Which Soul of the Nation?

3-month old Asylum Seeker
Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from Brownsville, Mexico Border: Here, fear of the effects of COVID on self and loved ones, its restrictions on a free and easy life, are leading to consequences in MENTAL HEALTH. At the same time like in the novel "Gulliver's Travels where half the people crack their egg at the big end and another half at the small end, we have a country completely polarized as if the two halves live in two different worlds, one party standing for the lives of migrants, and against kids in cages, escaping certain death in their homeland; the other for the rights of the unborn; one in a seemingly "dog eat dog" seeking a raw POWER grab "in contrast to the other espousing the ol...
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Marie Françoise Perroton - Oceania Legacy

Marie Francois Perroton a Pioneer of the SMSMs
Marie Francoise Perroton left France for Oceania on 15th November 1845.  The accounts below are from her Legacy - the SMSM Sisters - Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary - and the work in Oceania today in regard to the Season of Creation.   Jean Claude Colin, Marist Founder, passed away on the same day, 15th November 1875.    "Let us rejoice that our loving Creator sustains our humble efforts to care for the earth, which is also God's home …" These closing lines of Pope Francis' Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation have led us to ask our Sisters to share with us here in Australia some of the concerns, challenges and efforts to cope w...
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Marists- L Si - Atlanta

Cardinal Gregory-as Archbishop in Atlanta
 Fr Jim Duffy sm, writes from OLA Parish, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A:    A Beginning In the Fall of 2012, fifteen parishioners from Our Lady of the Assumption Church (OLA) in Atlanta, Georgia gathered in the parish library to begin a comprehensive study and prayerful discussion of the Church's rich body of teachings on social justice. The group used materials designed by Just Faith Ministries, an organization that provides resources to help people respond to the Gospel's call to love, peace and justice for all. Over the course of 30 weeks the group read several books on Church teaching, engaged in lively discussion, and prayed together. As the weeks progressed discussio...
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Islam-Christian Dialogue in France

Fr Olivier Laurent sm - Interfaith-Toulon-France
Fr Olivier Laurent sm, Toulon, France, has been engaged in Islamic-Christian, and other Inter-religious Dialogue Initiatives for many years.  Toulon is 150 km from Nice, where recent terrorist killings took place. At a time of heightened tensions in France, and on the world scene, we have this encouraging report sent by Fr Paddy O'Hare sm, in community with Olivier.    Olivier Laurent lived in Senegal for 30 years, a country 90% Muslim, where the Christian community has become well integrated. For ten years he took part in a project to improve the living conditions in Dakar's disadvantaged areas with a team that was 70% Muslim. He then spent four years at the Forum 104 in...
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Marists Ecological Education - Toulon, France

Students-St Josephs-La Cordeille-Toulon
Fr Paul Walsh sm writes from Toulon:  INSTITUTE OF SAINT JOSEPH, LA CORDEILLE,  is a very large educational establish on a large campus on the outskirts of Toulon. It comprises, among other elements – a technical and ordinary high school (lycee ), full secondary school with specializations, full primary and infant schools. It also offers post high school for public examinations for entry into elite third level institutions. The school is one of three schools in the Toulon area under the aegis of the Marist Tutelle (umbrella organization responsible for all 7 educational establishments in France for which the SM is responsible). There are about 2,400 pupils enrolled. The school...
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Marist Ecology - Tutu

Planting Nitrogen-fixing trees
Fr Petero Matairatu sm, Director of Marist Training Centre, Tutu, Fjii, sends this Report:     INTRODUCING SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL FARMING SYSTEMS AT TUTU AND IN ITS CATCHMENT AREA Soil Health Soil health is still Tutu's main priority for sustainable expansion of the formation of self-employment training for youth in agriculture. With the lessons learned from the previous soil school program, Tutu has integrated soil health into its course for the formation of young farmers and its staff. The continuous covering of Tutu land with mucuna beans, kaliyandra, drala and bainicagi as nitrogen fixing trees have helped the formation of Tutu's participants as custodian of the land. The ...
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Cook Islands - Laudato Si

Cook Island Children - Cosmopolitan
+Paul Donoghue sm, Bishop of the Cook Islands, former Provincial of Oceania Marist Province, sent this Article during the Season of Creation:  The Diocese of Rarotonga is one of those places where the document "Laudato Si" has gathered dust on the book shelf for 5 years. The excuse is that themes from Rome come a bit too quickly and it takes more time to do them justice than Rome allows. For example we spent nine months on the Extraordinary month on Mission in 2019 rather than just one month. We were finishing this theme keen to be joyful missionary disciples when our churches were closed for COVID-19. We moved into the reality of the Domestic Church - a church operating in families wit...
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Peace through Interreligious Encounter

Pope Francis - Myanmar Visit
Fr Kevin Medilo sm, has just completed his Licentiate on Inter-Religious Dialogue:  his thesis is Living Together in Peace Through Interreligious Encounter: Christian and Buddhist Dialogue in Myanmar.   Kevin shares some of work with us here: on the Feast of St Francis, and the day after Pope Francis signed his Encyclical: "Fratelli Tutti"   There is a growing global awareness and realization of the crucial role of interreligious dialogue among the religious believers in the quest for world peace and sustainable development. For years, the United Nations agencies have partnered with faith-based organizations and inter-religious groups to work for lasting pe...
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Street boys - education for a future

Fr Lionel sm - Prayer with the Street Boys
Fr Lionel Mechavez sm, Davao, Philippines, reports on our Marist mission there with the street boys:  Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all of our families, our businesses, our works, our communities, and our way of life. During this time we wanted to reach out and update you on our life here in Balay Pasilungan. Our government agency, the Department of Education (DepEd), has decided that schedule of opening of classes for school year 2020-­‐2021 be moved to October 5, 2020 from the previous schedule of August 24, 2020. This is to give the Department of Education ample time to prepare all necessary requirements for the imple...
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MARIST EDUCATION - A SECOND CREATION

Colin - Education - A Second Creation
"We contribute with God to forming a man, in a real way. When a man leaves the hands of his nurse, he is only sketched in rough. We must make him into a man, form his heart, his character, virtue, etc. That is what education does. Nothing is more lofty. You give him as it were A SECOND CREATION." (Fr Jean Claude Colin, November 1838 at the College in Belley, A Founder Speaks, Doc. 13, nn. 10 – 11, pp. 67 – 68). As I write this blog I am mourning the death of a 23 year old former pupil of 'Apifo'ou College, a Catholic secondary school founded by the Marist fathers, and they are still running the school at present, 155 years ago in the Diocese of Tonga. This student (RIP) grew up in a Marist p...
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Bolivia-John Hopkinson sm

Fr John Hopkinson sm - Bolivia - with his Team
Fr John Hopkinson sm turned 75 on 25th June, in Bolivia: the day on which he wrote this letter:  At this time last year in our letter I mentioned that I was entering my 75th year and if I had been made a bishop then I should start preparing my letter of resignation to the Pope as required.However no such rule applies to us priests; it is presumed that we just keep going in what we are doing.So here I am having today reached that significant point in my life and still very active in my priestly and missionary service to our people and loving it, without thought of retiring. For all this, I give thanks to our Creator and to Mary our Mother and Protector. I turn 75 at a time when the whole...
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Marist Education - a new creation - Senegal

Prize for the most clean and most green school
Fr Cyr Avalilgbe sm, recent manager of Institution Mariste Jean Claude Colin de Ndiakhirate, Dakar, Senegal, Africa sent this short report to our Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue. Our Founder, Jean Claude Colin, saw education as a ministry of bringing about a new creation in the students. So, this is a fitting reason to share this news in the current Season of Creation. The Ndiakhirate Marist School Complex is open to everyone without distinction of race, sex or religion. in Senegal, I am a school manager. We have a nursery school, primary and secondary school. We have 620 students and among them, only 80 are Catholics.Note: In the photos below: the photos without masks were take...
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Hope in the face of no hope

Rodrigo with his daughter & neice
How worse can it get? "Hope in the Face of no Hope" That is what is needed. As we enter the Season of Creation, Tony O'Connor sm sends this tragic story from the USA-Mexico Border it is a call to Conversion we all need to face, we who are the pinnacle of God's Creation, and  in God's Image:We read in the newspaper accounts of sad things that happen. But sometimes the inside story is tragically unbelievable. I send this account because I believe that it goes to the "grain" and prohibits us from saying when we read it "Yeah Right" It also is a call for prayer for this part of the world and for a change in the treatment of asylum seekers which at present according to international and...
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Australia's growing list of 'Dodos'

Tasmanian Tiger - Dead as a Dodo
The Season of Creation: 01 September - 04 October: will soon be here for us to honor.  One of the key issues is loss of Biodiversity in our Common Home.  Our blog this week comes from Fr Jim Carty sm, on the increasing loss of biodiversity in Australia.  Australia's Shame If something is said to be as dead as a dodo, it means that it is not working, or obsolete, or has disappeared. It refers to the flightless and now extinct bird that was taken by sailors to their ship and kept alive for fresh meat. The Portuguese named the birds "doudo', meaning stupid. In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald writer Mike Foley asks: "Why is Australia a Global leader in wildlife extin...
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Covid & Ecology in Africa

Covid-Fr Modeste-Cameroun-Africa
Fr Albert Kabala sm, District Superior, wrote recently of news in Africa:  During confinement, Fr. Modeste in Bambili produced hand sanitizers and distributed to all confreres in Cameroon, And at the Colin District House in Yaoundé, we have a test kit for confreres and our students who wish to carry out individual and voluntary tests. Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Bambili, Cameroun: The family at work. In consideration of our situation in Bambili, the Our Lady of Fatima Parish decided to build the Parish hall. The building of the Parish hall is the business of all classes of people in the Parish as our family work pictures can attest.  The Laudato Si project: Two sows gave birth ...
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'Give it a go' - 'Echale Ganas'

The Spirit in Covid times - Brownsville
Tony O'Connor sm, writes from Brownsville, on the USA-Mexico border:  You know that the pandemic is affecting you when you wake at 3.00 am every morning with a frog in your throat and butterflies in your tummy. You are even more sure of this when someone says to you "We will get over this and things will get better" and your arms spontaneously float up to the skies in a gesture of praise and as a great sense of gratitude and relief fills your heart. But apart from that, every day you "Echale ganas" "Give it a go" "give everything a go". The article with national coverage "Neither a hurricane nor this pandemic stopped this confirmation" -  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/...
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Cathedral of Hope - Oslow - Laudato Si

Elizabeth Golding - Oslow - Norway
Elisabeth S. Golding. Friend of the Marists in Norway, delivered the address below in the Cathedral of Hope, Oslow, on World's Environment Day Friday 5 June 2020  Five years ago, Pope Francis asked us all to take care of the Earth. Have we listened? After Pope Francis, five years ago, published his "Laudato Si" Encyclical (circular document) to the Catholic Church, to other Christians and to world leaders, as well as to all people of goodwill, many around the world became aware of the environmental challenges facing us all. The Holy Father said "The environmental challenge we are undergoing - and its human roots - is worrying and affects us all… As Christians inspired by this ...
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Marist Tutu Rural Training Centre

Shoreline at Tutu - Fiji
Fr Isaia Wairoga sm sends this news from Tutu, Taveuini, Fiji: a Prioritized Ministry in Oceania Marist Province, which has been developed over 45+ years:  The Aim of our Training Centre is to provide a Place and a Presence where the local People are empowered to become more autonomous, and take charge of their own lives in a rapidly changing world.  It involves a transforming and reciprocal outreach to the People of the Pacific. MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR  [Fr Isaia]  Greetings and Bula vinaka to you all friends of Tutu. This year we have just launched a Tutu Bulletin to share our own stories with you. We are so blessed with the continuous support of all Tutu friends on wha...
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Black Lives Matter: Australia-Pacific

Aboriginals in Chains - 19th C
Black Lives Matter has shone a light on Australia's systemic mistreatment of Aboriginal people.     Part 1 - Aboriginal Deaths in Custody The Guardian UK: (8th June, 2020) David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, said it was "real ignorance" to suggest that the protesters were angry only about police brutality in the US rather than discrimination in the UK as well, while Dawn Butler, a Labour former minister, said suggestions that the protests largely related to America were a sign that the government was "again not listening and shows no commitment to resolving the issues of racism in our own country". The story is similar here in Australia - there is an ignorance and dare ...
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Ministry to Street Children, Dakar - Senegal

Seeking the lost - bringing them home
Fr Roger Kasiama sm [on the right in the picture below] writes from Dakar - Senegal, on the Marist Ministry of Family and Social Reintegration for Children in Street Situations:   Street actions are frequent visits by animators to various known drop-off points where street youth gather. They make it possible to keep in touch with the youth, to make sensitizations, to practice care on the spot and to give a practical help if necessary… Nazareth Wednesday's These days are reserved for the welcoming of young people in the Nazareth center, in the continuity of street-actions. The focus is on the well-being of children, a great family atmosphere during this day, better sensiti...
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