Carmel Cole rndm
30 May 2012
On Pentecost Sunday, the Sisters of the Missions in the Wellington area gathered at Sacred Heart Church Petone with friends, past pupils, staff and students from schools the sisters have staffed, Religious from many Congregations and parishioners from around the Wellington area for a Jubilee Mass of thanksgiving.
About 300 people filled the Petone church and participated in the joyful celebration. The celebrations began with the welcoming of the four schools in the area that the Sisters have staffed – Sacred Heart School Petone, Sacred Heart College, Ss Peter and Paul School Lower Hutt and Our Lady of the Rosary School Waiwhetu.
Sr Annette Young led the procession into the church carrying the ceremony cross that has been used for all the profession ceremonies of the Sisters for many years while the music group led the congregation in a powerful singing of ‘Christ be our Light’.
Archbishop John Dew spoke of the courageous and determined women who first came to New Zealand in the 1860s and how the Mission Sisters have carried on this mission by educating so many pupils over these 147 years. Sacred Heart College choir sang ‘Ave Verum’ at Communion while a new song by Chris Skinner SM, ‘Missions Divine’, was played as a reflection after Communion.
The people gathered and enjoyed sharing stories and memories of the Sisters over a cup of tea after the celebration. A PowerPoint presentation of many of the past communities brought back memories of past days.
On Christmas Day 1861 in Lyon, France, Euphrasie Barbier brought to birth the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, (RNDM). Three years later, four Mission Sisters arrived in Napier to establish the first community in New Zealand.
Now 150 years on the sisters are remembering this beginning in celebrations around the country.
Image: Srs Valerie Lawson, Helen O’Sullivan, Jo Kane, Merle Hiscock, Barbara Henley, Carmel Cole, sing as Sr Jo cuts the cake.