Celebrating a Founder

“Let them always bear in mind that
they belong by a gracious choice
to the family of the blessed Mary, Mother of God,
by whose name they are called Marist,….

Let them constantly breathe her spirit:
a spirit of humility, self-denial
intimate union with God,
and the most ardent love of neighbour.”
(Spirit of the Society of Mary)

Jean-Claude Colin was born  in 1790 in the village of Saint-Bonnet-le-Troncy, France. His early years were a time of political and social upheaval in France due to the French revolution. Both his mother and father were deeply affected by the turmoil caused by the revolution. They both died in 1795 when Jean-Claude was only five years old.

Jean-Claude studied for the priesthood at the seminary in Lyon and was ordained a priest in 1816. Along with some fellow seminarians Jean-Claude pledged to begin a society which would take Mary as model – the Pledge of Fourviere. Following ordination the seminarians were dispersed to various parishes and dioceses. Jean-Claude was appointed to the parish of Cerdon where his brother Pierre was parish priest. Jean-Claude shared with his brother the dream of beginning the society of Mary. The dream of establishing a society in Mary’s name was eventually realised. Jean-Claude Colin is considered to be the Founder of the Marist Fathers and the Marist Sisters.

Each year on 15th November, the anniversary of the death of Fr Colin, Marist throughout the world remember this man who continues to inspire them as they too strive “to think, judge feel and act as Mary in all things”.

This year we are invited to join in prayer with the Marist Father as they launch the Marist Year of Vocations. To view a video in which Fr John Larsen, Superior General, launches the Marist Year of Vocations click here. A liturgy to launch the year can be found here.

 

Season of Creation

Marist Sisters in the Asia-Pacific region celebrated the Season of Creation in various ways. The Season of Creation provided us with an opportunity to reflect on our common home, the Earth, and commit to ways of respecting and protecting it into the future.

In Fiji the sisters do this simply by planting their own vegetables, keeping their environment clean, pot planting, planting root crops and composting.

In the Raiwaqa community Sr Rosemary put together a display depicting creation from the beginning and the current devastating state of the earth -the natural and man -made destructive forces brought  about through the effects of climate change. Many of the psalms sing in praise of God’s creation. As Bearers of Hope, we believe the Earth is alive and vibrant and wish to do all in our power to protect it.

 

 

In the Sefton Community in Australia, Srs Gail and Kate celebrated the Congregation feastday, the Holy Name of Mary, with a practical response to the Season of Creation. They did a make over of their garden.

Celebrating Despite Covid-19 Lockdown

Sisters in the Merrylands community gathered to renew their vows on September 12, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown situation in greater Sydney it was impossible to come together physically especially as three of the five community members live in an aged care facility.

Srs Bev and Judith gathered and lit a candle for each of the sisters in community.  Srs Julia, Veronica and Therese were able to connect by phone and together they joined in prayer and renewed their vows before concluding with the Salve Regina.

Celebrating 99 Years of Life

Australian Marist Sister Clare Francis celebrated her 99th birthday recently. As she resides in an aged care facility she was unable to have visitors on her birthday due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Staff at Southern Cross Residential Aged Care in Marsfield did not let her birthday pass unnoticed. The kitchen staff made her a delicious cake which she enjoyed sharing with the other residents. Clare also received cards and phone calls from the sisters in Australia and beyond.

We look forward to celebrating with you on your 100th birthday next year Clare.

 

Under the Name of Mary

“Let Marists always bear in mind
that they belong by a gracious choice
to the family of the Blessed Virgin
Mother of God.

In her name they are called Marists
and they chose her as their model.”
(Spirit of the Society of Mary)

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary (12th September), Marists throughout the world take time to reflect on the privilege that is ours in bearing the name of Mary. Mary is our model guiding us as we endeavour to live as true disciples of Jesus.

Throughout her life Mary responded with compassion to those in need. She responded when her cousin Elizabeth was in need. She responded to the needs of the young couple at Cana. She remained at the foot of the cross when her Son was in need. She was with the apostles as the waited for the Spirit.

Like Mary, Marists are called to respond to the needs of our time through our prayer and where possible through our actions. We pray that Mary will guide and encourage us as we strive, like her, to bring the compassion of God to all.

Sr Rose Harris sm

Sr Rose Harris sm was called to eternal life on Wednesday 18th August 2021.

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
Amen.

We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in New Zealand and to Sr Rose’s family.

Rosary Maria Harris (Sister Rose formerly Sister Euphrasia) was born on the 19th October 1930 in Te Huahua, North Hokianga Aotearoa New Zealand. Her parents were Christopher Harris and Anne Harris, (nee McMath). She is one of 11 siblings (four of whom are still living) whose whanau land and marae is centred at Motukaraka also North Hokianga. Their beautiful church there of Our Lady of the Assumption is situated on the banks of the Hokianga Harbour, not far from the point where Bishop Pompallier and the early Marists landed in 1838. Rose was baptised on the 29th October 1930. Rose attended local primary and secondary schools and worked after leaving school as a shop assistant and Post Office Clerk.

In 1950-51 she entered a new Congregation of Religious set up by the Bishop of Auckland, Archbishop Liston, specifically for Maori women. It was located in Waitaruke and was under the care and formation provided by Marist Sisters, such as Sister Thérèse Groslier from France and Sister Anselm Berg from Australia. In 1952 the Archbishop decided to terminate this Congregation and he advised the novices and young professed to join established Congregations if they wished to continue in religious life. Six of these joined the Marist Sisters Novitiate in Karori Wellington, including Sister Dorothy (Kare) Peterson, and Sister Makareta Gilbert, both of whom have predeceased Rose, who is the last of the Maori Marist Sisters. They made Profession as Marist Sisters on 11th February 1954 in the Karori Parish Church where Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Liston and other clerical dignitaries. Rose made Perpetual Profession in Waitaruke on 8th September 1958.

Sister Rose obtained the Primary Teaching Diploma while studying at Loreto Hall RSCJ Training College in Auckland, and she taught in most of our Primary schools in A-NZ and in the 60’s was Head Teacher/ Principal in A-NZ and Bennettswood Australia. She was one of the foundation staff of a frontier school in Keilor, Victoria, Australia. Back in A-NZ, she was appointed Religious Education Advisor in the Catholic Education Office in Wellington and later was a member of the Maori Mission Apostolate in Porirua Wellington.

In 1987 Rose was elected A-NZ Regional Superior and re-elected later for a second term. As such she attended many meetings overseas and came to meet many of our Sisters. At the conclusion of these years in Leadership, she did a Sabbatical spiritual year at Hawkstone Hall in England and St Stephen’s in Dover USA.

When Rose returned to A-NZ, she did Parish Pastoral work in the towns of Kerikeri and Kaikohe in the Mid-North area of the North Island. Our Sisters lived in various parishes of this area, including Rawene, Moerewa, Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Waitaruke and at times Rose was Community Leader of the Northern Cluster, as it was termed, and she was an A-NZ Provincial Councillor from 1996 until 2000.

Around this time, she accompanied Bishop Patrick Dunn, Father Tate and Maori Catholic Leaders to Puteaux in France to exhume and bring back the remains of Bishop Pompallier. The process was long and involved and necessitated a number of trips to France but they were ultimately successful, and on return to A-NZ, the remains were taken around the country in a beautiful casket adorned with exquisite Maori carving. This is now kept under the altar in historical St Mary’s Church in Motuti where many go on pilgrimage.

In 2002-3, a new Marist Mission Team was set up in the Mid-North consisting of SM Priests and Brothers and four Marist Sisters, which included Rose – this group continued to function going out on Missions together until the end of 2008.

In 2009 Rose moved to a Unit in Rawene where she hoped to be more immersed in her Maori culture and language. She studied Maori Spirituality under Father Henare Tate, an expert in this field, and she became a foundation member of the Pompallier Trust which developed Motuti as a Pilgrimage Centre and Museum.

As Rose had had a pacemaker inserted in 2007 and was also struggling with weakness in her legs, she began to feel the need of care. After looking at various establishments, she decided on The Rose Gardens in Whangarei which was close to her brother, Eugene and sister-in law Liz, and in December 2018 she moved in there. In 2019 she was advised of the availability of a room in a new Care Section of the Rawene Hospital which overlooked her marae and church at Motukaraka across the Hokianga River. She didn’t need to be asked twice and moved in January 2020. There she has been very happy to be with Maori carers and other residents, some of them relatives as the Harris family is well known and spread far and wide in the North.

Sisters Catherine and Kathleen, resident in Kaikohe 45 minutes from Rawene Hospital, were able to visit Rose weekly and take her Holy Communion, as well as shopping for her other needs. Eugene and Liz and niece, Dawn, have been very faithful in visiting her, and sometimes she was able to go out for a drive. In spite of having a number of slight turns through the years she was still up and dressed every day and ready to greet her visitors.

On Friday 13 August the PP offered Mass in the hospital and Rose and Kathleen were present. After Mass Rose and other patients/residents were anointed. The following Tuesday, the 17th, Kathleen visited Rose again with Holy Communion which in fact became her Viaticum because that night in the early morning hours of the 18th August, Rose passed peacefully to her eternal reward.

As A-NZ is in Lockdown 4 because of Covid-19 we are awaiting news of when Sister Rose will be able to be buried in the special area set aside for her beside the church in Motukaraka.

“E te Ariki hoatu ki a ia te okiokinga tonutanga, ā kia whiti ki a ia te māramatanga mutunga kore”
“Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her”.

Let Them Be Heard

To mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans has released a one minute video clip imploring people to listen to the stories and voices of trafficked people to gain an understanding of what can be done to combat the injustice. Victim-survivors are at the heart of everything that ACRATH tries to achieve in its work to help eliminate human trafficking and modern slavery.

ACRATH helps to restore the voice of victim-survivors through its Companionship Program and advocacy work. The Companionship Program involves 13 trained volunteer Companions walking the journey of recovery with survivors. Companions build relationships with these 34 trafficked women and their 45 children women, providing them with emotional, social and practical support.

Marist Sisters in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in the work of eliminating human trafficking and modern day slavery.

View the video clip here.

Celebrating the Marist Project

We, the undersigned,
striving to work together for the greater Glory of God and
the honour of Mary, Mother of the Lord Jesus,
assert and declare our sincere intention and firm will of consecrating ourselves,
at the first opportunity, to founding the pious congregation of Marists.

That is why by the present act and our signatures, in so far as we can, 
we irrevocably dedicate ourselves and all our goods
to the Society of the Blessed Virgin.
(Pledge of Fourvière, 23rd July 1816)

The anniversary of the Pledge of Fourvière each year is a time for Marist throughout the world to recall with gratitude the beginnings of the Marist Family. On 23rd July 1816 twelve seminarians climbed the 800 steep steps from the City of Lyon to the Chapel of Our Lady of Fourvière. Here they committed themselves to the Marist project.

The Marist project has grown to be a family of five branches – Marist Father, Marist Sisters, Marist Brothers, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist laity – with a presence throughout the world.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions it will not be possible in some countries for Marist to come together physically for prayer and celebration this year. This will not dampen our enthusiasm to recall the Fourvière event and to renew our own commitment to the Marist project. Online opportunities are being provided for Marists to connect, give thanks, recommit and celebrate. One such opportunity has been prepared by Marist Laity Australia. For information on how you can connect with Marist in Australia click here. All are welcome to join with Marists in prayer and thanksgiving on this day.

Congratulations Sr Joan

On 15th July, Australian Marist Sister, Sr Joan McBride, celebrated the 70th Anniversary of her profession as a Marist Sister. Due to Covid-19 restrictions it was not possible for Joan to have visitors on the day. However the staff of St Joseph’s Aged Care Facility in Hunters Hill and other Marist Sisters resident in the facility did their best to make the day special for Joan.

We give thanks for Joan’s many years of faithful service and for the inspiration she has been to many. We ask God’s blessing on Joan as she continues living the Gospel as Mary did.

Celebrating our Foundress

Jeanne-Marie Chavoin – Foundress of the Marist Sisters

Marist Sisters celebrate the feast of their Foundress, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin each year on 30th June, the anniversary of her death.

After Jeanne-Marie’s death in 1858 the Superior General of the Marist Sisters at the time, Mother Ambrose, wrote to the sisters of the Congregation speaking of Jeanne-Maire’s “holy and exemplary life, her generous and unfailing devotedness.” She was described by one of the early Marist Sisters as “kind, affable with everyone and gained the affection of all who knew her. She was large-hearted and when she helped anyone she did so generously.”

Jeanne-Marie encouraged her sisters to “walk always in God’s presence” and “to live the life of this divine Mother, which is none other than the life of Christ”.

As Marist Sisters today recall her life with gratitude, we pray that her faith and courage will continue to inspire us as we strive to follow Christ by living the Gospel as Mary did.