"Having been born in the township of Saint-Genest-Malifaux (Loire), I became aware, because of the extreme difficulty I encountered in learning to read and write, of the urgent necessity of creating a society which could, with less expense, provide for the rural areas the good education which the Brothers of the Christian Schools provide for the cities" (Arbues, 1998, p.81).
Marcellin went home overwhelmed ... saying over and over to himself: "How many children are in the same predicament every day, exposed to the same dangers because they have no-one to teach them the truths of the faith?" (Arbues, 1998, p.82).
"The sum ... is already little enough to meet the expenses of the upkeep of the three Brothers in a town. To reduce it still more would be, it seems to me, to snatch away from them, not only the miserable salary attached to the most thankless and difficult job of any citizen, but even their poor and unappetising food" (Arbues, 1998, p.82).
"If God blesses us," he reflected, "we could very well set up house there (in the valley of the Gier river)". (Arbues, 1998, p.83)
A good education is the surest way to form good subjects for society. Unfortunately, most of the rural towns are deprived of that advantage: the insufficiency of local resources and the poverty of their inhabitants does not permit them to confide the education of their children to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, whose merits and ability are well-known; hence the sad necessity of either letting their children grow up in disastrous ignorance, or (which is even more distressing), handing them over to teachers who are hardly capable of training them in the knowledge and virtues necessary for good citizens.
To eliminate these drawbacks, the undersigned, Marcellin Champagnat, a priest of the diocese of Lyons, seeing the zeal which the king and his government put into providing the great benefit of education for all levels of society, decided to create, near the city of St Chamond, an association of elementary teachers, under the name of Little Brothers Mary, and drew up the following statutes in order to obtain an authorisation which would give the members of this society the means to carry out their important and demanding function in a legal and therefore more effective manner. (Arbues, 1998, p.83)
Ref: Arbués, B. (Ed.) (1998). In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat A Vision for Marist Education Today. Rome: The International Marist Education Commission.