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.
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 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.
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 wonderful and joyful celebration was held recently at Mt St Mary’s parish, Nadi, Fiji, as Sr Margaret Sharma celebrated her Diamond Jubilee as a Marist Sister and Sr Marlene Giblin celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Columban priest, Fr Frank Hoare, was the main celebrant and homilist with Marist Fathers John Crispin and Lewis Henry concelebrating.
Many Marist Sisters were present along with family members and friends of the two jubilarians. Also part of the celebration was Sr Anna Rarasea, a Sister of St Joseph of Cluny and Sr Carmel Pilcher, a Sister of St Joseph from Australia who is currently teaching at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva. It was a beautiful sunny day. All present enjoyed the Mass and the delicious meal that followed. Special thanks to Sr Lavinia and her team for a well organized celebration.
In the presence of her Marist community, her relatives, friends and parishioners Sr Valerie Ho recently renewed her vows as a Marist Sister for two years. Her community Leader, Sr Rosemary, received her vows . The renewal of commitment took place in the local parish church in Nadi, Fiji. Following the Mass family and friends were invited to join the sisters for brunch at the convent.
In Fiji, the two Marist Sisters’ communities of Nadi and Nadelei came together at Mount St Mary’s Nadi on Saturday 15th February to have a full days programme with two of our General Councillors, Sisters Anne McCabe and Viennese Goldstein. It was a real privilege to have our day facilated by Srs Anne and Vivienne.
The sessions were not only prayerful but enabled and empowered the sisters to share at a deep level through a process of sharing, role play and a video clip. The process was a very creative way of building community. We learned that what we bring to community is our own individual personalities that can blend to uplift our Marist lifestyle. The video clip and handouts helped us to reflect on Effective Listening. Listening is a skill that will help us to listen carefully and purposely.
Our final prayer of Consecration to Mary was a fitting end to a day inspired by the Holy Spirit. We felt the presence of God in our sharing and listening.
Marist Sisters in Fiji gathered recently to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Sr Marlen Giblin and the Diamond Jubilee of Sr Margaret Sharma. The day started with Mass at 1.30 pm. Fr Cecil Williams, a close family friend came from Suva to celebrate the Mass. He made it very special and at the end of the Mass, he called Marlene and Margaret to the front and conferred on them a special blessing. Members of the congregation also raised their hands in blessing.
After the Mass Sr Rosemary invited all present to come to the convent for formalities and lunch. All enjoyed the meal , the dessert and the jubilee cake. It was a very pleasant afternoon.
Congratulations Marlene and Margaret. May your Jubilee year be filled with blessings.
Congratulations to Sr Birisita Bibi who made her Perpetual Profession as a Marist Sister in Fiji recently. Biri’s family and friends from Levuka, where Biri has been on mission over recent years, arrived in Lami in great numbers on Friday 6th December. They were accommodated at the school premises.
At 10.00 am on the 7th December, the Profession Mass began in the parish church in Lami, Suva. Fr John Crispin sm was main celebrant. He was assisted by six other priests. The church was filled to the doors with the presence of the Marist Sisters, Biri’s family and the youth choir from Levuka. The whole community was filled with joy as Sr Biri made her final commitment to God. At the end of the Mass, all were invited to the parish hall for lunch. After lunch the sisters gathered at the convent for the unwrapping of gifts. What a happy day it was for the sisters, for Biri’s family and friends and for Biri.
For Biri, we pray that her journey as a Marist Sisters will be richly blessed as she endeavours to follow Christ by living the Gospel as Mary did.
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.