons were even more ambitious: All the dioceses of this world figure in our plans. His body was carried to the cemetery on the shoulders of the professed brothers who, burdened with grief, mingled their tears with the prayers being said for him. A plaque on his coffin read, Ossa J.B.M. Champagnat 1840.At that time, very few would have imagined that on 29th May 1955, Marcellin Champagnats portrait would fill Berninis Glory during the beatification ceremony presided over by His Holiness Pope Pius XII, and that on 18th April 1999 he would be canonized by Pope John Paul II. None the less, this last act would be the official confirmation of his overwhelmingly evident holiness. ________________________________________ The classes were numbered in descending order. Marcellin did the ten-year program in eight years. In 1806-1807 he did the 8th and 7th year, and in 1808-1809, the 5th and 4th. This doubling up was probably due mainly to administrative decisions, rather than to his efforts and his modest capacity for mastering the work. The rector was Fr. Philibert Gardette, 48, a man of great authority and ability. The prefect of studies was Fr. Lacroix. The teachers: Frs. Simon Cattet, dogma; Jean Cholleton, moral theology (he was 25 and taught a rigorist, legalistic morality; he was Marcellins spiritual director and eventually became a Marist Father); Jean Marie Mioland, 25, liturgy; and Matthew Menaide, the bursar. In the face of Champagnats insistence, his companions resigned themselves to the foundation of the brothers. All right, take on the brothers, if thats what you want. From then on, that task would become for him a genuine mission. Two weeks later, the leader of the group was sent away for moral lapses, the same reason why he had had to leave the De La Salle Brothers. The first two concerned their style of dress: cloth stockings and a cassock fastened with hooks and eyes to the waist and sewn the rest of the way; the third concerned a change in the method of teaching reading.  At the Hermitage there was a house-search, because of rumors that a nobleman was hiding there. Marcellin gave the police a tour of the house, inch by inch. He wanted to show them every room, even though the public prosecutor said there was no need for that. No nobleman was found, nor any weapons either. The key for one door could not be found. Marcellin broke the lock with a hatchet -- there must not remain the shadow of a doubt! Afterwards he served refreshments to the soldiers. In the local paper there appeared an editorial denouncing the rumors and putting Marcellin and his brothers in an excellent light. Vocations were not affected by the Institutes lack of legal standing. In 1835, 46 postulants received the habit, four schools were opened, and seven brothers made perpetual profession by private vows. The Institute had 140 brothers, eighty of whom were working in schools. In April 1836 there came the good news that the Society of Mary had been approved by the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. A COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGYCHAMPAGNAT IN HIS TIME, A COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGYThe Marist Educator vol. ISociety, Culture and Politics Marcellin Champagnat• May 5,1789 - Opening of the States General in France • May 20, 1789 birth of Marcellin • 1792 Suppression of the religious orders • 1793 Execution of Louis XVI - January 21 • 1795 Metric system adopted in France • 1799 Pope Pius VI, prisoner of the Directory, is buried in a civil ceremony in Valence.By a coup d’état, Bonaparte ends the Revolution • 1799 Marcellin begins school but does not continue. • 1800 Jacquard invents a new weaving machine • 1800 Marcellin’s father loses his position as President, but is elected to the Municipal Council • 1804 Promulgation of the Civil Code • 1804 Marcellin discovers his vocation to the priesthood. • 1805 Battle of Austerlitz • 1805 He enters the seminary at Verrières • 1811 Sulpicians expelled from the Lyons Seminary by imperial decree. • 1813 Pius VII imprisoned by Napoleon • 1813 He enters the Mayor Seminary in Lyons • 1814 1st abdication of Napoleon Restoration of the Bourbons • 1814 Feast of the Epiphany, he receives the tonsure, minor Orders, and the Subdiaconate. • 1815 Waterloo. Second abdication • June 23, 1815 he receives the Diaconate from the Bishop of Grenoble, along with Jean Claude Colin and Jean Marie Vianney • 1816 First real railway train, Stephenson’s Rocket, at Newcastle, England. • July 22 , 1816 he was ordained a priest. The next day, twelve seminarians went to Fourvières to inaugurate the Society of Mary • January 2 , 1817 Marcellin installs his first two postulants in a house in La Valla. • 1818 Foundation of the school in Marlhes • 1821 Death of Napoleon in St Helena • 1821 After Easter, meeting with the Vicar General, who reproves him for founding an educational congregation. Accusations and denunciations by the University. • 1823 The “Memorare in the Snow” • 1824 Beethoven writes his 9th Symphony Louis XVIII dies and is succeeded by Charles X. They were both brothers of Louis XVI • May 13, 1824 laying of the first stone of the Hermitage • 1825 The Brothers move to the Hermitage. Marcellin, worn out from visiting schools, falls serious ill. • 1828 During the school holidays, Marcellin changes the system for teaching reading. • 1829 Louis Braille perfected his system of reading for the blind. • 1830 Revolution in Paris The Thirty Glorious Days. Charles X deposed. Louis Philippe succeeds him. • 1831 Revolt of the weavers (“les canuts”) in Lyons • April 18, 1831l: Royal Ordinance regulating the conditions of teaching by religious • 1832 Entry into the Institute of Pierre Labrosse, who will be the 2nd Superior General of the Institute. • 1833 Balzac publishes Eugénie Grandet • 1833 Marcellin now has 90 Brothers teaching 2000 pupils in 19 schools, and 22 postulants receive the religious habit. • 1836 Official Recognition of the Marist fathers by the Holy See. Fr Colin is Superior General, and Marcellin is named as Superior of the Brothers’ Institute. On the 24th December, the first missionaries set sail for Oceania. • 1839 Br Francis Rivat elected to succeed Marcellin as Superior General • 1840 Gas lighting in Paris streets. • June 6, 1840 death of Marcellin at the Hermitage. Since January 2, 1817, the Founder had received 421 Brothers, professed or novices, of whom 92 had left and 49 had died in the Institute. At the time of his death, there were about 280 Brothers. He had founded 53 establishments, five of which he had later closed, leaving 48; 180 Brothers were teaching some 7000 students.