In 1830, at the age of forty, Jean-Claude Colin accepted the call of his colleagues to take charge of the Society of Mary (Marists). He had joined this project as a seminarian in Lyons, France, in 1816, along with Marcellin Champagnat, future founder of the Marist teaching brothers. Since ordination, he had been an assistant priest at Cerdon (photo below), preached revival missions in rural districts and been principal of a high school-seminary. Colin always insisted that he was only a temporary superior until someone more capable could take over. Yet, by the time he resigned in 1854, he had obtained papal approval of the priests' branch, established the Society firmly in France, especially in education, and sent fifteen expeditions of missionary priests and brothers to the remote and scattered islands of the southwest Pacific. There they planted the Catholic Church in New Zealand, Wallis and Futuna, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia. Between his resignation and his death in 1875, Colin wrote Constitutions for the priests and brothers of the Society of Mary and for the Marist sisters. He also left a rich spiritual teaching. For this achievement, the Society regards him, despite his reluctance, as its Founder.