The Marist Sisters’ Novitiate community in New Zealand decided to honour the spirit of “Laudato Si” on the Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend – which was also a public holiday and, more importantly for Marists, the Feast of St Marcellin Champagnat!
The place they chose was the Auckland Zoo which has been renovated to become a place not only of conservation of many diminishing species such as the kiwi and takahe, the Siberian tiger and the Asia elephant but also a place where visitors are invited to slow down, to reconnect with nature and to be inspired. They were surrounded by plants, trees, birds, insects, people…
Set in a patch of native bush they found it to be a place of contemplation, meditation, discovery and learning! As you can see in the photo, they paused at the magnificent carving of “Tane nui e Rangi” at the
entrance of the forest aviary of the Zoo. “Tane” is the Maori god of the forest. This carving is the work of five Maori carvers, and they honoured the presence of the Maori people of New Zealand.
While they enjoyed their day very much, they were also conscious of the invitation of Pope Francis to have an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ will become more evident in our relationship with the world around us.