In 1797 Fr. Chaminade was forced to immigrate to Saragossa, Spain, where he lived for three years. Near the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar, he forged his Marian-apostolic convictions and was inspired to found a family of laity and religious dedicated to Mary. In November 1800 Fr. Chaminade returned to Bordeaux and refounded the Marian Sodality with a new apostolic thrust. He made every effort to give his sodalists a solid religious formation and a deep sense of mission, encouraging them to offer to an indifferent society “the spectacle of a people of saints.”
Fr. Chaminade received the title of Missionary Apostolic from the Holy See in 1801. Fr. Chaminade viewed his own ministry and that of the Marian Sodalities as a permanent mission, directed toward formation in the faith, using new methods and working in close alliance with Mary.
In 1816, together with the Venerable Adéle de Batz de Trenquelléon (1789-1828), he founded at Agen the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (FMI), and the following year, at Bordeaux, the Society of Mary (SM).
The two institutes received approval from Pope Gregory XVI in 1839. Since teaching was a primary need at that time, both religious institutes dedicated themselves to primary, secondary, trade and teacher training schools. They taught in order to educate and form their pupils in the faith.
The last 10 years of Chaminade’s life were a time of severe trial. He faced all difficulties with great confidence in Mary. Fr. Chaminade died peacefully in Bordeaux on January 22, 1850.
On September 3, 2000, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II declared Fr. Chaminade Blessed.