Our charism brings unique gifts to this task: a thirst for unity, and an openness to our Orthodox and Protestant brethren, as well as to our Jewish forebears; an awareness of the evangelising and contemplative power of beautiful liturgy; and a sense of living eschatological hope in the final victory of Christ.
Missions and Te Rangimarie
After a series of missions to New Zealand from New Caledonia, our little team of three sisters, a brother and a married couple, arrived here in 1994, to start the first English speaking house of the Beatitudes Community in the world. We were welcomed by Bishop Basil Meeking on December 8th for our first mass, and we anchored from the waka of Te Rangimarie, among the Catholic Maori of Canterbury whose whanaungatanga and manākitanga made us feel particularly at home.
Idris Road and Leithfield
After a brief stay in 1996 at a former convent in Idris Rd, we prayed a 30 day novena to St. Joseph for a property from which we could expand. In 1997, the hand of Providence led us to a beautiful spot in Leithfield, where we still are today. There we began to respond to the need for solace and retreat, receiving people for short or long term stays, whilst providing a place of serene prayer, beautiful liturgy, accompaniment and spiritual healing for those seeking respite.
As numbers grew, the house provided English speaking formation in the spirit of our community to new members, to those in discernment and to many families. In addition, we also carried out various services for the diocese, including parish missions, school visits, and work with the tertiary chaplaincy.
Idris Road and Leithfield
A glimpse of the early days in Leithfield
The Sanctuary and Shrine
From 2015, the Beatitudes Community were inspired to work toward establishing a Marian Shrine and Sanctuary at the property in Leithfield. The Shrine would be a place of prayer and popular devotions and be a work of evangelisation. With Mary at its centre, the Shrine would tell the story of the first Catholic missionaries to bring the Gospel to Oceania from Fourvière in Lyon. These include Bishop Pompallier, Saint Peter Chanel and Suzanne Aubert.
IIn 2019, a beautiful statue of Mary was installed - a replica of the golden statue that stands above the Church at Fourvière in Lyon. Bishop Patrick Le Gal from Lyon attended the installation, bringing a votive painting from the basilica that dates back to the time of Bishop Pompallier’s departure from Lyon.
The Community of the Beatitudes gives life to this Marian Shrine and host pilgrims for days of recollection, special feasts, spiritual accompaniment and more.
The Beatitudes Community Today
The Beatitudes Community in New Zealand expresses a beautiful charism rooted in prayer, fraternity, unity of life hospitality and hope in the return of Jesus. With sisters, brothers and lay people, the Beatitudes Community serve the mission of the Church in New Zealand with a special grace.
As our community life has unfolded in New Zealand, it has become clear is that there is a special mission to families, which is very much needed in the modern world. The Beatitudes Community, being herself an ecclesial family, is particularly suited towards serving this mission.
You are invited to share with us. Come on retreat, for a time of recollection, for Mass, for spiritual accompaniment, for prayer and for community. We are looking forward to welcoming you!