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Marianist Tradition

Marianist Tradition

We are accused of pompously eulogizing Mary and are blamed for the honor we render her. I do not refer to the impious, but rather to the poorly instructed Christians who do not know the gift of God in this miracle of His omnipotence. Can we really assert too much, do too much, provided we do not declare her equal to the Divinity, provided we make a distinction between her veneration and that of the Divinity? What has God said of Mary? What has He done for her? He is our Model!

– William Joseph Chaminade


"We can preach Mary in our conversations, our correspondence, our classrooms, often by mere allusions. Father Chaminade said, 'I need not tell you that the holy name of Marv must be found naturally, as it were, everywhere. Whether you pray alone or in common, whether you encourage, instruct, or conduct a sodality meeting – do not be content unless the holy name of Mary is mentioned.' The closing words of the former text of the rule on stability come to mind: 'To propagate the knowledge of Mary and to perpetuate love and devotion to whatever circumstance of life it might be.' Commenting on this passage Father Simler adds, 'Piety is ingenious and strong enough to fit into this plan all the actions and all the decisions of our lives. '"

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 257



"Marianists should participate actively in national and international Marian congresses. Other religious societies use these occasions to explain their special doctrines. The holy slavery, for instance, was hardly known until the beginning of the twentieth century, when it was explained in great detail at the Marian Congress of Einsiedeln in 1906. Thereafter it spread throughout the world with giant strides. At the International Marian Congress in Rome, 1950, nine religious societies discussed their doctrines, each in a special section. The Montfort Father had five such sections. [At the first Marian Congress held at Lyons, France, in 1910, Father Henri Rousseau, S.M., read a paper on our Marianist doctrine.]

"When Father Chaminade in 1840 was planning a new edition of the Manual of the Servant of Mary, he welcomed the suggestion made by Father Jean-Baptiste Fontaine to preface the prayer book with a treatise on our knowledge of Mary. Even before that work was completed he promised a copy to Brother Enderlin in Fribourg, asking him to pass it on to Canon Aeby, parish priest of the city, to let him know 'what we think of Mary.' He added, 'We are not afraid of publishing the profound sentiments we have for the August Mary, Mother of Our Lord and our own Mother.'

"For many years no other work on the Blessed Virgin was written [by the Founder or the early Marianists because of various obstacles]. Those obstacles no longer exist, and it is most desirable that priests and Brothers publish books, pamphlets, and magazine articles, perhaps in collaboration with others, in order to spread the Marian message of Father Chaminade throughout the world.

"There will always be a need to explain and to adapt our teaching according to the times, places, and different classes of readers and clients. We must find ways of putting our treasured doctrine into the widest circulation. There will be a demand, it is hoped, for the publication in various countries of a review concerned with filial and apostolic devotion to Mary. Such a publication might contain articles on some phase or application of our doctrine, serious reviews of books or articles treating of filial and apostolic piety, biographies of servants of Mary, as well as a summary report on the varied Marian publications and movements throughout the world.

"All this supposes that religious be directly assigned to that type of Marian apostolate. Religious specialize as teachers of literature, history, and science. With all the more reason should some Marianists specialize as 'doctors of devotion to Mary."'

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 262-263



"Our filial piety is apostolic. We must preach this characteristic, for our students ought to become apostles. It is noteworthy at this point to observe that the two qualities of our devotion -- that it is Christocentric and apostolic -- are the very ones needed to satisfy the ambitions of modern Catholic youth. They constitute a must in our Marian teaching. A Marianist school whose alumni have but a rudimentary knowledge of Mary's privileges and functions, and a devotedness equal to, or perhaps inferior to that of graduates from other Catholic schools, has failed in its mission; it has failed our Lord and the Blessed Virgin, and it has lost its reason for existence."

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 260



"The nature of affiliation to the Society of Mary demands that we teach our Marian doctrine to our associates. In several provinces this is done faithfully. Groups of secular priests and lay Catholics eager to know our doctrine can be organized.

"The Montfort Fathers direct an Archconfraternity of Mary, Queen of Hearts, and an Association of Priests of Mary, Queen of Hearts. The Pallotine Fathers have established active groups of priests and teachers, both men and women, who are animated with a solidly Marian and apostolic spirit.

"Convents of cloistered nuns, interested in our filial and apostolic devotion, could easily be led to assist by their prayers and sacrifices in the promotion of our devotion, in somewhat the same manner as the auxiliaries of the Legion of Mary."

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 262



" proportion as the Marian message of Father Chaminade becomes better known we shall be considered more and more as the religious called upon to reproduce, insofar as it is humanly possible, the fillial love of Jesus for His Mother. If we really try to render synonymous the words child of Mary and saint, our lives will be a continual Marian sermon. This, better than all the theological arguments we might advance, will promote devotion to Mary. If, on the other hand, we are satisfied with ordinary virtue, all our words about the importance of devotion to Mary will meet with the silent objection, 'What has this wonderful practice done for you?"'

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 257



Father Chaminade summarizes the duty of making Mary Known, Loved and served by speaking of glorifying her. To the motto of St. Ignatius Loyola, Ad majorem Dei gloriam, he added Mary's glory.

Entrusting a delicate mission to Father Caillet, he closed the letter of obedience with these words: "May you in everything and in every place remember this motto of the Society of Mary, 'To the greater glory of God and of His Virgin Mother.'"

Earlier he had written to Father Caillet, "We hope our advice is wise through God's grace and the protection of the Blessed Virgin, for whose glory we wish to work until the end. Ad majorem Dei gloriam Virginisque Deiparae."

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 253



Our Founder and his successors insisted on our duty to spread knowledge of and devotion to Mary.

Mary has the mission to give Jesus to the world. To reveal Jesus to the world is to lead it to Jesus. In the retreat of 1822 Father Chaminade reasoned: "How is it possible to find Jesus without Mary, since Jesus did not come to us except with Mary's consent!… We reach Jesus only through Mary, just as Jesus came to us only through her."

The promotion of knowledge and love of Mary is the essential purpose of the Society of Mary, its characteristic, its great duty, the condition sine qua non of success with souls. It is the raison d'etre of the Society of Mary. For this apostolate Father Chaminade received from God the mission to found the Marianist Family, as he explained so vibrantly in the letter to the retreat masters of 1839.

This is the characteristic of our Society, our great duty, and the essential condition for apostolic success.

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 254-255



The successors of the Blessed Father Chaminade echoed his concern for the glory of Mary. Two quotations will illustrate this.

Father George Caillet wrote: "After Jesus, the true religious of the Society of Mary breathes, lives and works only for the glory of Mary… . He spends his whole life to obtain from God the spread of devotion to Mary throughout the world."

With enthusiasm Father Joseph Simler wrote in his important circular letter on piety: "We are so happy with, so proud of the honor of this heavenly gift, our Marianist vocation, that we burn with eagerness to obtain this same happiness for all those upon whom we have some influence. To spread the knowledge of Mary, to perpetuate love and devotion to her, is our highest ambition."

– Emil Neubert, S.M., OUR GIFT FROM GOD, p. 253-254


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