In Australia, 8th September was a double celebration. We joined in spirit with Marist Sisters throughout the world in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Marist Sisters. On 8th September 1823 Jeanne Marie Chavoin and Marie Jotillon, with the permission of the Bishop of Belley, came to live together in the parish of Cerdon, France, and so began the Marist Sisters.
We also celebrated our Jubilarians and their almost 200 years of Marist commitment – Sr Marie Clarke (70years), Sr Mary Farrelly (60 years) and Sr Gemma Pearson (60 years). The sisters were grateful to Fr Kevin Stewart sm who presided at the Eucharist celebrated in the Marist Fathers chapel at Hunters Hill. Towards the end of Mass each Jubilarian received a papal blessing.
Following the Mass the sisters were delighted to share a simple meal together. It was a time to reflect and share on our Marist call and that of our Jubilarians. To mark the 200th anniversary of our congregation each sister was presented with a Congregation medal and a bookmark on which was found the following prayer:
Today, may we open our hearts and ears to hear the call, that simple call.
May our open doors witness the simplicity, poverty and joy of our first community.
May God bless us!
May we continue to respond to Mary’s gracious choice.
May we realise the wonder of our calling.
May young women be drawn to our doorsteps.
Mary of Cerdon, remember Jeanne Marie’s prayer
and walk hand in hand with us. Amen
Marist Sisters celebrate the feast of their Foundress, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin each year on 30th June, the anniversary of her death.
After Jeanne-Marie’s death in 1858 the Superior General of the Marist Sisters at the time, Mother Ambrose, wrote to the sisters of the Congregation speaking of Jeanne-Maire’s “holy and exemplary life, her generous and unfailing devotedness.” She was described by one of the early Marist Sisters as “kind, affable with everyone and gained the affection of all who knew her. She was large-hearted and when she helped anyone she did so generously.”
Jeanne-Marie encouraged her sisters to “walk always in God’s presence” and “to live the life of this divine Mother, which is none other than the life of Christ”.
As Marist Sisters today recall her life with gratitude, we pray that her faith and courage will continue to inspire us as we strive to follow Christ by living the Gospel as Mary did.
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.
Each year on 30th June Marist Sisters throughout the world celebrate the life of their Foundress, Jeann-Marie Chavoin. She is remembered as a courageous, large-hearted and generous woman. Her deep faith in God and love of Mary enabled her to be always ready to render service to those in need.
During these days when our world is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic may her words inspire us and give us hope:
“We must have confidence. God is not dead. We must count on Providence. It has never let us down and it will not fail us today. God will come to our help.”
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, was born on 29th August 1786 in the French village of Coutouvre. Her father, Théodore Chavoin, was a tailor, while her mother, Jeanne Verchère, worked as a servant.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin spent 30 years of her life in the village of Coutouvre. From the front door of her family home she could see the village square and the church just beyond. Jeanne-Marie’s life in Coutouvre was people-oriented. From the Chavoin home her father ran a tailor’s shop. Customers came daily, exchanging the latest news, sharing the joys and concerns of the village.
God of creation, we praise and thank you for the birth of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, our foundress, Mother St Joseph. We thank you for her parents, Théodore and Jeanne, for their love, their courage, their acceptance of responsibility and all they taught Jeanne-Marie. May our foundress intercede for us today, that we may present a Marian face in our world – a face of compassion, understanding and love, a face which accepts people as they are, yet encourages them to grow in goodness. With them, may we be brought forth to the life of grace. We pray this in the name of Jesus your Son.
Be all very united….
…In order to bear all things well
walk always in God’s presence.
Unite all your actions
to those of Our Lord,
ask him often to come to your aid
and to bless you.
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, was a woman who lived simply and, like Mary, was attentive to the needs of others. As we recall the anniversary of her death on 30th June we pray that like her we might always “try to live in a great spirit of faith which will lead us to see God in everything” (CMJ 90.3).
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, foundress of the Marist Sisters, was born on 29th August 1786 to Théodore Chavoin, aged 20, tailor, and Jeanne Verchère, aged 19, servant. Her parents may have been young and unprepared but it seems they made a good marriage and brought up their daughters in a loving, open, happy home. Jeanne-Marie grew in an atmosphere of practical faith and came to develop what could be termed “hidden holiness”. It was this quality which was later to provide the key to her vocation.
God of creation, we praise and thank you for the birth of Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, our foundress, Mother St Joseph.
We thank you for her parents, Théodore and Jeanne, for their love, their courage, their acceptance of responsibility and all they taught Jeanne-Marie. We thank you for our own parents, the families which prepared us for life.
May Jeanne-Marie Chavoin intercede for us today, that we may present a Marian face in our world – a face of compassion, understanding and love, a face which accepts people as they are, yet encourages them to grow in goodness.
With them, may we be brought forth to the life of grace. We pray this in the name of Jesus your Son.
On 27th June the Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich community gathered to celebrate Eucharist and to honour Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters.
Marist Father and parish priest of Hunters Hill, Fr Kevin Bates sm, was the main celebrant and a number of Marist Sisters also attended the celebration.
At the conclusion of Mass the College Leaders for 2014-2015 were presented with their badge and symbol of office. The new College Captains accepted the college banner and led the procession out from the celebration. More photos…
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…
“A young woman believe
it is possible to transform a village
into a happier human community,
and that it is not all that difficult
to create relationships of service, friendship
and even prayer among the inhabitants.
Her ideal is the simple life of Mary
in another village, Nazareth.
(For a Marian Church by Antoine Forissier , p13)
Each year on 30th June Marist Sisters celebrate the feast of their foundress, Jeanne-Marie Chavoin. Jeanne-Marie’s Marist journey began in the village of Cerdon in the early part of the nineteenth century. She showed herself as a beacon of hope to those who were experiencing the harsh effects of the social and religious upheaval of the time. She and the sisters lived close to the people and were in touch with their daily problems and fears. Their style of presence and approach was welcomed and became a channel through which the Gospel message was received. From the small beginnings in Cerdon the Marist Sisters have spread throughout the word and are now found in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Gambia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, Senegal, U.S.A., Venezuela and Wales.
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.