On the feast of the Epiphany, Marist Sisters under 60 years of age gathered in Senegal, West Africa. Travelling from travelling from Australia, Brazil, England, Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines and including Sisters already in West Africa this was a meeting of minds and hearts, an opportunity to share experiences and dream together. Over a period of about four weeks participants reflected together on themes such as Contemplative Dialogue, Balance and Self Compassion, Leadership and Resilience, Vision and Prophetic Witness. While experiencing the rich culture of West Africa there was also time for the participants to share their own cultural heritage. All participants agreed the experiences they shared helped them to grow together as a group and to deepen even further their sense of Mission and of the Spirit of Mary.
Marist Sisters in New Zealand and throughout the world are rejoicing in the First Profession of Sr Tulua Matangi’otuafi sm which took place in Orakei, NZ, on Saturday 2nd December. Tulua’s profession took placce in the presence of her Marist Sisters and her mother who had travelled from Tonga and other members of her family who had come from places such as USA, Tonga, Samoa, Australia, Hamilton and Wellington. Bishop Pat Dunn,Bishop of Auckland, officiated at the Profession Mass together with Mons. Pat Ward, Fr Pat Breeze sm and Fr Pat Brady.
Sister Gemma, Unit Leader of New Zealand, guided the procedure. Tulua responded to all that was asked of her clearly and with grace, and firmly declared her desire to live the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the Congregation of Mary, Marist Sisters. Read more…
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Marist Sisters in New Zealand gathered at Mt Albert in Auckland to celebrate on November 18th our bicentenary of foundation. We were supported by a great many members of the Marist Family and parishioners who came to share our story and give thanks with us. Our celebrant Fr David Kennerley, provincial of the Marist Fathers, brought an all-inclusive simplicity and spontaneity to the celebration of the Eucharist which warmed all hearts.
Sr Marie Challacombe gave a reflection coming from her recent experience in Coutouvre. This linked us with that international and local event, and with past generations of Marist Sisters who faithfully transmitted the spirit of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Marie Jotillon and Jean-Claude and Pierre Colin to us throughout these 200 years.
A convivial gathering in the Primary School hall after the Eucharist gave us all an opportunity to catch up and exchange news. Before we all departed each branch of the Marist Family, our four past Marist schools and the parish of St Mary’s was presented with a framed copy of the plaque erected in the church at Coutouvre on October 3rd with an explanation of its contents.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns has published an Advent Reflection Guide: A Season to Welcome the Stranger. The guide contains reflections, questions, prayers, and actions based on each week’s Gospel reading and the experience of Maryknoll missioners who have lived and worked with communities affected by forced migration. We are living in a time of unprecedented forced migration due to conflicts and natural disasters. Pope Francis says “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person!” In sharing this resource the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns invites us to use this guide individually or in small groups to reflect upon our life patterns, to pray more deeply, and renew our spirit to face the realities of our world. Download a pdf version here.
When you live just a hundred or two hundred kilometres from the border with the Northern Territory or even a hundred or two or three hundred kilometres from your nearest town, you don’t ride your bike to school. You don’t even make the daily mini-bus trip from your nearest bitumen road, travelling on just another 30 or 40 or 50 kilometres into town. It will probably be five or six weeks before you meet the other boys and girls in your class for the first time, before you meet your teacher in person. Of course you will know their voices long before then because you will have been “in” class each day during the week. During the course of the year there will be scheduled events, cluster groups and mini-schools. You will all come together then unless weather (if only it would rain!) or some urgent task on the property, prevents that from happening. Meanwhile, thanks to telephone and computer, to technology in all of its constantly developing forms and of course to the govies – who are often the mothers – distance education (“School of the Air”) continues to produce high achievers as in any ‘normal’ school. Travelling to the pupils Such is life in rural and remote Queensland. In the Diocese of Rockhampton this is increasingly so the further one travels west of the range. So when children are old enough to begin preparation for Reconciliation, the second Sacrament of Initiation, most of their lessons will be via the telephone. They are rarely able to join with peers for face to face lessons and because they are not always attached to the same school of distance education, their availability for a telephone conference may well not coincide.
An important part of the Western Pastoral Ministry is to support children and parents at this special stage of their faith development. There are a few key times when I am able to meet out on the property or in a town if opportunity offers, to introduce the programme. This happened when Cath and I made our annual visit to Bedourie in August. The rest of Georgie’s lessons will have to be via the phone until a visit next year when we will begin lessons for Confirmation and First Eucharist. Further into the programme I use one of several DVD’s to consolidate or enrich the children’s understanding. Learning this way involves challenges for all of us, not least in organising times in the midst of the many other calls on rural families. School lessons may be confined to five days a week whether face to face or by distance education, however livestock have daily needs and the children are often a part of the team caring for and working with them. Having spent 25 years in classrooms with multiple students, I find it hard not to be able to see the children and to pick up facial clues about their understanding. However, regardless of such challenges and limitations I have to say thank goodness for the telephone and to trust that our loving God whose children these are will make up for what is lacking in other respects. (Reprinted from Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton eNewsletter)
Eternal Rest grant to her, OLord.
May perpetual Light Shine upon her.
May she rest in Peace.
We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand and to Sr Noreen’s family. At Noreen’s funeral the following eulogy was delivered by Sr Margaret Cross sm:
Sister Noreen was born in Masterton just 90 years ago on 10th September 1927. The Kerins family farmed a property on the border of the town, and they were much involved with the parish and town activities. Noreen, who was the third child, attended the local primary school, and received catechism instruction on a weekly basis, as did most of the families in that time. Then followed three years at St Bride’s College, and from then on she busied herself on the farm.
Having wider family members living in Karori whom she often visited, she came to know our Sisters, and in 1947 entered the Marist Sisters, being professed on the19th May 1949. Her first appointment was to Waitaruke in North Auckland, and it was there that she laboured strongly in all aspects of community and boarding school life, and it was from there too, that her love and understanding of our Maori people went ahead by leaps and bounds.
In the period to 1973, she gave loving, and sometimes correcting service to the youngsters in her care, and over a number of years she fed the sisters, children and constant visitors extremely well with next to nothing in the purse and cupboards! There was generally work available (or waiting) for any visitors to the kitchen, but also refreshments, and tales of humour to liven any day!
1973 saw her move to our Woolwich community in Sydney, and there she cared and cooked and gardened in the same generous way for our Aussie companions and their young people. Her ability to contribute to local pastoral life, and at the same time, to the daily movements of community life, was always inspiring.
After this in 1979 she returned to NZ to the north again and worked among the people of Kaikohe, KeriKeri, and the wider areas. Her accompaniment of the elderly, with visiting and taking Holy Communion to housebound people was a joy for her, and, a precious time for those she visited.
In 2009 she transferred to Mount Albert visiting the elderly, taking enjoyment in helping with the gardening, and enjoying the community around her. This was followed by her movement here to Mary McKillop Care. She deeply appreciated being at this home away from home, and the care of all the staff surrounding her. I am sure that she will call down blessings on all who live here, and those of us who visit.
Noreen, rest in peace with your loving God, under the mantle of Mary our loving Mother.
18 Marist Sisters from all over the world gathered in Dublin recently for their Plenary General Council(PGC) meeting from 15-30 September. The theme of the meeting was Women of the Word, Whole-makers, embracing Life! Present at the meeting were four Sisters from Asia-Pacific – Srs Cath Lacey (Australia), Lavinia Henry (Fiji), Gemma Wilson (New Zealand) and Sheila Manalo (Philippines). The PGC was a wonderful opportunity for the sisters to reflect and discern together and so experience solidarity as a whole congregation.
Marist Sisters in Fiji gathered together to celebrate the life of Jeanne Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters. Australian Marist Sister, Kate McPhee, led the sisters through a process of reflecting, discussing and moving through various rooms which had been set up by the five Fijian Marist Sisters’ communities.The journey began 200 hundred years ago in Coutouvre with Jeanne Marie’s companion Marie Jotillon and ended in Jarnosse with stop-offs at Cerdon and Bon Repos. The process helped the sisters to connect with the realities of the time…the simplicity, the humility, the environment , prayer life and desire to do the will of God.
Following these days of reflection the sisters engaged in a wellness programme led by another Australian Marist Sisters, Ruth Davis. The sisters found this to be very interesting and relevant to their life in Fiji.
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