Sr Margaret Cummins sm


Sr Margaret Cummins sm was born into eternal life on Monday 21st March. At her funeral on 30th March eulogies were delivered by her niece Sr Daphne McKeough rsm and by Sr Carmel Murray sm on behalf of the Marist Sisters.

Daphne Margaret Cummins was born on May 28th 1921, in Crookwell in southern NSW, the fourth of seven children of Oz and Catherine Cummins. With her four sisters and two brothers she grew up at “Cliffords Creek,” the family farm near Laggan. With numerous branches of the family on neighbouring farms, also involved in sheep raising, the extended family scene was a significant part of life. The children, particularly the three youngest girls; Daph, Joan and Grace, had a carefree and happy early childhood.  With only eighteen months between them they were a close knit trio, full of pranks and energy around the house, ranging across the paddocks, climbing rocks and trees. And it seems Daph was the ring leader in planning the mischief and encouraging her sisters to carry it out. In their latter years when they met up they regaled each with memories of these prank and giggled like school girls in the retelling.

Along with the extended family, their faith was a defining feature of the family life. Catherine was a very devout Catholic, and passed on this gift to her children. They made the trip to Laggan for Mass each Sunday, and the usual features of the rosary etc shaped their formation. Their mother shared with them a strong gratitude for what God had given, and reliance on what God would provide.

Margaret CumminsThat strength of faith  and family ties were called on  in a special way with her father Oz’s untimely  death aged forty two, when Daph was only seven.Both her parents had fallen  ill with a severe flu, and in those days before antibiotics her father was unable to fight the  pneumonia  which developed. He died after a short illness. Daph sometime shared the story of what as a young child she observed  and sensed in that terrible time, of how she struggled to understand what was going on; and of the  grief  carried deep in her being . Read more from the family eulogy…

Five years ago this coming May, Sr Margaret’s family and her Marist Community gathered together in Marian House to celebrate her 90th Birthday.  We gathered in joy and happiness with much laughter and fun.  Today we gather again, this time in sadness but with Easter joy, as we farewell Margaret, who was the oldest Marist Sister in the Australian Unit at the time of her death.

Margaret was born in Laggan, near Crookwell, in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales to John and Catherine Cummins and was one of seven children.  Her country roots were always strong in Margaret and her character displayed those traits we associate with country women – strength, perseverance, openness, generosity, simplicity and close family ties.  The Catholic Church played a central role in the life of Margaret’s family and so it was not surprising that in 1940, at the age of 19, Margaret heard and answered the call to religious life  – to the Marist Sisters at Woolwich.

On her reception as a Marist, Margaret received the name Sr. Domitilla.  She was professed at the end of 1942 and was sent to Mittagong where the Boarding School from Woolwich had relocated during the War years.   Though untrained, she taught in school and also studied.  It was a testing time for the sisters and students .  Conditions were not conducive for a convent or school. Accommodation was limited and some of the sisters and girls slept on open verandahs often in freezing conditions. However, it is remembered as a time of great happiness, lots of fun and lasting frMargaret Carmeliendships.  This was Margaret’s introduction to her life as a Marist Sister.

On her return to Woolwich, Margaret spent time studying and teaching in the secondary school.  She even had a year as a Music Teacher.  It is evident that she must have been a most versatile young woman with many talents to her bow and ready to undertake daunting tasks.  We can only marvel at her adaptability and her willingness to truly live out her Marist calling in a great spirit of faith. Read more from Sr Carmel’s eulogy…

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace. Amen

World Water Day 2016

World Water DayWorld Water Day, instigated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, is observed each year on March 22. This day gives us an opportunity to learn more about water related issues in our world and encourages us to take action to make a difference.

In 2016 the theme of this day is Water and Jobs. Nearly all jobs depend on water. Yet millions of people who work in water are not recognized or protected by basic labour rights. This year we are asked to focus on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods. Catholic Health Association of the United States has prepared a prayer for this day. Read more…


Walking for Justice for Refugees

2016-03-20 13.37.26On Palm Sunday thousands of people across Australia joined in rallies marching to demand justice for refugees. Marist Sister Judith Lythall took part in the Sydney rally which was attended by over 3,500 people.

The 2016 rallies sent a strong message requesting that asylum seekers not be sent back to Nauru, and that the student Mogjan now held in detention in Darwin be released back to her school and husband in Brisbane. There were many calls for the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to be closed.

Cyclone Winston

Photo0162_001It is with a sense of relief and thanksgiving we are able to report that the Marist Sisters in Fiji are safe following the worst cyclone on record for Fiji. However, they have been through a harrowing time and now they are facing the long clean-up.

Worst affected are our Sisters in Nadelei, Mareta and Titilia, who have lost their home as the photos show. Photo0167They have been sheltering in the school with the local people. All are affected by power shortages, making communication very difficult. In some places there are water shortages as well. There is a difficult time ahead for Fiji. The Sisters are most grateful for our prayerful support and ask that we continue praying for them and for the people of Fiji during the work of restoration.

Marists Sisters at International Eucharistic Congress

12645189_10205550372980544_7468776575103324461_nMarist Sisters Edna and Sheila were among the delegates from Diocese of Davao at the International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu City, Philippines, from January 24-31,2016. The theme of the Congress, Christ in us Our hope of Glory. Sheila writes:
“We are feeling so blessed, loved and touched by this experience. The event was a manifestation of the universality of the Church. The people were from 73 countries. The experience of communion was celebrated in many ways such us catechesis, the testimony of various people, sharing in groups, listening, dancing, singing, laughter, processions and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our prayer during the Congress was: Lord it is good we are here, stay with us and continue to nourish our faith.”

Reception into Novitiate

Hazel, TuluaA joyous occasion for Srs Hazel Ferrel & Tulua ‘Otuafi, and indeed for all Marist Sisters, was their reception into the Marist Novitiate in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th February. This step marks a new stage in their journey to discover the charism and mission of the Marist Sisters within the Church and the spirit and values of Marist religious life which they seek to make their own.

During a simple ritual Hazel and Tulua received a copy of the Constitutions of the Marist Sisters and an image of Mary who will be their guide as they seek to discover God’s will for them. Srs Jane & Margaret will accompany them on this journey.




70 Years of Marist Fidelity

100_3471On 28th January Sr Margarita celebrated 70 years of Religious Profession as a Marist Sister. Because of her frailty it was decided that the celebration would take place at the Kauri Lodge Care home where she has been for nearly two years now. The day began with Father Ralph leading a Communion service. He spoke very beautifully of Margarita’s consecration 70 years ago and of her life of dedication to God’s people since that day. This was followed by a special morning tea. A number of Marist Sisters in New Zealand and some of Margarita’s friends from Waitaruke were present to celebrate with her.

All through the Communion service and the celebration Margarita was smiling. It was lovely to see her joy. She was excited about cards and messages she received. She says a big thank you for all the messages and support she received.


Networking Against Human Trafficking

TK groupTalitha Kum (the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Human Trafficking) Continent representatives met in Rome 25th – 31st January.  Present at the opening of the meeting were Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Sr Carmen Sammut, President of the Union of International Superior’s General(UISG). Marist Sisters and ACRATH member, Sr Noelene Simmons sm, represented Australia (ACRATH)and New Zealand (ANZRATH) at this meeting.

TK meeting LogoThe first three days of the meeting, held at the UISG headquarters, were spent in sharing experiences and developing the Talitha Kum vision and objectives for the next three years. Over the next three days participants gathered in the Pontifical Academy of Science where they received valuable input from experts and representatives of other church organizations who are working in the field of human trafficking. On the final day the members of Talitha Kum presented workshops on human trafficking to members of secular institutes who were in Rome participating in the events for the closing of the year of Consecrated Life. All who participated in the Talitha Kum meeting found it to be an enriching experience and are retuning home with a greater awareness of being part o an international network against human trafficking.

My Chosen One, In Whom I Delight

12512015_10207085523490415_1045157920_nMy Chosen One in Whom I Delight was the theme of Sr April Acero’s Perpetual Profession Mass held recently in the Philippines. On the cover of her Profession booklet was an illustration of Jesus standing in the river and the dove/Spirit descending on him. The ceremony of profession was integrated into the anticipated parish Mass of the Baptism of Christ on the evening of Saturday 9th January. Eight Marist Fathers concelebrated with Archbishop Romulo de Valles DD, Archbishop of Davao, and his Vicar for Religious, Fr. Bill Larouse (Maryknoll Fathers). The ceremony was simple,  filled with love and joy. April’s family, Marist Sisters in the Philippines, members of the Marist family, friends and parishioners were present to celebrate with April.

12506922_10207085528250534_1533235756_nThe theme of gracious choice and April’s joyful response permeated the atmosphere of the Profession ritual and the entire Eucharistic Liturgy. It was truly a celebration of God’s love for his Son, the Beloved, and for His graciously chosen daughter, April, in whom He delights. By the creativity of the Spirit, in his homily, the Archbishop focused on this theme as he very simply expounded the Scripture readings and noted that whatever God was saying to Jesus, his Son, He was also saying to April. April was overflowing with joy in the fact of being so loved. Following the profession ceremony guests were entertained by items prepared by the Postulants of the Marist Brothers, the Novices of the Marist Fathers and a beautiful Kiribati dance performed by Sr. Terube, SM and Sr. Katea an SMSM Sister.

Click on an image below to see an enlarged version.

World Day of Peace

marcellins_favourite_imageWe begin this new year of 2016 celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the World Day of Peace.  Let us unite with Pope Francis and pray that through the “intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, who cares for the needs of our human family, that she may obtain from her Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the granting of our prayers and the blessing of our daily efforts for a fraternal and united world.” (Pope Francis World Day of Peace Message 2016)