Formative years (1790-1825)

1790   Jean-Claude Colin born, Aug 07, hamlet of Barbery, central France

1795   Death of his parents, three weeks apart

1801   Family moves to village of St Bonnet-le-Troncy

1804   Begins minor seminary education at St Jodard, Nov 01

1809   Moves to minor seminary at minor seminary of Alix

1812   Received clerical tonsure, Alix, May 23

          Begins studies in philosophy at minor seminary of Verrières-en-Forez

1813   Moves to major seminary of St Irenaeus, Lyons

1816   Ordained priest in the chapel of St Irenaeus, Jul 22

          Among Marist aspirants pledging to form the Society of Mary, Fourvière, Jul 23

          Celebrates his first Mass, at Salles, Jul 26

          Appointed as curate, Cerdon parish, Aug 08

1817   Begins drafting a rule for the Society of Mary

1822   Sends letter to Pope Pius VII (Jan 25) and the Pope's reply (Mar 09)

          Visits Paris to confer with the Papal Nuncio on the Marist project and rule (Nov)

1823   Returns to Paris to see the Papal Nuncio and others about the rule

          Experiences encouragement of the Blessed Virgin on the La Coria road, Jul

1824   Welcomes Fr Etienne Declas to Cerdon to form the first community of Marist priests.
          Fr Pierre Colin writes to the bishop: 'Today the Society of Mary begins!' (Oct 29)

Belley (1825-1839): struggles & achievements

1825-1829   Bugey missions beginning at La Balme, Jan 09

1829   Becomes school principal. minor seminary, Belley, Easter Monday

1830   Becomes central superior of Marist groups of Belley & Lyons

1832   La Capucinière established - 'the cradle of the Society of Mary'

1833   First visit to Rome

1835-1836   Negotiations leading to acceptance of the mission to Western Oceania

1836   Pope Gregory XVI approves SM (Apr 29)
          Jean-Claude Colin becomes Superior-General (Sep 24)
          Sends first band of missionaries, leaving for Oceania (Dec 24)
          Fourteen more groups followed until 1849, 
          with a total of 74 priests, 43 brothers, including FMS brothers. 

Lyons (1839-1854): governing the Society of Mary

1839   Moves seat of administration from Belley to Lyons

1842   Draft of Constitutions accepted by General Chapter, taken to Rome

In this period

Recruitment: Society of Mary began on Sep 24, 1836 with 20 priests; by the time Fr Colin retired in May 1854 it numbered 258 priests; in same period 33 brothers (not FMS) professed (note: in early years the line between FMS and SM brothers not always clear)

Marist apostolates under Fr Colin – missions and other preaching, hearing confessions, teaching catechism, visiting prisons, military chaplains, social works, looking after lay groups, sisters' communities.

Takes over Marian shrine of Verdelais, with parish attached; accepts two other Marian pilgrimage centres, which also served as bases for missioners

1845   Opens first school (at Valbenoîte); later opening or taking over five more; 
          Took over major seminary of Moulins; later took over three more

La Neylière (1854-1875): the Founder

1854   Resigns as Superior General (May), retires to La Neylière

1856   Writes Constitutions for the Marist Sisters

1872   Completes Constitutions for Marist Fathers and Brothers

1873   Constitutions approved by Rome, so completing his work as Founder

1875   Dies at La Neylière (Nov 15)


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