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