Chavoin House Mass at Marist College

Empowerment through Presence was the theme of the recent Chavoin House Mass at Marist College Mt Albert, New Zealand. Sr Seini Fatai presented the following reflection during the Mass:

Empowerment through Presence
Jeanne-Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters

Life is full of mysteries and we often wonder how we may ever solve some of them. I am sure that you young women of our Marist School often wonder what your future might be. Whether you are going to fulfil your dream to become a doctor or marry a handsome and successful guy or whether you are going to be a caring mother of some beautiful children, or better still perhaps a Marist Sister.

Some of the mysteries of my life began to unfold when I was as young person like you. Growing up, I really looked up to my dad because he had a way of empowering me to be the best person I could be. My dad was my greatest role model for he helped me unfold some of the mysteries in my life.

As a young person Jeanne-Marie Chavoin too was influenced by her father as she was discerning God’s will in her life. But life was a big mystery for her too, as she did not know what God wanted her to do but she waited, listened in prayers and answered His call and that is how we have our congregation of the Marist Sisters.

Chavoin’s life showed a great sense of balance. What do I mean by that? That means that she lived her life knowing that prayer and service must go hand in hand. She believed that God’s Loving Presence in the Eucharist gave meaning and spiritual power to her work. Chavoin believed that her prayer life provided her with purpose and meaning for doing her work well.

Father Colin, the founder of the Marist Family, affirms this, saying “In all the three branches of the Society (Marist Fathers, Marist Brothers and the Marist Sisters), Chavoin is the person with the greatest spirit of prayer. I believe that Fr Colin would have agreed with me that Jeanne-Marie Chavoin is a woman of balance and one who empowered people with whom she came in contact.

In our Gospel today, we see that Mary, the mother of Jesus empowered people through her attentive and loving presence at the Wedding feast in a place called Cana in Galilee. Mary noticed that the wine for the party was nearly finished so to avoid embarrassment for the host family she took the matter to Jesus. Because Mary was attentive to her Son, a positive result came about. People had lots of wine to drink. Jeanne-Marie Chavoin did learn from Mary how to be a woman of empowerment through her presence in every situation.

One of the things that we could all learn from Jeanne-Marie Chavoin is to be people (men and women) of prayer an action here in our Marist College community. If she were here today, she would remind us all, that God is the source of strength and power, and our work and learning here in this school can only find meaning in God through prayer. So, how often do you spend time talking and listening to God? As we leave today from this Eucharistic celebration, let us remind ourselves that God is always wanting to have a chat with us. Are we ready?


Marist College Celebrates Feast of the Assumption

Marist College, Mt Albert Auckland celebrated the Feast of the Assumption on the 15th of August. Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn was the main celebrant in the School Feast Day Mass. Father Kevin Murphy sm, the school chaplain and the parish priest Fr Philip Lakra ofmcap concelebrated this beautiful Eucharist. The focus of the Mass was “Empowerment” for it is the core value of Marist College for the year.

In the Mass, the school community was reminded that we look to Mary as the role model, a courageous and faith-filled woman, who in her own simplicity pointed the way to Jesus. Mary is the figure of empowerment for us as she showed us what it means to empower others. She empowered Elizabeth when she stayed with her for about three months. At the Wedding Feast of Cana she empowered her son Jesus to change the water into wine. Mary taught us to be other centred and enrich the lives of those around us through our words and deeds.

The highlight of the Mass was the conferring of the Sacraments of Initiation for 17 young women. Before the final blessing, Bishop Pat blessed the Chavoin Honour Board which shows the list of students who have won the “Chavoin Award” since 1968. Our Sister Lorraine Campbell was the recipient in 1969 and she was one of the ex-students who unveiled this special board.

Keeping the Connection with Marist College, Mt Albert

Two of  Year 7 students from Marist Sisters College, Mt Albert came to visit the sisters at the Mt Albert Convent in New Zealand. One of the students had her RE Assessment with her and Sr. Patricia Bowley showed great interest in it.

The student was very surprised when she discovered that Patricia was 91. The two girls are daughters of ex-students taught by some of the sisters at Marist College in years gone by.

85th Anniversary for Marist College, Mt Albert

The 85th anniversary of the founding of Marist College, Mt Albert by the Marist Sisters was celebrated in New Zealand on 18th May.  The ceremonies included speeches of welcome, the cutting of the beautiful Jubilee cake and an official group photo in the gymnasium.  After a tasty lunch visitors were free to join guided tours of the new specialist rooms and classrooms, to peruse the archival displays prepared by Sr Lorraine, and to watch groups of students practising for Stage Challenge and musical events.   Following performances by the various cultural groups of the College and the Maris Stella Choir, the afternoon concluded with Mass in the Drama Room. A number of Sisters travelled from other parts of New Zealand to join in the celebration with the College community and those sisters currently living in Mt Albert.

We congratulate the College on this milestone and pray that Mary’s spirit will continue to guide all members of the College community.

Supporting LOGOS Youth Development Team

Sr Lorraine & Logos Team Members

Founded in 2000 by the Society of Mary, Logos works to the Marist principles of hope, reconciliation compassion, mercy, respect for others, commitment to the poor and those who find themselves on the margins of our society.  Logos, from the Greek, means ‘The Word’ – a word for Jesus.  By using this as its title, the Logos project has made a commitment to living Gospel values and making them real in today’s world.  (Logos website –

The Marist Sisters of Aotearoa-New Zealand have been involved with this group since its beginning, responding to the various requests for assistance as spiritual guides, providing administrative assistance, working with the team in a formative and educative way, providing resources as requested and also financial assistance.  The community at Mt Albert makes its chapel available for the sacramental programme for Marist College which is run by the Logos team.  They have also given valuable input to our annual assembly in 2010. At present Sr Juliana gives weekly administrative assistance in a range of tasks.  Recently, Sr Lorraine gave input on the liturgical year as a way of assisting the core team.

Liveable Spirit Workshops in New Zealand

Lay Marists in Partnership

Another group of Marist College staff recently participated in a Liveable Spirit workshop in the sisters’ lounge at Mt Albert. Of mixed cultural and religious traditions, they entered enthusiastically and fully into the programme presenting creative ways the lives of the founders.

This brings to 76 staff – teaching and support, participants in these workshops since 2005. Interest is high for a second programme that will take some of the Marist themes and weave them into the story of the Marist Sisters since 1858 particularly their coming to Oceania and the history of Marist College.

Marist Sisters in Auckland Share in Marist Week

Marian Display at Marist Primary

Marist Primary school Mt Albert, founded by Mother Bernard and Sister Austin in 1927 held a Marist week to celebrate their feast day which is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. All the children had lessons on aspects of Marist life and on Mary. Sisters Patricia Bowley and Shirley Day visited all the classes to answer the children’s questions about being a Marist Sister. Sister Lorraine prepared a Power Point presentation on the Marist Sisters – who they are, what they do and why they came to Mt Albert, as well as showing the Marist “family” tree.

Sr Patricia at Marist Primary

The sisters also joined the school for Mass, their Assembly at which they presented the life of Jeanne Marie Chavoin. The children were fascinated by the fact that the building currently used as a hall, was in fact the original classroom in 1927. This was illustrated by photos of the first children taken in a spot that still is much the same today. Among the highlights for the sisters were encounters with the grandchildren and children of some of their early students both at Marist Primary and Marist College.