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.

Drinking from the Wellspring of Life

A group of twenty five Marist Sisters from around the world have gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, for a time of renewal the theme of which is Drinking from the Wellsprings of Life. During the first week participants have appreciated being together and the contemplative atmosphere that has permeated each days activities. There has been time for input, for reflecting, for sharing and for experiencing the beauty of the world around us. The Fijian Community in Auckland paid a visit to the group one evening which was a rich cultural experience for all.

Recommitting to the Fourviere Pledge

“All to God’s greater glory and to the honour of Mary,
the Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
(Fourviere Pledge, 23rd July 1816)

Each year Marists throughout the world recall the day in July 1816 when twelve seminarians climbed the stairs in Lyons to the chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere to commit themselves to beginning a congregation in Mary’s name, a Congregation whose sole motive would be to work “for God’s greater glory” by following the example of Mary. Marists gather on this day to celebrate and recall the courage and commitment of the founding Marists who believed that just as Mary was present in the early Church she is present with us today, guiding and supporting us. This day is also an opportunity for Marists to renew their commitment to be Mary’s presence in the world today attentive to the needs of those who are in need of God’s compassionate love.

In Australia the day was marked by a celebration of the Eucharist at Hunters Hill. Marists from all branches – Laity, Sisters, Brothers, Missionary Sisters and Priests – participated in the celebration during which all prayed anew the Pledge of Fourviere.

Asia-Pacific Leaders Meet

The Leaders of the four Marist Sisters Units in the Asia-Pacific Region met recently in Davao, The Philippines. Srs Catherine (Australia), Jane Frances (Aotearoa-New Zealand), Lavinia (Fiji) and Sheila (the Philippines) spent a week together focusing on issues such as Marist Life and mission, formation at all stages of life, sharing of resources, developing leadership skills and mutual support for those in leadership. While in Davao the sisters also visited Balay Banaag (a hostel administered by the Marist Sisters) and participated in a Sunday Eucharist at the local jail where members of the Marist family, including our Sisters, minister.

Sr Margaret Therese Kerins sm

Sr Margaret Therese Kerins was called to eternal life on Friday 28th June 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 Margaret Therese’s family.The following eulogy was delivered at her funeral:

Margaret Therese was the fifth of the six children of Thomas and Esther Kerins born 1933.  Her family lived on a farm near Masterton so Margaret attended the Fernbridge Primary School. She went further afield for her secondary education to the Brigidine Sisters at St Bride’s College Masterton.  We hear that she was often commended there for her sewing and handcraft skills and these remained with throughout her life.

Her older sister, Noreen, entered our novitiate at Karori in 1947 and they had an aunt living in Karori so the Marist Sisters were familiar to Margaret – so much so that she decided to join them in 1954. The novitiate moved to Australia during this time so Margaret, now Sr Patrick, was professed in Sydney. A year after her profession she returned to New Zealand and in the years that followed she lived in all of our houses and even managed three short periods back in Sydney.

In Waitaruke and Herne Bay she was in charge of the boarders.  Her time in Moerewa, our motor mission, provided an opportunity for parish visitation, while in Sydney and in Mt Albert she was caregiver for our elderly Sisters.

Our Congregation values ministry but realises that it needs to be supported by times of prayer and reflection, Margaret had several opportunities for such periods.  The first of these included a time in Rome with a group of Marist Sisters. Margaret rejoiced especially in her visits to St Peter’s Basilica and many other historic places.  From Rome she travelled to France to visit places associated with our Foundress and early Sisters.  Margaret kept an account of each day to share later with the Sisters and her family.  Meeting so many of our Sisters  in England, France and Ireland was a real joy for her.

There was a further period of renewal that we shared several years later – this time in Sydney with religious of different Congregations. We took time to reflect on our vocation and its relevance.

Margaret’s last years were spent in Rotorua – twenty of those with Sr Mary who shared these insights on Margaret’s ministry and the person she had become.  She stressed that Margaret was first and foremost a woman of prayer and it was this quality that supported all she did.  She spent each morning visiting the housebound and those in rest homes and was truly devoted to each person she visited.  Her ability to talk easily to everyone she met, including small children won her many friends in the community. She was a great communicator either in person or by telephone to the Sisters, her family and her friends.  The garden surrounding the Rotorua house was a tribute to her untiring efforts and it was greatly admired.  There were times of recreation too when she played indoor bowls or visited friends in the area.

Margaret, as we recall your life and ministry, we thank you for all you have been and done for all those whose lives you touched.  May you rest now in the lord and His Mother who loved you and chose you for their own.

St Peter Chanel, Martyr of Oceania

It has long been a tradition within the Marist Family that we pray to St Peter Chanel for vocations. On this the feast of St Peter Chanel, 28th April, we invite you to join with us in prayer. May we all have a deeper commitment to our vocation as Christians and also pray for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church,
watch over each tiny seed of a vocation
in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls
to follow him more closely.

May she help it grow into a mature tree,
bearing much good fruit
for the Church and for all humanity.

St Peter Chanel, you left your homeland
to proclaim Jesus.
Like you, may our lives bring forth
a witness of joyful commitment to Jesus.

Call forth from our midst
many workers for the Gospel,
so God’s love may reach the ends of the earth.
We ask this prayer through Jesus our brother. Amen.

Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice

The United Nations General Assembly recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that it cannot be attained in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms. On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared 20 February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The theme for 2018 World Social Justice Day is Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice. In his message for World Social Justice Day, International Labour Organisation(ILO) Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryders said “Migrant workers, like all workers, are entitled to fair treatment and fair treatment for migrant workers is also key to preserving the social fabric of our societies and to sustainable development.”

Throughout the world Marist Sisters are committed to  “accompanying by prayer – and where possible, our actions – all peoples in situation where life is at risk'” (General Chapter 2015). In the Asia Pacific Region sisters are actively working to be a voice for refugees and asylum seekers and for women, men and children who have been trafficked or exploited in situations of forced labour.

A Star Guides – A Vision Unfolds

On the feast of the Epiphany, Marist Sisters under 60 years of age gathered in Senegal, West Africa. Travelling from travelling from Australia, Brazil, England, Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines and including Sisters already in West Africa this was a meeting of minds and hearts, an opportunity to share experiences and dream together. Over a period of about four weeks participants reflected together on  themes such as Contemplative Dialogue, Balance and Self Compassion, Leadership and Resilience, Vision and Prophetic Witness. While experiencing the rich culture of West Africa there was also time for the participants to share their own cultural heritage. All participants agreed the experiences they shared helped them to grow together as a group and to deepen even further their sense of Mission and of the Spirit of Mary.

Celebrating A Marist Profession

Marist Sisters in New Zealand and throughout the world are rejoicing in the First Profession of Sr Tulua Matangi’otuafi sm which took place in Orakei, NZ, on Saturday 2nd December. Tulua’s profession took placce in the presence of her Marist Sisters and her mother who had travelled from Tonga and other members of her family who had come from places such as USA, Tonga, Samoa, Australia, Hamilton and Wellington. Bishop Pat Dunn,Bishop of Auckland, officiated at the Profession Mass together with Mons. Pat Ward, Fr Pat Breeze sm and Fr Pat Brady.

Sister Gemma, Unit Leader of New Zealand, guided the procedure. Tulua responded to all that was asked of her clearly and with grace, and firmly declared her desire to live the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the Congregation of Mary, Marist Sisters.  Read more…

Click on the images below to see an enlarged photo.

Asia-Pacific Sisters in Ireland

18 Marist Sisters from all over the world gathered in Dublin recently for their Plenary General Council(PGC) meeting from 15-30 September.  The theme of the meeting was Women of the Word, Whole-makers, embracing Life! Present at the meeting were four Sisters from Asia-Pacific – Srs Cath Lacey (Australia), Lavinia Henry (Fiji), Gemma Wilson (New Zealand) and Sheila Manalo (Philippines). The PGC was a wonderful opportunity for the sisters to reflect and discern together and so experience solidarity as a whole congregation.