Celebrating the Marist Project

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.

Celebrating in Davao City

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.

Fourviere Celebrations in Sydney

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.” 

Fourvière Pledge 1816-2016

Dare to Dream 2016In 1816, in the chapel of Our Lady of Fourvière, twelve seminarians dared to dream that they could make a difference in the world by beginning a congregation in Mary’s name. Today, two hundred years later, Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Brothers, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist Laity are spread throughout the world. We ask you to join with us in celebrating the Pledge of Fourvière on 23rd July. We pray that like the men of Fourvière we will be fired with zeal as we strive to  “work together for the greater glory of God and the honour of Mary.”

Notre-Dame de Fourviere 2Mary, of Fourvière, show us what love is
and from where it draws its origin
and its constantly renewed power.
Holy Mary, good Mother of Fourvière,
you have given the world its true light,
Jesus, your Son ‐ the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely to God’s call
and this became a wellspring of the goodness
which flows forth from him.
You inspired the first Marists to create a Society
dedicated to showing the Marian face of the Church.
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become capable of true love
and be fountains of living water
in the midst of a thirsting world. Amen.

Sr Doreen McOscar sm

Doreen McOscar

Doreen died peacefully at St. Anne’s on Saturday afternoon, 29th November.  She took us by surprise, surrendering to our loving God quite unexpectedly on the eve of Advent, the beginning of the Year dedicated to Consecrated Life.  Earlier this year, on 25th May, Doreen celebrated her 100th Birthday, thoroughly enjoying the parties organised in her honour.  She delighted in the occasion, and the opportunity it provided to bring people together.  Doreen lived life to the full, and her love for others and interest in their welfare never wavered.  We have no doubt that she is now enjoying the company of all who have gone before her, resting in the embrace of God, to whom she had given herself so completely.

Doreen Mary McOscar was born in Sydney of Irish parents – Ellen and Hugh – on 25th May 1914.  She was the second of two children and grew up in a close-knit family with her much-loved older brother, Vincent.  The family settled in Daceyville where Doreen attended St. Michael’s Primary School for most of her early years before enrolling in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Kensington, for her Secondary education.  Doreen’s home suburb of Daceyville was very dear to her, and she always expressed deep appreciation for the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who fostered her love of learning.  Over the years Doreen remained close to her extended family – enjoying the visits of cousins from different generations and discovering more about her family tree.

Doreen001In 1935 Doreen entered the Marist Sisters at Woolwich, where she had attended a number of retreats for young women.  She was professed on 25th January 1937 and was known for many years as Sr. Felician before returning to her Baptismal name of Doreen.

Throughout her long life, Doreen’s commitment to the Work of Mary never waned.  She lived the Gospel in the manner of Mary, drawing others to experience the love and mercy of God.   Doreen touched the lives of many through her ministry in fields such as education and pastoral work, spiritual renewal and faith formation, Congregational leadership and Marist Laity animation.

Doreen began her Marist ministry as a Primary and Secondary teacher.  In 1940 she started her studies at Sydney University and was the first Australian Marist Sister to graduate from there with a Master of Arts Honours Degree.  Her thesis on John Henry Newman was received with acclaim.  Doreen had a great love for English literature, which she shared with her pupils. Her high regard for the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins was well known. She took delight in savouring the rich expressions of his verse.  I well remember her introducing my class to poems such as The Windhover, Pied Beauty and God’s Grandeur: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God…” Her enthusiasm for poetry was infectious, but it was the depth of Doreen’s faith and spirituality that made the most lasting impression upon us.

DSCF2779Doreen was the founding Principal of Loreto Secondary School in Levuka, Fiji, and Cerdon College, Merrylands.  She was also Principal of Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich.  Doreen’s students held her in high esteem and her interest in them remained life-long.  Ex-students of Loreto, Cerdon and Woolwich would often visit Doreen and many turned to her often to seek wisdom, encouragement, advice and spiritual guidance.

In 1972 Doreen began theological studies at the Marist Fathers’ Seminary, Toongabbie, followed by a course at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, the Philippines, and a period of study at Corpus Christi College in London.  Shortly afterwards she lectured part-time at the Marist Fathers’ Seminary in Toongabbie and assisted with the teaching of catechetics. In the mid-70’s Doreen was elected General Councillor and moved to Rome to serve the Congregation in this leadership role.

On her return from Rome some years later, Doreen joined the team at the Marist Spirituality Centre, Marcellin Hall, Auckland, New Zealand.  Here Doreen worked closely with other members of the Marist Family – priests, brothers, SMSM sisters and laity – with whom she formed lasting bonds.

In 1984 Doreen returned to Australia, engaging in pastoral work in Torquay (Victoria), Blacktown (western Sydney) and Gladstone (Queensland). As in her previous ministries, Doreen’s ready ability to relate with people across all faiths and cultures, and her genuine interest in young and old alike, endeared her to all whom she met.  She had a breadth of vision that enabled her to dialogue with openness about issues facing the Congregation, the Church and the world.  She was committed to ecumenism and all that would bring people of faith together. Her animation of Marist Laity continued throughout her years at Marian House and she never ceased to remain vitally interested in all things Marist.

Sr Doreen with Srs Torika(Philippines), Sr Judith (Australia) & Sr Kalala (Fiji)

Doreen moved to St. Anne’s on 25th October 2011 and continued to reflect the presence of Mary to those around her – residents, staff and visitors too.  Doreen was a most gracious lady, attentive to others and appreciative of the loving care she received. She always joined in activities at St. Anne’s and encouraged others to do the same.

Indeed, Doreen was always affirming and encouraging – helping others to believe in themselves, and to have confidence in their abilities.  Through her warmth and freedom of spirit, she exuded joy that enlivened others, and many felt uplifted when they received a letter or phone call from Doreen.

She was determined and tenacious – and very particular!  We all knew how difficult it was for her to make a decision about buying a new blouse, or pair of shoes.  She was so petite and finding just the right fit would often prove impossible.  Doreen made us smile, she made us think, she brought light to our lives, and we will miss her greatly.

Pope Francis said recently that the effectiveness of consecrated life depends upon the eloquence of lives which radiate the joy and beauty of living the Gospel and following Christ to the full.  We thank you, Doreen, for the eloquence of your life and the inspiration you have been to us.  You have followed Christ in the spirit of Mary, loving as God loves us.  May you enjoy the rewards of eternal life.  Rest in peace, Doreen.

Sr. Julie Brand SM – 5th December 2014

Fourvière Celebrations in Sydney

On Sunday 21st July members of the Marist Sisters, Marist Fathers, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Brothers gathered at Villa Maria Hall in Hunters Hill to celebrate the anniversay of the Fourvière Pledge.  Fr Ron Nissan sm was the celebrant and he was assisted by newly ordained Deacon Willy Melteras sm.

Recalling the tradition of our Marist Founders of placing names into a heart and placing it on the altar, the names of all present were placed in a heart and carried to the altar at the beginning of the Mass.  The Fourvière Pledge was renewed by all present.

Afternoon tea was a great opportunity for renewing and deepening Marist Family bonds.  thank you to the Marist Brothers for preparing this year’s Fourvière celebration.

Fourvière Pledge Anniversary – 23rd July

Notre Dame de Fourvière

On 23rd July 1816 twelve seminarians in Lyon climbed the steep steps to the Fourvière chapel and there pledged themselves to “as soon as possible, establish a most holy congregation of Marists.”  As we once again celebrate this foundational event in Marist history, Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Brothers will  reflect on the Fourvière event and be inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of the early Marists.

If you would like to join us in prayer and reflection on the anniversary of Fourvière download a prayer reflection prepared by Sr Lorraine Canmpbell sm here.