Celebrating the Arrival of the Marist Sisters in Australia

As well as commemorating the bicentenary of the first community of Cerdon, during the year we are also remembering the founding dates of each of our units.

On the anniversary of the founding of each unit, the sisters receive a short document outlining key moments in the beginning of that unit. As we reflect and share, we will become more aware of the history of the Congregation.

On Friday 8 December, the beautiful Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Sisters in Australia gathered to celebrate the arrival of the Sisters who were to found the first Marist Sisters community in Australia on 30 December 1907.

How blessed we were for the gathering to take place at the home of the Marist Fathers at Hunters Hill, given that a dwelling on this property was home to the first three Sisters to settle in Australia.

The afternoon began with an acknowledgement of the land and respect for our First Nation brothers and sisters who have cared for this land for so many years.

Sr Gail then welcomed the sisters and acknowledged all those whose support of the Sisters from the beginning has made it possible to celebrate this occasion – deceased Sisters, former Sisters, families, friends, colleagues and many others.

This was followed by prayer and an opportunity to reflect on our Australian Story.

Those present were inspired by an account of the first Australian community, prepared by Sr Carmel and read to us by Sisters Vivienne and Judith.

The story told of the arrival of the first three sisters – Mother Melanie, Sr Cyrille and Sr Odilon. It outlined their life and ministry in the Hunters Hill and Woolwich areas.

And today, over 110 years later, Marist Sisters College Woolwich thrives under the care of lay staff who, together with the students, keep the Marist spirit alive and well.

An interesting highlight of the prayer service was the opportunity for each Sister to write a short personal response to our Australian Story. These were read out and a common theme emerged of the three founding sisters preparing the way for Australia’s future despite the hardships of starting in a new land.

After an inspiring return to their past, the Sisters celebrated with afternoon tea.

We were relaxed as we welcomed the opportunity to be together and chat about all things Marist.

We had a wonderful day celebrating with joy all the blessings we had received on our journey in the name of Jesus and Mary. ALLELUIA

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