Aotearoa-New Zealand – Joyful in Hope

IMG_4531All the Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand came together at Mount Albert, Auckland,  for this very special occasion: the launching of the new governance structure. We began with the prayer in the  Chapel. Our opening hymn ” Joyful in hope your people pray” set the tone for the prayer, during which we named many of the Marist Sisters who had gone before us. After this we went to the community room where Grace spoke to us and to the whole Congregation.  Finally there was a celebratory meal which was a time for more sharing and joy. (Photo: New Zealand Administration Team – Srs Lorraine Campbell, Gemma Wilson, Marie Challacombe & Cath Lawson)

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.

Congratulations Diamond Jubilarian

DSC00478It was with great joy that Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand gathered to celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Sr Margaret Therese. During her sixty years as a Marist Sister Margaret Therese has missioned in Aotearoa-New Zealand  and Australia.

The Jubilee Mass, during which Margaret renewed her vows, was celebrated in the convent chapel in Mt Albert with Fr Chris Skinner sm presiding.

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Mass was followed by a celebratory meal, some sharing on Margaret’s life as a Marist Sister, the cutting of a jubilee cake and the opening of gifts.

Aotearoa-New Zealand Assembly

DSC00464Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand have spent two days assembled in Auckland.  They gathered to reflect on the outcomes of the recent Marist Sisters General Chapter and to begin planning a Design for Life and Mission.

DSC00468This Design will enable the sisters to be Women of the Word Embracing Life as they journey through the coming years. The sisters were grateful to have Br Graham Neist fms as their facilitator over these days.

Easter Blessings

EasterAs we once again reflect on and celebrate the Paschal Mystery, the Marist Sisters send you prayerful wishes for a very happy and blessed Easter.  May our celebrations renew our hope in God’s promise of fullness of life for all.

Marist Sisters’ General Chapter

women of the word embracing lifeThe Marist Sisters invite you to join with them in praying for their General Chapter which will take place in Nemi, Italy 8-29th April. A Chapter is a very significant event in the life of a Religious Congregation. It is significant that the Marist Sisters’ General Chapter is taking place during the Year of Consecrated Life.

Click here for a suggested prayer. During the Chapter news items will be regularly uploaded to the General Chapter website.

Day of Consecrated Life – New Regional Leadership

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Each year on 2nd February we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life.  Pope Francis has also proclaimed 2015 to be the Year of Consecrated Life.  During this year he challenges religious to “Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of living!

GraceIn 2015 this day has special significance for the Marist Sisters in Asia-Pacific. The new Regional Leadership Team begins their three year mandate.  Sr Grace Ellul will take up the role of Regional Leader while Srs Vivienne Goldstein and Marian Tevurega will be her Regional Councillors. We ask God’s blessing on our new leadership team.  We pray that with them we might more deeply “follow Jesus by living the Gospel as Mary did.”

In welcoming our new leadership team we also pray in gratitude for the leadership of Sr Julie Brand over the last six year and for her councillors, Srs Margaret Vaney (6 years) and Vivienne Goldstien(3 years).

Sr Analulu Tanuvasa sm

Analulu 2Sr Analulu Tanuvasa sm died peacefully in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday 25th January 2015.  We give thanks for the wonderful Marist woman that Ana has been. What a valiant woman – so apostolic, generous and faithful.  May she enjoy the wonderful rewards of eternal life. We pray for Analulu’s family and for the Marist Sisters of the Sector of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

The following eulogy was written by Sr Gemma Wilson, Sector Leader of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

“Analulu was born in Apia, Samoa, on the 18th February 1949. She was not always a Catholic but was baptised at the age of 13 on the 17th December 1962. Her primary schooling took place at St Joan of Arc, Apia from 1955 to 1964 and her secondary at St Mary’s SMSM College in Apia from 1968-1970. In 1979 already a Marist Sister, she completed her secondary education at Marist College, Mt Albert. She also studied at Corpus Christi in Suva, Fiji, from 1989-82

Ana made her novitiate in Australia and was professed in 1977.  From then on she served in several countries: New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, The Gambia and the Philippines. Ana’s ministries were wide-ranging: she worked as a Primary School teacher in New Zealand, as Chaplain to the Samoan people in Auckland; she worked in a Night Shelter and also a Woman’s refuge in Auckland and in a soup kitchen in Wellington. She was chaplain at the Davao City Jail in The Philippines. In 2008 she did a C.P.E prior to working as a hospital chaplain in Wellington.

Ana at Chapter 2Ana was also active in several Congregational ministries. She worked as Vocations’ Directress in New Zealand and also in The Gambia and the Philippines.  She was part of the Pastoral Planning team in NZ in 2002 and was sector assistant in New Zealand from 2008 till her death at the beginning of 2015. She was formater for our candidates in Mount Albert in 1994. She was coordinator of JPIC for the New Zealand Sector from 2008 till 2012.

These resumés of Ana’s ministries do not adequately reveal just how passionate Ana was both for the poor and marginalized and for her Congregation.  She worked very hard for both right up till a few weeks before her death when her disease became a handicap.  She was very sad when ill health obliged her to leave the Gambia. Several years later she volunteered again for a missionary country – this time offering to go to the Philippines. Sadly after 2 years there sickness once again obliged her to withdraw. In both these missions Ana is still remembered for the love and the energy with which she worked for the poor and at the same time for the growth of her beloved Congregation.

Ana was diagnosed with lung cancer in2005.  No one could have foreseen that she would live nearly 10 years more. Though diet and exercise contributed to this it was above all through her faith in God’s power to heal her that she was able to live a remarkably full life for so long. Though her health slowly deteriorated in 2013 and 2014 she continued with her ministries and her faith in God’s healing love remained as strong as ever. She was a delegate to the Asia Pacific Regional Chapter just 3 months before her death.  Finally however it became clear to her and to all of us that Ana was getting worse. She was hospitalized several times. During her last days in Auckland hospital she made a conscious decision to let go and announced that she would wait until her brother Sepu, a Presbyterian minister, arrived from the USA, before dying!   Her sisters, nephews and nieces and cousins were constantly with her as well as her Marist Sisters. During these 4 days Ana prepared the liturgies for the two Masses she wanted celebrated after her death. She wrote in great detail her instructions for both Masses and said several times that she wanted a “simple Marist funeral” and didn’t want anyone wearing black!  On the eve of her death many of her relations gathered in her room for a Mass celebrated by her nephew Fr. Etuale from Fiji.  At midnight her brother Sepulogo arrived. Ana and Sepu talked for a little while and then he said a prayer for her to which she answered AMEN quite strongly before her breathing slowed down and she surrendered to the God who had always been the centre of her life.

Ana at ChapterAna’s send-off was exactly as she had planned it! Father Iosefa, parish priest of Papatoetoe where she had lived and worked for several years, celebrated the Vigil Mass together with several others in a packed Church. The following day her friend Father Carl Telford SM officiated at the Requiem Mass at which 12 other priests concelebrated and later at the graveside at Panmure where she was buried with the many other Marist Sisters who are buried there.    Pray for us all Ana!”

Regional Newsletter No 2, 2014

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The Year of Consecrated Life which began on 30th November invites all who have consecrated their lives to God “to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope.” (From the Vatican, 21 November 2014, Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary).  The latest Marist Sisters: Region of Asia-Pacific Newsletter gives an indication of how the Marist Sisters are living this challenge.  Download a copy of the newsletter here.

Year of Consecrated Life

yearofconsecratedlife_250Pope 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)