15 February 2012
The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions gathered in Napier at Christmas to celebrate 150 years and begin a year of jubilee.
On Christmas Day 1861 in Lyon, France, Euphrasie Barbier brought the congregation (RNDM) to birth and, within three years, four Mission Sisters had arrived in Napier to establish the first community in New Zealand.
The celebrations began with prayer in the Chapel of St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College Greenmeadows on Christmas Eve. During the prayer Sisters from around the world were named and remembered and each area of the Congregation was prayed for. Each Sister received a jubilee scarf as a memento of this year of jubilee.
Early on Christmas Day the sisters gathered for prayer at the Port, somewhere near where the first four sisters landed, and then proceeded to Sacred Heart College on the Hill – the home of the first RNDM Community in New Zealand – to continue their prayer. Stories were shared and prayers spoken around the graves of the first sisters.
Back at St Joseph’s Christmas dinner was prepared and enjoyed by all. The day of celebration ended with some fireworks. It was a fitting beginning to a year of celebration.
During the year there will be celebrations in all the regions where the Mission Sisters have had a strong presence.
Following are some of the times and places of celebration:
•Christchurch: Saturday April 14 at 11am in Sacred Heart Parish Church Addington.
•Nelson: Friday April 27 at 12 noon in the St Mary’s Parish Church Nelson.
•Lower Hutt: Pentecost Sunday May 27 at 1:30 pm in Ss Peter and Paul’s Church Lower Hutt.
•Hawke’s Bay: Thursday June 21 at 12 noon in St Patrick‘s Church Napier.
•Taranaki: Tuesday July 24 at 2 pm in St Joseph’s Parish Church, New Plymouth
•Waikato: Tuesday August 22 at 5:30 pm in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hamilton.
•Auckland: Saturday September 8 at 2 pm in Saint Patrick’s Parish Church Pukekohe.
It is a time to be grateful for all that has been over the last 150 years and to celebrate and rejoice with joy in the spirit of mission that Euphrasie Barbier has inspired. This Spirit of mission lives on in numerous ways throughout the RNDM provinces around the world.