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.

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.

Auckland Celebrations of the Fourvière Bi-centenary

Auckland groupIt was with a great sense of anticipation that groups representing the five branches of the Marist Family gathered at Sacred Heart College on the morning of July 23 to celebrate together the bicentenary of the Fourvière Pledge made in 1816.

Lighting Fourviere candleThe day’s activities began in the chapel where we were welcomed by Brother Richard fms and as Fourvière candles were lit, we prepared to join in the opening prayer which drew together so many aspects of this special day in the Year of Mercy.  The tone was set for all that would follow which began with the keynote address given by Fr Justin Taylor sm : What happened at Fourvière. This deepened our appreciation of all that had preceded the drawing up of the pledge, setting it in the context of the life and history of the seminarians who composed it.

Fr Justin Taylor smDuring the afternoon a series of workshops was provided: Marian music, Mary in Art, Keeping Pledges, Early Missionaries whose names were recorded in the heart of Mary, Mary, Mother of Mercy, and the Work of Mary today as it is lived by each of the branches.

 

0J9A0017The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Fr David Kennerley sm, provincial, at the end of which candles imprinted with an image of Mary of Fourvière were presented to each branch of the family while all recited a Fourvière pledge for today.  A beautiful day drew to a close leaving 150 Marist people with memories to ponder and challenges to absorb.

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.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s Graduation Ceremony

Te Wananga o Aotearoa's graduation ceremonyCongratulations to Aotearoa-New Zealand Marist Sisters Rose, Isabelle and Catherine. They recently received diplomas at the Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s graduation ceremony.  Rose was the oldest graduate receiving Mauri Ora National Certificate in Maori(Te Waharoa) Level 2. Isabelle received a Diploma in Te Ara Reo Maori, and Catherine a Certificate in Te Ara Reo Maori, Level 2.

Honouring the spirit of Laudato Si

Tane and usThe Marist Sisters’ Novitiate community in New Zealand decided to honour the spirit of “Laudato Si” on the Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend – which was also a public holiday and, more importantly for Marists, the Feast of St Marcellin Champagnat!

The place they chose was the Auckland Zoo which has been renovated to become a place not only of conservation of many diminishing species such as the kiwi and takahe, the Siberian tiger and the Asia elephant but also  a place where visitors are invited to slow down, to reconnect with nature and to be inspired. They were surrounded by plants, trees, birds, insects, people…

Set in a patch of native bush they found it to be a place of contemplation, meditation, discovery and learning! As you can see in the photo, they paused at the magnificent carving of “Tane nui e Rangi” at the
entrance of the forest aviary of the Zoo. “Tane” is the Maori god of the forest. This carving is the work of five Maori carvers,  and they honoured the presence of the Maori people of New Zealand.

While they enjoyed their  day very much, they were also conscious of the invitation of Pope Francis to have  an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ will become more evident in our relationship with the world around us.

Catholic Schools Day in New Zealand

Cat5holic Sch Day 19052016 1On Monday 16th May three schools established by the Marist Sisters in New Zealand gathered together to celebrate Catholic Schools day – Marist Primary, Mt Albert (1927) Marist College (1928) Marist Primary, Herne Bay (1928). The two primary schools were welcomed in a powhiri to the College. The two primary schools provided reflections on our shared history and spirituality. Then the College students lead the primary students in various activities. The Marist Sisters were special guests and their contribution was gratefully acknowledged. It was the first time that the three schools had gathered together in this way.

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.

Reception into Novitiate

Hazel, TuluaA joyous occasion for Srs Hazel Ferrel & Tulua ‘Otuafi, and indeed for all Marist Sisters, was their reception into the Marist Novitiate in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th February. This step marks a new stage in their journey to discover the charism and mission of the Marist Sisters within the Church and the spirit and values of Marist religious life which they seek to make their own.

During a simple ritual Hazel and Tulua received a copy of the Constitutions of the Marist Sisters and an image of Mary who will be their guide as they seek to discover God’s will for them. Srs Jane & Margaret will accompany them on this journey.

 

 

 

70 Years of Marist Fidelity

100_3471On 28th January Sr Margarita celebrated 70 years of Religious Profession as a Marist Sister. Because of her frailty it was decided that the celebration would take place at the Kauri Lodge Care home where she has been for nearly two years now. The day began with Father Ralph leading a Communion service. He spoke very beautifully of Margarita’s consecration 70 years ago and of her life of dedication to God’s people since that day. This was followed by a special morning tea. A number of Marist Sisters in New Zealand and some of Margarita’s friends from Waitaruke were present to celebrate with her.

All through the Communion service and the celebration Margarita was smiling. It was lovely to see her joy. She was excited about cards and messages she received. She says a big thank you for all the messages and support she received.