The Mayet Memoirs
In November, 1846 Father Colin said during recreation, ‘Gentlemen, the piety of the Carthusians and Trappists is one thing, that of the Marists another. The Carthusians and Trappists save souls by prayer. We ave them by action joined to prayer. It is the same thing basically, but we follow a different line.”
In the thought of Father Colin, Nazareth represents a lighthouse which every Marist ought to have clearly marked on his navigational chart of the spiritual life. However, we must also take into account the other lighthouse,which is Mary of Pentecost Sunday, inviting her children to accomplish in our century what the Apostles accomplished in the time of the early Church. Yet in the midst of all, I have the impression that another light was the profound source, namely the Holy Spirit, who hovers over the world,who gave life to the withered bones in the vision of Ezechiel, who overshadowed Mary, accomplishing in her the conception of God’s son, who breathed upon the Apostles and made them witnesses of Christ, and who still continues to assist the Church today.
– Nicolas Gauthier, sm
If we want a unifying principle of our Marist spirit, we could find it only in fidelity to the Holy Spirit…. It is the Spirit, acting within the Church and the Society, who sees to it that the Marists of today learn how to walk in the footsteps of Mary and of their founder.
In this sense, to live the Marist spirit is, in a word, to listen to the Holy Spirit telling us about our place in the heart of the Society of Mary.
T o live the Marist spirit will amount, in effect, to being completely faithful to our vocation, that is to say, to the thousand suggestions of the Holy Spirit speaking to us about our particular situation.
– Jean Coste, sm
In the house of La Neyliere in France, where Jean-Claude Colin is buried, a fresco has been painted on the wall of the Chapel. The fresco depicts the central theme of the mystery of Mary in the church. The artist, Chantal Dessirier, wrote of this composition: I did not want to do a realistic representation of the life of Mary; everyone knows that, and to do so would have tended to make the viewer become a spectator, seeing it as a picture book. I hoped rather that the visitor would enter into the scene…. The dominant image is the scene of Pentecost, with Mary and the Apostles fired with the giftof the Spirit.(The Spirit of the Lord fills the wholeworld). In the background to the Pentecost scene are five major “memories”of Mary: the Annunciation (I am the handmaid of the Lord); the Nativity (The Word was made flesh); the Finding in the Temple (I must be about my Father’s business); the Wedding at Cana (Do what he tells you); and Calvary (Behold your Mother). Of the Pentecost scene, Chantal Dessirier says: Mary, in the Pentecost scene, is the keystone, she is the basis of the composition; everything rests on her. But through the use of colour, I was concerned that she should remain discreet and hidden. She blends in with the apostles, who standout, if not by their height, at least by their colouring. In fact, Mary is not in the centre of the apostles. There are seven on one side of her, and five on the other. The key of the early Church is Peter, the first Pope. Mary submerges into the community of which she is one of the members among the others. Without words, without any dramatic actions, she witnesses to the Lord simply by her life. The apostles look to her as a visible witness to the presence of the Lord. They draw their inspiration from her. Mary does not assume the role of leader, but she is truly the Queen of the Apostles by her silent, attentive, loving, prayerful presence. The fresco seems to underline the words of Father Colin: “What a model Mary is for us! She bears the title ‘Queen of Apostles’ and rightly, and yet she is more hidden than any of the apostles”.
Marist Fathers’ Constitution
Because they bear the name of Mary, Marists desire to be like her and follow Jesus as she did. Contemplating Mary in the mysteries of Nazareth and Pentecost and her role at the end of f time, they come to share her zeal for her son’s mission in his struggle agains evil, and to respond with promptness to the most urgent needs of God’s people.
– Constitution 8