Marcellin Champagnat was born in France in 1789. He was ordained a priest and founded the Marist Brothers, a community of religious dedicated to the education of youth. Marcellin was appointed to a remote rural parish and was struck by the isolation of the people and their lack of education, especially concerning the Catholic faith. Severe discipline was often given in schools, but Marcellin resolved that his schools would be characterized by equity and mercy. ‘To raise childr5n properly, we should love them and love them all equally,’ he said. He also decided that he and the brothers must live in the same conditions as the working poor and share their burdens.
By the time of Marcellin’s death in 1840, there were 280 Marist Brothers in the south of France. They have since established schools all across the world. He was declared a saint by Saint John Paul II in 1999. His feast day is observed on June 6. He is venerated as the patron of educators.