By Charles Girard SM. Rome 1993
The spirit of Mary is essential to the vision of Jean-Claude Colin, Marist founder. This spirit is to be spread far and wide; its adherents form a many branched movement to carry out a mission in the Church, at the service of the Church, and even to create “new Church” marked by Mary’s simplicity and modesty.
Between October 1874 and September 1875 , the founder spoke freely to young Marist, Alphonse Cozon, about this idea on lay Marists; he placed special emphasis on the central importance of the Marist spirit: There will be uniformity in spirit but not in the practises unity will be found in its name and its spirit (doc. 335 & 61)
Cozon was not satisified with just preserving a memory of the founder, he wanted to make it live, and so he kept trying to make the Colinian vision of the lay branch reality.