Members of the Society of Mary (Marianists) marked the 200th anniversary of their religious order’s foundation with an Oct. 2 liturgy at Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu. The ceremony also honored the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters) for their 201 years of service.

The cathedral, designated as a National Historic Landmark, was an appropriate setting for the bicentennial celebration, in that a Eucharist was held there in 1883 to give thanks for the Marianists’ safe arrival in Hawaii. The brothers and priests went on to staff and administer Saint Louis School on Oahu and St. Anthony School on Maui.

The Marianist family was established two centuries ago as the Roman Catholic Church struggled to rebuild following widespread persecution during the French Revolution.

Venerable Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon formed the Daughters of Mary Immaculate in 1816 in Agen, France, with a mission of caring for the poor.

The following year, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade established the Society of Mary in Bordeaux, France. The original community was comprised of seven young men who desired to “consecrate themselves to God and to Mary by the vows of religion.”

Two hundred years later, Marianists serve in 26 countries on five continents. Embracing education as a means of uplifting society, the Marianists founded the University of Dayton in 1850, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio in 1852, and Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1955.