40 years ago - refugees in Japan

40 yr sketch from a Vietnamese Refugee

Fr Jim Carty sm, Australia, writes of his missionary years in Japan:  The years 1978 and 1979 are remembered as the high-water mark for the flood of refugee boat people fleeing Vietnam. They had to face storms, diseases, starvation, drowning, and real and frequent plunder and rape by Thai Pirates. The lucky ones were either rescued by passing ships or made it to a shore of a safe country. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese people who died at sea according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, is the staggering figure of well over 200,000. No exact figure is available. The tens of thousands who did survive were accommodated in the many camps established by the UNHCR...

Continue reading
2268 Hits
4 Comments

Marist Mission Ranong

Parents and children at Marist Mission Ranong

From southern Thailand, where the tips of Myanmar and Thailand meet, Fr Frank Bird writes. Marists came to Ranong on the Thailand-Burma Border in 2006 as a result of being pushed out of Myanmar. It didn't take too much research to realise the Thailand Burma Border is a forgotten part of the world suffering the effects of 60 years of military repression creating 9 refugee camps and a large number of Burmese Migrants fleeing to Thailand for a brighter future for their families.  It is estimated there are over 2.5 million Burmese Migrants in Thailand. Ranong is a busy Migrant corridor from Southern Myanmar into Thailand. The stories of the early days of the mission are full of ta...

Continue reading
1269 Hits
0 Comments

Mind and Body Wellness

Mary-mother of the new creation

Continuing the blessing of St Paul: "may your spirit, life and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" [1 Thess 5:23]                                                                    Mrs. Bobbie Hall,  Class instructor and Department Chair ​writes:                                           ​Mind and Body Wellness is a new class offered at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Ponti...

Continue reading
1154 Hits
0 Comments

Living Water Foundation - Thailand

Wat Siri students with Brs Jose and Paul fms

Br Paul Murphy fms writes on another Living Water Foundation (LWF) supported school in Thailand:    This school is partially, significantly, and strangely government aided. It is situated near the pleasant surrounds and striking beauty of Wat Sirimonkow in the area of Samut Sakhon about two hours' drive south-west from Bangkok. The two temples (WATS) reflect the spiritual Buddhist culture of both Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). While most of the students are Buddhist there are several Christians too. The school is best described as a day co-educational primary school starting at Kinder and proceeding through to much older children in Grade Six. The school rec...

Continue reading
1395 Hits
0 Comments

Breakfast+ for our Homeless

Serving the homeless at St Pat's

Sr Fidelis sm, gives us this good news from St Patrick's Church Hill, Sydney:  Geography played a significant role in our planning Saturday mornings for our guests who sleep on the streets locally. St. Patrick's Church's local area would be familiar to many, either from visits or from tourism displays.  We are located almost beneath the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the route to Central Station at the southern end of the city passes by Hyde Park and the main retail centre, and skirts Darling Harbour. It is noticeable that there is very little service in terms of food for the homeless here in Harrington street compared to areas near Central Station and a...

Continue reading
1426 Hits
6 Comments

Centro Hispano Marista - helping adults get a second chance for education

Second chance for adult Hispanic students

Atlanta is a vibrant city in the Southeast of the United States with an increasing Hispanic immigrant population. Foreign-born residents have felt the anti-immigration rhetoric in the political environment, particularly those young adults who did not know they were not citizens until they tried to get their driving license later in life. The state of Georgia has an estimated 22,180 people who fall into this category and that are eligible for "Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals" or DACA protections. In 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute, only 35% of the eligible population participate in the program. To be eligible for DACA status, the solicitant must have entered the Unite...

Continue reading
1678 Hits
1 Comment

Ecological conversion: the future of our world

Pope Francis & Greta Thunberg - 17 April Vatican

After the final no there comes a yes, and on that yes the future of the world depends. The above quote, and this article, are presented by Peter Healy sm, NZ, member of the SM Commission for Ecology. These words from the poet Wallace Stevens, are favourite lines of Al Gore the ex American vice-President. He uses them in his environmental campaigning.The nos we hear all around us are many and varied."No, things are not that bad.No, a solution will be found to all this. No, all we need is faith in God.No worries, I can carry on as usual, it's the really bad guys who need to change.No need to to do anything I'll be dead and buried by the time it's a real problem".We hope these nos are growing w...

Continue reading
1399 Hits
2 Comments

St Dympna - for victims of abuse

​ Michael Whelan SM, Parish Priest of St Patrick's, Church Hill,  Sydney established the St Dympna Community in May 2018.   The purpose of the community is to provide a hospitable gathering for victims an  survivors of sexual abuse who want to be part of the Catholic community, but do not feel comfortable attending Mass. The community, of about 12 people,  meets once a month for prayer, sharing scripture, and anointing with oil.   St Dympna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill and sexually abused. Her feast day is May 15th. Saint Dympna (also: Dymphna, Dimpna) was the daughter of a pagan Irish king and his Christian wife i...

Continue reading
1503 Hits
0 Comments

Sattahip - Superficiality hides the reality

Thailand - Burmese migrant children

Paul Murphy fms, Marist brother writes on a mission in Thailand:   The sweet smell of the sea and the pristine azure sky creates a positive impression. Sattahip is just 30 minutes south of the sex tourism playground of Pattaya - not that it counts for anything to our migrant families. So, take a right turn off the highway onto a long, narrow, winding road and you soon realisethat this road to the coast is a one way in but a no way out for scores of Burmese migrant families. ​Somehow, they survive in absolute destitution and squalor, eking out a living drying hundreds of tons of silver-sided sardines for Asian markets. There is no factory here as all the salting, cooking, dryin...

Continue reading
1483 Hits
2 Comments

Peace, people, planet, partnership, prosperity

Address of Pope Francis

​This week we  share the address of Pope Francis to participants at the International Conference on Religions and Sustainable Development Goals held at the Vatican from 7 to 9 March 2019. I greet all of you gathered for this International Conference on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability and Inclusion When we speak of sustainability, we cannot overlook how important it is to include and to listen to all voices, especially those usually excluded from this type of discussion, such as the voices of the poor, migrants, indigenous people, the young. I am pleased to see a variety of participants at this conference bringing a wide range of voices, of opini...

Continue reading
1805 Hits
0 Comments

Street boys - new life - Dakar

Marits students, Toulon, with street boys

Fr Christian Abongbong writes from Africa:  Giving meaning and orientation of life to street boys in Dakar - Senegal In the year 2005, the Marist family (Fathers, SM Sisters, SMSM and Lay Marists) in Senegal started an association for the rehabilitation of street boys in Dakar city and also for home economics for girls in the poor neighbourhood. Keur Nazareth, as it is known now as "Nazareth Centre", takes care of street boys in Dakar. Since obtaining legal status from the Senegalese government, the team at the Centre has been working tirelessly for the rehabilitation, family and social reintegration of street boys. It is worth noting that this phenomenon is a big social problem in Sene...

Continue reading
1744 Hits
0 Comments

Bridging the gap

Burmese refugee youth, bridging the gap towards tertiary education

​Beginnings In 1998, Marist Mission Centre Australia began supporting a small hostel in the remote refugee camp of Maera Moo in the jungles of the Thai-Burma border. Since then, a generation of Burmese youngsters have had somewhere safe to live – and the beginnings of education. In 2011, several young men and women from Maera Moo, 'graduates' of MMC Hostel, sought help to bridge the gap between their rudimentary camp high-school education and the possibility of tertiary studies. In the meantime, in 2004, MMC had helped set up Australian Catholic University's ambitious initiative of an online diploma course on the Thai-Burma border. 'How can we get into the ACU course?', the Maera M...

Continue reading
1434 Hits
2 Comments

Eco Marist project, Cameroon, Africa

Fr Luigi Salvodelli sm & Albert Kabala sm

Fr Albert Kabala sm, District Superior of Africa, writes: The creation of the agricultural project at Nkoloman in the heart of the central African forest in Cameroon, by the African Marist District started in 2015 by the buying 5 hectares of land. Till date we have planted 7,000 plants of cocoa, 13,000 plants of banana plantains, 75 fruit trees (oranges, plums, avocado, pawpaw) in addition we have a vegetable garden, pineapple farm, a poultry farm, cocoa, yams, maize, sweet potatoes and a fish farm (2,200 three species of fish) where we are using natural methods respecting nature and without chemical products. We have started a well for drinkable water at the farm. "One particularly ser...

Continue reading
3455 Hits
5 Comments

Lent, meat and planet

Eat Less Meat - Help the Planet

Lent is upon us, this coming Wednesday, 06 March.  In our Eco-Aware Age, and with the Call of Pope Francis, in Laudato Si, for us to grow in our Ecological Conversion, what can I do to make a difference?  One way is to eat less meat, or go without it for a selected number of days.  Global Catholic Climate Movement - https://catholicclimatemovement.global/lent-2019/   tells us that according to Yale University and other experts, cattle ranching accounts for approximately 80% of deforestation in Brazil. Cattle ranchers cut down the forest–often illegally, and often by taking it from indigenous people–in order to graze cattle. Sources of deforestation in Brazi...

Continue reading
1443 Hits
2 Comments

Beekeeping and our Common Home

​ Pat Brophy sm, NZ, writes:  I've always been interested in beekeeping. At the beginning of last year, reflecting on the call of Pope Francis, to go out to places, people and groups where the church isn't really present was an opportunity to begin beekeeping. ​I began by attending a beekeeping course presented by the Wellington bee-keepers association.After completing the course I bought a hive last November. We now have four hives and two 'nucs'. The 'nucs' (nucleus hives) are five frames in a smaller box made up of bees, pollen and honey, and a queen cell. These are taken from an overcrowded hive, which is in danger of swarming. Out of the queen cell her majesty will emerge...

Continue reading
1617 Hits
0 Comments

Reaching for excellence

Cohort 2021 S ready for a fun and exciting day of learning at Reach for Excellence!

Karen Dessables is Executive Director of Reach for Excellence at Marist School Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She writes from there to share about a fine initiative for students with limited opportunities and resources … "Reach for Excellence" has begun its 18th year in Atlanta! As a program of the Society of Mary, it prepares talented middle school students, who possess limited opportunities and resources, to succeed in college preparatory programs. "Limited opportunities and resources" means that the student's family income is "low income". Usually that will also mean that where the family lives, the public school for that area is a Title I school where a certain percentage, de...

Continue reading
1464 Hits
1 Comment

Human trafficking: a crime against humanity

Sr Noelene Simmons SM: awareness-raising in Australia's national capital.

Australian Marist Sister, Noelene Simmons, locates human trafficking close to home. She writes... Did you know that millions of women, men, boys and girls are trafficked each year into situations such as domestic servitude, forced labour, sexual exploitation, organ harvesting, force marriage and child slavery? Many people believe that slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century but unfortunately that is not the case. Slavery today does not involve physical but psychological chains as people are convinced they, or their families, will be harmed if they escape. Pope Francis has referred to human trafficking as "a crime against humanity". In 2015 he proclaimed the feast of St Jose...

Continue reading
1681 Hits
4 Comments

On the Mexican Border at Brownsville, Texas

Tony O'Connor with Soup Kitchen team

 As Peter Chanel, the pro-martyr of Oceania was dying he said "Death is good for me" and this week on the Southern border, in this parish begun by the Marists in 1996 we will hear a similar refrain on this our patronal feast, from the young Felipe de Jesus, our patron and a migrant, the Proto- Martyr of Mexico, one of the Nagasaki martyrs of February the 5th, 1597. He was a Franciscan seminarian returning from Manilla to Mexico to be ordained and was shipwrecked and joined Pablo Miki and companions. He died repeating over and over again the name of "Jesus" "The night is slipping by so quickly. Tomorrow I will die executed on the cross, but I am not afraid." Here in the Rio Grande Valley...

Continue reading
1614 Hits
3 Comments

Ecological Conversion: low carbon lives

IPCC and Laudato Si...

Peter Healy sm, New Zealand Marist, names a "blessed unrest" and how a global perspective on Climate Change calls for 'ecological conversion' and the development of low carbon living…. The latest Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Report (IPCC 2018) tells us we need to move to low-carbon lives immediately. In a prophetic appeal, this Panel of scientists is inviting humanity to transform. They are saying we need "rapid, far-reaching changes in all aspects of society". The IPCC is an international panel of scientists set up in 1988 by UN agencies to assess the science that helps us understand the risk of human-induced climate change. Since 2014 the reports have been saying we can see t...

Continue reading
1583 Hits
3 Comments

Eco-mangrove project, Suva

A special project of the Marian Ecological Centre, Suva, involves the regeneration of mangroves on the shore fronts of Suva, Fiji. Director of the Centre, Fr Donato Kivi, recruited staff and students of the Marist College community for a working bee to plant mangrove cuttings on the low tide mud flats by the shore.

1072 Hits
2 Comments