The Marist Brothers is a Catholic congregation that states its mission is the Christian education of young people, particularly those most neglected. The Marist Brothers ran St Vincent's Boys Home from 1898. The Marist Brothers had a monastery next to the Mittagong Cottage Homes and Mittagong Farm Home, and provided spiritual guidance to Catholic state children who lived in the homes. They also ran a large number of New South Wales Catholic schools.
The Marist Brothers were founded by French curate Marcellin Champagnat in the early 19th century to provide education for the children of peasants who were struggling to rebuild their lives after the Napoleonic wars. Marcellin was himself raised on a farm and was used to hard work and an extremely simple lifestyle, so took those values into the Order he founded.
In 1872, the Marists responded to a call from the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney to open schools in the poorer city areas of Sydney. Their earliest school was at St Patrick's in The Rocks area, which was soon followed by elementary schools in the Haymarket, Broadway and Parramatta areas and a boarding school in Sydney.
In 1902 the Marist Brothers formed the Province of Australasia. In 1917 this split into the Province of Australia and the Province of New Zealand. In 1948 another split created separate provinces in Melbourne and Sydney. At the end of 2012 the Province of Australia was reconstituted.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Mittagong Children's Farm', Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 1914, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15541576; Marist Brothers focus on their future, Catholic Religious Australia, 22 February 2012, http://www.catholicreligiousaustralia.org/index.php/news-a-views/news/item/371-marist-brothers-focus-on-their-future; 'Our History', in Marist Youth Care, Marist Youth Care, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20170216113707/http://maristyc.com.au/about-us/our-history; 'St Vincent's Westmead', in Our History, Marist Youth Care, 2012, http://web.archive.org/web/20120320134029/http://www.maristyc.com.au/MYC/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=14; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.
Prepared by: Melissa Downing & Naomi Parry
Created: 7 March 2011, Last modified: 11 September 2014