Marist Study Day to Mark Bi-Centenary

The Marist Family in Auckland gathered at Good Shepherd College June 5th for a very stimulating  seminar day of Marist Studies. The day began with a paper from Fr Alois Greiler sm titled The Marist Charism in a Trinitarian Key in which he developed the role of the Spirit in Mary and the charism of the Society of Mary. Fr Justin Taylor sm then developed some ideas of the the Work of Mary’ in the context of the historical trends taking place in the 18/19th centuries. This was followed by a description by Br. Edward Clisby fms of his recently printed book Far Distant Shores (unfortunately delayed somewhere on the route to us),with particular reference to the development of the early Brothers in New Zealand and Oceania.
The afternoon began with a presentation by Br Romuald Gibson  fms on the rise and fall of the four  Marist congregations and the implications of the present phase of religious life so valuable to the Church of our times. After this we heard  from Sr Gemma Wilson sm about the early days of the Marist Sisters. The afternoon concluded with Sr Patricia Leamy smsm’s paper on the significance of collaboration between the branches since the inception of the Society of Mary and in particular for her own branch. Copies of the various talks will appear in the Marist messenger and eventually in Forum Novum.

Typhoon Pablo, JPIC and the Marist Sisters

Last December Typhoon Pablo struck the Philippines island of Mindanao with a force beyond any previous natural disasters on the island, causing over a thousand deaths and billions of dollars’ worth of damage.  At the time, the people of nearby provinces and cities immediately responded to the needs of the victims, such as, finding their loved ones through search and rescue efforts by both government and social groups. Later the international community also provided assistance.

Amongst the initiatives taken, the Society of Mary made four Mission Trips to different places in the affected areas. It was a collaborative effort including various forms of contribution from all branches of the Marist Family and some other religious. Our Sisters worked hard to prepare packages to be taken to the devastated survivors.

However, Pablo left more in its wake than physical damage. The survivors are haunted by disturbing questions: Why have we been so severely lashed?  Where did we go wrong?  What we have done?  Why us? …we are the poor:  peasant/tenants, workers, fishermen, farmers, students, women and children! Is this the result of development?

The Redemptorist and Jesuit Communities initiated a Theological Forum for those working with Pablo’s victims as they struggle to come to terms with their experience. Entitled Crossing the Divides in Pablo: Striking New Keys in the Mission of Hope”, its specific purpose was to:

  • theologically reflect on the ecological signs of the times (in view of the impact of climate change manifesting in calamities as the one brought about by Typhoon Pablo)
  • pastorally deal with the suffering brought about by such disasters on the lives of our people, and
  • missiologically look to the Springs of Hope that can sustain us as Christians responding to the challenges arising out of the impact of calamities.

Our Sisters deeply appreciated the insights this forum provided. Together with the other participants, they recognised issues such as, deforestation and illegal logging, increase of foreign ownership of the land and therefore, increase in mining industries. They then grappled with the more immediate issues of the desperate plight of many survivors and the violence surrounding their struggle for the rehabilitation money and goods due to them.

Questions for the local people remain, but there is some hope in the form of the provision by the government of large quantities of rice and the on-going efforts of religious and others to give food, to give seeds, and to provide psycho-social processing and spiritual activities.

We are all invited to unite in prayer with our sisters and brothers of Mindanao.

Colin Year Begins

Fr Jean Claude Colin Founder of the Marist Fathers & Marist Sisters

Today, 15th November 2012, marks the beginning of the Colin Year.  Fr John Hannan, Superior General of the Society of Mary, has launched a special year to honour the Founder. Among other things he wrote: As he (Colin) understood his time and responded to it, so we too, drawing from his wisdom and example, can respond to the needs of our times and engage wholeheartedly with the mission of our Society.

Marist Sisters will take this opportunity to deepen our understanding of the man we too call Father Founder, so that we may engage more wholeheartedly with the mission which is ours today.

Visit the Jean Claude Colin website to learn more about his life and vision.

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

On 12th September each year Marists throughout the world celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.  This feast reminds us that we “belong by a gracious choice to the family of the Blessed Mary, Mother of God.  In her name we are called Marists”(Spirit of the Society of Mary by Jean Claude Colin S.M., Founder).  The feast is also an other opportunity for Marists to reflect on how Mary would have lived the gospel in our day.

Two New Zealand Marist Sisters have prepared a reflection for this year’s feast. The reflections may be downloaded here.

Supporting LOGOS Youth Development Team

Sr Lorraine & Logos Team Members

Founded in 2000 by the Society of Mary, Logos works to the Marist principles of hope, reconciliation compassion, mercy, respect for others, commitment to the poor and those who find themselves on the margins of our society.  Logos, from the Greek, means ‘The Word’ – a word for Jesus.  By using this as its title, the Logos project has made a commitment to living Gospel values and making them real in today’s world.  (Logos website – www.logos.org.nz)

The Marist Sisters of Aotearoa-New Zealand have been involved with this group since its beginning, responding to the various requests for assistance as spiritual guides, providing administrative assistance, working with the team in a formative and educative way, providing resources as requested and also financial assistance.  The community at Mt Albert makes its chapel available for the sacramental programme for Marist College which is run by the Logos team.  They have also given valuable input to our annual assembly in 2010. At present Sr Juliana gives weekly administrative assistance in a range of tasks.  Recently, Sr Lorraine gave input on the liturgical year as a way of assisting the core team.