by JENNY McPHEE
The lights of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral lit up a dark Christchurch evening and the hearts of
those who attended the ordination of Br Jean Marie, FSSR, from the Congregation of the Sons
of the Most Holy Redeemer — the Transalpine Redemptorists.
The choir of the Latin Mass chaplaincy sang the beautiful Missa O Quam Gloriosum.
In contrast to the formal ceremony, the altar boys processing with candles, the Latin Rite, and the golden vestments, were children with teddy bears and pillows, some resting on the floor.
Fr Jean Marie grew up in Bombay, India, where his life was filled with sporting activities,
including hockey, soccer and a special love of athletics. He attended Mass and daily Rosary with his family but, unlike some of his friends who knew what they wanted to do, he had no career ideas or plans.
At 22-years-of-age, he received an invitation to a Latin Mass, where for him the word of God came alive.
God revealed plans that would take Jean Marie from India to Papa Stronsay, a remote island off the coast of Scotland to join the brothers there.
For more than 1000 years this island has been set apart from other Orkney Islands as a holy island, now owned by the brothers.
Life on this windswept, treeless island is not for the fainthearted. Measuring 250 acres
at low tide, the farm generates its own power.
Skills such as boat building, carpentry, fishing — a record of 700 mackerel in a day — farming cattle and butchering are needed.
The brothers publish the Catholic magazine on the island — largely written and organised by
Fr Jean Marie.
Four years after their petition in 2008 to the Holy See for reconciliation with the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI granted them a new religious community congregation fully recognised by the Church.
The “Sons” have left their contemplative life and set out on travels from this island to teach eternal truths, wherever they are invited — which, in 2014, was to Christchurch.
The ordination Mass for Fr Jean Marie was celebrated by Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking of