The Marist Spirit

“For A Marian Church- Marist Founders and Foundresses” Antoine Forissier


Page 241 Some points in Common- in the branches Marist Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Missionary Sisters- as they developed:

Jean-Marie Chavoin refers to Mary in Nazareth, Jean-Claude Colin finds her in Acts of the Apostles and her home in Nazareth; for Marcellin Champagnat and Francoise Perriton Mary is both ‘the Blessed Virgin” and ‘the good Mother”- the former’s being universal maternity and to the latter the memory of Notre Dame de Fourviere and the golden heart which holds her name.

Firstly: All held the educational attitude combining maternal spirit, patience and optimism.The most typical characteristic of this attitude is the maternal spirit- each person is known personally by name and personally loved by God.

Page 242: the maternal heart is not only affection; it is also concern to bring out and develop the good in everyone, to foster confidence rather than the opposite, encouragement and refusal to despair.

Secondly: A family spirit and at the same time a spirit of openness-‘The family of God”; ‘the family of the Blessed Virgin” “One heart and one soul” envisaged as a community as well as an apostolate, notions of spiritual maternity, paternity and fraternity assume all the worth that it is possible to give them over and above the social solidarity frequently at the fore these days. A place where each one feels favourably recognised by others, trusted in advance with the possibility of unlimited forgiveness, gratitude for talents, the development and success of everyone. Shared love is a principle of growth, renewal, consolation, regained confidence, security, joy and happiness.

Those community families were not self-centred but open to everyone who came there. Charitable love is neither possessive nor selective; it is universal. This reality is of the “open family” which draws others to it. It is the pure and simple wonder of charitable love.

Thirdly: Page 243: the Third trait noticeable in all the branches is “simplicity”. Since Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, there is no “useless work” and no “servile work”- service and love go hand in hand. Simplicity is also concerned with speech: contact with everyone, ready welcome and greeting, a smile and willing service, a less solemn and more relaxed manner of living out individual life roles including those of the priest, the religious woman, the brother and the laity.

Fourthly: Page 244: the next trait common to all: The attitude that goes beyond simplicity and is called ‘discretion’ – ‘the hidden life.’ The evangelical image of the yeast in the dough corresponds with this notion. Francoise Perroton, lost on those two islands in the Pacific with only the Blessed Virgin for her spiritual colloquies, would carry off the prize as regards hidden life.

Fifthly: Page 245/6: The 5th common trait is that of ‘work and the humour brought to it’. Here, humour is that spiritual attitude which puts a certain distance between the proposed action and the strength that God gives. Action is imperative, certainly do as well as possible what must be done, but be convinced that it is God who touches hearts through that action. This is the principal of peace in failure as well as in success. It even happens that, since the Cross, failure turned into sacrifice does more for the undertaking than success would have accomplished. This type of humour is also a principle of liberty: the person performing the action is distanced from it, and ceases to get lost in it. Me: The work is ours, do all for God and leave success to him. Per letter Father Lefranc to Jean Marie Chavoin Page 41 “There are many good works for which God asks effort, but not success- the crown is promised to action, not success.” elsewhere: “be content to be humiliated by failure”.

Sixthly: Page 246: the Sixth Trait: A more or less permanent God-consciousness which is basic to a spirituality of action. Action is not merely a flow of strength. Lived out with God before it is begun, while it is being done and when completed, action becomes a union of the whole person with God. It is a complete expression of both love of God and neighbour, a source of personal sanctification which finds itself being somehow filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is said that this is what fills life and action not only with light, strength and peace, but also with a joy deeper than trials and a love capable of transforming everything.

Page 247: All this defines a way of living and evangelising that is called ‘The Marist Spirit’

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31 January 2021

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Antoine Forissier

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