Cerdon College Merrylands takes Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, as their College Patron. Each year around her feastday the College sets aside a day to celebrate Jeanne-Marie Chavoin within the school community. This year because of the limitations imposed by Covid-19 the College was not able to have a full school Mass. Therefore, a liturgical celebration was held within the school setting.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin came ‘back to the future’ and was interviewed by a student in a 21st century context. The occasion this year also marked the end of 61 years of physical presence of a Marist Sister on the Cerdon College Staff. Sr Kate McPhee, after a long association with the College, finished serving in school ministry moving on to minster elsewhere.
There is no doubt that the Marist Spirit is truly alive and well among the staff and students of Cerdon College and the Marist Sisters are confident that Mary’s spirit will continue to permeate the life of the College Community into the future.
The unveiling and blessing of the headstone for Sr Margarita Bourke took place on 28 December 2020. Margarita died on 8 April 2018. This Prayer Service took place at the urupa (cemetery) in the Far North in Waitaruke, one of the first places the Marist Sisters went to in 1927. Sr Rita Gardiner and Sr Aloyuisa are already buried there. Fr Anthony Trenwith conducted the Service and as well as Marist Sisters Kathleen, Catherine, Gemma and Lorraine, friends and relatives of Margarita also attended – about 35 in all. Sr Catherine and Bebe (Margarita’s niece) both unveiled the headstone as the blessing took place. Those attending socialized and met old and new friends over kai (food) to finish the day.
Marist Sisters in Fiji were delighted to welcome Sr April Acero recently. April is from the Philippines. While in Fiji April is delighted to be meeting with Marist Sisters who have ministered in the Philippines in recent years.
Marist Sisters observe the feastday of their Foundress, Jeanne Marie Chavoin, on the anniversary of her death – 30th June. Born in the French village of Coutouvre in 1786 she lived through the French Revolution. At the age of thirty-one she “left home and family to start the Society of the Blessed Virgin.” As a Marist Sister her life was one of prayer and service. Like Mary, she was attentive to the needs of those around her and she encouraged her sisters to do the same. An early historian of the Marist Sisters, Sr Elizabeth Boyer wrote: “They were seen only in church and in the homes of the poor and sick.”
Inspired by Jeanne-Marie’s deep and abiding faith
and her firm trust in God
we pray that we will be women of prayer
and learn from her
to live Mary’s loving concern for
and service of those in need.
Marist Sisters in Fiji gathered together to celebrate the life of Jeanne Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters. Australian Marist Sister, Kate McPhee, led the sisters through a process of reflecting, discussing and moving through various rooms which had been set up by the five Fijian Marist Sisters’ communities.The journey began 200 hundred years ago in Coutouvre with Jeanne Marie’s companion Marie Jotillon and ended in Jarnosse with stop-offs at Cerdon and Bon Repos. The process helped the sisters to connect with the realities of the time…the simplicity, the humility, the environment , prayer life and desire to do the will of God.
Following these days of reflection the sisters engaged in a wellness programme led by another Australian Marist Sisters, Ruth Davis. The sisters found this to be very interesting and relevant to their life in Fiji.