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.
Marist Sisters in New Zealand gathered at Mt Albert in Auckland to celebrate on November 18th our bicentenary of foundation. We were supported by a great many members of the Marist Family and parishioners who came to share our story and give thanks with us. Our celebrant Fr David Kennerley, provincial of the Marist Fathers, brought an all-inclusive simplicity and spontaneity to the celebration of the Eucharist which warmed all hearts.
Sr Marie Challacombe gave a reflection coming from her recent experience in Coutouvre. This linked us with that international and local event, and with past generations of Marist Sisters who faithfully transmitted the spirit of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Marie Jotillon and Jean-Claude and Pierre Colin to us throughout these 200 years.
A convivial gathering in the Primary School hall after the Eucharist gave us all an opportunity to catch up and exchange news. Before we all departed each branch of the Marist Family, our four past Marist schools and the parish of St Mary’s was presented with a framed copy of the plaque erected in the church at Coutouvre on October 3rd with an explanation of its contents.
The Marist Family in Auckland gathered at Good Shepherd College June 5th for a very stimulating seminar day of Marist Studies. The day began with a paper from Fr Alois Greiler sm titled The Marist Charism in a Trinitarian Key in which he developed the role of the Spirit in Mary and the charism of the Society of Mary. Fr Justin Taylor sm then developed some ideas of the the Work of Mary’ in the context of the historical trends taking place in the 18/19th centuries. This was followed by a description by Br. Edward Clisby fms of his recently printed book Far Distant Shores (unfortunately delayed somewhere on the route to us),with particular reference to the development of the early Brothers in New Zealand and Oceania.
The afternoon began with a presentation by Br Romuald Gibson fms on the rise and fall of the four Marist congregations and the implications of the present phase of religious life so valuable to the Church of our times. After this we heard from Sr Gemma Wilson sm about the early days of the Marist Sisters. The afternoon concluded with Sr Patricia Leamy smsm’s paper on the significance of collaboration between the branches since the inception of the Society of Mary and in particular for her own branch. Copies of the various talks will appear in the Marist messenger and eventually in Forum Novum.
Marist Sisters in Australia gathered in Woolwich on Saturday 21st January to welcome our Congregational Leader, Sr Grace Ellul, home to Australia. Grace is making her official visitation of our Unit. It was a very joyous occasion.
The afternoon began with a time of prayerful reflection during which we recalled that 200 years ago Jeanne Marie Chavoin and Marie Jotillon left home and family to begin the sisters branch of the Marist Family. Afternoon tea followed giving us an opportunity to enjoy catching up with Grace and each other. Grace was also able to catch up with a former Australian Congregational Leader, Sr Margaret Purcell.
“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.
Fourvière 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. It 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.
In 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.”
Mary, 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.
Two Marist Sisters and one Marist Missionary Sister are amongst the participants of programs at Marymount Mercy Centre, Castle Hill, NSW.
Sr Mariana Tevurega SM and Sr Petra Mario SMSM are close to completing the‘New Life’ renewal program, while Sr Titilia Tupou SM, in preparation for final vows, will graduate on Nov 29 from the program inspired by T.S. Eliot’s ‘Costing nothing less than everything’. Prior to completing the programs the sisters will be on retreat from 11th to 19th November. Our prayers are with them over these days.
The three sisters, all Fijian, join a succession of members of the Marist family who have enjoyed Marymount’s programs.
In this Year of Consecrated Life, Sr Lilibeth Cajes sm made her Perpetual Profession as a Marist Sister in Davao, the Philippines. In a simple and beautiful celebration on July 23, Lilibeth vowed chastity, poverty and obedience for life in the Congregation of Mary. Her vows were received by Sr Grace Ellul sm, Congregational Leader of the Marist Sisters. The Profession Mass took place in Immaculate Conception Parish, Mintal. The main celebrant was Bishop Guillermo Afable, the bishop of Digos, Lilibeth’s hometown.
Almost 200 people attended the celebration. All branches of the Marist Family were present. Lilibeth’s family came all the way from Digos with some of their relatives and friends. The Marist Laity were present in full force even though it was a work day.
A large number of Mintal parishioners attended and expressed their gratefulness at witnessing a Perpetual Profession of a sister for the first time. They spoke of how touched they were by the whole celebration, and especially when all the Marist Sisters present embraced Lilibeth as a sign of peace and welcome to her. The reception that followed was held in the Parish Hall. Entertainment was provided by the various branches of the Marist Family. Hazel and Terube were joined by the Marist Missionary Sisters to perform a dance from Kiribati while the Marist Fathers’ novices sang a song they had specially composed for Lilibeth. See more photos…