When I first applied and got accepted to Marist College four years ago, I had not heard much about what the school was like. Sure, I had heard of the renowned Marist Poll, and I was blown away by the beauty of the campus (and the antics of one Art Himmelberger at Accepted Students Day); however, I had heard little about what the campus was like, aside from a few scripted experts from tour guides. Of course, after I accepted my application to Marist, everyone seemed to know about Marist. “Oh, I have a friend who went there and loved it!” and “My son is currently enrolled, and he really fits in the campus,” are phrases I heard all too frequently. You can stop me if you have also experienced this phenomenom as well.
Imagine my surprise, then, to find out that Marist College in Poughkeepsie is not the only Marist College. And it is not the Florence campus I am talking about.
To see what I mean, pull up the Wikipedia page pertaining to the disambiguated use of Marist College. The Marist College we all know and love is emboldened at the top, but immediately below that is a list of colleges in Australia. Yes, a list, because there are seven different schools with the name Marist College (and one regional college), all located in Australia. There is also one Marist College in New Zealand, and another in Ireland.
Before you get the idea to study abroad by applying to one of these Marist colleges, these are not the colleges you are looking for. While to us in America the word college refers to an institution housing the highest forms of education, the word college can also refer to a secondary school – in other words, a high school. A few of the schools also provide primary education and even kindergarten. Therefore, the Marist College in Poughkeepsie is the only college in the sense of how we define it.
If they are not related to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, and if they are not even the same type of education, then you may wonder why they share the same name. It goes back to the founding of Marist College, under the Marist Brothers. The Catholic institution which was founded by French priest Marcellin Champagnat in 1817, spread out across the world to combat illiteracy and spiritual poverty after witnessing the struggles of post-revolution France. As they spread across the world, they founded schools in locations that would allow them to further their mission. Most had names local to the location, but many were founded with the name Marist, connecting the school to the title of the Brothers.
Going further down the Wikipedia page, the list of schools founded by the Marist Brothers is visible. Click on that link, and you are transported to an enormous list of schools from day-care to colleges like Marist, all located across the world. Of the ones named with the name Marist, there are several interesting facts that can be gleamed from this page, as well at the official school websites they are attached to:
- In total, there are 14 schools, past and present, with the name Marist College in part or whole. Only Marist College in Poughkeepsie caters to studies beyond high school.
- In addition, there are 10 schools with the name Colegio Marista – Spanish for Marist College. Like the Australia schools, their student bodies primarily consist of high school students, with a few students in lower education levels.
- Marist College in Poughkeepsie is the only Marist College that is not a Catholic institution (it went lay in 1969), although some brothers do remain on the campus.
One curious note that can be seen from the vast list of schools is that there is a sheer amount of schools located in Australia and New Zealand. While it seems curious at first, there is an explanation to this. As explained by the website of the Marist Youth Care of Australia, the brothers first came to Australia in 1872, as part of their first international mandate. There, they began to spread out, forming schools in poorer locations in Australia. This later spread out to other locations in the Oceania region, including New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and Papa New Guinea. Approximately 300 Marist Brothers are currently located in the Oceana region, which features the highest concentration of Marist-founded schools.
So next time someone asks about how it is like to attend Marist College, say to them “Which Marist College?” See how they react when you tell them about the different Marists across the world, and how despite having different ideals, still carry the same tradition that the name Marist