It was with great delight that a number of Marist Sisters in Australia attended the blessing and opening of a new building at Cerdon College Merrylands recently. The building which comprises new classroom areas, Theatrette and Science laboratories, has been named Bon Repos, the name of the original ‘Mother House’ for the Marist Sisters in Belley, France. A plaque on an exterior wall of the building displays an etching of the Bon Repos site in France. Following the ritual of blessing guests were treated to a scrumptious morning tea prepared by the Hospitality students.
Students from Cerdon College Merrylands went to Fiji believing they were needed. They quickly learnt that it is in giving that we also receive. The students are very grateful to the Marist Sisters in Fiji for enabling them to have such wonderful experiences. They have come home richer people as a result of the time they spent there.
The Cerdon College Year 10 Justice and Peace unit of work this year involved students in reaching out to those less fortunate as well as learning from those working in the field of Social Justice. Keynote speaker on the day was Marist Sister Noelene Simmons who spoke of her work with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).
At lunch time students were able to purchase sausages cooked by Rotary with the funds raised being donated back to Rotary so as to purchase a Shelter Box, a resource to provide immediate relief for families affected by natural disasters and conflict. The Shelter Box ensures that a family of 10 can survive while more permanent infrastructure is organised.
The day concluded with a practical activity where all students were asked to assemble a solar light to assist students in developing countries complete their homework. This initiative is in an attempt to break the poverty cycle by ensuring children gain an education so as to achieve employment as adults. The solar light “kits” were purchased from Solar Buddy with the funds for this kindly donated by the Marist Sisters Australia.
On Sunday 24th September, Australian Marist Sisters Kate McPhee and Gail Reneker , joined the Parish Eucharistic celebration at St Margaret Mary’s Parish Merrylands where Mr Nathan Mulheron and Miss Stephanie Ackaoui with 8 Year 11 Students from Cerdon College received a special blessing. On the 9th October, these two teachers and 8 students will travel to Fiji for an immersion experience with the Marist Sisters in Nadelei and Mt St Mary’s Nadi. We wish all involved rich and joy filled experiences and many blessings.
Year 12 Cerdon College Merrylands students, accompanied by Sr Kate McPhee, recently atended the Marist Vocation Forum. They are seen in the photo at the end of a wonderful weekend with other students from Marist Brothers’ schools. The Yr 12 Marist Vocation Forum is the initiative of the Marist Brothers and is led by the Marist Youth Ministry team at The Hermitage, Mittagong. A very insightful and reflective weekend for these young people as they prepare to complete their school journey this year.
The Cerdon College community recently celebrated Chavoin Day. In doing so they were recalling the inspiration of the Foundress of the Marist Sisters, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin. This event is always a highlight of the Cerdon College calendar. As a group of students, teachers and parents had recently been on pilgrimage to Cerdon in France where the Marist Sisters began, the theme of this years celebration was Pilgrimage. Fr Jim Carty sm presided at the Mass and shared with the college community his experience of being a pilgrim when he walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. A number of Marist Sisters in Sydney were delighted to be part of the celebration. More photos…
As the feast of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin approached, two Sydney Marist colleges, Cerdon College Merrylands and Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, celebrated Foundress Day. At each college students, staff, parents and a group of Marist Sisters gathered to celebrate Eucharist. Those gathered were reminded that like Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters, we are called to bring the peace and love of Christ to the world in Mary’s way.
Following the Mass at Cerdon College the Chavoin Shield was presented. Each year this shield is presented to the House which has gained the most points in the four categories of Sport, The Arts, Academic and Service endeavours. There was great joy when McOscar House was named as the 2012/2013 winner of the Chavoin Shield. McOscar House is named after Sr Doreen McOscar, the first principal of Cerdon College, who recently began her 100th year.
At Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich following the Mass a ceremonywas held during which the new College leaders for 2013/2014 were presented with their badges of office. The outgoing leaders then handed over the symbols of leadership to the new leaders.
Srs Lavinia and Kathleen recently left Papua New Guinea bringing an end to the Marist Sisters’ ministry in the parish of Wama in the Bereina Diocese. The sisters were filled with gratitude for the many varied experiences they had and for the friendships they formed over the last two and a half years and so there was sadness in their hearts as they said their goodbyes.
In the weeks prior to their departure they were able to be present at a day of celebration in Wama with the Opening and Blessing of the new Toilet/Shower Block. Preparation for this special event had been taking place for many weeks and there was great excitement when the day arrived. The amenities block was generously funded by Cerdon College, Sydney, with an additional amount given to complete the project through a donation made by the Sector of New Zealand. It is a colourful building surrounded by beautiful gardens and with traditional paintings on the outside walls. It was decorated with leaves and flowers, and was blessed by the Vicar General of the Diocese. Speeches, dances and a feast ensured an all-day celebration to be remembered!
After two years in Papua New Guinea Sr Kate McPhee has returned to her home Sector of Australia. A number of farewells were held in her honour. It was an emotional time when expressions of sadness were mixed with those of loving appreciation. During one farewell at a school assembly presentations were made to Kate and gratitude expressed for the great support that the students had received through her from Cerdon College, Merrylands, and Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich. The most recent project, funded by Cerdon, was the installation of four ‘flush’ School toilets.
Before leaving Papua New Guinea on 25th March, Kate was very happy to be able to hand over the co-ordination of the FODE (Flexible and Open Distance Education) work to Mr. Patrick Sariman, father of Florence. There is hope that the FODE Office in Port Moresby will soon recognize Wama as an official correspondence centre and will be able to put some funds into supporting the continuing education of young people in this rural area.
Cerdon College recently celebrated 50 years since it was established by the Marist Sisters at Merrylands with Sr. Doreen McOscar (Sr. Felician) as Principal assisted by Sr. Claire Penfold. On 26th June 2010 the occasion was marked with an Anniversary Dinner held at Rosehill Gardens in western Sydney. All the Marist Sisters had been invited. Among those who could accept were several who had taught at Cerdon, including a previous Principal, even a couple who had been students there. When the 400 guests were seated, Mrs. Patricia Baker, the current Principal, introduced the event by recalling the contribution of the Marist Sisters, naming the past Principals – Srs. Doreen, Carmel Conran, Joan McBride (Sr. Aquinas) and Ann-Marie Webb (Sr Gerard Majella). The sumptuous meal was punctuated by some wonderful entertainment offered by past students of the College – the highlight being a rendition of the School song by its composer, Jenna Hogan. Jenna had written “In All Things Christ” when only 15 years old. There was a Trivia Quiz to engage each table-group and a constant stream of filmed memories to watch, as well as the opportunity to be photographed next to life-size mannequins dressed as the Marist Founders – Chavoin, Colin, Champagnat and Perroton. A heart-warming touch was a film-clip of Sr. Doreen, who at 96 was unable to be present, but nevertheless clearly and warmly shared her memories of the beginnings of Cerdon College and offered her loving wishes. In a typically generous gesture, there was also a raffle, the proceeds of which were offered to the Marist Sisters’ Mission in Papua New Guinea – providentially, Sr. Kate McPhee was present to express her gratitude on behalf of the Kanosia Community.