The first Marists arrived in New Caledonia in December 1843. They were led by Bishop Douarre, who was at that time the coadjutor of Bishop Bataillon, Vicar Apostolic of Central Oceania.
The first Mass was said by the Bishop at Balade, on Christmas Day, 1843, and the mission was begun at Balade.
A new mission was opened at Pouebo in 1847.
Brother Blaise Marmoiton was murdered at Balade in 1847, after which all the missionaries in the two stations were evacuated.
Two other efforts were made to establish the church on the main island of New Caledonia: at Hienghene, which closed in 1849, and Yate, which closed in 1850.
However, Bishop Douarre did not give up, and started again at Balade in 1851. This time the mission persevered. The mission reopened in Pouebo in 1852.
From that time on the mission started to spread throughout the island of New Caledonia and its offshore islands.
There are eighteen Marists in New Caledonia: the Archbishop, fifteen priests, one brother and one deacon and one seminarian on Pastoral Year. Of these, three are cared for by the Little Sisters of the Poor at “Ma Maison” in Noumea.
Where we work
We work in ten parishes in New Caledonia. Many of these have one man in each parish, but there are two larger communities involved in parish work: three in Pouebo, three in Saint Louis.