5 April 2012
Seven students from the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere have been given a prayerful and celebratory sendoff with a mothers and daughters (all but one are girls) evening on February 23 hosted by the two pastoral workers in the suburb, Sisters of Compassion Srs Shirley and Alisi.
The evening was a chance to show that goodness can come from the troubled suburb whose crime rate is considerably higher than the average for the city.
The ceremony began with a gathering time in the Sisters’ lounge with softdrinks, nibbles and much chatter and laughter. Part two of the ceremony was a prayer service in the Aubert Centre Hall entitled ‘The School of Mary’. This comprised scripture reading, hymns and prayers for the occasion. Each of the girls and the mother of the boy were given a small lighted candle to remind them that wherever they go they have the light of faith and the prayerful, loving support of their family and community.
Each of the mothers stood behind their daughter with hand on shoulder for the blessing prayer. Sr Alisi shared a reflection based on Suzanne Aubert’s Directory
‘Life is a journey by road on the way we travel – the dust is thick and the shade scarce. Let us know how to select the best place to bathe our eyes, to shake off the dust that covers us and to wash our sore feet.’ (p 175 #24).
St Peter Chanel parish priest Fr Vince Onesi gave a final blessing.
The party then returned to the Sisters’ dining room and lounge to share a delicious meal. The floor was then opened to anyone who wished to speak. Most of the mothers shared words of wisdom and reminded their children that wherever they go they take the name of their family with them.
Fr Vince stressed the need to keep in touch with their parents regardless of the need or problem. The girls then thanked their parents and, after singing a hymn to Mary they said Suzanne Aubert’s prayer, ‘Thanks be to God for all he has done and is doing for us’.
The girls represent the Tongan, Samoan and Kiribati/Chinese communities of Flaxmere and are the community’s future professionals.
Three Flaxmere girls have recently fulfilled the role of head girl at Sacred Heart College, Napier.