Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific

Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s Graduation Ceremony

Te Wananga o Aotearoa's graduation ceremonyCongratulations to Aotearoa-New Zealand Marist Sisters Rose, Isabelle and Catherine. They recently received diplomas at the Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s graduation ceremony.  Rose was the oldest graduate receiving Mauri Ora National Certificate in Maori(Te Waharoa) Level 2. Isabelle received a Diploma in Te Ara Reo Maori, and Catherine a Certificate in Te Ara Reo Maori, Level 2.

Working Towards Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Pope Francis - LSUrged on by the commitment of the Marist Sisters’ General Chapter 2015
to networking with other groups working for justice in order to counteract the violence being inflicted on people and the environment,
Marist Sisters in Australia are working towards divesting
from fossil fuels.

Dependence on fossil fuels is contributing to adverse climate change which affects everyone but especially the poor and vulnerable. In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls on us to reduce carbon emissions and develop sources of renewable energy. Divesting of fossil fuels is one way that we can be stewards of God’s gift of creation so that life in all its forms can be sustained now and into the future.

Refugee Week 19th – 25th June

Refugee Week 2016Refugee week is an annual week-long celebration of the positive contributions of refugees to Australian society. This year, Refugee Week will be celebrated from Sunday, 19 June to Saturday, 25 June, which includes World Refugee Day on June 20. The theme is “With courage let us all combine”, which is taken from the second verse of the national anthem and celebrates the courage of refugees and of people who speak out against persecution and injustice. It serves as a call for unity and positive action, encouraging Australians to improve our nation’s welcome for refugees and acknowledging the skills and energy that refugees bring to their new home. Let us give thanks for the contribution that refugees have made in Australia and extend a welcoming hand to those currently seeking asylum.

Laudato Si Week

laudato si week

Marist Sisters are committed “to networking with other groups working for justice in order to counteract the violence being inflicted on people and the environment.” (General Chapter 2015)

On June 18th it will be one year since  Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. During Laudato Si Week, 12th – 19th June, let us ask ourselves to what extent we have taken the message of this encyclical to heart. How will we journey forward as stewards of God’s creation sustaining life in all its forms now and into the future?

Visit the Laudato Si Week website.

Honouring the spirit of Laudato Si

Tane and usThe Marist Sisters’ Novitiate community in New Zealand decided to honour the spirit of “Laudato Si” on the Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend – which was also a public holiday and, more importantly for Marists, the Feast of St Marcellin Champagnat!

The place they chose was the Auckland Zoo which has been renovated to become a place not only of conservation of many diminishing species such as the kiwi and takahe, the Siberian tiger and the Asia elephant but also  a place where visitors are invited to slow down, to reconnect with nature and to be inspired. They were surrounded by plants, trees, birds, insects, people…

Set in a patch of native bush they found it to be a place of contemplation, meditation, discovery and learning! As you can see in the photo, they paused at the magnificent carving of “Tane nui e Rangi” at the
entrance of the forest aviary of the Zoo. “Tane” is the Maori god of the forest. This carving is the work of five Maori carvers,  and they honoured the presence of the Maori people of New Zealand.

While they enjoyed their  day very much, they were also conscious of the invitation of Pope Francis to have  an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ will become more evident in our relationship with the world around us.

Catholic Schools Day in New Zealand

Cat5holic Sch Day 19052016 1On Monday 16th May three schools established by the Marist Sisters in New Zealand gathered together to celebrate Catholic Schools day – Marist Primary, Mt Albert (1927) Marist College (1928) Marist Primary, Herne Bay (1928). The two primary schools were welcomed in a powhiri to the College. The two primary schools provided reflections on our shared history and spirituality. Then the College students lead the primary students in various activities. The Marist Sisters were special guests and their contribution was gratefully acknowledged. It was the first time that the three schools had gathered together in this way.

Congratulations Sr Anne

Receiving the awardAt the City of Ryde awards to recognise the great work done by volunteers Sr Anne Saunders was recognised for the contribution she has made at Hunters Hill Ryde Community Services. The citation in the programme for the awards evening read:

“Sr Anne is very compassionate, caring, a great listener with a delightful sense of humour. She has volunteered with Hunters Hill Ryde Community Services since 2000, enjoying meeting lovely people, having others share their lives with her and she sharing her life with others.”

Congratulations Anne. We wish you well as you continue to be a Marist presence extending care and compassion to those you meet.

 

Magnificat! Sr Lavenia Begins Novitiate

IMG_4860On Sunday  1st May Marist Sisters throughout the Congregation rejoiced at the news that a new novice had been received in New Zealand. Sr Lavenia Laweimoala from Fiji is now a member of the novitiate community in Auckland, NZ.

The theme of Lavenia’s reception ceremony was “I have called you by your name and you are mine“. IMG_4833The picture of Our Lady in Coutouvre on the front of the reception ceremony booklet was a reminder of our links with Mary, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, and of our Marist origins. During the ceremony New Zealand Unit Leader, Sr Gemma Wilson, asked Lavenia what she was seeking. Lavenia responded by asking to be accepted into  the Marist Sisters who, in turn, responded positively. After Lavinia had signed the Novices Register and the forms for Reception into the Marist Sisters, Gemma presented her with a copy of the Constitutions and General Statutes and  a 20160501_142310Marian Medal signifying her status now as a Novice of the Marist Sisters.  The final hymn of joy and gratitude was the Magnificat!

The ceremony was followed by a celebratory afternoon tea. Lavenia is grateful for the many prayerful wishes she received from sisters throughout the Congregation as she begins the next phase of her Marist journey.

Pioneer Missionaries Return to Fiji

2x3ft-_1pc[1]It was with heavy hearts that people gathered on April 21st to farewell Srs Torika Wong and Veronica Lum before their departure to Fiji on 23rd April. Eighteen years ago Torika and Veronica were the first Marist Sisters to go to the Philippines. Marist Fathers, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Brothers and postulants, Marist Laity, Partners in Marist Mission, SAMIN representatives, a host of friends and of course the Marist Sisters in Davao gathered for the farewell function that began with Mass at 6:00 pm. Fr Pat Devlin sm, District Superior of the Marist Fathers in Davao, was the main celebrant at the Mass. The backyard was well lit up with over 80 chairs in place. The sudden shower of rain at the beginning of Mass did not dampen any spirits with everyone able to shelter in the house or on the porches.

WP_20160421_19_48_30_Pro[2]After the Mass Sr Sheila, Unit Leader of the Marist Sisters in the Philippines, welcomed and thanked all who came. Many more speeches followed with various groups expressing their appreciation of Torika and Vero. Torika and Vero then voiced their gratitude for the richness of life they had experienced in the Philippines and for the love they received during their time here.

Entertainment from various cultural groups followed before all partook of a delicious meal. It was an evening to remember and one that was a fitting tribute to the contribution Torika and Vero had made during their eighteen years in the Philippines.

Click on images below to see a larger image.

Earth Day 2016

earthdayFirst celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is an annual  global event celebrated on April 22. On Earth day we are encouraged to reflect on what we are doing to make our planet a more sustainable and liveable place. The theme for the 2016 celebration of Earth Day is Trees for the Earth: Lets get planting.

On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement is scheduled to be signed by the United States, China, and some 120 other countries. This signing satisfies a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Thank you to the Presentation sisters in Australia for sharing a prayer resource prepared by Presentation Sister Elena Hoye, Networker at the UN, “Standing with Pope Francis: Caring for Our Common Home.”