Pope Francis has invited us to celebrate a Year of Consecrated Life, beginning on 30th November 2014 and concluding on 2nd February 2016. He urges us: “Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living!” (November 2013) For Marist Sisters these words – reminiscent of our founder Fr Colin’s expression to think, judge, feel and act as Mary – impel us to enter more deeply into our Marist vocation. We are called to be prophets in today’s world – prophets of joy and hope – called to follow Christ in the manner of Mary, called to be Women of the Word, Embracing Life. As we prepare for our 2015 General Chapter in this Year of Consecrated Life, we go forth on our journey of renewal, growing more deeply into Christ and living the Gospel in the spirit of Mary, whose name we bear. (Logo: Catholic Religious Australia)
“And the Blessed Virgin,
who did such great things then,
will do even greater ones
at the end of time…” (Jean-Claude Colin)
Jean-Claude Colin, founder of the Marist Fathers and Marist Sisters, knew suffering at an early age. Orphaned at the age of five he developed into a person with a deep longing for a life of solitude and strong desire to serve God. It was while studying for the priesthood at the major seminary in Lyon he came into contact with the Marist project. Despite his sensitive and timid temperament he was courageous in responding to the needs of his time. He took his inspiration from the life of Mary in Nazareth and and from her presence as a mother in the early church. On 15th November, the anniversary of his death, Marists throughout the world recall with gratitude the legacy of this man who teaches us what it is to live the Spirit of Mary in our times.
Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific
The Regional Chapter of the Marist Sisters of Asia-Pacific has concluded! We have completed our various tasks and have much to share with our Sisters of the Region. In the closing days of the Chapter eight delegates were elected to accompany the Regional Leader to the General Chapter to be held in Rome in April 2015.
We celebrated our concluding Eucharist with Grahame Connolly sm. As we sang, Christ be our Light, Julie, as current Regional Leader, led us into the Chapel carrying our Regional candle. At the time of the Blessing each Chapter member signed the Record of Attendance and received from Julie a picture as a memento. Julie then passed the candle to Grace, Regional Leader- elect, who led us out.
As we prepare to leave this hallowed place our hearts are full of gratitude and our steps are light – knowing that we are Women of the Word, Embracing Life!!! We thank our God for all who have supported us in prayer throughout these days.
Each day preceding our work we gather for morning prayer together. We then take time to share any reflections on our previous days work. Having heard the reports from Sr Julie, Regional Leader, and also from the Sector Leaders our work has moved into a deeper phase of reflecting and questioning. It was with great delight that we were able to celebrate the birthday of one of our members on Day 3 with an evening social.
The work of Day 4 involved reflecting on the Regional Bursars report. After lunch, a nine-seater bus and three cars took groups of participants to various places of interest, beauty spots and shopping centres and then on to Mt Albert. There nearly every Sister of the Sector was awaiting us. We were warmly welcomed, thoroughly entertained and extremely well fed. With a certain reluctance, yet aware of the need to be fresh for the days ahead, we made our departure, thanking our God for all who had contributed to yet another wonderful day! More photos…
The Marist Sisters of Asia-Pacific Regional Chapter began officially at 9.00am on Sunday 19th October with the gathering of the members for the Opening Eucharist in the Chapel of the Vaughan Park Retreat Centre, Long Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. David Kennerley sm, Provincial of the Marist Fathers NZ, led us in our celebration of the Eucharist.
At 11.00am we gathered in the Conference Room. At the centre of our circle were two books: the Word to us through the Readings of the Day and the Word to us through our Sisters’ expressions of God’s Invitation to the Marist Sisters of Asia-Pacific. Following the singing of Michael Herry’s “A Fire on the Earth”, Sr Julie Brand, Regional Leader, a shared message from Sr Jane Frances O’Carroll sm, Congregational Leader, as well as those from other Marist Sisters and members of the Marist Family. She then handed over to Br Graham Neist fms, our facilitator.
Over the first two days time has been spent listening to and reflecting on Sr Julie’s report to the Chapter as well as reports from the Sector Leaders of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines. There is a wonderful spirit of deep listening and sharing within the Chapter group. More photos…
The delegates of the 2nd Regional Chapter of Asia-Pacific experienced a very sacred and moving experience as they gathered in Auckland. The Powhiri – a Maori ritual of welcome given to all visitors to a marae in New Zealand- was led by Margaret Bhote and a group of Marist College Mt Albert students. The ceremony began with the karanga (call) from the tangata whenua(home people).
It is customary to recall the living and the dead during a powhiri. During the ceremony Sr Julie Brand, Regional Leader, carried into the chapel the photos of the Sisters of the Region who had died since the 2008 Regional Chapter. Sr Rita Raikuna, a General Councillor representing the Congregational Leadership Team and the wider Congregation, carried portraits of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin and Jean- Claude Colin, Founders of the Marist Sisters.
The Sector Leaders of Australia, Fiji, the Philippines and New Zealand were individually called forth. Each carried the photos of the sisters of their Sectors. This was followed by the traditional hongi(pressing of noses), a sharing of the breath of life symbolising there are no longer visitors but one people together. During the afternoon tea that followed this ceremony there was great excitement as sisters from the various parts of the Region exchanged greetings. Eventually the delegates were called to journey to the chapter venue at Vaughan Park to settle in and prepare themselves for the opening liturgy of the Chapter on Sunday morning. More photos…
A Chapter is a special time of grace for a Religious Congregation. It is an opportunity to review the life and mission of the Congregation in the light of its Charism and founding spirit. The Regional Chapter for the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific will take place in Auckland from 18th to 28th October. Our Chapter theme – Women of the Word, Embracing Life – invites us “like Mary to a profound pondering of the Word: listening, hearing, and acting, remembering, rejoicing, and releasing the Word” (Sr Jane Frances O’Carroll, Congregational Leader, April 2014).
We invite you to pray with us as we journey towards this sacred event and also during the days of Chapter. Download the Asia-Pacific Chapter Prayer.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters, was born on 29th August 1786 to Théodore Chavoin, aged 20, tailor, and Jeanne Verchère, aged 19, servant. Her parents may have been young and unprepared but it seems they made a good marriage and brought up their daughters in a loving, open, happy home. Jeanne-Marie grew in an atmosphere of practical faith and came to develop what could be termed “hidden holiness”. It was this quality which was later to provide the key to her vocation.
God of creation,
we praise and thank you for the birth of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin,
our foundress, Mother St Joseph.
We thank you for her parents, Théodore and Jeanne, for their love, their courage, their acceptance of responsibility and all they taught Jeanne-Marie.
We thank you for our own parents, the families which prepared us for life.
May Jeanne-Marie Chavoin intercede for us today,
that we may present a Marian face in our world –
a face of compassion, understanding and love,
a face which accepts people as they are,
yet encourages them to grow in goodness.
With them, may we be brought forth to the life of grace.
We pray this in the name of Jesus your Son.
The Catholic Church in Fiji gathered recently to farewell Archbishop Petero Mataca who was Bishop of Fiji for two years and Archbishop for thirty six years till his retirement in 2012. Two archbishops, four bishops and 50 priests from the Oceania region and Fiji conducted the vigil and resurrection masses for the late archbishop held on Friday 11th July. During the days prior to the funeral the reguregu (cultural expression of condolences) and veiqaravi (presentations) for Archbishop Petero took place at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Lami.
The Marist Sisters in Fiji will never forget Archbishop Mataca. For years he has shown appreciation for our Marist Mission, the Work of Mary in Fiji. From the beginning he was always interested and supportive of our ministry of education – particularly encouraging of our foundation in the Yasawas from where he originated.
The Archbishop often requested the assistance of the Marist Sisters in a variety of ministries. These included work with youth in a number of parishes, participating on the original CORAS team initiated by him, working at the Catechist Centre, in the Catholic Education Office and in Corpus Christi Teachers’ College, as well as providing outreach to the Indian people – he even sent one of our Sisters to India for a year to deepen her understanding of language and culture.
In his turn, the Archbishop was generous to our Sisters and always prepared to help. When the Sisters needed to build a novitiate, the Archbishop gave the land at Wailekutu, near Lami, which later became the Nazareth Prayer Centre. In earlier years he often called in to Lami just to have a chat over a cup of tea, discussing anything from the latest developments in education to the welfare and whereabouts of all the Sisters. When invited to preside over official ceremonies, he showed a ready willingness to accept.
Our Sisters hold fond memories of the Archbishop and offer deep gratitude to God for his heartening support of them throughout his ministry of leadership within the Fijian Church.
(Picture: Fiji Times)
In a recently released issue of the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific Newsletter you can read about the work of the sisters with the homeless, those exploited, those recovering from trauma and those who are seeking God in their lives. There is also a report on the events in Waitaruke, New Zealand, to acknowledge eighty-six years of service by the Marist Sisters.
Download your copy of the newsletter here.