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.

Click on images to see enlarged version.

Marist Students Study Human Trafficking

As part of the Human Rights component of their Legal Studies course, Year 12 students at Marist Sisters College Woolwich are studying Human Trafficking. Recently ACRATH member, Noelene Simmons sm, was a guest speaker for the class. The presentation included an explanation of what human trafficking is and the forms it takes in Australia and beyond, the legislation that exists in Australia to fight against this crime and the actions we can take to help in eliminating human trafficking and slavery. The students were very engaged throughout the presentation. Comments from the students include:

“Sister Noelene’s presentation opened my eyes to the injustice within the global community in relation to human trafficking and how we as young adults can act to strive for a more equal world.” (Emma)

“The presentation was really informative and helped me understand more about human trafficking and slavery issues within our world. The ethical brands booklet is very interesting, it’s good to learn more about the products I buy. (Cinzia)

“Sister Noelene’s presentation was engaging and really emphasised the ways that us as a community can make a difference in stopping modern day slavery” (Lauren)

Celebrating Marist Commitment

In Fiji a celebration was held recently to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Marist Religious Profession for Srs Raitiera Teiti and Terube Ata. Because of Cyclone conditions, the original date for the jubilee was postponed till mid February.   The two sisters had been in Rabi for their Christmas break so they had celebrated then with their close family, relatives and friends.

However, despite the rainy weather, the celebrations for Sisters Terube and Raitiera went off very well. On Friday, the choir from Lautoka braved the stormy weather and miraculously arrived in Suva, slept in the Lami classrooms and were ready to sing at the the next morning.

On the day of the celebration, the sun shone and we were filled with joy as we took part in the beautifully prepared liturgy. Mass in the Lami Parish Church at 11.00 am was full to capacity with sisters, friends, Religious and relatives. The main celebrant was Father Donal McElraith, Irish Columban who is closely associated with the Rabi Community. Rabi is the island off the coast of Taveuni where the Kiribati community from Ocean Island were rehabilitated because of Phosphate Issues.  At present Rabi has produced two priests to the Columban Society and quite a number of girls have joined either the OLSH or the Marist Sisters.  The Rabi Community is very proud of their Religious and in particular Sisters Terube and Raitiera. It was a touching moment when both the sisters knelt before the altar to renew their vows.

After the Mass, all the Marist Sisters and guests were invited to the school basement for the usual formalities, meal and entertainment. The decor in the basement expressed the feelings of joy and happiness for this auspicious occasion. The theme of the day was “Mary Going In Haste”. In Sister Terube’s speech, she explained the meaning of the theme…that is the Sisters are on mission with Mary in carrying out the work of Christ.

Following the meal in the school basement, the Sisters continued to mingle with friends and relatives and later we joined the Sisters as they opened their gifts. We finished the day with the Salve Regina. It was a great day and we thank God for the gifts of Terube and Raitiera, two very talented and hard working women in the Marist Congregation.

On the same day Lavenia Laweimoala began another step in her Marist journey when she was received as a novice in the presence of her parents and the Sisters.

A video of the event may be viewed here.

Reopening and Blessing of Dental Clinic in ‘Balay Pasilungan’

In the Philippines the Marist Fathers Chanel Community joined the celebration of the opening of the Dental clinic for children at Balay Pasilungan. The newly blessed dental equipment enables Marist Sister Sheila Manalo SM (a dentist) to offer safe and covid-free clinic to children.

Founded by the Society of Mary in 1989, Balay Pasilungan is home to former street boys. They eat, sleep, play and pray as a family, supported by a social worker and house parents under the supervision of a Marist priest. Many of the boys also attend a local school.

[Photo: www.maristasia.org. Marist Community with Fr Gil Casio SM, the new executive director of Balay Pasilungan with their dentist, Sr Sheila Manalo SM]

Unveiling and Blessing

The unveiling and blessing of the headstone for Sr Margarita Bourke took place on 28 December 2020.  Margarita died on 8 April 2018.   This Prayer Service took place at the urupa (cemetery) in the Far North in Waitaruke,  one of the first places the Marist Sisters went to in 1927. Sr Rita Gardiner  and Sr Aloyuisa are already buried there.  Fr Anthony Trenwith conducted the Service and as well as Marist Sisters Kathleen, Catherine, Gemma and Lorraine,  friends and relatives of Margarita also attended  – about 35 in all.  Sr Catherine and Bebe (Margarita’s niece) both unveiled the headstone as the blessing took place. Those attending socialized and met old and new friends over  kai (food) to finish the day.

 

Working Against Human Trafficking and Slavery

In the Asia-Pacific region Marist Sisters in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in the work against human trafficking and slavery. The sisters are members of ACRATH in Australia and Talitha Kum Aotearoa New Zealand in New Zealand.

Over recent week ACRATH has been advocating with members of the Commonwealth Parliament. Due to Covid-19 this year all meeting took part online. In addition to members of Parliament the ACRATH team also meets with members of Government Department. The image depicts a meeting with the Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking, Lucienne Manton (centre of lower right image), and her team. ACRATH is convinced that it is only through collaboration with government, NGOs and civil society that human trafficking and slavery can be eliminated.

The recent ACRATH Newsletter outlines ACRATH’s advocacy issues in 2020. It also gives a snapshot of other ACRATH activities over recent months. Download a copy of the latest ACRATH newsletter here.

Celebrations in New Zealand

On Sunday 4 October Marist Sisters in New Zealand celebrated with joy, 60 years of profession for Sr Margaret Vaney!  Her brother Fr Neil Vaney sm was the celebrant.  We celebrated Mass  in the beautifully prepared Mt Albert Chapel.  It was a very happy and joy-filled occasion during which Margaret renewed her vows. After the Mass we made our way to a restaurant on the rural outskirts of the city.  Following this we returned back to Mt Albert for cake-cutting, gifts and speeches! It was a wonderful day!

 

On the same weekend those sisters who were able gathered at the cemetry in Panmure for the unveiling of the headstone for Srs Isabelle Harding and Margaret Therese Kerins. Family and friends of the sisters were also present.

 

From the “Depths” and “Heights” of Lockdown

Despite being in lockdown for six months due to Covid-19 Marist Sisters resident in St Joseph’s Aged Care are still deeply interested in Congregation and world events. Their passion and commitment is an inspiration to all of us. On behalf of the group Sr Marie Berise writes the following:

“We six Marist Sisters residing at St. Joseph’s Aged Care, Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia, have been in lockdown since the 19th March 2020, only leaving this place for important, necessary medical treatment. We received with joy the beautiful, inspiring Jubilee for the Earth – New Rhythms, New Hope” material. It resonates deeply with the groundswell happening in Australia to raise awareness of climate change and the desire to reach renewable energy targets by 2050, despite the coronavirus and bushfire issues. The Government – Federal and State – and the many local groups are active. We here – Josephite Sisters, lay women and ourselves – prayerfully do very small things, cultivating gardens, recycling waste materials and plastics. How encouraging to read Ross Garnaut, one of our top experts in this field, in his wonderful book about Australia’s low carbon opportunity citing Pope Francis’s Laudato Si as the “most rigorous, comprehensive and influential” treatment of the ethics, science and technology issues to protect our common home throughout the world. In Laudato Si no. 218 Pope Francis quotes the Australian Bishops calling all to ecological conversion. We look to the future of our world with renewed hope.”

Photo: L-R: Srs Joan McBride, Anne Saunders, Marie Clarke (seated) and Srs Marie Patricia Toomey, Patricia Bartley and Marie Berise Nash (standing)

Latest ACRATH News

Marist Sisters in Australia have supported the work of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) since its beginning in 2005.

In the September issue of ACRATH News you can read about ACRATH’s new Forced Marriage Video Presentation which was launched in August. The Australian Federal Police participated in the launch and explored the issues facing local authorities working to combat forced marriage. Other stories include:

  • ETIKO Fairtrade clothing and JINTA sports equipment is offering ACRATH readers a discount. Work with them to keep workers, hit by COVID, in work.
  • LIZ Morris has written ACRATH’s submission to the Senate’s Select Committee on Temporary Migration. We make 10 compelling recommendations.
  • ACRATH’s calendar for 2021 is available and it explores some great projects combating human trafficking.
  • ACRATH’s volunteer Companions have been able to offer financial support to trafficked women and children during COVID.
  • JOIN the Webinar for teachers on November 23 2020.

Download your copy of ACRATH News here.