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New contemplative religious order considers setting up convent in Brisbane

Fruitful meeting: Sr Samuel, of the Sisters of Mary, Morning Star, met with Monsignor Peter Meneely, Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Fr Ignacio Gutierrez about starting a convent in Brisbane.

A NEW religious order of contemplative nuns devoted to a life of silent prayer is looking to set up its first Australian convent in Brisbane.

The Sisters of Mary, Morning Star, a contemplative, non-cloistered order established in 2014 in response to St Pope John Paul II’s vision for the New Evangelisation, are in discussions about establishing a convent in Brisbane archdiocese.

There are more than 250 sisters in 14 dioceses worldwide and, thanks to a connection with Brisbane priest Fr Ignacio Gutierrez, the sisters may be establishing in Australia for the first time.

Fr Gutierrez, a member of the Scalabrinian order, lived in Cebu,  Philippines for three years and was “practically neighbours” with the sisters.

He said the Scalabrinian priests regularly offered Mass in the sisters’ convent.

“I can see if they decide to come to Brisbane, it will be a great blessing and opportunity because their spirituality will be enforced,” Fr Gutierrez said.

“It will enrich the spirituality of the Catholic Church because (people) will see the diversity.”

Fr Gutierrez joined Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and vicar general Monsignor Peter Meneely to meet with Sr Samuel from the order’s Philippines community on October 27 to discuss their possible future ministry in the archdiocese.

Msgr Meneely said Sr Samuel discussed the chances of living in Brisbane with the possibility of establishing a religious house.

He said the order was worth pursuing.

“They are attractive in the sense that they have a different form of spirituality,” Msgr Meneely said.

“It is a vibrant new work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.”

Originating from Spain, the Sisters of Mary, Morning Star, or Maria Stella Matutina, were granted permission to become a public association of the faithful in 2014 under the care of their Vatican superior Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastian, Spain. The order was inspired by John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Mater, in which he wrote: “In this present period, we wish to turn in a special way to the one who in the ‘night’ began to shine like a true ‘morning star’.”

The sisters are devoted to a life of silent prayer centred on Eucharistic adoration, Lectio Divina, the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, and their main charisms include prayer, fraternal charity, search for truth and manual work.

They live a vow of poverty through manual work including sewing vestments for priests, producing liturgical incense, and creating candles, leatherwork, woodwork, calligraphy, homemade jams and pottery.

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