Where Are We/Ministries

First Community in France (1823)

The first Marist Sisters Community was established in France in 1823 when our Foundress Jeanne-Marie Chavoin and her companion Marie Jotillion came together and formed community in Cerdon, France. A short time later Marie Gardet joined them and became the third member of this founding community.


Sr Sylvette Mané sm

Text based on a meditation by Sister Marie Emmanuel Duclos sm Belley.

Two hundred years ago, in Cerdon,
 in a climate of uncertainty but trust

The first community of Marist Sisters 
with Jeanne Marie Chavoin and Marie Jotillon.

They quietly began the first foundations.
of a new community that today 
celebrates 200 years of service,
Entirely given by the hands of Mary,
to the God of eternity.

These tall trees with their thick foliage, 
standing tall and reaching for the sky, 
are the symbol and image 
of a long and rich past.

The land looks empty - 
has it been abandoned?
Are the many roots a sign of solidity, 
fruitfulness in the future?

And are the falling dead branches
 a source of fertility
for the seeds sown in the ground.

Confident and determined, 
we Marist Sisters continue our journey.

Mary is with us.
As we cross a new threshold
Nourished by the manna of the Eucharist.
Of prayer and love in community
To bring new hope.

Yesterday, with courage,
Jeanne Marie and Mary sowed.

Today, in faith and perseverance,
 we continue to pursue our mission.

Tomorrow, confident in the Providence 
that always takes care of this 
little Congregation of Mary.
200th Celebrations of the First Community in the Parish Church, Cerdon on 8th September 2023 … our Sisters in France were joined by a group of Marist Sisters on Renewal.

Our Current Ministries

  • Prayer
  • Organising Sunday Mass at Bon Repos, bringing Communion to the sick
  • Mary’s presence in our homes
  • Witness to fraternal life
  • Accompaniment of fragile sisters
  • Quality relations with our neighbours
  • Openness of our communities: welcome, reciprocal services
  • Invitation to our Masses during Marian celebrations in Lyon
  • Keeping accounts in solidarity with the Congregation
  • Sharing with the poor, near and far
  • Supporting migrants: learning French; taking part in aid meetings
  • Commitment to the abolition of torture: letters to the authorities of the countries concerned
  • Research work in the archives of the OPM (Pontifical Mission Societies)
  • Respect for our “common home” (nature and animals)
  • Waste sorting
  • Saving energy: gas, electricity, petrol