General Chapter 2022

Marist Sisters in Australia gathered recently to receive feedback from the Marist Sisters’ General Chapter 2022.

Chapter delegates – Srs Gail Reneker, Kate McPhee and Noelene Simmons – shared their reflections and presented the message of the Chapter to those who were present.

Sr Judith Lythall, who had attended the Chapter as a support worker, presented a pictorial overview of the Chapter.

 

Meeting with Ambassador

While in Rome to attend the Marist Sisters’ General Chapter Sr Noelene Simmons, a member of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans), took the opportunity to meet with Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro.

Ambassador Porro was interested to learn more about the work of ACRATH. During the meeting topics such as Australia’s Modern Slavery Act, the PALM Scheme (Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme), the need for a National Compensation Scheme, the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard and ACRATH’s international reach through organisations such as Talitha Kum were discussed.

Synodality – Participation, Communion, Mission

On Saturday 26th March the Marist Sisters of Raiwaqa, Lami and one sister from Levuka met together in Lami for the process of Synodality. The process was facilitated by a trained couple from the Raiwaqa Parish, Ben and Maria Lee.

To begin the facilitator explained  the image of the Holy Spirit hovering over the people of God in the Synod2021-2023 logo. The importance of discerning the work of the Holy Spirit in this process was emphasized.

The sisters worked through the topics at a leisurely pace with each sister responding to the questions “What are you hearing?” and “What is your response?”.

Remaining focused throughout the session the sharing of the sisters was positive, enlightening, faith-filled, and gratuitous. The summary of responses will be written up by the facilitators and sent to the Archdiocesan Office.

Unit Gathering in Sydney

On Saturday 4th March, Marist Sisters from the Unit of Australia came together to deepen their commitment to the safe-guarding of children and vulnerable adults. Led by Sr Ruth Davis, the sisters reviewed the Marist Sisters’ Policy and Guidelines for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. There was an opportunity for sisters to discuss the various aspects of the policy and to understand their responsibility in this regards. The sisters affirmed their commitment to live with care and compassion for all and to foster a culture of safety and care for all persons by signing a Code of Professional Conduct.

While gathered the sisters took the opportunity to pray a prayer of blessing for the sisters who will be attending the 30th General Chapter of the Marist Sisters in Rome in April 2022.

 

News from Aotearoa-New Zealand

After many months of lockdown Marist Sisters in the Auckland area were recently able to gather at their Tindalls Bay beach house. This was an opportunity to enjoy each others company and to appreciate the beach scenery.

Present at the gathering was the most senior member of the Marist Sisters in New Zealand, Sr Patricia Bowley, and the youngest member, St Tulua ‘Otuafi.

For sisters in Aged Care facilities, there are still a restrictions on visiting. As a result the celebration of the 60th Anniversay of Profession for Sr Margaret Cross was a very quiet celebration. Srs Jane and Lorraine visited Margaret and reminisced with her about her years in Religious Life.

75 Years of Marist Profession

On 5th February Sr Clare Francis will celebrate the 75th anniversary of her profession as a Marist Sister. Clare you are a living example of commitment and fidelity that inspires us in our Marist journey.

We rejoice with Clare and give thanks for her many years of Marist service in Australia and New Zealand. We ask God’s continued blessings for Clare in this her jubilee year.

New Leadership in Fiji

Marist Sisters in Fiji gathered recently to ritualise the change of leadership in Fiji. On 8th December, during a Mass at the end of their annual retreat, Sr Lavinia Henry passed the symbol of leadership to Sr Mariana Tevurega.

The sisters prayed in gratitude for Sr Lavinia’s service and asked blessings on Sr Mariana as she begins her three year mandate as leader. Sr Mariana will be assisted by Srs Lora Adikakai and Raitiera Teiti.

New Leadership Team in Australia

Marist Sisters in Australia gathered at Hunters Hill on 4th December to ritualise the change of Leadership that will take place on 8th December. Sr Gail Reneker will take up the role of Unit Leader of Australia with Srs Julie Brand and Beverley Lewis as her Assistants. The gathering was also an opportunity to give thanks to Sr Catherine Lacey who has been Unit Leader for the past seven years and to Sr Ruth Davis for her role as Unit Assistant for the last three years.

During a simple and prayerful liturgy, recognising that leadership is a call to love and service, the outgoing leadership team washed the hands of the new team. Cath then handed the Unit Candle to Gail as the sisters present extended their hands and prayed a prayer of blessing over Gail, Julie and Bev. At the conclusion of the prayer Julie, on behalf of the sisters of the Unit expressed gratitude to Cath and Ruth for their years of faithful service.

Afternoon tea followed the time of prayer. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this was the first time the sisters had been able to gather sine July 2020. Just being together was a joy and blessing for all present.

 

Renewal of Vows in New Zealand

In New Zealand, on 2nd December, Sr Tulua ‘Otuafi renewed her vows as a Marist Sister for another two years.  COVID restrictions prevented most of the sisters from attending the simple liturgy.

After some afternoon tea together, acting as witnesses, Srs Marie Challacombe, Gemma Wilson and Jane O’Carroll joined Tulua in the chapel at Papatoetoe.  They sang, read scripture and Tulua recited her renewal formula.  It was a very simple, joyous and prayerful occasion!

Congratulations Tulua.

Celebrating a Founder

“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.