In Asia-Pacific Marist Sisters are found in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines.
The coming of the Sisters to New Zealand was linked to the appointment of Fr Gondringer S.M. as parish priest of the newly formed parish of Mt Albert in 1926. He asked for Marist Sisters for the school he was about to build. Mother Bernard and Sister Austin came from Fiji at the end of January 1927. The following year a boarding school was opened and a secondary school was begun.
there are Marist Sisters’ communities in Auckland (Mt Albert, Papatoetoe and Orakei), Bay of Plenty (Rotorua), Northland (Waitaruke) and in Wellington (Tawa). The sisters are engaged in education, social work, chaplaincy and visitation of the sick and elderly.
On 30th December, 1907, three Marist Sisters arrived to establish a community in Australia. The three pioneers in Australia were Mother Melanie who was English, a trained teacher and 68 years of age, Sr Cyrille, an intelligent, gifted teacher one of whose parents was French and the other Irish, and a third sister, Sr Odilon, a French sister remarkable for her gentleness. On their arrival the sisters stayed for almost a year in a small semi-detached house in Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill and ran a small primary school attached to the Church in the same location known as St Peter Chanel’s. In November, after the arrival of two more sisters from Europe, Srs Bernard and Benedict, they bought, with the assistance of the Marist Fathers and a generous parishioner, a property in Woolwich which was to become a secondary school.
For many years the predominant ministry in Australia was education as this responded to the needs of the times. Now , in answer to the ever-changing needs of our world and our Church, the Sisters are engaged in a multiplicity of ministries. Some of these include education, parish pastoral ministry, work with migrants, health care, hospital pastoral ministry, university chaplaincy, prison chaplaincy and rural ministry. Marist communities are to be found in Queensland (Barcaldine) and New South Wales (Blacktown, Haberfield, Marrickville, Rosemeadow, Sefton and Woolwich).
In 1892 at the request of Bishop Vidal, the first Marist Sisters arrived in Fiji. Sisters Sebastian, Martha and Melanie founded a convent in Levuka which at that time was the capital of Fiji. They began teaching English speaking children in Levuka. By 1907 mission stations had been set up in Fiji in Levuka and Cawaci on the island of Ovaulau and in Delailagi on the island of Viti Levu. The climate change for these sisters from Europe as well as the radical change of culture resulted in the death of some sisters and others became very ill, especially with tuberculosis and typhoid.
Today there are Marist Sisters working on three Fiji islands – Viti Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau. In addition to this there are Fijian Marist sisters currently ministering in The Gambia and in The Philippines. Education and pastoral ministry are the main areas of involvement but the sisters endeavour to respond to needs around them.
The Marist Sisters first set up community in Davao City, The Philippines, in August 1998 with two Sisters from Fiji, Veronica and Torika. There are two Marist Sisters’ communities both on the island of Mindanao. In the past the sisters have ministered to street boys and abused girls and prison ministry.
There are ten Marist Sisters in The Philippines, five of whom are Filipinos. The sisters are involved in Formation ministry, prison ministry, inter-religious dialogue and social work. The Asia-Pacific Novitiate for the Marist Sisters is in the Philippines. Currently there are two novices from Fiji.
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