The cause of Antoine Marie Garin

Fr. Antoine Marie Garin

In 2016 in New Zealand the cause of beatification of Marist Father Antoine Marie Garin was launched.

After making his profession as a member of the Society of Mary, in 1840 Garin was assigned to New Zealand, where he arrived with 10 other members of the society on the Mary Grey at the Bay of Islands on 14 June 1841. He was provincial of the Marists in New Zealand from 1841 to 1843 and, despite Pompallier’s growing antagonism to the society, he was nominated several times to Rome as a possible bishop.

In 1850 he was assigned to Nelson where he remained for the next 40 years. He had the pastoral care of 200 – 300 Catholics scattered over the huge area of Nelson, Buller, Marlborough and the northern part of the region that became Westland. He journeyed constantly to visit his people, on both foot and horseback, often inflicting great privations on his not over robust constitution. He was responsible for education early in Nelson’s history and opened orphanages for both boys and girls as early as 1872. In 1876 he gave lectures to the citizens of Nelson for a fee to raise funds to purchase land for a boy’s orphanage. The sum collected was thirteen pounds.

Garin died on the 14th April 1889.

When Garin was exhumed 18 months after his death, to be reinterred in the crypt below this chapel his body was found to be incorrupt despite the coffin found filled with water which was the quickest way for a body to decompose.

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