Sr Marie Patricia Toomey sm

Sr Marie Patricia Toomey sm was called to eternal life on Friday 29th March 2024.

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 Australia and to Sr Marie Patricia’s family. The following words of Remembrance were delivered at Marie Pat’s funeral by Sr Julie Brand.

Over 75 years ago – on 8 th September 1947 – Marie Pat made her First Profession in the Congregation of Mary, echoing Mary’s “Yes” of the Annunciation – the Feast of which our Church is actually celebrating today. Throughout her long life Marie Pat daily reiterated her “Yes” in union with Mary. It was Good Friday night when she made her final surrender to God. Uniting with Jesus in His last words, “It is accomplished”, she answered God’s final call and died peacefully after a lengthy period of suffering, which she had endured with great patience.

Marie Patricia Toomey was born on 23 rd September 1926 in Sandgate, Brisbane, the third child of Arthur and Margaret. She was a proud Queenslander and maintained strong and loving relationships with her older brothers, Jim and John (now deceased), her sister-in-law Mary, niece Pat, her husband Alan, and their family. Born of Irish heritage, Marie Pat delighted in her Irish roots, and kept in touch with cousins in Ireland, whom she had the joy of meeting when spending time overseas. While beginning her schooling in Sandgate, Queensland, Marie Pat completed her education in Mittagong, NSW, having been enrolled at Marist Sisters’ Woolwich, and evacuated with the Woolwich students due to the war. Upon leaving School Marie Pat spent time as a Telephonist before
entering our Marist Novitiate in Merrylands.

Marie Pat was Professed with the name “Benigna”, which she later changed in favour of her Baptismal name of Marie Patricia. She was a gifted musician and spent the early years of her ministry as a Music Teacher. She greatly appreciated classical music and introduced many students to the joy of playing Piano in Woolwich, in Mittagong, and throughout her time of education ministry in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Marie Pat spent around 28 years in New Zealand, including a significant period on the Maori mission in Waitaruke. Though always a dinky-di Aussie, we were very aware that she’d left part of her heart in the Land of the Long White Cloud. As a Primary School Teacher, Marie Pat also had the opportunity of teaching for a short time in Fiji. In 1983 she undertook studies at the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton to qualify as an Enrolled Nurse. Though she did not work for very long in this field of ministry, her care and compassion for the sick was at the forefront of her community living.

In 1992 Marie Pat had the privilege of assisting at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. At that time the Marist Fathers took care of the Shrine and were helped by the Marist Sisters in their ministry to pilgrims. Upon hearing of Marie Pat’s death, we received a message of condolence from a person who had been with Marie Pat in Walsingham. He spoke of his very good memories of working with her, saying that she brought a great presence to the Shrine in a truly Marist way. Upon her return to Sydney, Marie Pat continued the ministry she had begun a little earlier, taking up Library work at Cerdon College in Merrylands. Her ministry at Cerdon spanned 11 years, and Marie Pat formed strong bonds of friendship there, especially with Denise Hoeflake and her husband, Ralph, who remained close to her till the end of her life.

From 2007 until 2018, Marie Pat was an active member of the Marian House community, offering support in many practical and varied ways. She had always been a hard-worker with a great generosity of spirit, and this was very evident at Marian House despite her increasing age. Marie Pat was a homemaker and always on the look-out to provide whatever the Sisters might need. She loved shopping, and was alert to a bargain, particularly in regard to clothing. I think most Sisters have been the recipient of a skirt, a blouse, or a jacket that Marie Pat could not resist picking up when the quality was good and the price was low! She was the first to take a cup of tea to a frail Sister in bed, to get the supper ready for special gatherings, or to check that the chef had prepared the evening  soup to her satisfaction. Having been a cook in her day, she was keen to ensure that food served to older Sisters met the standards she was convinced were appropriate for the elderly. There were days, however, when she was met with disappointment and found it necessary to express her strong disapproval! Marie Pat did speak her mind and it would be true to say that she was not the most patient of people! She was an organizer who always thought ahead, and with the needs of others at the forefront of her mind, it was Marie Pat who kept us on track, reminding us to book the appointments for the Hairdresser, the Podiatrist, or indeed the Car Services. Marie Pat continued to look out for the needs of others when she moved to St Joseph’s Aged Care. Her kindness and compassion was always evident. Marie Pat had a quick wit and good sense of humor. She had a twinkle in the eye and often made us laugh with a funny turn of phrase or an entertaining story. She loved nature, especially the birds – particularly the magpies – whose markings, movements and foraging she enjoyed watching.

Being a woman of deep faith, Marie Pat greatly appreciated the pastoral ministry of the Marist Fathers, who attended to the spiritual needs of the residents at Marian House and St. Joseph’s. As her health declined, she was comforted through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, most recently administered to her by Fr. Brian, whose friendship she valued. As Marie Pat’s care needs increased, the Staff at St. Joseph’s remained vigilant in their attention to her. We are most grateful for the professional and compassionate care provided by them and by Dr. Grace Kong. Marie Pat was a prayerful woman, who lived the Gospel in the spirit of Mary. She responded to God’s transforming grace, living the last months of her life patiently waiting, and accepting her total dependence with peaceful resignation. God looked upon her lovingly and welcomed her to Paradise on Good Friday night, 29 th March. We know she will continue to pray for us, interceding for our needs. Marie Pat, we will miss you. May you rest in peace.

Sr Marie Therese Ranum sm

Sr Marie Therese Ranum sm was called to eternal life on Monday 4th December 2023.

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 Marie Therese’s family. The following eulogy was delivered at her funeral.

Marie Therese was born 16 May 1939 in Matamata, the Waikato, followed by her baptism on 9 th June 1939 in the town she grew up in, Putaruru. Marie Therese was the second child born to Colin and Margaret Ranum , the first being still born. The family grew to 4 girls and 2 boys, of whom Marie was the eldest 4 girls and 2 boys. It was there that Marie Therese and her siblings attended St Mary’s Primary School which was staffed by the Marist Sisters. Her secondary school education was as a boarder at Sacred Heart College in Hamilton with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions finishing in 1956. Marie Therese then spent a few years helping out as a farm worker and domestic helper on her parents’ farm.

Marie Therese entered the novitiate in 1961 at Merrylands, Australia and was professed as a Marist Sister in 1962 as was the custom of the time she was given a new name of “ Sr Marie Bede”.

Marie Therese was a quiet, humble person . It became obvious over the years that her way of living her religious life was on a deep level developing that Marist characteristic that we call “ hidden and unknown in its truest meaning. The best way to remember Marie Therese is to highlight some of those experiences which reflect the depth of her witness to others as Marist. First and foremost, Marie Therese was a woman of faith. This was especially shown in her love of the Eucharist which she sought daily where possible.

Marie Therese had a deep love of her family and over the years she accumulated a number of family photo albums covering more than one generation and which she would share with us . Each photo was clearly identified. In September 1990 to September 1991, Marie Therese went home to care for her mother in Putaruru. Marie Therese also had a great love for her family of Marist Sisters. Whenever she came down from the North or up from the south, Marie Therese always made a point of visiting the sisters, especially those in care. She was also interested in happenings in different parts of the Congregation and about Sisters whom she had met and/or ministered with overseas.

Marie Therese was a woman of generosity of spirit – if there was work to be done, she was there be it in the garden, some sewing to be done, cleaning the house, volunteering for what was needed, meeting other people. Marie Therese was able to put people at their ease: those she knew and those she didn’t:  after Mass on a Sunday, at the shops down the road, with parents in the school –– this was done unobtrusively, without a fuss, not drawing attention to herself. It was her way of reaching out to others and making them “comfortable” in the way of Jeanne–Marie Chavoin.

Training as a teacher at Loreto Hall enabled Marie Therese to bring a number of talents to her ministry of education. Over the years she was a primary school teacher, a music teacher, a remedial teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal. After her school teaching involvement , her skills were used when asked to participate in the Diocesan Motor Mission with Sr Florence Mary based in Moerewa in the North . Their mandate was to help children prepare for the sacraments of Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation and to teach those who had little or no Catholic education. Marie Therese also spent many years in the Far North at Waitaruke at Hato Hohepa Primary School and Hostel among our Maori people where she was teacher, acting Principal and Principal, superior and bursar .

Although she appeared to be “shy” at times, Marie Therese was very courageous. When the call went out to the Congregation for volunteers for personnel for assist in Slavutich in the parish of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Ukraine . When asked if she was interested, her response was, “well I can’t think of any reason to say “ no”! And off she went with two others. Her reflection was that ‘she thought she could be a support to those Sisters who could speak Russian, as she could not. She did tutor some young people in English. Besides the Ukraine, she also assisted at our general house community as a hospitality person in Rome . She was a welcoming and hospitable presence among us. More recently Marie Therese’s cancer returned, and she was moved to The Sisters of the Poor in Auckland were she was lovingly and professionally cared until she died on the morning of December 4th. In conclusion , she faithfully lived out who she was called to be.

As a Marist Sister she answered the
“call to humility, poverty and simplicity, a love of work, the readiness to undertake
various tasks, the integration of prayer and action , of a life of constant union with
Jesus Christ” as expressed in our Constitutions No.3
.
Rest in Peace , Marie Therese

Sr Lavinia Henry sm

Sr Lavinia Henry sm was called to eternal life on Friday 20th October 2023.

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 Fiji and to Sr Lavinia’s family.

Sr Joan McBride sm

Sr Joan McBride sm was called to eternal life on Saturday 24th June 2023.

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 Australia and to Sr Joan’s family.

At Joan’s funeral at Holy Name of Mary Parish, Hunters Hill, the following Words of Remembrance were delivered by Sr Julie Brand.

It is fitting that we gathered in Holy Name of Mary Church, Hunters Hill, for it was there that Joan Carmel McBride was confirmed, aged 11 – the Church in which her parents had married in 1913. Though Joan was born in Katoomba and baptised there in St. Canice’s Church, she moved with her family to Hunters Hill at an early age. Joan was the youngest child of Muriel and Bernard McBride, and remained very close to her three brothers and three sisters – Mary, Barbara, Bernard, Ruth (who joined the Dominican Congregation), John and David. Joan’s siblings and later, their respective families, were always a vital part of Joan’s life.

Joan was introduced to the Marist spirit in her formative years, completing both her Primary and Secondary education with the Marist Sisters in Woolwich and Mittagong. After finishing her schooling she took up a Secretarial position. As a young woman, Joan was drawn to the charism of the Congregation of Mary and, desiring to consecrate her life to God, she applied to enter the Marist Sisters. Just before her 21st Birthday she was received into the Novitiate in Merrylands, and it was there that she made her first Profession in 1951. Known as Sr Aquinas during her early years of ministry, she was later to return to her Baptismal name – Joan Carmel.

Joan lived her Marist Religious life with loving faithfulness and wholehearted commitment, witnessing to the Gospel in the spirit of Mary, and being always ready to fit in wherever she could be of service – taking up roles of responsibility within the Congregation as well as those of external ministries. From her earliest days, Joan’s talents and abilities were recognised. She was given opportunities to undertake University studies, while showing a keen aptitude for teaching, particularly History. She excelled as a Secondary School Educator, and was appointed Principal at Marist Sisters’ College, Woolwich, and Cerdon College, Merrylands. Joan had great love for learning and was keen that others be given every opportunity to reach their potential. In particular, she worked to ensure that our Sisters in missionary areas, as well as here in Australia, had opportunities for furthering their education and undertaking tertiary studies. As Principal, Joan was very supportive of staff, students and families, and had particular care and compassion for those who were struggling or disadvantaged – always assisting in a quiet and unassuming way. Joan spent a year teaching in Fiji before her appointment, in 1983, to Mackay, Queensland. Recognised as a gifted educator and an insightful, perceptive leader, Joan was asked to take up leadership of a pioneering Education venture in Mackay. Together with a small community of Marist Sisters, she journeyed north to begin Emmanuel Catholic School in the Diocese of Rockhampton – initially a Year 1 to 10 School. Joan loved her experience in Mackay and was greatly respected there. In the words of one of her Deputies, she was a “guiding light of Emmanuel in its formative years”.

In 1991, Joan’s ministry took a new direction. Her aptitude for History equipped her well to focus upon Archival practice, and she soon became a very able and methodical Archivist, ensuring the preservation of our Marist historical documents, not only here in Australia, but also in our General Archives in Rome and in other parts of the Congregation. She readily assisted other Religious in Australia who sought her help to establish and/or maintain their Archives.

Joan was a thorough, historical researcher and during this period she completed three major works – the first, a History of the Marist Sisters in Fiji. This work was originally presented as a thesis – part of Joan’s degree of Master of Letters, through the University of New England, Armidale, which she had begun as an external student some years previously. Following the publication of this work in 1991, Joan completed a study of the development of the Constitutions of our Congregation with particular reference to the history of change in administration; and then a History of the Marist Sisters in Australia.

Joan was reserved in nature – a private person – who also possessed a good sense of humour. She loved classical music and art, enjoyed sport, and was adept at knitting. She was hard-working and always generous with her time and talents. Though outstanding in her fields of ministry, Joan did not draw attention to herself and her own achievements, or cling to the familiar. She was ready to embrace new challenges, consistently offering herself when expressions of interest in a new mission venture were sought. How fitting that she died on the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who proclaimed: “He must increase, I must decrease”.

Throughout her life Joan faced many difficulties, including serious health issues and periods of illness. However, these experiences – b

orn with patience and strong faith – did not deter her from remaining focussed on the Work of Mary entrusted to her. Through her

Marist studies, Joan deepened her knowledge, and love for the Congregation. She believed it essential that the inter-relationship between our Founders, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin and Jean Claude Colin, be fully grasped and valued. Joan’s great desire was to help Sisters, particularly the young members of the Congregation – especially those in missionary countries – develop their knowledge of Marist history, and be confident in speaking of the Marist charism as they continued to draw others to Mary’s Way in the Church of today.

When diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia, Joan was very accepting and spoke about it quite openly. While the illness slowly robbed Joan of her memory and clarity of speech, she gradually became less measured in her interactions and we saw a lighter side of Joan. The Staff at St. Anne’s warmed to her readily and, up until the last weeks of her life, she made us all smile and laugh quite often. Joan seemed always pleased to see her visitors and often had much to say. I got the impression that she observed the activity around her, aware that the Staff were running from one task to the other, and she wanted us to know how busy they were. We are very grateful for the care and consideration given to Joan during her years of residency at St. Joseph’s and St Anne’s. The attention she was given and the gentle, pastoral and spiritual support she received, particularly in the last week of her life, touched us greatly and we are deeply appreciative.

We thank Joan for her faithful Marist commitment and her deep love for our Congregation. She has left us a wonderful legacy through her writings, words and actions. Joan did “All for the greater glory of God, and the honour of Mary.” May she rest in peace.

 

Sr Julia Lourey sm

 

Sr Julia Lourey sm was called to eternal life on Tuesday 20th December 2022.

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 Australia and to Sr Julia’s family.

At her funeral on Friday 30th December the following words of remembrance were delivered by Sr Carmel Murray sm.

When Sr. Julia, baptised Patricia Bridget Lourey, was asked recently to name some of the
highlights of her life, the first one she mentioned was her First Holy Communion Day, 24 th
September, 1930, when she said she danced all the way to the church with lots of turns, and
her veil flying out around her. This is a delightful image to have as we come today to farewell our much loved Sr. Julia, 99 years and 9 months young. This joy in living was to bring smiles and laughter into the lives of the many people whom Julia met on her long and varied journey as a Marist Sister, and she did this simply by being true to the person she was.

Julia was born in Marrickville on 20 th March, 1923, the eldest child of Patrick and Rita Lourey; she was baptised in Lewisham, but her heart belonged to Mudgee, a country town in New South Wales, where she grew up in a family of 10 children, 2 girls and 8 boys. Here
she enjoyed the love and security of a big family, where the faith of her parents was alive in their midst and was the guiding principle of their lives. Naturally, this family had many challenges to face in those days of the Great Depression and later the war years, but
whenever Julia spoke of her early years, it was with sheer delight in belonging to such a loving and exuberant family. This love of family was to stay with her all her days. She always referred to her mother as ‘her wonderful little Mother’, and took great pleasure in recalling all the pranks that her brothers used to get up to, often at the expense of her ‘little Mother’. I have no doubt that Julia herself took a leading role in these capers.

On leaving school, Julia became a subsidised teacher for three years and then a receptionist and telephonist. By this time she was living back in Lewisham, but at the age of 33 she heard the call to religious life, and entered the Marist Sisters, Merrylands, in 1954. The Novitiate period must have been quite challenging as she was considerably older than the other novices. But her faith was deep and strong and with an ability to find humour in most difficult situations, she persevered and was professed on 23 rd January, 1956.
Julia’s life experiences prior to her entering religious life were to support her in the varied ministries she engaged in during her many years as a religious. She clung to the strong faith that she had imbibed in her early years; it was evident that Jesus and Mary were very much part of her being. In her funeral booklet, she states that ‘The only treasure worth striving for in life is Jesus. He comes to us in many guises”.

Combined with this love of Jesus and Mary was a strong love and commitment to all things Marist. Julia could be quite a formidable woman in her religious views and did not take kindly to change, but her sense of humour and openness to and compassion for people
overcame any tendency to be too dogmatic. After First Profession as a Marist Sister, Julia taught in St. Margaret Mary’s Primary School
and later was appointed Principal. In 1972, she was appointed Education Supervisor for the Marist Sisters Primary Schools. She believed in traditional teaching methods and held high expectations of teachers and students. She also engaged in teaching ministries in  Woolwich and Gladstone., Queensland, and then pastoral work in Mackay, Blacktown and Merrylands.

Teaching boys was her speciality and many the tales she spun of the exploits of her boys, always with much humour and exaggeration in the telling. Having grown up in a household of boys, she knew lots about various sports, and it was no surprise to see her coaching a Rugby League football team at St. Margaret Mary’s. Her boys revered her and some kept in contact over the years. When Julia was a resident in John Woodward Aged Care Apartments in Merrylands, some of her former students from those early days even visited her there. It was during her teaching days that Julia’s gift for ministering to families became evident. Her down-to-earth approach, together with a common touch and empathy with struggling families, drew people to her. A willingness to listen and understand their situations gave them great comfort and strength. Her sense of humour also helped. Many families in Merrylands, Gladstone and Mackay all attest to this.

When her teaching days were over, Julia spent 10 happy years in Mackay, doing pastoral work among the school families and enjoying chaplaincy work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She loved life in Queensland but returned to Merrylands to become Community leader and also to do some pastoral work among the residents of Gilroy Village. Later in Blacktown she ministered mainly among the senior parishioners. And during all these years, Julia lived with some serious health issues, the recurring one being a very bad back.

On retirement, Julia was appointed to Marian House. Here, she was always a willing listener for those who needed encouragement or just a chat. She had a flourishing telephone ministry and enjoyed crocheting items for family and the sisters. She would often compose
verses for significant occasions, e.g. Jubilees, birthdays. She carried with her this great love of people when she moved into care in the John Woodward Apartments, in Merrylands. Residents and staff shared their joys and problems with her and left with spirits uplifted. On a lighter note, she who normally disdained Bingo, actually became a Caller, bringing laughter with her witty approach.

Julia was a faithful and faith-filled Marist sister who throughout her long life spread the joy of discipleship wherever she went. To the last she was true to her God and never doubted that He would always be true to her and would welcome her into Paradise with open arms. I finish with her own verse: ‘ Memory of Me’.

MEMORY OF ME – Julia Lourey.
I’d like the Memory of me,
To be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave
When my life is done.

Sr Veronica Taylor sm

Sr Veronica Taylor sm was called to eternal life on Tuesday 12th July 2022.

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 Australia and to Sr Veronica’s family. The following words of remembrance were delivered by Sr Beverley Lewis at her funeral on 25th July.

Today, we come together to pray for and say our final farewell to Veronica Ruth Taylor. Born to Leo and Mary Taylor (known as Myra) on 4th November 1931, their second daughter. Two of her sisters Marie and Clare are deceased. Pauline is present with us today as are members of Pauline’s and Clare’s families. I know very little about her childhood. No doubt it was not easy as Leo died as a young man and left Myra to bring their four daughters up on her own. Veronica used to say her mother did simple fun things with the girls which kept them together as a family unit. I can remember her telling us that she and her sisters played amongst the coffins in the back room of their home. Myra had taken on the role of an undertaker to support the family due to Leo’s frequent illnesses and his early death.

Veronica joined the Marist Sisters and was professed on 8th February 1953. During, her religious life Veronica was called to many different ministries. She spent time teaching in Fiji and at Woolwich. Her superiors noticed her giftedness for study and asked her to attend Regina Mundi in Rome for three years. Soon after her return to Australia, Veronica was appointed Scholastic Mistress. Many of the Sisters present today would have done their Scholasticate under Veronica. She had the wonderful gift of bringing out the best in people. She gave the best foundations for research and study of the new horizons in theology and Scripture which the Vatican Council opened up for the Church. She showed how to study. We have many stories from those days.

Other groups benefitted from her scholarly expertise. She was called to assist in the formation of the seminarians at Toongabbie teaching them Church History, and was also involved with the formation of the laity at Aquinas Academy.

She was also appointed as the Pastoral Planning Co-ordinator. Remember the big green folders, we had. There was also the yellow folder on Leadership and Discernment. Veronica also headed the Justice Committee raising consciousness among the Sisters of the Justice issues confronting our country and other parts of the world. Her actions spoke louder than words in her outreach to those on the margins, such as the Aids suffers who were often isolated in their homes. She was humble in taking up her various responsibilities entrusted to her by the Congregation. She was gifted in many ways but did not flaunt it.

Many of us worked with Veronica on these committees. We certainly worked hard but not as hard as she did. Everything Veronica did was done to 100% capacity. But she certainly knew how to celebrate and relax. On one particular weekend we gathered as the Pastoral Planning Committee, we worked all weekend until late Sunday. She decided it was time to celebrate so the seven of us went out to a Chinese Restaurant, where we shared a Chinese Banquet, which was quite substantial. It came time for dessert but no one wanted any. Veronica wanted us to try the fried ice-cream so she ordered one scoop of ice-cream and seven teaspoons. She was very generous in giving to the Sisters.

In her later years, she undertook pastoral work in several parishes Torquay/Grovedale in Victoria, Richmond NSW, where she is still fondly remembered, and Marrickville NSW.  Veronica had a great love for learning and shared this gift with many people especially those undertaking the RCIA programme.

 

Veronica was a hard working, generous and kind person. If she was able to help she would not spare herself. You never wondered what Veronica thought or felt, she was always forth coming with her thoughts and feelings and always prepared to share her wisdom. Equally she always humbly accepted decisions made by the Congregation whether they were what she thought or not.  She was always appreciative of what was done for her and always saw the best in people.

In these recent years especially, since Covid hit us, she grew in patience. If things were meant to be they would happen. I believe this was a result of her deep life of prayer. Veronica had peaceful expectations but a humble acceptance of God’s will.

She had a great love of her family, friends and the Marist Family, especially her sisters. She often would say to me when I visited her I don’t see a lot the Sisters and my family but that is okay because I know I belong and they are with me in my heart. There is so much more that could be said but she knows our and appreciation for the gracious person she was and still is.

In conclusion I would like to say “Go forth valiant woman of faith, true daughter of Mary, to enjoy the company of your family, friends and your Marist Family especially the Sisters. Go to the place prepared for you by Your Beloved who loved you in life and embraces you for all eternity.

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”.

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.

Sr Iulia died peacefully in her sleep on the night of 13-14 April at Papatoetoe community, Auckland NZ. The last thing Iulia said to Gemma and Tulua (her community) was “I love you both”. Sometime before that Iulia had remarked that “This is lovely community!” As Marist community is valued by us, this meant a lot to them. Iulia’s death was unexpected in its suddenness and by that fact the she was only 60 years old, and apparently far from death! We all felt the shock of this very strongly.

Sr Iulia – Julian Margaret Pua – was born on the island of Savai’i, Samoa into a large extended family. She was raised by her father and her grandparents. Her grandmother had a strong influence on her growing up. Iulia was educated in Samoa where she attended the Government Primary school followed by the SMSM Primary school. She continued her secondary education at Logiopulotu College and St Mary’s College in Apia, Western Samoa. Iulia always carried a strong sense of her Samoan Culture with its traditions and understandings. Her niece, also called “Iulia”, lived not too far away and would sometimes visit with her family. Iulia loved these visits and the youngest, “Raymond”, was a favourite of hers and she spoilt him!

After spending time at Waitaruke in 1984, Iulia began her postulancy in 1985 which took place at Mt Albert. Over this time, she also engaged in study at Marist Sisters’ College for NZ University Entrance qualification, a qualification she would need to continue tertiary education in NZ. Iulia then moved on to Novitiate for 1986-1987 joining others in Fiji in a common novitiate under the guidance of Sr Torika. She made First Profession on 12 January 1988 and made Final Profession on 18 May 1994 in Mt Albert Church. Iulia was granted New Zealand Citizenship in 1995.

Over the 33 years of profession with us as a Marist Sister, Iulia gained her Diploma of Teaching in 1991 followed by her NZ Certificate of Teaching in 1993 and spent most of that time as a teacher at Primary school level and twice took up the role of Assistant Deputy Principal. In 2001, Iulia attained her Bachelor of Education (Teaching). In later years, from 2007, Iulia also taught at secondary levels. As well as teaching she also loved to study and learn new things. In 2013 Iulia attained a Graduate Diploma in Theology and in 2014 Postgraduate Diploma in Theology in Biblical Studies.

Iulia had a great love for the Word of God and was very faithful to reading and meditating on the readings for the day. She found God in creation, above all in her garden, where she would grow what was important to her – spinach, coprosma, roses galore and taro all in the same patch sometimes! Iulia was also artistic and often expressed herself in painting, often using ‘fantasy’ figures. She was also a beautiful flower arranger, creating some lovely configurations appreciated by all. Poetry was another way Iulia would express her feelings.

Iulia assumed positions of responsibility in community by taking up the role of local leader and also local bursar, being a member of the ANZ Finance Committee, a member of the Pastoral Planning Committee, by being on the Vocations Development team, and more recently she liaised with the newly formed Marist Communications team on behalf of the Unit. She loved her vocation and the Congregation very much.

We all knew that Iulia was given to ‘fads’ from time to time e.g. she would get enthusiasms for particular kinds of food or diets – a while ago it was rhubarb, then parsley, then porridge, or the Keto Diet or the Paleo Diet and so on. As well as collecting “foods” she also had a habit of collecting various items from other people’s throw outs! She would see different kinds of furniture along the curb side waiting to be collected e.g. a little cupboard, an armchair, a little bookcase and take them home!
Although you left us suddenly and unexpectedly, Iulia, we thank God for you, and for Mary’s “gracious choice” of you. You had a desire to be like Mary, and to act like Mary in all you did for others. A week before you went to God, you said to Tulua: “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 small children for a trip, make sure to wear proper shoes.”
God has called you. Rest in Peace, Iulia!

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.

Sr Philomena Hall sm

Sr Philomena Hall sm was called to eternal life on Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

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 Australia and to Sr Philomena’s family. the following Words of Remembrance were delivered by Sr Julie Brand Philo’s funeral held at Holy Name of Mary Church Hunters Hill on 14th December.

Sr Philomena died very peacefully at St. Anne’s Nursing Home, Hunters Hill, on the morning of 2nd December.  When news of her death began to filter through the Nursing Home, the Staff were very saddened, telling us what a beautiful lady she was, how she never complained and how much they would miss her gentle presence.

Philo with members of her family

Sr Philomena – Margaret Patricia May Hall – affectionately known to us as Philo, was born on 1st May 1925 in Gloucester, NSW, the second youngest of six children.  The family moved to Belmore, Sydney, in 1933 but Philo never lost her great love for the Australian countryside. She completed her Primary Schooling at St. Joseph’s, Belmore, and Secondary Schooling at St. Brigid’s, Marrickville, before beginning work. Philo had happy memories of this period of her life, recalling joining the Parish Youth Group – a very united, active group that met at least twice a week and enjoyed dancing, socializing, sporting activities and working together on Parish projects.  It was while she was participating in a Parish mission that Philo began to recognize God’s invitation to Religious Life.  While resisting at first, Philo grew in readiness to accept the call. In a reflection she wrote that, after prayer and spiritual accompaniment, she was ready to say to God: “Whatever you want Lord, I want”.

Philo was received into the Marist Sisters’ Novitiate in Merrylands and made her First Profession on 8th September 1949.  The following year she began her Teacher Training at St Joseph’s, Mount Street, North Sydney, qualifying as an Infant and Primary Teacher.  Thus began her journey in the apostolate of Education, which spanned over 40 years, and through which she touched the lives of children and their families in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.  Philo took up positions of leadership in Schools, and was always ready to assist other teachers and offer guidance and support.

Sr Philomena in Fiji

For approximately 32 years Philo was on mission in Fiji, teaching for many of those years in towns of the western district and in the Yasawa Islands. The Sisters of Fiji and her ex-students remember Philo as an excellent teacher, especially of infants – dedicated, kind, generous and hard-working – one who knew how to encourage her students, especially the slower readers – and who was always ready to give a helping hand to others, children and teachers alike. Philo was indeed loved by the Sisters and people of Fiji.  Ex-students, fellow teachers, parents and friends all around Fiji have been praying for Philo and giving thanks for her life of service in Mary’s Name. Philo’s gift of herself to Fiji was also very much supported by her family, whose generosity helped the mission of our Sisters there and the further growth of our Congregation in Fiji.  In particular the Hall family remember with affection Sr Maria Goretti Satoqi, to whom they opened their home in Belmore and provided a warm welcome when Maria Goretti came to Sydney in the mid-60’s to enter our Marist Novitiate.  Goretti is united with us today, saying once again “Vinaka Vaka Levu” to Philo and the Hall family.

Philo at Marian House

Philo settled back in Australia in the mid-90’s and was soon to begin a ministry of care and service in Marian House, Woolwich.  For many years she worked tirelessly in attending to the needs of the elderly Sisters, taking up the work of local Bursar and supporting the community.  Before we restructured Marian House in the early years of 2000, it was often Philo who showered Sisters and attended to their personal care. She always showed love for the frail Sisters and would visit the Nursing Home at St. Anne’s every Sunday morning to spend time with our Sisters in residence there.

Trevor, Mary & Philo with parents

Philo was an excellent Bursar who had a great gift for figures. She was competent in complex calculations such as wages and superannuation payments, well organised and meticulous. I believe her gifts and talents were also readily identified in other members of the Hall family.  Philo often spoke of her two brothers – Joe and Ben and their families, her sister Mary (who joined the Sisters of the Good Samaritan) and brother Trevor (a Christian Brother). She loved her family and enjoyed spending time with them, particularly holidaying in Ballina.

It was no secret that Philo was very determined – some would say stubborn – and stood her ground firmly and resolutely.  She could be fiery at times, and left you in no doubt about her stance on a matter in question. Philo was quite a fierce competitor too.  Sisters recall that she loved a game of cards and knew every card that had been played in a game of 500.  Woe betide you if you were her partner and had not kept track of the hands played! When Philo moved to St. Anne’s Nursing Home, she always participated in activities and particularly enjoyed Bingo.  Once again she was very well organised and it quite delighted me to see her arrange the markers in right order ready to cover the numbers when called.  She was often the winner!

Philo with Isimeli Cagica from Fiji

Philo took delight in nature, enjoying animals, birds, flowers and trees.  She loved the stars, the moon and the ocean.  One of her joys in latter years was to sit in the car by the water eating ice-cream and watching the pelicans. Philo was also artistic and would join in art and craft activities, colouring and decorating.

Philo – we thank God for you and Mary’s gracious choice of you.  It was your fervent desire to do great things for God in Mary’s way.  You have followed in Her footsteps and been faithful unto death.  Like Mary you prayed, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord”.  You have surely done God’s Will and God now welcomes you into eternity.  Rest in peace.

 

Sr Isabelle Harding sm

Sr Isabelle Harding sm sm was called to eternal life on Sunday 11th August 2019.

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 Aotearoa-New Zealand and to Sr Isabelle’s family. the following eulogy was delivered at her funeral held at St Mary’s Parish, Mt Albert on 14th August 2019.

With the death of Barbara Jean Harding, Sister Isabelle, it is the end of an era, several in fact.
Firstly for her family as Isabelle is the last of the thirteen children of Isabella and George Harding to die, and so the last of her generation of the family. She has been the Matriarch for some years and the keeper of the family history all her life.
It is also the end of the era of the Marist Sisters having an important part to play in Waitaruke and especially at the school there, Hato Hohepa for 90 years. Sister Isabelle was the last Sister on the staff and was later for a number of  years the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
Again, Sister Isabelle was the last of the young Marist Sisters who in the 50’s and 60’s left Australia and New Zealand soon after their Profession to go to the Missions in Fiji. Earlier others had also gone to Tonga but had been evacuated during WW2. Isabelle went to Fiji in 1960 and taught at the Goldmines school in Vatukoula and also at schools in Lami, Solevu and Varoka, Ba,and Nadi, all on the main Island of Viti Levu, and later on the outer Islands of Ovalau and Yasawa.   Isabelle is the last of the valiant and wonderful women we all knew there, Josephine, Regina, Anita, Sabina, Miriam and many others. Of course there were also French and Irish Sisters and others like Alexius and Nolasco who were born in Fiji but were part of that generation also. Today all the Marist Sisters in Fiji are  born and bred in that country, are living in different parts of  Fiji serving the needs of their people in new ministries as well as in schools.
In 1982 Isabelle came back to New Zealand for good, and after a few years teaching at Mt Albert, Orakei and Putaruru, she went to the North where she remained for the next almost thirty years. She taught at Hato Hohepa until she was given the Diocesan Ministry of Religious Education Adviser, Northland.  She held this position for eight years, and if you were around in Kerikeri where she lived at that time, you would have seen her in her little car which held a TV monitor, stacks of religious videos, and piles of books and papers heading out the gate to go North South East and West to visit schools, parishes, families and individuals, to prepare them for the Sacraments and nourish their Faith.
In 2003 she was back in Waitaruke, involved in the school and Parish, and in particular facilitating and tutoring those who wished to follow the three year programme of ,’Walk By Faith’ and many men and women in the North have done all or part of that course with her.
In 2014, as the buildings in Waitaruke were needed for a new venture, and Sister Margarita her companion, was now in Kauri Rest Home in Kaeo, Isabelle moved with Sister Catherine to join Sister Kathleen in Kaikohe where she continued the Walk By Faith Programme right up to the Graduation of the last group of participants earlier this year.
Sister Isabelle had many loves in her life. First of course, was the Lord and his mother Mary. She loved prayer and to meditate on the Scripture Readings of the day, both in English and Maori. She loved all things Maori, art, culture, marae stays, and especially Te Reo which she studied at Massey University and Wananga Aotearoa for many years.She loved her family deeply and the Marist Sisters and wider Marist family. She loved Waitaruke and especially the school where she taught the children, another of her loves, gardening. They grew vegetables, harvested them and proudly took them home to their families. She had a particular love for Waimahana and our little bach there and to swim in the beautiful bay.
Sister Isabelle was a wonderful woman to whom God had given many gifts and talents. As an artist and a poet she loved to share with Brother Romuald FMS, in Kaikohe, himself an artist and poet. She published two books about the Hokianga and her family which included many photos, another hobby, and poems.    As she aged she began to lose her eyesight from Aged Macular Degeneration.  She took advantage of the experience of blindness of Brother Mark Chamberlain FMS to learn ways of coping with this disability. She was also attracted by his guide-dog for she loved all animals, horses, cows, dogs and especially one special cat named, Psycho, who was in Waitaruke and Kaikohe, and is now buried in a grove of trees just inside the gates of Waitaruke.
Sister Isabelle’s Fijian friends would say, “Moce, Sister, and loloma levu.
We say, ‘ Go in peace, Isabelle, enjoy eternal life with all you love.
Haere ra, Isabelle, Barbara Jean Harding, you good and faithful daughter of Mary.