The first members of the Society of Mary came from sodalities and began to work in already existing schools (and then founded some of their own) as a means of bringing a Catholic, Christian culture to be the dominant culture in France in the early 1800s.
Marianists today are involved in educational ministries at the university, secondary and primary levels. They also minister in parishes and retreat centers. There are 17 Marianist high schools in the U.S. Province of the Society of Mary along with three universities (Chaminade University of Honolulu, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and the University of Dayton in Ohio).
Member schools in the Marianist tradition strive to practice the virtues of Jesus and Mary so that they might educate as would Jesus and Mary. In the words of Blessed Chaminade, "We teach in order to educate." Teaching develops skill and transferred knowledge. Marianist education cultivates habits of mind, heart and spirit — all informed, animated, and permeated by the Christian spirit. Member schools find their anchor in the Characteristics of Marianist Education (CME). At Chaminade-Madonna, we aim to:
- Educate for formation in faith;
- Provide an integral, quality education;
- Educate in family spirit;
- Educate for service, justice, peace, and the integrity of creation;
- Educate for adaptation and change.
The description of these characteristics of Marianist education, found below, is offered to all associated with Chaminade-Madonna including board of trustees, administrative personnel, faculty, parents, staff, and students. All are invited to work together in the Marianist tradition.
Educate for formation in faith
- Bear witness with a personal and committed faith that touches the heart.
- Promote a faith and culture dialogue which illuminates reality from the perspective of the gospel.
- Form students in the gospel's values and Christian attitudes.
- Educate in a free and responsible style which elicits a personal response of faith.
- Bear witness with a faithful commitment to the Church that makes the gospel credible today and tomorrow.
- Make present the example and influence of Mary as the first disciple and as an educator in faith.
Provide an integral, quality education
- Promote quality education of the whole person.
- Provide coherent curricula.
- A well-formed and professional administration, faculty, and staff; and adequate facilities and finances.
- Develop respect for the dignity of the person as a daughter or son of God, unique and individual.
- Develop an interior spirit and self-knowledge.
- Develop a concern for global and local issues of culture, ecology, and the use of technology.
- Foster a diverse faculty and staff as well as a diverse student body.
- Offer Mary as a model of integrity in relation to the realities of the world.
Educate in family spirit
- Create a favorable environment for education.
- Cultivate interpersonal relationships characterized by openness, respect, integrity, and dialogue.
- Form an educational community with collaborative structures and processes.
- Express our authority as a loving and dedicated service.
- Influence others by exhibiting the Marian traits of openness, hospitality, graciousness, and faith.
Educate for service, justice and peace
- Promote a missionary spirit for the reign of God.
- Educate for solidarity as well as justice and peace.
- Attend to the poor and marginalized.
- Promote the dignity and rights of women.
- Promote programs of service, encouraging the formation of Christian service groups.
- Under the prophetic influence of Mary, announce the goodness and justice of God and denounce oppression.
Educate for adaptation and change
- Educate to shape the future.
- Educate persons to accept and respect differences in a pluralistic society.
- Develop critical thinking skills in the search for truth.
- Be open and adapt to local and global contexts through inculturation and interdisciplinary education.
- "Do whatever he tells you." Be available and respond to the signs of the times in faith.