Federation Meeting, Wanganui 22 - 26 April 2003

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Leadership team members from the five Federation branches of Perthville, Goulburn, Lochinvar, and Tasmania joined the Wanganui team in Wanganui for this Special Meeting.


The meeting began with a powhiri (welcome) from a number of the Sisters from Wanganui and the local area. As part of the welcome, Sisters were introduced to one another and presented koha (gifts).

'Wanganui Day'

Wednesday 23 April was a Wanganui Day' for the teams. By way of a bus trip they were introduced to the historical sites important to the Wanganui sisters. The trip touched on the earliest history of the city by driving by Pakaitore/ Moutoa Gardens, a site important to the Maori people. The route then took in the Queen's Park area, which had housed the British garrisons.

The Sisters' arrival on the steamer Wakatu on 24 April 1880, was commemorated with a short reflective prayer at the riverbank marina. Sprays of flowers were thrown into the river to remember the first four Sisters in New Zealand, as well as founders, Julian Tenison Woods and Mary Mackillop. After passing by the site of the first convent in the avenue, the group was welcomed to morning tea at St Mary's Parish. The city's old cemetery was the next stop to acknowledge prayerfully the burial place of two of the original Sisters. The group then proceeded up St John's Hill to the Sacred Heart Convent site.

The afternoon began with a trip on the restored paddle steamer Waimarie to the small village of Upokongaro. The bus then transported the group to Sister Makareta's home at Kaiwhaiki Pa and they learned more of the river history and the early Sisters` journey up to Jerusalem.


'Weaving One Heart' was the focus of the three central days of the gathering. To bring this alive the Sisters shared their personal stories as members of their particular Congregation. They explored the similarities and differences among the five Congregations of the Federation, the pain and the struggle they had experienced personally or that had been a part of the continuing story of each Congregation from the very beginning. They expressed their appreciation of the gifts that each group brought to the Federation.

The Sisters talked about how they might provide opportunities for further interaction, communication, celebration and support among the five member groups of the Federation. They discovered that the ministries most common among all the groups were related to the support and education of women, both locally and internationally. They would continue to strengthen this commitment, and find new ways of making the Federation structure a vital part of the lives of the Sisters.


The activities of the week came to a close on Saturday 26 April with a poroporoaki (farewell) with a final meal. Once again local and out-of-town Sisters joined the Federation group for an evening of friendship and farewell.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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