Reflection: Belley

It was in Belley and from Belley that the Marist project began to take shape.

  • The Colin brothers had moved from Cerdon at the end of 1824; the Marist Sisters’ group had also moved there.
  • It was in Belley that Colin discovered another aspect of the Marist msision; education to young people.
  • It was also here that Colin developed his understanding of Marists’ relationship with bishops and the local church.

Colin respected and admired Belley Bishop, Bishop Devie.¬†One one occasion he said: “Monsignor Devie is one of the finest examples of a bishop that I know… When he was appointed this region was abandoned. He has totally renewed it.”

At the same time, there were tensions between the two men, because of their different aims.

Colin said: “What made me suffer most was the opposition of the Bishop of Belley, because he was my bishop. I wished I could have the same opinions, and when I realised that I could not think like him without dropping everything, that tore me apart.”

But despite the differences, Colin would not act without the approval of his bishop. He said: “What imperceptibly put me at the head of the Society is that some of my confreres wanted to fight bishops. Then I separated from them. The greatest grace I have received is that I have always kept united to the bishops. My brother and I had the same thought: Let the Society perish rather than go against authroity. If the Society is God’s work, God will maintain it.”

Colin said on more than one occasion that Marists must act in such a way that “bishops can look on the Society as their own.”

Prayer Intention
For the bishops of local churches where Marists work, and for provincial and superiors of districts and delegations who are trying to find ways of supporting the local church while being faithful to the international character of the Marist vocation.