Despite being in lockdown for six months due to Covid-19 Marist Sisters resident in St Joseph’s Aged Care are still deeply interested in Congregation and world events. Their passion and commitment is an inspiration to all of us. On behalf of the group Sr Marie Berise writes the following:
“We six Marist Sisters residing at St. Joseph’s Aged Care, Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia, have been in lockdown since the 19th March 2020, only leaving this place for important, necessary medical treatment. We received with joy the beautiful, inspiring Jubilee for the Earth – New Rhythms, New Hope” material. It resonates deeply with the groundswell happening in Australia to raise awareness of climate change and the desire to reach renewable energy targets by 2050, despite the coronavirus and bushfire issues. The Government – Federal and State – and the many local groups are active. We here – Josephite Sisters, lay women and ourselves – prayerfully do very small things, cultivating gardens, recycling waste materials and plastics. How encouraging to read Ross Garnaut, one of our top experts in this field, in his wonderful book about Australia’s low carbon opportunity citing Pope Francis’s Laudato Si as the “most rigorous, comprehensive and influential” treatment of the ethics, science and technology issues to protect our common home throughout the world. In Laudato Si no. 218 Pope Francis quotes the Australian Bishops calling all to ecological conversion. We look to the future of our world with renewed hope.”
Photo: L-R: Srs Joan McBride, Anne Saunders, Marie Clarke (seated) and Srs Marie Patricia Toomey, Patricia Bartley and Marie Berise Nash (standing)
On Wednesday 21st March 2019 the Marist Sisters of the Nadi community in Fiji witnessed a very simple but meaningful missioning ceremony of Sister Lora who is undertaking a reforestation project in the Yasawa Islands. Also present were Srs Lavinia Henry, Fiji Unit Leader, Noelene Simmons, General Bursar, and Lorraine Campbell, Fiji Unit Bursar. The hymns and readings reflected the purpose of missioning Lora to the land of her ancestors named MATANIWAI. The reforestation project that she is undertaking involves planting long term and short term trees, shrubs, flowers, fruit trees and vegetables. The principles of Laudato Si as expressed by Pope Francis are mirrored in this project. The Marist Sisters support Lora in this project and wish her well.
Urged on by the commitment of the Marist Sisters’ General Chapter 2015
“to networking with other groups working for justice in order to counteract the violence being inflicted on people and the environment,”
Marist Sisters in Australia are working towards divesting
from fossil fuels.
Dependence on fossil fuels is contributing to adverse climate change which affects everyone but especially the poor and vulnerable. In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls on us to reduce carbon emissions and develop sources of renewable energy. Divesting of fossil fuels is one way that we can be stewards of God’s gift of creation so that life in all its forms can be sustained now and into the future.
Marist Sisters are committed “to networking with other groups working for justice in order to counteract the violence being inflicted on people and the environment.” (General Chapter 2015)
On June 18th it will be one year since Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. During Laudato Si Week, 12th – 19th June, let us ask ourselves to what extent we have taken the message of this encyclical to heart. How will we journey forward as stewards of God’s creation sustaining life in all its forms now and into the future?
The 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.