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.

Celebrating our Jubilarians

Marist Sisters in Australia gathered to celebrate our sisters celebrating jubilees – Srs Clare Francis and Marie Patricia, both 75 years professed, and Sr Fidelis McTeigue, 60 years professed. The celebration of the Eucharist in the Marist Fathers Montbel Chapel, Hunters Hill was presided over by Fr Paul Mahony sm. During the Eucharist the sisters renewed their vows.

Following the Mass all those present shared a light lunch together. A highlight of the lunch was the cutting of the Jubilee cake by the three jubilarians.

We congratulate our jubilarians and wish them many blessings as they continue to live their Marist commitment.

Justice Conversation in Australia

A group of Marist Sisters gathered in Sydney recently to consider how we as Marist Sisters, each according to her situation, might respond to the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation issues which seem paramount for us. Our concerns for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation are rooted in the Gospel and its call to live as disciples of Jesus. We are also impelled by the Church’s social teaching which Pope Francis draws on and is articulating in many ways, and by our Marist vocation to live Mary’s spirit in all aspects of our lives.

 

This conversation highlighted the many ways in which sisters are responding to a variety of issues in our prayer, in interactions, small or large, that we might have with people, in our support of particular advocates and agencies, in our reading and gathering of information. The sisters left the meeting energised and with renewed commitment to seek justice for those who are vulnerable and for our common home.

 

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

…It is my wish and the wish of my Son,
that there be another Society, one consecrated to me,
in which they will bear my name,
which will call itself the Society of Mary
and whose members will call themselves Marists…
(Le Puy revelation)

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary, 12th September, is a special day for Marist Sisters. On this day the sisters recall they have been “called by a gracious choice…to bear the name of Mary”.  It is also the day the sister renew the commitment they made on their first profession day…

I renew my vows of chastity, poverty and obedience
in the Congregation of Mary
according to the Constitutions of this Congregation.

With Mary, our Mother, as guide,
I desire to remain faithful to my calling to follow Christ,
by living the Gospel as Mary did
in this Congregation which bears her name.

You are invited to join with the Sisters in honouring Mary on this day and giving thanks to God for Mary who is our Mother, our Model and our Guide.

Bearing the Name of Mary

Marist Sisters from the Merrylands, Marrickville and Marsfield communities in Sydney gathered on 11th September to anticipate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. This feast, observed on 12th September each year, holds special significance for Marist Sisters as we recall the gift, and the responsibility, that is ours in being called to live the Gospel as Mary did and to bear her name.

Prayer and Beauty in the Philippines

On 26  July, Unit Leader Sr Jane Frances and members of the Marist Sisters community in Davao, the Philippines, Srs Edna, Sheila, Lilibeth and April and candidate Hai left early to go to the Benedictine Monastery just south of Digos, about an hours journey, for their annual retreat.

During the next 6 days they journeyed through the theme of the Love, Mercy and Compassion of our God.  They had a beautiful, spiritual time together reflecting, creating and praying during their ‘masked retreat’.

Following the retreat, during their journey home, they visited the most beautiful “Cactus Farm” –  and were amazed at the variety of cacti on display.

Aotearoa-New Zealand Celebrations

On June 17, the Unit of Aotearoa-New Zealand  gathered in the Mt Albert community chapel for a special Jubilee Mass celebrated by the local Parish priest, Fr Carlos. Celebrating their jubilees were Sr Shirley, 70 years, and Srs Patricia Sarju, Margaret Cross, and Marie Therese Ranum, 60 years.  Mass was followed by a very fine lunch.  Margaret was not able to take part in the celebration on the day but she was prayed for her!
The next day the sisters gathered again for “Matariki” – the time when we begin again, plant again, pray for our deceased members, forgive again and share a feast together.  This occasion is inspired by the Maori New Year which is indicated by the constellation called “Matariki” .  It also coincided   with Laudato Si and Goal 6 featuring “ecological spirituality”.

Sr Clare sm – Centenarian

Congratulations Clare.

Sr Clare Francis celebrated 100 years of life on 6th August. Her Marist Sisters gathered with her to celebrate this incredible milestone. Family came from as far away as New Zealand to celebrate with Clare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In proposing a toast to Clare, Sr Gail Reneker spoke of the various ministries Clare has been involved in during her long life, her outreach to so many people and her delight in truth, beauty and goodness.

 

 

Bon voyage Sr Kate

At the Marist Sisters General Chapter held earlier this year Australian Marist Sister Kate McPhee was elected to be a General Councillor for a period of seven year. Kate left Sydney for Rome on 6th August to take up her role as a member of the Congregation Leadership Team.

A number of sisters were at the airport to farewell Kate. While Kate will be missed in Australia, we wish her well in this important ministry for the Congregation.

 

Inaugural Patron’s Mass

Marist College, Mt Albert NZ, celebrated its inaugural Patron’s Mass at the end of term 2. The College Patrons are Colin, Chavoin, Champagnat and Chanel. During the Mass a board bearing the names of Marist Sisters who have been on staff at the College since 1928 was blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

In a letter to the College community the Principal wrote:

“This week we also celebrated our inaugural Patrons’ Mass. This was an opportunity to gather as a community to remember our founders and give thanks to the Marist Sisters who have dedicated their lives to God. The Sisters established Marist College in 1928 and since then have been pillars of strength in our school and the Mt Albert community.”

Image above – Marist Sisters who attended the Patron’s Mass
Image right – Two long long time staff members, Srs Patricia and Julianna.