Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Foundation Day of the Society of Mary

Above is the gravesite of
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

For members of the Society of Mary, October 2, 1817 is a day of celebration. It was on this day that Jean Baptiste Lalanne and several other men met with Blessed William Joseph Chaminade to discuss the possibility of forming a group of vowed men who through prayer and living in community would be actively involved in the ministry of the Church. After the initial meeting, several additional men—clerics, manual workers, and merchants—joined with Lalanne and Chaminade to found the Society of Mary (Marianists).

On December 8, 1817, several men made private vows and on September 5, 1818, seven men made public vows as members of the Society of Mary.

So October 2 is Foundation Day for the Society of Mary. It is both the birthday of the Society of Mary and the feast of the Guardian Angels. Remembering the Guardian Angels has always been important to members of the Society of Mary. Guardian Angels were seen as guardians of the students in Marianist schools. To help students behave appropriately, members of the Society of Mary were encouraged to “invoke the Guardian Angels of their pupils at the beginning of class and surveillance periods." Hopefully, the angels would guarantee that students behaved in a proper manner so as to be receptive to the classroom instruction of the Brothers and priests.

"Education is a participation in the work of Mary. She is the great teacher of mankind. Her mission has been, and still is, to give birth to Jesus Christ and to rear Him….In calling us to the work of education, Mary has constituted us Her collaborators in this mission. Our pupils are Her children more than ours…and it is Her name that we ought to try to form Jesus in them. "

Emil Neubert, S.M., (1954)