In the Philippines Marist Sisters are found ministering in Davao. It is always a joy for the sisters when they are able to connect with other members of the Marist Family. Recently they welcomed new members of the Marist Fathers community
The Sisters in the Philippines engage in a number of ministries that see them reaching out to bring hope and dignity to others. Their ministry includes spiritual and pastoral support in their local parish, dental services for those in jail, Planning support for ex-inmates and reaching out to those impacted by a recent earthquake.
The Leaders of the four Marist Sisters Units in the Asia-Pacific Region met recently in Davao, The Philippines. Srs Catherine (Australia), Jane Frances (Aotearoa-New Zealand), Lavinia (Fiji) and Sheila (the Philippines) spent a week together focusing on issues such as Marist Life and mission, formation at all stages of life, sharing of resources, developing leadership skills and mutual support for those in leadership. While in Davao the sisters also visited Balay Banaag (a hostel administered by the Marist Sisters) and participated in a Sunday Eucharist at the local jail where members of the Marist family, including our Sisters, minister.
Each year for the nine days leading up to the feast of St Peter Chanel, Marists throughout the world pray through the intercession of St Peter Chanel for vocations to the Marist Family.
St Peter Chanel, a Marist Father, was in the first group of Marist missionaries to Oceania. Peter arrived in futuna in November 1937. During his lifetime Peter saw little success in his work. During his first six month on Futuna he baptised only one Futunian – a dying child. Early in the morning of April 28, 1841, Fr. Peter was wakened from sleep and clubbed to death, his skull split by the axe of a Futunian warrior. He was thirty-eight years old. He was the first martyr of Oceania and the first Marist to be canonised.
You are invited to join us in praying that young people of today may, like Peter Chanel, respond generously to God’s call to follow Christ as Mary did. Download the novena prayer here.
Members of the Marist Family gathered in Sydney to recall the Fourviere Pledge made by twelve seminarians 202 years ago. In the chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere they pledged to begin the congregation of Marists. Mass was celebrated in Holy Name of Mary Church Hunters Hill. During the offertory Procession hearts containing the names of those who followed those early Marists were brought forward and placed on the altar. The afternoon tea which followed provided an opportunity to experience the bonds of unity and friendship we experience as Marists. Today Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Brothers are found throughout the world. Like the twelve men of Fourviere, Marists today believe that
“we belong by a gracious choice to the family of blessed Mary, Mother of God, from whose name we are called Marists.”
It has long been a tradition within the Marist Family that we pray to St Peter Chanel for vocations. On this the feast of St Peter Chanel, 28th April, we invite you to join with us in prayer. May we all have a deeper commitment to our vocation as Christians and also pray for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church,
watch over each tiny seed of a vocation
in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls
to follow him more closely.
May she help it grow into a mature tree,
bearing much good fruit
for the Church and for all humanity.
St Peter Chanel, you left your homeland
to proclaim Jesus.
Like you, may our lives bring forth
a witness of joyful commitment to Jesus.
Call forth from our midst
many workers for the Gospel,
so God’s love may reach the ends of the earth.
We ask this prayer through Jesus our brother. Amen.
The Marist Family in Auckland gathered at Good Shepherd College June 5th for a very stimulating seminar day of Marist Studies. The day began with a paper from Fr Alois Greiler sm titled The Marist Charism in a Trinitarian Key in which he developed the role of the Spirit in Mary and the charism of the Society of Mary. Fr Justin Taylor sm then developed some ideas of the the Work of Mary’ in the context of the historical trends taking place in the 18/19th centuries. This was followed by a description by Br. Edward Clisby fms of his recently printed book Far Distant Shores (unfortunately delayed somewhere on the route to us),with particular reference to the development of the early Brothers in New Zealand and Oceania.
The afternoon began with a presentation by Br Romuald Gibson fms on the rise and fall of the four Marist congregations and the implications of the present phase of religious life so valuable to the Church of our times. After this we heard from Sr Gemma Wilson sm about the early days of the Marist Sisters. The afternoon concluded with Sr Patricia Leamy smsm’s paper on the significance of collaboration between the branches since the inception of the Society of Mary and in particular for her own branch. Copies of the various talks will appear in the Marist messenger and eventually in Forum Novum.
Marist Sisters in Australia gathered in Woolwich on Saturday 21st January to welcome our Congregational Leader, Sr Grace Ellul, home to Australia. Grace is making her official visitation of our Unit. It was a very joyous occasion.
The afternoon began with a time of prayerful reflection during which we recalled that 200 years ago Jeanne Marie Chavoin and Marie Jotillon left home and family to begin the sisters branch of the Marist Family. Afternoon tea followed giving us an opportunity to enjoy catching up with Grace and each other. Grace was also able to catch up with a former Australian Congregational Leader, Sr Margaret Purcell.
Fourvière celebrations in Suva, Fiji, began the evening before as members of the five branches of the Maist Family went to the Parish hall in Laucala Bay to put up pictures and decorate their booths in readiness for a vocation display the next day.
The morning of 23rd July, the day of the 200th anniversary of the promise at Fourviere, was bright and beautiful. The program began at 9.30am with prayer prepared by the FMS Brothers. It really set the tone for the day. The prayer concluded with a video clip presenting each of the branches. Then there was a time for mingling with other members of the Marist Family.
At 3pm in Laucala Bay Church Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Peter Loy Chong. He was very interested in our Marist History and wanted to know what happened after the promise and when and how the female branches came into the picture. His questions were answered by many who were sharing with him at the dinner table. Our celebrations ended with a lot of joyful dancing of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for those who made the promise, for the perseverance of Fr. Colin, Fr. Marcellin, Mother St Joseph and Sr. Francoise Perroton.
It was with a great sense of anticipation that groups representing the five branches of the Marist Family gathered at Sacred Heart College on the morning of July 23 to celebrate together the bicentenary of the Fourvière Pledge made in 1816.
The day’s activities began in the chapel where we were welcomed by Brother Richard fms and as Fourvière candles were lit, we prepared to join in the opening prayer which drew together so many aspects of this special day in the Year of Mercy. The tone was set for all that would follow which began with the keynote address given by Fr Justin Taylor sm : What happened at Fourvière. This deepened our appreciation of all that had preceded the drawing up of the pledge, setting it in the context of the life and history of the seminarians who composed it.
During the afternoon a series of workshops was provided: Marian music, Mary in Art, Keeping Pledges, Early Missionaries whose names were recorded in the heart of Mary, Mary, Mother of Mercy, and the Work of Mary today as it is lived by each of the branches.
The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Fr David Kennerley sm, provincial, at the end of which candles imprinted with an image of Mary of Fourvière were presented to each branch of the family while all recited a Fourvière pledge for today. A beautiful day drew to a close leaving 150 Marist people with memories to ponder and challenges to absorb.