“Adaptation for change is part of Marianist charism and their racial justice call to action ”
U.S. Marianists worked historically in an educational mission initially serving European immigrants and their descendants. As the demographics of some areas in which they served changed, they remained in those locations and adapted to serve new populations, including African Americans. While the Second Vatican Council called on Religious Congregations to recover their charisms, this tended to be accomplished from the top-down drawing on the original mission of the congregation. The changes we are examining (i.e., racial justice responses) are consistent with the founding Marianist charism but also an organic development emerging from interactions at the local level. To get at the order’s historical organizational responses to inclusion/ exclusion of African Americans in lay and professed lives and the race relations dynamics at the province and parish levels, we will use three methods: 1) archival analysis using records from the National Archives of the Marianist Province of the United States; 2) interviews with professed priests, brothers, and/or sisters with lived experiences tied to Catholic and Marianist racial justice pursuits; and 3) participatory observations at minimally two Black Catholic parishes to understand present Catholic anti-racism efforts and in comparison to Marianist efforts over time. The combination of archival records, interviews, and observations will allow us to understand how Marianist responses at local levels helped and/or hindered racial justice action from 1950 – 1980s.