A founding event of the Society of Mary in Fourvière, Lyon, France, on July 23 1816 lives on today through the vocations of Marist family members and communities across the globe. Two hundred years ago a group of laity, vowed religious and priests committed to the Fourvière pledge to unite in ‘founding a pious congregation of Mary-ists’ – Marists – undertaking whatever works called for by the time. Their anniversary in July links with the Jubilee Year of Mercy and with Marists as visible instruments of Mercy.
Marist Laity, Marist Sisters, SMSM Sisters, Marist Brothers and Marist Fathers from around New Zealand gathered on Saturday 23 July to mark the bicentenary.
In Wellington a gathering was at Pa Maria spirituality centre, and in the Hawkes Bay at St Mary’s Taradale.
Sr Catherine Jones smsm
September 12 is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, patronal feast of the Society of Mary, who celebrated a special 200th anniversary in July.
Marists gathered to celebrate the vision and commitment of the first Marists at Fourvière in France 200 years ago.
Pa Maria Marist community in Thorndon, Wellington, hosted over 60 Marists – laity, sisters, brothers and priests – for the celebration of Fourvière Day on 23 July 2016. The celebration linked in with the Church’s Year of Mercy, with a panel presentation on Marists as instruments of mercy in the tradition of each branch of the Marist family, and in current ministries.
Being an instrument of mercy calls us to action. The Catholic and Anglican dioceses of Wellington, in close collaboration with Red Cross and Wellington Islamic Centre, are involved in the welcome and resettlement of refugees from the war in Syria. In Wellington, Marists also brought gifts of school materials – ‘twelve baskets full’ – for children in these resettling families. Others brought shoes and socks and gift cards to add to the Archdiocesan ‘mountain of mercy’ project, providing winter warmth for children in need in Catholic and State schools, and through the Islamic Centre.
The dynamism of Fourvière continues to respond to new needs in the city centre.