“Let them always bear in mind that
they belong by a gracious choice
to the family of the blessed Mary, Mother of God,
by whose name they are called Marist,….
Let them constantly breathe her spirit:
a spirit of humility, self-denial
intimate union with God,
and the most ardent love of neighbour.”
(Spirit of the Society of Mary)
Jean-Claude Colin was born in 1790 in the village of Saint-Bonnet-le-Troncy, France. His early years were a time of political and social upheaval in France due to the French revolution. Both his mother and father were deeply affected by the turmoil caused by the revolution. They both died in 1795 when Jean-Claude was only five years old.
Jean-Claude studied for the priesthood at the seminary in Lyon and was ordained a priest in 1816. Along with some fellow seminarians Jean-Claude pledged to begin a society which would take Mary as model – the Pledge of Fourviere. Following ordination the seminarians were dispersed to various parishes and dioceses. Jean-Claude was appointed to the parish of Cerdon where his brother Pierre was parish priest. Jean-Claude shared with his brother the dream of beginning the society of Mary. The dream of establishing a society in Mary’s name was eventually realised. Jean-Claude Colin is considered to be the Founder of the Marist Fathers and the Marist Sisters.
Each year on 15th November, the anniversary of the death of Fr Colin, Marist throughout the world remember this man who continues to inspire them as they too strive “to think, judge feel and act as Mary in all things”.
This year we are invited to join in prayer with the Marist Father as they launch the Marist Year of Vocations. To view a video in which Fr John Larsen, Superior General, launches the Marist Year of Vocations click here. A liturgy to launch the year can be found here.
We, the undersigned, striving to work together for the greater Glory of God and the honour of Mary, Mother of the Lord Jesus, assert and declare our sincere intention and firm will of consecrating ourselves, at the first opportunity, to founding the pious congregation of Marists.
That is why by the present act and our signatures, in so far as we can, we irrevocably dedicate ourselves and all our goods to the Society of the Blessed Virgin. (Pledge of Fourvière, 23rd July 1816)
The anniversary of the Pledge of Fourvière each year is a time for Marist throughout the world to recall with gratitude the beginnings of the Marist Family. On 23rd July 1816 twelve seminarians climbed the 800 steep steps from the City of Lyon to the Chapel of Our Lady of Fourvière. Here they committed themselves to the Marist project.
The Marist project has grown to be a family of five branches – Marist Father, Marist Sisters, Marist Brothers, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist laity – with a presence throughout the world.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions it will not be possible in some countries for Marist to come together physically for prayer and celebration this year. This will not dampen our enthusiasm to recall the Fourvière event and to renew our own commitment to the Marist project. Online opportunities are being provided for Marists to connect, give thanks, recommit and celebrate. One such opportunity has been prepared by Marist Laity Australia. For information on how you can connect with Marist in Australia click here. All are welcome to join with Marists in prayer and thanksgiving on this day.
In the Philippines the Marist Fathers Chanel Community joined the celebration of the opening of the Dental clinic for children at Balay Pasilungan. The newly blessed dental equipment enables Marist Sister Sheila Manalo SM (a dentist) to offer safe and covid-free clinic to children.
Founded by the Society of Mary in 1989, Balay Pasilungan is home to former street boys. They eat, sleep, play and pray as a family, supported by a social worker and house parents under the supervision of a Marist priest. Many of the boys also attend a local school.
[Photo: www.maristasia.org. Marist Community with Fr Gil Casio SM, the new executive director of Balay Pasilungan with their dentist, Sr Sheila Manalo SM]
A wonderful and joyful celebration was held recently at Mt St Mary’s parish, Nadi, Fiji, as Sr Margaret Sharma celebrated her Diamond Jubilee as a Marist Sister and Sr Marlene Giblin celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Columban priest, Fr Frank Hoare, was the main celebrant and homilist with Marist Fathers John Crispin and Lewis Henry concelebrating.
Many Marist Sisters were present along with family members and friends of the two jubilarians. Also part of the celebration was Sr Anna Rarasea, a Sister of St Joseph of Cluny and Sr Carmel Pilcher, a Sister of St Joseph from Australia who is currently teaching at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva. It was a beautiful sunny day. All present enjoyed the Mass and the delicious meal that followed. Special thanks to Sr Lavinia and her team for a well organized celebration.
Marist Sisters Beverley Lewis and Maureen Crick represented the Unit of Australia at the farewell to the Marist Fathers in Gladstone. After 118 years of faithful service to the people of the Parish, the Fathers will leave Gladstone on 4th January 2020. It was a celebration of sorrow and joy.
On Friday 22nd November the Parish Community gathered to celebrate the Eucharist with representatives from the Rockhampton Diocesan Clergy, including Bishop Michael McCarthy and the previous Bishop, Brian Heenan, Marist Fathers, including Father Ben McKenna SM from the General House in Rome, Brothers, Sisters, Missionary Sisters and Sisters of Mercy. There was great excitement as old friends were reunited at this joyful celebration of thanksgiving. After Mass, the Clergy and Religious gathered at the Bowling Club for a dinner hosted by Bishop Michael on behalf of the Diocese. It was a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the many religious who had ministered in Gladstone over a number of years.
On Saturday evening, a farewell dinner was held at the Yaralla Sports Club. About 150 people attended the dinner. Mr Peter Turich was the MC for evening. Mr Matt Burnett, the Mayor, welcomed everyone and apologised that he was unable to stay. After the entrée, Bishop Michael thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the Parish and remarked on the wonderful spirit of co-operation the Marists had with the Diocese. Father Tony Corcoran SM responded on behalf of the Fathers. Following the main course Warren Fellowes, who lived all of his life in Gladstone, spoke on behalf of the parishioners. He paid tribute to the Priests of the Parish who were always ready to listen to the advice of the local people. We then stood to sing the Hail Queen Heaven with adapted words for the occasion, after which all the Marist Fathers present went forward to cut the cake. The cutting of the cake and tea and coffee ended the formalities for the evening, giving people time to renew friendships. During the evening we were entertained with an ongoing slide show and many photos around the walls of Marist Fathers dating back 118 years.
Sunday morning marked the final day of celebration. Mass was con-celebrated with the Bishop at Chanel College in the Marian Centre. In the opening procession symbols of the all the areas of the Parish were presented – Star of the Sea Church in town, Tannum Sands, Calliope, Mt. Larcom, Ubobo, Miriam Vale and Agnes Waters. Father Peter McMurrich preached the homily which included much of the history of the Gladstone parish. At the conclusion of Mass, Mrs Judy Aitkenhead, on behalf of the parishioners, thanked the Marist Fathers for their service to the parish. We then proceeded to La Valla Court for morning tea and to catch up with many more people.
Bev and Maureen were grateful to be able to take part in these wonderful celebrations.
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.
On Pentecost Sunday Marist Sisters in Australia gathered in the Holy Name of Mary church, Hunters Hill to celebrate 300 years of Marist life. Fr Tony Corcoran sm, Provincial of the Marist Fathers, presided over the Eucharist. Joining with the sisters were family and friends of our jubilarians. After Mass we adjourned to the Marist Fathers dining room for afternoon where we continued to give thanks for the faithfilled lives of our Golden Jubilarians (50 years), Srs Beverley and Gail, our Diamond Jubilarian, Sr Marie Berise (60 years) and our Platinum Jubilarians Srs Margaret and Philomena (70 years).Unfortunately Sr Philomena was unable to join us but we remembered her as we celebrated. Represented within the group of Jubilarians were two former Congregation Leaders, Srs Margaret Purcell and Gail Reneker. The following tributes were delivered during the afternoon tea.
The Marist Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Fathers led the joyous celebration of the Feast of Santo Niño, the patron of the Davao City Main Jail Chapel . This is an annual religious and cultural festival. Devotion to the Santo Niño (Holy Child), an image of Jesus as a small boy typically dressed as a king, is a mainstay of Philippine Catholic life.
Saturday 8 December 2018 was a day of significance for the Marist Sisters in Australia.
The day began with a prayer of farewell to our property at Woolwich. Woolwich was the foundation community in Australia when the Marist Sisters arrived in Sydney some 110 years ago. We had much to acknowledge and remember… including
the support, service and friendship shown us by the Marist Fathers from the beginnings till now;
the many thousands of teachers, students and their families of Marist Sisters College, Woolwich;
those who had worked with us in caring for the property including the doctors, nurses, carers and cooks who have been so much part of Marian House since its beginning in 1979;
After singing the song “Holy Ground” those gathered were invited to a time of quiet reflection on the people, things, events and experiences which were part of our years at Woolwich.
At the conclusion of the prayer we adjourned to the dining room where we continued to share stories and memories over lunch.
At the conclusion of the meal, during a prayer, members of the former leadership team lit the Unit of Australia candle and passed the candle to the new leadership team of Sr Cath Lacey (Unit Leader) and her two assistants Julie Brand and Ruth Davis.
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.”