Remembering Our Foundress

Marist Sisters observe the feastday of their Foundress, Jeanne Marie Chavoin, on the anniversary of her death – 30th June. Born in the French village of Coutouvre in 1786 she lived through the French Revolution. At the age of thirty-one she “left home and family to start the Society of the Blessed Virgin.” As a Marist Sister her life was one of prayer and service. Like Mary, she was attentive to the needs of those around her and she encouraged her sisters to do the same. An early historian of the Marist Sisters, Sr Elizabeth Boyer wrote: “They were seen only in church and in the homes of the poor and sick.”

Inspired by Jeanne-Marie’s deep and abiding faith
and her firm trust in God
we pray that we will be women of prayer
and learn from her
to live Mary’s loving concern for
and service of those in need.
Amen.

Sr Margaret Therese Kerins sm

Sr Margaret Therese Kerins was called to eternal life on Friday 28th June 2019.

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
Amen.

We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand and to Sr Margaret Therese’s family.The following eulogy was delivered at her funeral:

Margaret Therese was the fifth of the six children of Thomas and Esther Kerins born 1933.  Her family lived on a farm near Masterton so Margaret attended the Fernbridge Primary School. She went further afield for her secondary education to the Brigidine Sisters at St Bride’s College Masterton.  We hear that she was often commended there for her sewing and handcraft skills and these remained with throughout her life.

Her older sister, Noreen, entered our novitiate at Karori in 1947 and they had an aunt living in Karori so the Marist Sisters were familiar to Margaret – so much so that she decided to join them in 1954. The novitiate moved to Australia during this time so Margaret, now Sr Patrick, was professed in Sydney. A year after her profession she returned to New Zealand and in the years that followed she lived in all of our houses and even managed three short periods back in Sydney.

In Waitaruke and Herne Bay she was in charge of the boarders.  Her time in Moerewa, our motor mission, provided an opportunity for parish visitation, while in Sydney and in Mt Albert she was caregiver for our elderly Sisters.

Our Congregation values ministry but realises that it needs to be supported by times of prayer and reflection, Margaret had several opportunities for such periods.  The first of these included a time in Rome with a group of Marist Sisters. Margaret rejoiced especially in her visits to St Peter’s Basilica and many other historic places.  From Rome she travelled to France to visit places associated with our Foundress and early Sisters.  Margaret kept an account of each day to share later with the Sisters and her family.  Meeting so many of our Sisters  in England, France and Ireland was a real joy for her.

There was a further period of renewal that we shared several years later – this time in Sydney with religious of different Congregations. We took time to reflect on our vocation and its relevance.

Margaret’s last years were spent in Rotorua – twenty of those with Sr Mary who shared these insights on Margaret’s ministry and the person she had become.  She stressed that Margaret was first and foremost a woman of prayer and it was this quality that supported all she did.  She spent each morning visiting the housebound and those in rest homes and was truly devoted to each person she visited.  Her ability to talk easily to everyone she met, including small children won her many friends in the community. She was a great communicator either in person or by telephone to the Sisters, her family and her friends.  The garden surrounding the Rotorua house was a tribute to her untiring efforts and it was greatly admired.  There were times of recreation too when she played indoor bowls or visited friends in the area.

Margaret, as we recall your life and ministry, we thank you for all you have been and done for all those whose lives you touched.  May you rest now in the lord and His Mother who loved you and chose you for their own.

300 Years of Marist Life

On Pentecost Sunday Marist Sisters in Australia gathered in the Holy Name of Mary church, Hunters Hill to celebrate 300 years of Marist life.   Fr Tony Corcoran sm, Provincial of the Marist Fathers, presided over the Eucharist. Joining with the sisters were family and friends of our  jubilarians.  After Mass we adjourned to the Marist Fathers dining room for afternoon where we continued to give thanks for the faithfilled lives of our Golden Jubilarians (50 years), Srs Beverley and Gail, our Diamond Jubilarian, Sr Marie  Berise (60 years) and our Platinum Jubilarians Srs Margaret and Philomena (70 years).Unfortunately Sr Philomena was unable to join us but we remembered her as we celebrated. Represented within the group of Jubilarians were two former Congregation Leaders, Srs Margaret Purcell and Gail Reneker. The following tributes were delivered during the afternoon tea.

Diamond and Platinum Jubilarians
Golden Jubilarians

Remembering Sr Mary Chris

About fifteen Marist Sisters attended a memorial Mass in St Mary’s Church Nadi, Fiji, to remember Sr Mary Christopher on the first anniversary of her death.   The paraliturgy by the tombstone was simple and meaningful. The sisters shared briefly on their memories of Mary Chris. This was followed by the blessing of the headstone by Father John Crispin sm.
We then visited the graves of all our sisters buried in Balawa, Lautoka and a placed a bouquet of flowers on their tombs. Some of the sisters included Sisters Wilfred, Regina, John Gualbert, Blaise, Sulita, Helen, Rita, Anita, Anne Marie, Amadeus, Alexis and Nolasco. On returning home to Nadi, there was a small kava ceremony to thank Father Crispin. This was followed by a delicious meal prepared by parish sector members.

Thanksgiving for 60 years as a Marist Sister

Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand held their annual assembly from the 25th to the 28th of April. This involved a contemplative dialogue on their present reality and consideration of needs at this time. The last day of the assembly was dedicated to celebrating Sr. Kathleen Bright’s 60th anniversary of  Marist religious profession. Bishop Denis Brown was the main celebrant for the thanksgiving mass and many of the Sisters were present. Kathleen’s sister and brother in law joined in the celebration plus Brother Mark fms and his guide dog Rosco.

Keeping the Connection with Marist College, Mt Albert

Two of  Year 7 students from Marist Sisters College, Mt Albert came to visit the sisters at the Mt Albert Convent in New Zealand. One of the students had her RE Assessment with her and Sr. Patricia Bowley showed great interest in it.

The student was very surprised when she discovered that Patricia was 91. The two girls are daughters of ex-students taught by some of the sisters at Marist College in years gone by.

Easter Joy

Happy Easter from the Marist Sisters

During this sacred time when we celebrate
the great event of our redemption
may we all experience deeply
the joy, the peace and the hope
that is ours because of
our Risen Saviour.

 

Novena to St Peter Chanel

Each year for the nine days leading up to the feast of St Peter Chanel, Marists throughout the world pray through the intercession of St Peter Chanel for vocations to the Marist Family.

St Peter Chanel, a  Marist Father, was in the first group of Marist missionaries to Oceania.  Peter arrived in futuna in November 1937.  During his lifetime Peter saw little success in his work.  During his first six month on Futuna he baptised only one Futunian – a dying child. Early in the morning of April 28, 1841, Fr. Peter was wakened from sleep and clubbed to death, his skull split by the axe of a Futunian warrior. He was thirty-eight years old.  He was the first martyr of Oceania and the first Marist to be canonised.

You are invited to join us in praying that young people of today may, like Peter Chanel, respond generously to God’s call to follow Christ as Mary did. Download the novena prayer here.

 

Responding in New Zealand with a Marist Heart

Following the tragic massacre of so many members of our Christchurch community there was an outpouring of grief, compassion and support throughout New Zealand. Here in Auckland, Bishop Pat arranged a special prayer service in our church in Vermont Street which is opposite one of the Muslim mosques. We Marist Sisters were pleased to be able to attend. The church was filled up to capacity and among those were some fifty Muslim men and women who were seated at the front of the church. After the service, we crossed the road expecting to place our gifts of flowers with those already there outside the fence of the mosque. However, we found the gates open and so became part of a long procession which ended at the entrance to the mosque itself. There, we were graciously welcomed inside by Muslim women and seated inside, heard again of the gratitude for our presence and support. We came away happy to have been part of this special experience.

Celebrating 110 Years in Woolwich

Marist Sisters College Woolwich (MSCW) recently acknowledged the contribution of the Marist Sisters to Catholic Education in Woolwich over 110 years. The celebration began with a Mass presided over by Marist Fathers Provincial Fr Tony Corcoran and five of his Marist confreres. MSCW Principal Dr Anne Ireland welcomed past and present students, staff and friends of the College. The College Captains shared their reflections on life at the College over the various decades in comparison with what they currently experience. Direction of Sydney Catholic Schools, Dr Dan White, spoke of his association with the Marist Sisters over many years. Following the Eucharistic celebration those present were treated to a scrumptious afternoon tea prepared by MSCW students. The Marist Sisters left the Woolwich site in December 2018 confident that MSCW has a bright future as staff, students and college friends are guided by the Marist Compass for Life.