Sr Marie Therese Ranum sm

Sr Marie Therese Ranum sm was called to eternal life on Monday 4th December 2023.

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
Amen
.

We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in New Zealand and to Sr Marie Therese’s family. The following eulogy was delivered at her funeral.

Marie Therese was born 16 May 1939 in Matamata, the Waikato, followed by her baptism on 9 th June 1939 in the town she grew up in, Putaruru. Marie Therese was the second child born to Colin and Margaret Ranum , the first being still born. The family grew to 4 girls and 2 boys, of whom Marie was the eldest 4 girls and 2 boys. It was there that Marie Therese and her siblings attended St Mary’s Primary School which was staffed by the Marist Sisters. Her secondary school education was as a boarder at Sacred Heart College in Hamilton with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions finishing in 1956. Marie Therese then spent a few years helping out as a farm worker and domestic helper on her parents’ farm.

Marie Therese entered the novitiate in 1961 at Merrylands, Australia and was professed as a Marist Sister in 1962 as was the custom of the time she was given a new name of “ Sr Marie Bede”.

Marie Therese was a quiet, humble person . It became obvious over the years that her way of living her religious life was on a deep level developing that Marist characteristic that we call “ hidden and unknown in its truest meaning. The best way to remember Marie Therese is to highlight some of those experiences which reflect the depth of her witness to others as Marist. First and foremost, Marie Therese was a woman of faith. This was especially shown in her love of the Eucharist which she sought daily where possible.

Marie Therese had a deep love of her family and over the years she accumulated a number of family photo albums covering more than one generation and which she would share with us . Each photo was clearly identified. In September 1990 to September 1991, Marie Therese went home to care for her mother in Putaruru. Marie Therese also had a great love for her family of Marist Sisters. Whenever she came down from the North or up from the south, Marie Therese always made a point of visiting the sisters, especially those in care. She was also interested in happenings in different parts of the Congregation and about Sisters whom she had met and/or ministered with overseas.

Marie Therese was a woman of generosity of spirit – if there was work to be done, she was there be it in the garden, some sewing to be done, cleaning the house, volunteering for what was needed, meeting other people. Marie Therese was able to put people at their ease: those she knew and those she didn’t:  after Mass on a Sunday, at the shops down the road, with parents in the school –– this was done unobtrusively, without a fuss, not drawing attention to herself. It was her way of reaching out to others and making them “comfortable” in the way of Jeanne–Marie Chavoin.

Training as a teacher at Loreto Hall enabled Marie Therese to bring a number of talents to her ministry of education. Over the years she was a primary school teacher, a music teacher, a remedial teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal. After her school teaching involvement , her skills were used when asked to participate in the Diocesan Motor Mission with Sr Florence Mary based in Moerewa in the North . Their mandate was to help children prepare for the sacraments of Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation and to teach those who had little or no Catholic education. Marie Therese also spent many years in the Far North at Waitaruke at Hato Hohepa Primary School and Hostel among our Maori people where she was teacher, acting Principal and Principal, superior and bursar .

Although she appeared to be “shy” at times, Marie Therese was very courageous. When the call went out to the Congregation for volunteers for personnel for assist in Slavutich in the parish of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Ukraine . When asked if she was interested, her response was, “well I can’t think of any reason to say “ no”! And off she went with two others. Her reflection was that ‘she thought she could be a support to those Sisters who could speak Russian, as she could not. She did tutor some young people in English. Besides the Ukraine, she also assisted at our general house community as a hospitality person in Rome . She was a welcoming and hospitable presence among us. More recently Marie Therese’s cancer returned, and she was moved to The Sisters of the Poor in Auckland were she was lovingly and professionally cared until she died on the morning of December 4th. In conclusion , she faithfully lived out who she was called to be.

As a Marist Sister she answered the
“call to humility, poverty and simplicity, a love of work, the readiness to undertake
various tasks, the integration of prayer and action , of a life of constant union with
Jesus Christ” as expressed in our Constitutions No.3
.
Rest in Peace , Marie Therese

Sr Lavinia Henry sm

Sr Lavinia Henry sm was called to eternal life on Friday 20th October 2023.

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
Amen
.

We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in Fiji and to Sr Lavinia’s family.

General Councillor Welcomed in Fiji

It was with great joy that the Marist Sisters in Fiji welcomed General Councillor, Sr Mari Aranda, to Fiji. Mari was elected to the General Council of the Marist Sisters in May 2022. This is her first official visit to Fiji.

During her visit Mari will visit the Marist Sisters communities and learn of their history and mission involvement since 1892. She will also encourage the sisters in their Marist vocation and share news of other parts of the Congregation.

The Sisters in Fiji are delighted to have Mari visit them. Mari presented the sisters with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and shared with them the story behind the image.

 

Sisters in Fiji Gather

Marist Sisters in Fiji recently gathered for their annual Assembly. This wonderful event was held in their new convent in Nadi. It was faciliated by Marist Father Samu Tukidia and Unit Leader, Sr Mariana Tevurega. They led the sisters throughout the weekend using the synodal process.

Every voice of the sisters was heard resulting in very meaningful participation and discussion. They considered issues related to Unit and Community Life.

Celebrating Anniversaries

In Australia, 8th September was a double celebration. We joined in spirit with Marist Sisters throughout the world in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Marist Sisters. On 8th September 1823 Jeanne Marie Chavoin and Marie Jotillon, with the permission of the Bishop of Belley, came to live together in the parish of Cerdon, France, and so began the Marist Sisters.

We also celebrated our Jubilarians and their almost 200 years of Marist commitment – Sr Marie Clarke (70years), Sr Mary Farrelly (60 years) and Sr Gemma Pearson (60 years). The sisters were grateful to Fr Kevin Stewart sm who presided at the Eucharist celebrated in the Marist Fathers chapel at Hunters Hill. Towards the end of Mass each Jubilarian received a papal blessing.

Following the Mass the sisters were delighted to share a simple meal together. It was a time to reflect and share on our Marist call and that of our Jubilarians. To mark the 200th anniversary of our congregation each sister was presented with a Congregation medal and a bookmark on which was found the following prayer:

Today, may we open our hearts and ears to hear the call, that simple call.
May our open doors witness the simplicity, poverty and joy of our first community.
May God bless us!

May we continue to respond to Mary’s gracious choice.
May we realise the wonder of our calling.
May young women be drawn to our doorsteps.

Mary of Cerdon, remember Jeanne Marie’s prayer
and walk hand in hand with us. Amen

Blessing of Nadi Convent and Chapel

It was in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving that Marist Sisters in Fiji and their friends recently gathered in  Nadi for the blessings of their new convent and chapel. Fr Veremo, the Vicar for the West, was appointed by Archbishop Peter Loy to conduct the ceremony. Five priests concelebrated the Mass and assisted with the blessing ritual. Following the ceremony there was a celebratory meal. The new convent has been purpose built to cater for the elderly and those needing extra care.

 

Welcome Home Viv

The room was filled with joy and conversation when the Marist Sisters in Australia gathered at Hunters Hill to welcome  Sr Vivienne Goldstein back to the Unit of Australia.  In 2015 Vivienne was elected to the Marist Sisters General Council and so lived in Rome until 2022. After a period of renewal Viv has now returned home to Australia. It is great to have you back among us Viv.

The gathering also gave the sisters an opportunity to catch up with Sr Kate McPhee who was soon to return to Rome.

Marist New Year Gathering

Thanks to the hospitality of the Marist Fathers Community Maryvale/Montbel a number of Marist Fathers, Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters and Marist Brothers were able to gather to celebrate the beginning of 2023 at Montbel on 5th January. The level of chatter and laughter signified a good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

Sr Julia Lourey sm

 

Sr Julia Lourey sm was called to eternal life on Tuesday 20th December 2022.

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
Amen
.

We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in Australia and to Sr Julia’s family.

At her funeral on Friday 30th December the following words of remembrance were delivered by Sr Carmel Murray sm.

When Sr. Julia, baptised Patricia Bridget Lourey, was asked recently to name some of the
highlights of her life, the first one she mentioned was her First Holy Communion Day, 24 th
September, 1930, when she said she danced all the way to the church with lots of turns, and
her veil flying out around her. This is a delightful image to have as we come today to farewell our much loved Sr. Julia, 99 years and 9 months young. This joy in living was to bring smiles and laughter into the lives of the many people whom Julia met on her long and varied journey as a Marist Sister, and she did this simply by being true to the person she was.

Julia was born in Marrickville on 20 th March, 1923, the eldest child of Patrick and Rita Lourey; she was baptised in Lewisham, but her heart belonged to Mudgee, a country town in New South Wales, where she grew up in a family of 10 children, 2 girls and 8 boys. Here
she enjoyed the love and security of a big family, where the faith of her parents was alive in their midst and was the guiding principle of their lives. Naturally, this family had many challenges to face in those days of the Great Depression and later the war years, but
whenever Julia spoke of her early years, it was with sheer delight in belonging to such a loving and exuberant family. This love of family was to stay with her all her days. She always referred to her mother as ‘her wonderful little Mother’, and took great pleasure in recalling all the pranks that her brothers used to get up to, often at the expense of her ‘little Mother’. I have no doubt that Julia herself took a leading role in these capers.

On leaving school, Julia became a subsidised teacher for three years and then a receptionist and telephonist. By this time she was living back in Lewisham, but at the age of 33 she heard the call to religious life, and entered the Marist Sisters, Merrylands, in 1954. The Novitiate period must have been quite challenging as she was considerably older than the other novices. But her faith was deep and strong and with an ability to find humour in most difficult situations, she persevered and was professed on 23 rd January, 1956.
Julia’s life experiences prior to her entering religious life were to support her in the varied ministries she engaged in during her many years as a religious. She clung to the strong faith that she had imbibed in her early years; it was evident that Jesus and Mary were very much part of her being. In her funeral booklet, she states that ‘The only treasure worth striving for in life is Jesus. He comes to us in many guises”.

Combined with this love of Jesus and Mary was a strong love and commitment to all things Marist. Julia could be quite a formidable woman in her religious views and did not take kindly to change, but her sense of humour and openness to and compassion for people
overcame any tendency to be too dogmatic. After First Profession as a Marist Sister, Julia taught in St. Margaret Mary’s Primary School
and later was appointed Principal. In 1972, she was appointed Education Supervisor for the Marist Sisters Primary Schools. She believed in traditional teaching methods and held high expectations of teachers and students. She also engaged in teaching ministries in  Woolwich and Gladstone., Queensland, and then pastoral work in Mackay, Blacktown and Merrylands.

Teaching boys was her speciality and many the tales she spun of the exploits of her boys, always with much humour and exaggeration in the telling. Having grown up in a household of boys, she knew lots about various sports, and it was no surprise to see her coaching a Rugby League football team at St. Margaret Mary’s. Her boys revered her and some kept in contact over the years. When Julia was a resident in John Woodward Aged Care Apartments in Merrylands, some of her former students from those early days even visited her there. It was during her teaching days that Julia’s gift for ministering to families became evident. Her down-to-earth approach, together with a common touch and empathy with struggling families, drew people to her. A willingness to listen and understand their situations gave them great comfort and strength. Her sense of humour also helped. Many families in Merrylands, Gladstone and Mackay all attest to this.

When her teaching days were over, Julia spent 10 happy years in Mackay, doing pastoral work among the school families and enjoying chaplaincy work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She loved life in Queensland but returned to Merrylands to become Community leader and also to do some pastoral work among the residents of Gilroy Village. Later in Blacktown she ministered mainly among the senior parishioners. And during all these years, Julia lived with some serious health issues, the recurring one being a very bad back.

On retirement, Julia was appointed to Marian House. Here, she was always a willing listener for those who needed encouragement or just a chat. She had a flourishing telephone ministry and enjoyed crocheting items for family and the sisters. She would often compose
verses for significant occasions, e.g. Jubilees, birthdays. She carried with her this great love of people when she moved into care in the John Woodward Apartments, in Merrylands. Residents and staff shared their joys and problems with her and left with spirits uplifted. On a lighter note, she who normally disdained Bingo, actually became a Caller, bringing laughter with her witty approach.

Julia was a faithful and faith-filled Marist sister who throughout her long life spread the joy of discipleship wherever she went. To the last she was true to her God and never doubted that He would always be true to her and would welcome her into Paradise with open arms. I finish with her own verse: ‘ Memory of Me’.

MEMORY OF ME – Julia Lourey.
I’d like the Memory of me,
To be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave
When my life is done.