Friday, May 25, 2012

The Marist Brothers

 
 
 

FOUNDATION IN AUSTRALIA 1827

  FIRST FOUR MARIST BROTHERS

 
 
 Plaque in Harrington Street, Sydney
 
 
For your benefit Therese Alonco has provided the following "transcription" of the above plaque:
 
On  8 April 1827 at this spot, the first Marist Brothers' school in Australia  was opened. It was known as St. Patrick's Boys' School.
Four Brothers formed the staff: a Frenchman, Ludovic Labouras, 29, was the leader; and Irishman, Jarlath Finland, 25, was his assistant; a Scot, Augustinus MacDonald, 21, was teacher of the top class; and another Irishman, Peter Tennyson, 25, was the cook.
After 700am Mass at St Patrick's Church, the Church was besieged by a crowd of people, disputing whose son's name should be first in the roll book. There were 139 enrolments that day.
In 1962, the school was relocated to Kirby Street, Dundas, where it is now known as St Patrick's Marist College.
 
 
Acknowledgements: photo sent in by Tony Alonco (Drusilla 53) , and Therese for 'transcription'.
 
Posted: May 2018
 
 
 
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ADDRESS TO MARK THE CLOSURE OF THE MELBOURNE PROVINCE
 
 
Editor's Note
 
On Saturday 1 December 2012 at the Moonee Valley Racing Club, a celebration of the Marist Brothers Melbourne Province 1948 - 2012 was held. About 400 attended this function. It began with  a special Marist Mass at which the chalice and paten used by St Marcellin Champagnat during his life in France (1789 - 1840). The Principal Celebrant was Bishop Peter Connors DD. This was followed by a celebratory dinner. For those of us that had the privilege to be present  at this celebration, one of the highlights was the occasional address given by Brother Julian Casey, the last Provincial of Melbourne Province.
 
What follows is an abridged version of Br Julian's address, used in our blog with his approval and permission.
 
 
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THE BEGINNING OF THE PROVINCE
 
The Province began in 1948 as the "Southern Province" and because no one, not even the authority in Rome, was sure what we were south of, we began using the term "Melbourne Province". We began with 14 schools and 111 Brothers; the average age of the Brothers was 36, a very young group of Brothers. The oldest was Brother Brendan Hill at 79, and Brother Majella Fitzpatrick was one of the youngest at 21 years of age.

The opening and celebratory function .... was held at one of our better monasteries at Lisson Grove Hawthorn, where the only means of keeping foodstuffs was a small ice chest (no refrigerator) and hence no place to chill the wine and beer. Oliver Clark sallied forth and carried the ice in a chaff bag on his shoulder up the long hill. The melting ice and hessian fibres left Oliver in a somewhat bedraggled state, but like many times hence, he saved the day. The meal was hearty if somewhat calorie laden, the catering was good and the wine warmed their hearts, despite the confusion when the labels became unstuck and they weren't sure whether they were pouring Chablis or Sauterne.


EXPANSION

Right from the early days of the Province we have been working on the margins and overcoming the tyranny of distance in Australia. Formation needs of the Brothers were (to our peril) put aside as waves of Brothers fresh from the Novitiate, filled the gapes in the classrooms and dormitories in those schools dotted around the countryside. In 1948, seven of the fourteen schools were Boarding Schools.

By 1989, all but four Brothers had spent some time working in a boarding school, teaching all day, supervising study and dining rooms, coaching teams and looking after dormitories. Free periods and "days off" were years away as Brothers expended their young energies in many different tasks. There was little time for inital and ongoing formation and no opportunities for study and further education.

LAY INVOLVEMENT

 The Province began involving lay teachers in all our schools very early in its history and set in train from the start a wonderful tradition of partnerships and friendships with lay people. For example, in 1958 there were more lay staff members at Preston than Brothers.  ....  We began appointing lay principals, with Ken Taylor at Warragul being the first.

A RENEWED UNDERSTANDING OF OUR MARIST CHARISM

Vatican 11's encouragement to return to the charism of the Founders created the impetus for a closer look at St Marcellin.  ....  But Champagnat isn't the only dimension of our charism. We follow Jesus in the manner of Mary. As we became more aware of Jesus' humanity and his sharing our human condition, so too, did we become more aware of Mary:- not so much as crowned in glory, but as a woman with dust on her feet and sharing our humanity; a woman of faith who travelled a road that was often hard and whose spiritual journey had much in common with ours.

THE CHARISM IN OUR MINISTRY
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....  In 1981  ....  We invited Fr Gerry Holohan, now Bishop, to help reflect on charism.  ....  "Don't worry about the 80's! Just focus on remaining faithful to the charism of which you are the current custodians on behalf of the pilgrim church."

Well the custodians did their job well. REMAR, with its particular Marist character, became a central part of many of our schools, as a way of promoting faith among motivated students. John McMahon led the way in stimulating reflection on the charism in schools, instituting pilgrimages and ensuring that the charism went beyond principals to school community and staffs.

This charism is alive and well today and a new wave of custodians in Lay Marists have joined with the Brothers in ensuring that the Marist character is evident in our schools and all our ministries and undertakings.

FORMATION

By 1958, it was time to stop the flow of Brothers from the Novitiate into the schools and to provide a more rigorous and academic formation. Responding to the insistent urgings of Br Ronald Fogarty, we established a programme of creditable teacher training and university studies in Dundas NSW, and later at Marist University College Clayton. By 1978, however, we moved away from big groups of Brothers in formation, to a much more individualised method.  ....  Br Eugene Dwyer had returned as a clinical psychologist and began a style of formation which was new to the Province and to the Marist world at that point.

CHARLES HOWARD:- Poverty and Justice, Solidarity

Following the General Chapter of 1976, Br Charles Howard  ....  began a process of making us more aware of  poverty, disadvantage and injustice.  ....  The Ministry to our aboriginal people in Central Australia began, summer holidays were spent in outback communities, cystic fibrosis camps and asthma camps began with Ambrose Kelly, soup kitchens and St Vincent de Paul groups developed. Santa Teresa, Milikapiti, Alice Springs saw us sitting down with aboriginal people accompanying them in the journey and learning from them.

RELIGIOUS LIFE THROUGH THE PERIOD

Up until Vatican 11, we were formed in the "church triumphant" and, like many others, we were ill-prepared for the profound changes in the world and in the Church.  ....  The windows of change were thrown open and a wonderful breeze of freedom touched us. It was a liberating time, full of wonder as we experimented with our new found freedom.  ....

Catechetics became a battleground as the publication "Come Alive" co-authored by Br Michael Donnelly hit the school desks and the pedagogy of human experience as a basis of reflecting on God and Revelation was questioned and challenged. There was indeed "blood on the saddle" as Maurie Bambridge was wont to sing at particularly tense times.  ....

Our common thread and strength throughout our history has been our communities which have shown extraordinary internal solidarity and good common sense. Our communities have been a particularly healthy source of vitality and energy.

LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION

It's been a wonderful journey, quite literally a journey of a lifetime. It was made possible by wise and sensible leadership by provincials and councils throughout these 65 years. Rex Cambrey was appointed as Business Manager 22 years ago. He invested wisely and  ....  he has been able to develop our property at Australind in Western Australia is such a way as to provide that financial security so necessary for our Mission.

CONCLUSION

As we briefly reflect on our history and journey as a Province, we think of the role that we, as individuals, played in it. Each of us has memories and stories, of exhilaration, of pain, of triumph and disappointment. The historical record is scant; but each of us holds some piece of it in our hearts.  ...

The challenges continue, externally as you would be aware from the media and government scrutiny and internally from ageing. But we are unafraid. The Spirit has been with us throughout our history and will be with us as we move into the future.  ....

We have come to the conclusion of the Melbourne Chapter of Marist History. We turn the page to the Australian Chapter.  ....  May God who has been with us over many wonderful years continue with us on our daring journey to the new land of the Province of Australia.

[posted January 2013]





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MARIST  BROTHERS  and  "DRUSILLA"



Saint Marcellin Champagnat

1789 - 1840

Founder of the Marist Brothers


The founder of the Marist Brothers was Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat born 6th June 1789 at La Rosey near St Chammond in France. He spent his youth here and eventually began studying for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1816 and was appointed to serve in the Parish of La Valla-en- Gier.


<       The village of La Rosey

Champagnat's farm house in La Rosey     >


At the shrine of Fouviere in Lyon, Champagnat resolved to found a teaching institute called "Petits Freres de Marie" (Little Brothers of Mary - Marist Brothers).


Basilica of Fouviere (Lyon) with the Lady Chapel on the right where there is a plaque commemorating the founding of the Marist order by Champagnat.

On 2nd January 1817, the first Marist Brothers' community was formed at La Valla, consisting of Champagnat, Marie Granjon and Jean Baptiste Andras. From this humble beginnings the Marist Brothers' Order developed into a worldwide congregation.


The parish church at La Valla   >

 
 
<      Original Brothers' house - lowest structure centre right with chimney.

The first Marist Brothers came to Australia in 1872 and began their first school at the Rocks in Sydney, New South Wales. The first community consisted of a Frenchman, a Scot, and two Irishmen: Br Ludovic Labouryas (28), Br Augustine McDonald (21), Br Jarlath Finand (25) and Br Peter Tennyson (25).The school was known as St Patrick's.

In 1876, due to positive expansion in New South Wales the first Provincial was appointed, an Irishman, Br John Dullea (36).

Australia was an autonomous District until 1948 and was known as the Australian Province. In 1948 the province was divided into two Provinces (Sydney and Melbourne). The Melbourne Province was made up of Marist schools and monasteries situated in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the dioceses of Wilcannia-Forbes and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Due the rapid expansion occurring at this time, there was a frenetic recruitment drive to staff the new and exisitng schools with teaching Brothers. Thus was born "Drusilla" as the training centre for young men and boys (some as young as 12 years of age!) who would eventually staff these schools.




 
 
 
 
The Melbourne Province flourished and at its peak in the early 1970's had 26 schools and 200 Brothers.This was due to the leadership and drive of the following Provincial Superiors of the Melbourne Province from 1948 till 2012 - a period of 64 year

                                                                             

FIRST PROVINCIAL: BR PLACIDUS REDDEN 1948-55



SECOND PROVINCIAL: BR DAMIAN WILLIS 1956-58


THIRD PROVINCIAL: BR DONALD GROGAN 1959-64

  


FOURTH PROVINCIAL; BR BERTINUS FEEHAN 1964-71

 

FIFTH PROVINCIAL: BR CLETUS REID 1971-77

 

 

SIXTH PROVINCIAL: BR WLATER SMITH 1977-83

 


SEVENTH PROVINCIAL: BR DESMOND CROWE 1983-89

   

EIGHTH /ELEVENTH PROVINCIAL: BR JULIAN CASEY

1989 - 95 AND  2007 - 12


 

NINETH PROVINCIAL: BR JAMES JOLLEY 1995-2001

                                                

TENTH PROVINCIAL: BR PAUL GILCHRIST  2002 - 07

 
Currently (May 2012) in the Melbourne Province there are 17 schools continuing to provide Catholic education in the tradition of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, 9 Marist monasteries, and 80 Marist Brothers.

As of 8th December 2012, Br Superior General of the Marist Brothers and his Council (in Rome) have decided on the creation of a new province composed of the current provinces of Melbourne and Sydney, as well as the District of Melanesia. It will take the name of Australian Province.
 
 
Posted: May 2012

Acknowledgements:
  •  Br Des Howard (Drusilla 63) : information and proof reading
  •  Dorothy Weekes, Archivist Melbourne Province Centre:  the Provincial portraits.
  • Tony Alonco (Drusilla 53) : 'Drusilla' photos
  • Terry O'Brien (Drusilla 49) : La Rosey, Fouviere, La Valla photos
  • Br Gerry Rush (Drusilla 52): for assitance in gathering information