Blessed William Joseph Chaminade spent part of the French Revolution in exile in Saragossa, Spain, where he spent many hours in contemplation and prayer at the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. Guided by God’s spirit, he envisioned innovative missionary strategies that the signs of the time were urgently demanding.
Upon his return to Bordeaux, France, Blessed Chaminade’s sense of urgency led him to form a diversity of apostolic communities inspired by Mary: first, lay communities, then two religious congregations—the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Mary—and finally, schools, teacher formation and other educational institutions. This work took many years. It was guided by and at the same time helped to shape a deepening, distinctively Marianist spirituality. All subsequent Marianist educational work has been inspired by this spirituality with its three characteristic dimensions: a spirit of Marian faith, the building of communities of faith, and a deep sense of mission.