Father William Joseph Chaminade - Founder of the Marianist Family


  • Marianist life, like every living reality, evolves with time.
  • We understand that the Marianist Family was already contained in the intuition of Father Chaminade. Today we see it existing and
    taking shape, and we attempt to give it a systematic expression.
  • The charism that inspired the Marianist Family today animates the four branches which compose it: Society of Mary (SM), Daughters of
    Mary Immaculate (FMI), Alliance Mariale (AM), and Marianist Lay Communities (MLC).
  • This Family understands itself to be sent by the Church on the mission of evangelization that springs from its charism.

1. The Marianist Family understood from its foundational roots

1.1 The foundation of the Sodality and of both Institutes did not happen in isolation but rather in mutual relationship.

1.2 The unifying element was the Marianist charism transmitted by the Founders.

1.3 Each branch understands itself and is revealed to itself in the others who are an integral and complementary part of its own being
and acting.

1.4 As a result, we understand ourselves as a spiritual family with a structure which unites laity, religious men, and religious women on
a basis of equality.

1.5 The structure and organization as family enable the foundational charism to be expressed and communicated today.

1.6 The missionary vocation to which it is called is fully achieved when the branches unite their efforts, since in this way a family is
revealed, which goes beyond any single branch, and summons them to work together.

2. A Model of the Marianist Family

  • From the foundational roots, as well as from the way each branch of the Family understands itself today, and from some expressions
    and relations as family already existing, it can be deduced that:

2.1 The Chaminadian charism becomes real and effective to the degree that the Marianist Family exists.

2.2 The guarantee of the Marianist identity of each branch is in its union with the other branches.

2.3 The actualization of the Marianist Family makes each branch grow in identity and fruitfulness.

  • **Consequently, the necessity arises of offering a model of the Marianist Family that is capable of giving a convincing response to the world today. Therefore, we decided to constitute the WORLD COUNCIL OF THE MARIANIST FAMILY as the representative organ which enables the actualization of the Marianist Family today and the fulfillment of its mission.


3.1 Members:

  • the General Councils of each of the four branches of the Family at the world level.

3.2 Organization and meetings:

  • The head of each branch, in rotation, is president for a term of two years; he or she sets the agenda after consulting the other
  • The Council meets once a year for at least two complete days.
    In order to assure its efficient functioning and putting into practice its decisions, the World Council has a Secretariat.
    The Secretary is designated by majority agreement of the branches.  His/her ordinary functions are:
    • to assure communication among the members of the Council and between it and the national Family Councils;
    • to prepare the letter of convocation and the agenda for the meetings, in accord with the President;
    • to foresee the organizational and practical elements for the meetings;
    • to write up the minutes of the meetings and send them to the members of the Council;
    • to send out the communications and proposals of the Council to the Marianist Family;
    • to maintain the historical archive of the minutes and other documents of the Council.

3.3 Competencies:

  • To promote a family spirit which makes possible mutual challenge.
  • To combine respect for the autonomy of each branch with the spirit of interdependence.
  • To submit to the consideration of each branch the suggestions made by the Council.
  • To have decision-making power over those common features or actions which all the branches of the World Council of the Marianist
    Family unanimously agree upon, considering all other decisions as recommendations.

3.4 Functions:

  • To "build family."
  • To share about the life and reality of each of the branches.
  • To reflect in common on that life and to make suggestions about it.
  • To determine modes of coming together: celebrations, formation, experiences and common actions of ecclesial or social character.
  • To determine directives in what concerns the Family.

3.5 Economic relations:

  • Meetings:
    • The cost of travel is prorated among all.
    • Each branch pays its own lodging expenses when there are such.
  • Organization:
    • The costs of organization are shared among the branches, which contribute according to the following percentages:  44% by the SM, 35% by the MLC, 20% by the FMI and 1% by the Alliance Mariale.
  • Projects:
    • The approval of a joint project, depending upon the World Council, requires the approval of the budget for foreseeable expenses, along with the contribution of each branch to the project.
    • Those in charge of the project present an annual report on it, including the corresponding budget report, for evaluation at the Council meeting.