The Church in rural France needed to be revitalized after the devastation of the French revolution. Jean-Claude Colin and his companions were inspired to found the Society of Mary; to establish a band of missionaries to go out into the villages and hamlets of the Bugey district to catechize, baptize, preach and absolve.
In 1824 Jean-Claude Colin and his brother Pierre Colin, in the parish of Cerdon, were joined by Etienne Déclas, to form the first little band that would put into effect that mission amongst believers. Pierre considered this a formative moment of the Society: “Today the little Society of Mary begins!”
Today the Church calls for a new evangelization of those lands where once the Word of God flourished but is now being choked by the thorns of secularism, consumerism and neglect. Into this world the Society of Mary is called to bring the saving Word of Christ in the spirit of Mary.