Congratulations to Sr Birisita Bibi who made her Perpetual Profession as a Marist Sister in Fiji recently. Biri’s family and friends from Levuka, where Biri has been on mission over recent years, arrived in Lami in great numbers on Friday 6th December. They were accommodated at the school premises.
At 10.00 am on the 7th December, the Profession Mass began in the parish church in Lami, Suva. Fr John Crispin sm was main celebrant. He was assisted by six other priests. The church was filled to the doors with the presence of the Marist Sisters, Biri’s family and the youth choir from Levuka. The whole community was filled with joy as Sr Biri made her final commitment to God. At the end of the Mass, all were invited to the parish hall for lunch. After lunch the sisters gathered at the convent for the unwrapping of gifts. What a happy day it was for the sisters, for Biri’s family and friends and for Biri.
Marist Sisters Beverley Lewis and Maureen Crick represented the Unit of Australia at the farewell to the Marist Fathers in Gladstone. After 118 years of faithful service to the people of the Parish, the Fathers will leave Gladstone on 4th January 2020. It was a celebration of sorrow and joy.
On Friday 22nd November the Parish Community gathered to celebrate the Eucharist with representatives from the Rockhampton Diocesan Clergy, including Bishop Michael McCarthy and the previous Bishop, Brian Heenan, Marist Fathers, including Father Ben McKenna SM from the General House in Rome, Brothers, Sisters, Missionary Sisters and Sisters of Mercy. There was great excitement as old friends were reunited at this joyful celebration of thanksgiving. After Mass, the Clergy and Religious gathered at the Bowling Club for a dinner hosted by Bishop Michael on behalf of the Diocese. It was a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the many religious who had ministered in Gladstone over a number of years.
On Saturday evening, a farewell dinner was held at the Yaralla Sports Club. About 150 people attended the dinner. Mr Peter Turich was the MC for evening. Mr Matt Burnett, the Mayor, welcomed everyone and apologised that he was unable to stay. After the entrée, Bishop Michael thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the Parish and remarked on the wonderful spirit of co-operation the Marists had with the Diocese. Father Tony Corcoran SM responded on behalf of the Fathers. Following the main course Warren Fellowes, who lived all of his life in Gladstone, spoke on behalf of the parishioners. He paid tribute to the Priests of the Parish who were always ready to listen to the advice of the local people. We then stood to sing the Hail Queen Heaven with adapted words for the occasion, after which all the Marist Fathers present went forward to cut the cake. The cutting of the cake and tea and coffee ended the formalities for the evening, giving people time to renew friendships. During the evening we were entertained with an ongoing slide show and many photos around the walls of Marist Fathers dating back 118 years.
Sunday morning marked the final day of celebration. Mass was con-celebrated with the Bishop at Chanel College in the Marian Centre. In the opening procession symbols of the all the areas of the Parish were presented – Star of the Sea Church in town, Tannum Sands, Calliope, Mt. Larcom, Ubobo, Miriam Vale and Agnes Waters. Father Peter McMurrich preached the homily which included much of the history of the Gladstone parish. At the conclusion of Mass, Mrs Judy Aitkenhead, on behalf of the parishioners, thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the parish. We then proceeded to La Valla Court for morning tea and to catch up with many more people.
Bev and Maureen were grateful to be able to take part in these wonderful celebrations.
In the Philippines Marist Sisters are found ministering in Davao. It is always a joy for the sisters when they are able to connect with other members of the Marist Family. Recently they welcomed new members of the Marist Fathers community
The Sisters in the Philippines engage in a number of ministries that see them reaching out to bring hope and dignity to others. Their ministry includes spiritual and pastoral support in their local parish, dental services for those in jail, Planning support for ex-inmates and reaching out to those impacted by a recent earthquake.
November is the month when we traditionally remember all those who have died. New Zealand Marist Sisters from Auckland communities gathered at Panmure cemetery recently to pray for our Sisters buried there and to decorate their graves. The newest graves belong to Sisters Isabelle and Margaret Therese who died during 2019. Prayers of gratitude were expressed for their life and example of Marist living and for inspiring us as we endeavour to walk in Mary’s way.
Congregation Leader of the Marist Sisters, Sr Grace Ellul, has just completed her visitation to Australia. During her visit Grace spent time with each sister and engaged in conversation and reflection about the whole Congregation. The Marist Sisters in Australia were delighted to have Grace in their midst over these days. At the end of her visit sisters who were able gathered at Hunter Hill. This was an opportunity to thank Grace for her visit and to celebrate her birthday a few days in advance of the event.
(Click on images below to see an enlarged version of the photo)
On Saturday the 5th of October, several Religious Congregations, Diocesan seminarians and young people gathered at Saint Joseph parish, Grey Lynn Auckland for a Vocation Expo. Marist Sisters in New Zealand were represented by Srs Tulua and Seini.
The day started with a mass at 8:15 am and various people from different congregations shared on their vocation call and charism to young people. It was a lovely opportunity to meet a lot of young Catholic people and share our Marist charism. The day ended with a lovely lunch.
Empowerment through Presence
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters
Life is full of mysteries and we often wonder how we may ever solve some of them. I am sure that you young women of our Marist School often wonder what your future might be. Whether you are going to fulfil your dream to become a doctor or marry a handsome and successful guy or whether you are going to be a caring mother of some beautiful children, or better still perhaps a Marist Sister.
Some of the mysteries of my life began to unfold when I was as young person like you. Growing up, I really looked up to my dad because he had a way of empowering me to be the best person I could be. My dad was my greatest role model for he helped me unfold some of the mysteries in my life.
As a young person Jeanne-Marie Chavoin too was influenced by her father as she was discerning God’s will in her life. But life was a big mystery for her too, as she did not know what God wanted her to do but she waited, listened in prayers and answered His call and that is how we have our congregation of the Marist Sisters.
Chavoin’s life showed a great sense of balance. What do I mean by that? That means that she lived her life knowing that prayer and service must go hand in hand. She believed that God’s Loving Presence in the Eucharist gave meaning and spiritual power to her work. Chavoin believed that her prayer life provided her with purpose and meaning for doing her work well.
Father Colin, the founder of the Marist Family, affirms this, saying “In all the three branches of the Society (Marist Fathers, Marist Brothers and the Marist Sisters), Chavoin is the person with the greatest spirit of prayer. I believe that Fr Colin would have agreed with me that Jeanne-Marie Chavoin is a woman of balance and one who empowered people with whom she came in contact.
In our Gospel today, we see that Mary, the mother of Jesus empowered people through her attentive and loving presence at the Wedding feast in a place called Cana in Galilee. Mary noticed that the wine for the party was nearly finished so to avoid embarrassment for the host family she took the matter to Jesus. Because Mary was attentive to her Son, a positive result came about. People had lots of wine to drink. Jeanne-Marie Chavoin did learn from Mary how to be a woman of empowerment through her presence in every situation.
One of the things that we could all learn from Jeanne-Marie Chavoin is to be people (men and women) of prayer an action here in our Marist College community. If she were here today, she would remind us all, that God is the source of strength and power, and our work and learning here in this school can only find meaning in God through prayer. So, how often do you spend time talking and listening to God? As we leave today from this Eucharistic celebration, let us remind ourselves that God is always wanting to have a chat with us. Are we ready?
A group of twenty five Marist Sisters from around the world have gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, for a time of renewal the theme of which is Drinking from the Wellsprings of Life. During the first week participants have appreciated being together and the contemplative atmosphere that has permeated each days activities. There has been time for input, for reflecting, for sharing and for experiencing the beauty of the world around us. The Fijian Community in Auckland paid a visit to the group one evening which was a rich cultural experience for all.