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History

Jeanne-Marie Chavoin

Jeanne-Marie Chavoin

Our foundress Jeanne-Marie Chavoin was born in a village Coutouvre in France at a time of spiritual and social upheaval resulting from the Revolution.

It was there that her personal and ecclesial vocation was formed by prayer, love of the Eucharist, her relationships and service to others in the day to day situations of life in her village where she was deeply committed to the local Church.

Convinced of an unmistakeable call by God to religious life she followed her vocation not to enter an already established religious congregation but to found one.

In 1823 she founded the feminine branch of the Society of Mary. It was Mary’s presence in the Early Church that showed her and her companions how the Society should be present in the Church of their time.

Jeanne-Marie Chavoin expressed this spirit of Mary in the practice of humility, simplicity, poverty and love of work. Unobtrusive activity tempered with gentleness and compassion became the touchstone of the Marist approach to ministry. The spirit of Mary would be an antidote to the spirit of ambition, covetousness and the desire for power.

She gave free and joyful expression to her founding apostolic charism in ministry with a people in spiritual upheaval bringing the message of God’s mercy to ordinary people and situations.

As Marists, we are called to be a reconciling presence of Mary in the 21st century. Our presence is characterised by gentleness, simplicity and compassion.

Like Jeanne-Marie Chavoin we are urged to be contemplatives in action. At the heart of our mission as Marists is our personal and communal prayer. Our prayer nurtures and is enriched by our ministry and community living, enabling us to become witnesses and agents of God’s transformative power in our world.

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Marist Sisters UK