Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, in collaboration with Venerable Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Venerable Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Lamourous, founded the Marianist Family. The Marianist Family is comprised of the Society of Mary, Marianist brothers and priests; the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, Marianist Sisters; Lay Marianists; and the Alliance Mariale, members of a secular institute.
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Father Chaminade, a diocesan priest from Bordeaux, France, and Marie Thérèse gathered a group of men and women to form a community of Christian outreach and support. They thought the community would attract others to follow Christ and would revive the religious spirit in France. This initial group became known as The Sodality of Bordeaux — the forerunner of today’s Lay Marianist Communities.
Father Chaminade had always sought inspiration in Mary and had prayed to her at Our Lady of the Pillar sanctuary during his exile in Zaragoza, Spain. He believed Mary embodied the gospel values and was the model of Christian discipleship. Father Chaminade and his cofounders placed the new ministry under Mary’s patronage and protection. Members of the sodality shared a sense of equality, compassion and social justice, as well as a concern for individual spiritual growth. Within four years, approximately 400 sodalists were building lay communities and living the concept of “faith in action.”
Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, with the guidance of Father Chaminade, established the Daughters of Mary Immaculate in 1816. The following year, Father Chaminade created the Society of Mary.
Marianist brothers and priests settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849 and formed the Province of America. By 1961, the Province of America had been divided into four: the Province of Cincinnati, the Province of St. Louis, the Province of the Pacific and the New York Province. These provinces combined to form the Province of the United States on July 1, 2002. The Province headquarters is in St. Louis.
The Marianist Sisters were established in the United States in Somerset, Texas, in 1949, and today are located in Dayton, Ohio, and San Antonio.