Br Doug Dawick FMS
St Marcellin Champagnat founded the Marist Brothers in southern France in 1817 to meet a post-French Revolution need – the education of children in rural France. He was commissioned to establish a congregation and while always a member of the Society of Mary he identified with his brothers, living and dying with them. He died aged 51 having established 48 schools with 278 Brothers in a small area of France. His vision was ‘We are for all dioceses. The universal Church is the field of our congregation’.
Marist Brothers accompanied Bishop Pompallier to the Pacific and New Zealand. Their first school was established in 1876 in Wellington. Schools were then opened throughout the country.
With the integration of Catholic schools into the state system, the growth of lay-teacher numbers, and diminishing numbers of vocations to religious life, Marist Brothers have largely moved out of education and into youth ministry.
Marist Brothers everywhere assist disadvantaged young people – in schools, learning centres for struggling students, prisons, refugee camps, orphanages in war-torn countries such as Syria, African countries and Asia.
A significant change today is the involvement of lay people to live and share the charism, the spirit and spirituality of St Marcellin, in partnership.
Our charism is practical and through the practice of the ‘Five Pillars’ – Presence, Simplicity, Love of Work, Family Spirit and in the Manner of Mary – the spirit of Marcellin lives on.
Br Doug Dawick FMS is a Marist Brother and one of the founders of The Grove community in Lower Hutt.