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St. Marcellin Champagnat

Joseph Benedict Marcellin Champagnat was born in 1789 in France. He was ordained a priest in 1816 for the Archdiocese of Lyon. He developed an interest in the education of children from his own experience. Because of the French Revolution, Marcellin could not attend school until he was eleven. On his first day, the teacher beat a student for trying to answer a questioned directed to Marcellin. Marcellin left school and did not return to formal schooling until he entered the seminary when he was sixteen. He was very intelligent, but his lack of schooling made it difficult for him to keep up with his theological studies. He succeeded and was ordained in 1816. He became determined to offer children a loving, positive education, especially after he administered the sacraments to a dying sixteen year old boy who seemed to have little knowledge of the faith. Marcellin founded the Marist Brothers of the Schools when he had only been a priest six months. Marcellin was deeply prayerful and he insisted that Marist Brothers also be deeply prayerful. He often said that the order was "all God's work…this is all Mary's work." Marcellin Champagnat died in 1840 and was canonized in 1999.

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