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.

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.

Chavoin Day at Cerdon College

Cerdon College Merrylands takes Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, as their College Patron. Each year around her feastday the College sets aside a day to celebrate Jeanne-Marie Chavoin within the school community.  This year because of the limitations imposed by Covid-19 the College was not able to have a full school Mass. Therefore, a liturgical celebration was held within the school setting.

Jeanne-Marie Chavoin came ‘back to the future’ and was interviewed by a student in a 21st century context.  The occasion this year also marked the end of 61 years of physical presence of a Marist Sister on the Cerdon College Staff.  Sr Kate McPhee, after a long association with the College, finished serving in school ministry moving on to minster elsewhere.

There is no doubt that the Marist Spirit is truly alive and well among the staff and students of Cerdon College and the Marist Sisters are confident that Mary’s spirit will continue to permeate the life of the College Community into the future.

 

Ministering to Women in Fiji

Fijian Marist Sister, Sr Mariana Tevurega, is Coordinator for Women’s Ministry on behalf of Caritas in the Archdiocese of Suva. Through the Women at the Well programme Mariana leads workshops and prayer sessions for women as well as working with parishes on the issue of violence against women and children. The following links will lead to to reports on some of the activities Mariana has been involved in.

Sr Iulia Pua sm

Sr Iulia Pua sm was called to eternal life on Wednesday 14th April 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 Iulia’s family. At her funeral on 19th April the members of her community, Srs Gemma Wilson and Tulua ‘Otuafi shared their memories of Iulia.

Gemma: The last thing Iulia said to us both the night before she died was, “I love you both”. Sometime before that she had said to someone else, “This is a lovely community”. We Marist Sisters value community life but we have to work at it! Here in our community we three did not always find it easy. We often had to say sorry. “Sorry Lia, sorry Lua”. But lately it had been easier.

Iulia was crazy! For instance, she had huge enthusiasms for different kinds of food: a while ago it was rhubarb, then parsley (we still have a lot of parsley growing in our garden!), then porridge, (that one lasted longer!) and so on.

However, her love for her little grandnephew Raymond was constant. She often used to bring him to our place. Many times we would find him asleep on the couch or on her bed or running around the house or playing with pegs, scattering them all over the living room floor. She made him part of our life.

Finally, I would like to say something about Iulia’s spirituality. She had a great love for the Word of God and was very faithful to reading and meditating on the readings for the day. And she found God in Creation, above all in her garden, especially the roses! She would call me to look at a rose which had just come out so that I could delight in it with her.

Tulua: In the evening I always go with Gemma for a walk.  As we walk along the road we always see lots of different kind of furniture that people put on the roadside for free and we think of Iulia. When we arrive home we say to each other “Don’t say anything to Iulia otherwise she might go and bring them home.”  We were getting worried that the things she collected might fill the house and we could end up living outside!  One day I was in my room and I heard her calling me.  I came out of my room and asked her what she wanted, Iulia said “There is a cupboard on the road  and I want you to help me to bring it home.”   I didn’t say anything at all so as to have a peaceful time!   We brought the cupboard in from the road and put it outside for her to store things for her garden.

The next day I was in my room and it was already dark. Iulia called me and asked me to go with her to the road and bring in another cupboard. Then the next day a truck arrived home with a big armchair for her! However, not long afterwards she changed her mind and had the chair taken away!

Last Sunday I was in our laundry and she called me and said,” You have to look after yourself. Make sure you are warm, and be kind to the children in your class and if you go with the small children for a trip make sure to wear proper shoes.

We love you so much Sr. Iulia. May You Rest in Peace.

Golden Jubilee Celebration in Fiji

Sr Rosemary Simon made her first Profession as a Marist Sister in the Merrylands Chapel on 6th March 1971 with Sister Carmel as her Novice Mistress. Rosemary still remembers that day with great clarity as both Sisters David and Carmel were present with all the Sisters in Merrylands at that time.   Also present was her mother who travelled from Fiji for that special day.  This wonderful  occasion was celebrated with great dancing in the community room with Father Kevin Kehoe at the piano.  Auntie Bonita Rounds and her mother danced the Tongan and Samoan Siva.

50 years later, on the anniversary of the day,  Rosemary recommited herself to Jesus by renewing  her vows during a special Jubilee Mass in the Mount St. Mary’s Church, Nadi.  The Church was beautifully decorated with white orchids  and pink antheriums. The main celebrant, a good friend of Rosemary, was Father John McEvoy scc (Columban), the friendship going back to the 1970’s when Rosemary was teaching at Xavier College, Ba.

Because of her Kiribati background, the hymns were a mixture of English, Fijian and Kiribati. The local blend of hymns sung by the Mission Choir of Lautoka was much appreciated by all who attended Mass. The members of the choir were made up mainly of Rosemary’s relatives.  The Offertory was a Kiribati cultural dance which accompanied those who carried up the bread and wine.  Concelebrating with Father John , were five other priests:  Frs Joe McHugh sj, Dennis Levy sm, Lewis Henry sm, Fr Sanele (pp of Nadi town) and Fr Veremo (pp of Lautoka).

Following the Mass the guests went to the school Square  for the formalities followed by the partaking  of the delicious meal catered for mainly by Rosemary’s family.  The venue was very convenient as the school verandahs provided ample space for people to sit, eat and enjoy the entertainment.  All in all, it was a very joyful, meaningful and memorable occasion.

We thank God for the gift of Rosemary and we thank her for the generous gift of herself as a Marist to the Congregation for the mission of the Church, and we wish her many more years of joyful and fruitful service as Mary’s Presence in the Church.

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