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.
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.
On Wednesday 21st March 2019 the Marist Sisters of the Nadi community in Fiji witnessed a very simple but meaningful missioning ceremony of Sister Lora who is undertaking a reforestation project in the Yasawa Islands. Also present were Srs Lavinia Henry, Fiji Unit Leader, Noelene Simmons, General Bursar, and Lorraine Campbell, Fiji Unit Bursar. The hymns and readings reflected the purpose of missioning Lora to the land of her ancestors named MATANIWAI. The reforestation project that she is undertaking involves planting long term and short term trees, shrubs, flowers, fruit trees and vegetables. The principles of Laudato Si as expressed by Pope Francis are mirrored in this project. The Marist Sisters support Lora in this project and wish her well.
The Marist Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Fathers led the joyous celebration of the Feast of Santo Niño, the patron of the Davao City Main Jail Chapel . This is an annual religious and cultural festival. Devotion to the Santo Niño (Holy Child), an image of Jesus as a small boy typically dressed as a king, is a mainstay of Philippine Catholic life.
(Click on the images below to see the full-size photo)
It was with great delight that a number of Marist Sisters in Australia attended the blessing and opening of a new building at Cerdon College Merrylands recently. The building which comprises new classroom areas, Theatrette and Science laboratories, has been named Bon Repos, the name of the original ‘Mother House’ for the Marist Sisters in Belley, France. A plaque on an exterior wall of the building displays an etching of the Bon Repos site in France. Following the ritual of blessing guests were treated to a scrumptious morning tea prepared by the Hospitality students.
The day began with a prayer of farewell to our property at Woolwich. Woolwich was the foundation community in Australia when the Marist Sisters arrived in Sydney some 110 years ago. We had much to acknowledge and remember… including
- the support, service and friendship shown us by the Marist Fathers from the beginnings till now;
- the many thousands of teachers, students and their families of Marist Sisters College, Woolwich;
- those who had worked with us in caring for the property including the doctors, nurses, carers and cooks who have been so much part of Marian House since its beginning in 1979;
After singing the song “Holy Ground” those gathered were invited to a time of quiet reflection on the people, things, events and experiences which were part of our years at Woolwich.
At the conclusion of the prayer we adjourned to the dining room where we continued to share stories and memories over lunch.
At the conclusion of the meal, during a prayer, members of the former leadership team lit the Unit of Australia candle and passed the candle to the new leadership team of Sr Cath Lacey (Unit Leader) and her two assistants Julie Brand and Ruth Davis.
Students from Cerdon College Merrylands went to Fiji believing they were needed. They quickly learnt that it is in giving that we also receive. The students are very grateful to the Marist Sisters in Fiji for enabling them to have such wonderful experiences. They have come home richer people as a result of the time they spent there.
It was with a sense of deep gratitude to God and to Mary that the Marist Sisters celebrated the 20th anniversary of their presence in the Philppines. It was a special joy for the Sisters that Congregation Leader Sr Grace Ellul was present for this celebration. Members of the Marist Family and family and friends of the Sisters joined with them in celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving. All the Sisters who have been part of this journey were remembered, particularly Torika and Vero, the valiant pioneers. Let us pray for the Marist Sisters currently ministering in the Philippines as they imitate Mary by reaching out to those in need.