Remembering Fr Jean Claude Colin

founder-jean-claude-colin“In your difficulties,
in your troubles,
in your zealous plans,
in the problems of your ministry,
do you have recourse to God,
do your thoughts turn immediately
to prayer, to God?”
(A Founder Speaks, 132.6)

On this anniversary of the death of Jean Claude Colin, Founder of the Marist Fathers and Marist Sisters, we give thanks for the witness of this humble and courageous man. We pray that, like him, all Marists will have a deep dependence on God and a deep resolve to be Mary’s compassionate presence in our world.

International Peace Day

peace-day“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
(Mt 5:9)

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Click here for a prayer service.

Loving God, guide us to be your artisans of peace,
To use the talents and skills you have so generously given us
To creatively educate and advocate for others who are denied a voice.
Help us to be present to members of the global human family
And to recognize the systems and structures
That deny the dignity of the human person.
Help us to be engaged and fully focused
So we may envision and develop effective strategies
To further justice and to be your artisans of peace in our world. Amen.

Fourvière Celebrations in Fiji

DisplayFourvière celebrations in Suva, Fiji, began the evening before as members of the five branches of the Maist Family went to the Parish hall in Laucala Bay to put up pictures and decorate their booths in readiness for a vocation display the next day.

The morning of 23rd July, the day of the 200th anniversary of the promise at Fourviere, was bright and beautiful.  The program began at 9.30am with prayer prepared by the FMS  Brothers.  Picture1It really set the tone for the day.   The prayer concluded with a video clip presenting each of the branches. Then there was a time for mingling with other members of the Marist Family.

At 3pm in Laucala Bay Church Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.  He was very interested in our Marist History and wanted to know what happened  after the promise and when and how the female branches came into the picture.  His questions were answered by many who were sharing with him at the dinner table. Our celebrations ended  with a lot of joyful dancing of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for those who made the promise,  for the perseverance of Fr. Colin, Fr. Marcellin, Mother St Joseph and Sr. Francoise Perroton.dance

World Day of Prayer Against Trafficking in Persons

World-Day-against-Trafficking-in-PersonsIn 2014 the United Nations General Assembly designated 30th July to be the World Day against Trafficking in Persons aware of the need for “raising awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”

Human trafficking is a global problem. No country is immune from this crime. People can be enslaved and exploited in situations of sexual slavery, forced labour in agriculture, hospitality, construction, mining and fishing industries; people can be enslaved and exploited in domestic servitude, by having their organs harvested, and in times of conflict and following natural disasters.

A number of Marist Sisters in the Asia-Pacific region are involved in counter human trafficking work. We invite you to take action against this heinous crime by joining with us in prayer on this World Day Against Human Trafficking. Click here for a prayer service.

Fourvière Pledge 1816-2016

Dare to Dream 2016In 1816, in the chapel of Our Lady of Fourvière, twelve seminarians dared to dream that they could make a difference in the world by beginning a congregation in Mary’s name. Today, two hundred years later, Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Brothers, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist Laity are spread throughout the world. We ask you to join with us in celebrating the Pledge of Fourvière on 23rd July. We pray that like the men of Fourvière we will be fired with zeal as we strive to  “work together for the greater glory of God and the honour of Mary.”

Notre-Dame de Fourviere 2Mary, of Fourvière, show us what love is
and from where it draws its origin
and its constantly renewed power.
Holy Mary, good Mother of Fourvière,
you have given the world its true light,
Jesus, your Son ‐ the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely to God’s call
and this became a wellspring of the goodness
which flows forth from him.
You inspired the first Marists to create a Society
dedicated to showing the Marian face of the Church.
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become capable of true love
and be fountains of living water
in the midst of a thirsting world. Amen.

Magnificat! Sr Lavenia Begins Novitiate

IMG_4860On Sunday  1st May Marist Sisters throughout the Congregation rejoiced at the news that a new novice had been received in New Zealand. Sr Lavenia Laweimoala from Fiji is now a member of the novitiate community in Auckland, NZ.

The theme of Lavenia’s reception ceremony was “I have called you by your name and you are mine“. IMG_4833The picture of Our Lady in Coutouvre on the front of the reception ceremony booklet was a reminder of our links with Mary, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, and of our Marist origins. During the ceremony New Zealand Unit Leader, Sr Gemma Wilson, asked Lavenia what she was seeking. Lavenia responded by asking to be accepted into  the Marist Sisters who, in turn, responded positively. After Lavinia had signed the Novices Register and the forms for Reception into the Marist Sisters, Gemma presented her with a copy of the Constitutions and General Statutes and  a 20160501_142310Marian Medal signifying her status now as a Novice of the Marist Sisters.  The final hymn of joy and gratitude was the Magnificat!

The ceremony was followed by a celebratory afternoon tea. Lavenia is grateful for the many prayerful wishes she received from sisters throughout the Congregation as she begins the next phase of her Marist journey.

Cyclone Winston

Photo0162_001It is with a sense of relief and thanksgiving we are able to report that the Marist Sisters in Fiji are safe following the worst cyclone on record for Fiji. However, they have been through a harrowing time and now they are facing the long clean-up.

Worst affected are our Sisters in Nadelei, Mareta and Titilia, who have lost their home as the photos show. Photo0167They have been sheltering in the school with the local people. All are affected by power shortages, making communication very difficult. In some places there are water shortages as well. There is a difficult time ahead for Fiji. The Sisters are most grateful for our prayerful support and ask that we continue praying for them and for the people of Fiji during the work of restoration.

Unit of Fiji is Born

Fiji 5jpgThere was great rejoicing when Marist Sisters in Fiji gathered in Nadi on 8th December to celebrate the birth of the Unit of Fiji. As the sisters gathered around Mary’s statue, they were very conscious of being one family with all Units of the Congregation.

 

Fiji 1During a time of prayerful reflection the Sisters untied knots in a chord to symbolize Mary’s action of untying the complexities of our lives and bringing us to Jesus. No celebration in Fiji is complete without a feast. Included in the feast was the cutting of a birthday cake to mark the birth of the Unit of Fiji.

Click on an image below to see the enlarged version.

A New Beginning for Marist Sisters

Marist Sisters Embracing LfeOn this feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the inaugural day of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Marist Sisters throughout the world are marking a historical moment when our Congregation is taking on a new shape as one WHOLE made up of 13 Units. The Marist Sisters’ General Chapter held in April 2015 invited us to be Women of the Word, embracing live and to affirm the values of diversity and flexibility. The Chapter did not decide on governance structures, but has opened the way for each current Sector to reflect on its situation and its needs.  From this fresh starting point, each group is invited to shape its future governance model according to its own reality.  The vital issue is the life of the Unit, the mission of the Unit, its desire to promote and enhance life.

P1100827Sr Grace Ellul, Congregational Leader, in her video address to the Congregation urged us to open wide our hearts, our minds, our very selves and embrace the Whole that we are as Congregation.  Let us cultivate an awareness of the Whole, be in touch with the Whole, be interested in the Whole, pray with the Whole.  Unit Leaders, I invite you to establish networks among yourselves and to keep your Units connected with others.