Auckland’s Marist Seminary faces repair job

The temporary location of the Marist Seminary in Vermont St, Ponsonby

The Marist Seminary at Hopetoun St, Freemans Bay, Auckland, will be repaired “at a significant cost” after its foundations started showing structural issues.  

Marist Seminary rector Fr Patrick Breeze, SM, told NZ Catholic that they decided to temporarily move to Vermont St because the buildings at Hopetoun St had become unsafe for the priests and seminarians living there.  

“It was a safety issue, really. There were engineering reports and it was decided that we should move out for repairs to take place,” he said.  

They moved into what was previously the house of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master. Sisters Teofana and Christiane left New Zealand on the morning of April 4.  

Fr Breeze said they were sorry to hear that the sisters were leaving, but finding out that the house was available “was a great grace for us to learn”.  

“We heard through the diocese that it was available. We negotiated with the diocese and they . . . first Bishop Pat, then Bishop Steve . . . very kindly allowed us to lease the property for two years while the repairs are done at Hopetoun St,” Fr Breeze said.  

“We’re incredibly grateful to the sisters and to the diocese for this opportunity. It really is a wonderful solution to our difficulty. Also, a very wonderful location for the seminary to be in. Near the diocese and seminary and theological college and parish,” he added.  

Fr Breeze said that work hasn’t started at the Hopetoun St property because they are still waiting for additional reports.  

“It’s highly likely that repairs would start in the next few months,” he said, adding, “the repairs may involve a significant amount of capital outlay” .  

NZ Catholic understands that the two sisters were asked to go back to their communities, one in South Korea and the other in Ireland.   

Auckland diocese vicar for religious Sr Jane O’Carroll, SM, said that the congregation first established their community here in 1974.  

“After careful and compassionate discernment, the sisters have decided that their presence here is no longer sustainable,” she said.  

Sr Jane said that the sisters came with a three-fold ministry and way of life which involved the eucharistic apostolate, priesthood apostolate and liturgical apostolate.   

“The perpetual adoration is their principal apostolate and is the source and root of all their activities. In Auckland, the sisters pray each day at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and each Friday at Sacred Heart Church, Ponsonby, together with a number of others,” Sr Jane said.  

From 1985 to 2021, the sisters led an hour of adoration at St Patrick’s Cathedral and were extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.  

“The contemplative prayer dimension of the lives of the sisters is greatly appreciated and has deepened the sense of prayer for others, especially at St Patricks. The sisters have been a visible witness on a daily basis,” Sr Jane said. “The sisters will be remembered here especially for this liturgical apostolate [which was] well-known to many.”  

In 2002, the sisters entered into an agreement to take responsibility for the management of St John Vianney House as part of their priesthood apostolate. They have also prayed for more vocations to the priesthood.  

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Rowena Orejana

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