Working Against Human Trafficking and Slavery

In the Asia-Pacific region Marist Sisters in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in the work against human trafficking and slavery. The sisters are members of ACRATH in Australia and Talitha Kum Aotearoa New Zealand in New Zealand.

Over recent week ACRATH has been advocating with members of the Commonwealth Parliament. Due to Covid-19 this year all meeting took part online. In addition to members of Parliament the ACRATH team also meets with members of Government Department. The image depicts a meeting with the Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking, Lucienne Manton (centre of lower right image), and her team. ACRATH is convinced that it is only through collaboration with government, NGOs and civil society that human trafficking and slavery can be eliminated.

The recent ACRATH Newsletter outlines ACRATH’s advocacy issues in 2020. It also gives a snapshot of other ACRATH activities over recent months. Download a copy of the latest ACRATH newsletter here.

Celebrations in New Zealand

On Sunday 4 October Marist Sisters in New Zealand celebrated with joy, 60 years of profession for Sr Margaret Vaney!  Her brother Fr Neil Vaney sm was the celebrant.  We celebrated Mass  in the beautifully prepared Mt Albert Chapel.  It was a very happy and joy-filled occasion during which Margaret renewed her vows. After the Mass we made our way to a restaurant on the rural outskirts of the city.  Following this we returned back to Mt Albert for cake-cutting, gifts and speeches! It was a wonderful day!

 

On the same weekend those sisters who were able gathered at the cemetry in Panmure for the unveiling of the headstone for Srs Isabelle Harding and Margaret Therese Kerins. Family and friends of the sisters were also present.

 

From the “Depths” and “Heights” of Lockdown

Despite being in lockdown for six months due to Covid-19 Marist Sisters resident in St Joseph’s Aged Care are still deeply interested in Congregation and world events. Their passion and commitment is an inspiration to all of us. On behalf of the group Sr Marie Berise writes the following:

“We six Marist Sisters residing at St. Joseph’s Aged Care, Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia, have been in lockdown since the 19th March 2020, only leaving this place for important, necessary medical treatment. We received with joy the beautiful, inspiring Jubilee for the Earth – New Rhythms, New Hope” material. It resonates deeply with the groundswell happening in Australia to raise awareness of climate change and the desire to reach renewable energy targets by 2050, despite the coronavirus and bushfire issues. The Government – Federal and State – and the many local groups are active. We here – Josephite Sisters, lay women and ourselves – prayerfully do very small things, cultivating gardens, recycling waste materials and plastics. How encouraging to read Ross Garnaut, one of our top experts in this field, in his wonderful book about Australia’s low carbon opportunity citing Pope Francis’s Laudato Si as the “most rigorous, comprehensive and influential” treatment of the ethics, science and technology issues to protect our common home throughout the world. In Laudato Si no. 218 Pope Francis quotes the Australian Bishops calling all to ecological conversion. We look to the future of our world with renewed hope.”

Photo: L-R: Srs Joan McBride, Anne Saunders, Marie Clarke (seated) and Srs Marie Patricia Toomey, Patricia Bartley and Marie Berise Nash (standing)

Latest ACRATH News

Marist Sisters in Australia have supported the work of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) since its beginning in 2005.

In the September issue of ACRATH News you can read about ACRATH’s new Forced Marriage Video Presentation which was launched in August. The Australian Federal Police participated in the launch and explored the issues facing local authorities working to combat forced marriage. Other stories include:

  • ETIKO Fairtrade clothing and JINTA sports equipment is offering ACRATH readers a discount. Work with them to keep workers, hit by COVID, in work.
  • LIZ Morris has written ACRATH’s submission to the Senate’s Select Committee on Temporary Migration. We make 10 compelling recommendations.
  • ACRATH’s calendar for 2021 is available and it explores some great projects combating human trafficking.
  • ACRATH’s volunteer Companions have been able to offer financial support to trafficked women and children during COVID.
  • JOIN the Webinar for teachers on November 23 2020.

Download your copy of ACRATH News here.

Celebrating in Sydney

A number of Marist Sisters in Sydney gathered to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. The afternoon began with a time of prayerful reflection during which the sisters, recalling they have been called by gracious choice to bear Mary’s name,  renewed their vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions some sisters were unable to be present but they were not forgotten as messages from them were shared. Following the prayer a scrumptious afternoon tea was enjoyed. The opportunity to gather was very much appreciated especially during these Covid times.

Holy Name of Mary

Let Marists always bear in mind
that they belong by a gracious choice
to the family of the blessed Mary,
Mother of God.
In her name they are called Marists.
(Spirit of the Society of Mary)

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary each year on 12th September, Marists throughout the world reflect on the privilege and the responsibility of bearing the name of Mary. We are reminded anew that we have committed ourselves “to think, to judge, to feel and to act as Mary did.” Mary was a woman of faith who responded to the needs of those around her.

May Marists be faithful to living the gospel as Mary did and so be instruments of God love and mercy in our world today.

Jubilee Celebration in Fiji

A wonderful and joyful celebration was held recently at Mt St Mary’s parish, Nadi, Fiji, as Sr Margaret Sharma celebrated her Diamond Jubilee as a Marist Sister and Sr Marlene Giblin celebrated her Golden Jubilee.  Columban priest, Fr Frank Hoare, was the main celebrant and homilist with Marist Fathers John Crispin and Lewis Henry concelebrating.
Many Marist Sisters were present along with family members  and friends of the two jubilarians. Also part of the celebration was Sr Anna Rarasea, a Sister of St Joseph of Cluny and Sr Carmel Pilcher, a  Sister of St Joseph from Australia who is currently teaching at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva. It was a beautiful sunny day. All present enjoyed the Mass and the delicious meal that followed. Special thanks to Sr Lavinia and her team for a well organized celebration.

Renewing Marist Commitment

In the presence of her Marist community, her relatives, friends and parishioners Sr Valerie Ho recently renewed her vows as a Marist Sister for two years. Her community Leader, Sr Rosemary, received her vows .  The renewal of commitment took place in the local parish church in Nadi, Fiji. Following the Mass family and friends were invited to join the sisters for brunch at the convent.

Acknowledging Faithful Service

Earlier this year Mrs Geraldine Carter retired after serving five years as Business Manager for the Marist Sisters in Australia.  Since then we have also farewelled Care-Coordinator, Miss Christine Mackenzie, who was with us for fifteen years.  Because of  Covid 19 and all the restrictions, we have been unable to come together as a Unit to officially thank these two wonderful women.

On Saturday 11th July those who were able, gathered at Hunters Hill for afternoon tea to acknowledge Geraldine and Chris and give thanks for the time they have faithfully served the Unit. The afternoon was very informal, but gave each of us a chance to catch up with them and also with each other.

We continue to pray in thanksgiving for both of them as begin the next phase of their journey through life.  Each of them has been a gift to our Unit in so many different ways.

Foundress Day 2020

Each year on 30th June Marist Sisters throughout the world celebrate the life of their Foundress, Jeann-Marie Chavoin. She is remembered as a courageous, large-hearted and generous woman. Her deep faith in God and love of Mary enabled her to be always ready to render service to those in need.

During these days when our world is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic may her words inspire us and give us hope:

“We must have confidence. God is not dead. We must count on Providence. It has never let us down and it will not fail us today. God will come to our help.”