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.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, was born on 29th August 1786 in the French village of Coutouvre. Her father, Théodore Chavoin, was a tailor, while her mother, Jeanne Verchère, worked as a servant.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin spent 30 years of her life in the village of Coutouvre. From the front door of her family home she could see the village square and the church just beyond. Jeanne-Marie’s life in Coutouvre was people-oriented. From the Chavoin home her father ran a tailor’s shop. Customers came daily, exchanging the latest news, sharing the joys and concerns of the village.
God of creation,
we praise and thank you for the birth of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin,
our foundress, Mother St Joseph.
We thank you for her parents, Théodore and Jeanne,
for their love, their courage, their acceptance of responsibility and all they taught Jeanne-Marie.
May our foundress intercede for us today,
that we may present a Marian face in our world –
a face of compassion, understanding and love,
a face which accepts people as they are,
yet encourages them to grow in goodness.
With them, may we be brought forth to the life of grace.
We pray this in the name of Jesus your Son.
Marist College, Mt Albert Auckland celebrated the Feast of the Assumption on the 15th of August. Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn was the main celebrant in the School Feast Day Mass. Father Kevin Murphy sm, the school chaplain and the parish priest Fr Philip Lakra ofmcap concelebrated this beautiful Eucharist. The focus of the Mass was “Empowerment” for it is the core value of Marist College for the year.
In the Mass, the school community was reminded that we look to Mary as the role model, a courageous and faith-filled woman, who in her own simplicity pointed the way to Jesus. Mary is the figure of empowerment for us as she showed us what it means to empower others. She empowered Elizabeth when she stayed with her for about three months. At the Wedding Feast of Cana she empowered her son Jesus to change the water into wine. Mary taught us to be other centred and enrich the lives of those around us through our words and deeds.
The highlight of the Mass was the conferring of the Sacraments of Initiation for 17 young women. Before the final blessing, Bishop Pat blessed the Chavoin Honour Board which shows the list of students who have won the “Chavoin Award” since 1968. Our Sister Lorraine Campbell was the recipient in 1969 and she was one of the ex-students who unveiled this special board.
What a wonderful celebration it was when Marist Sisters in Fiji, family and friends gathered to celebrate the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Marist Profession for Srs Veronica Lum and Torika Wong. Archbishop Peter Chong Loy was Chief celebrant at the Mass and he reminisced on his school days at St John’s College when Vero was his Chemistry teacher. Many of Vero’s classmates of Loreto were present and lots of Sr Torika’s relatives. The family sang a beautiful hymn after communion. About two hundred guests packed the parish hall. The food was delicious. We praise and thank God for our two sisters and their dedicated service to the church in Fiji and the Philippines.