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Marists strive to do God’s will in a way similar to the way Mary, the mother of Jesus, did; to live and work in the Church today following the model of Mary at the beginnings of the Church.
Today we are scattered to the four corners of the world but are united in one heart and mind under the patronage of the Mother of God. Like our founder, John Claude Colin and his Marist companions, we respond to the desire of Mary, expressed in the inspiration: “I supported the Church as it came to birth; I shall do so again at the end of time.” We wish to carry out this “work of Mary”, making our own her love and concern for the Church. Sharing her zeal for the Church’s mission, we try to work in her style, as it were “hidden and unknown” – an unobtrusive presence no less zealous and engaged.
Inspired by the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marists look to the example of the early Church. There they see a small group of disciples, united in love, moved by prayer, eager to spread the Good News, and inspired by the presence of Mary in their midst. When the early Marists spoke of the enterprise in which they were engaged they often used the term "the work of Mary". Mary has a special interest in bringing the women and men of our time into contact with Jesus Christ her son. Marists feel called to share in this effective concern of Mary and to be drawn into her family to work on her behalf. Marists have this missionary spirit which at heart is open to all people. It excludes nobody and would like to see a brotherhood and sisterhood of all united in Christ.
"To choose Mary’s name is to enter into a special relationship with her, which teaches Marists to relate to their neighbour in such a way that through them Mary can be present to the Church of today as she was to the Church at its birth. Mary did not press her privileged position as the mother of Jesus, but was ready to be first and foremost his disciple, one who ‘hears the word of God and keeps it’ (Lk. 8:21)." – Constitutions SM, 15.
"Because they bear the name of Mary, Marists desire to be like her and follow Jesus as she did. Contemplating Mary in the mysteries of Nazareth and Pentecost and her role at the end of time, they come to share her zeal for her Son’s mission in his struggle against evil, and to respond with promptness to the most urgent needs of God’s people." - Constitutions SM 8.
"Their call is to be truly missionary: they are to go from place to place, announcing the word of God, reconciling, catechizing, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, and doing the works of mercy. They attend especially to the most neglected, the poor, and those who suffer injustice. They are ready to carry out these tasks anywhere and at any time." – Constitutions SM 12.