About Us

MLZ … A Marist initiative which grew into a great partnership


In 2015, a group of Marist Brothers was commissioned to go to Western Sydney to set up a community and to work with disadvantaged young people in Sydney’s poorest suburb. This community decided to establish an education centre to be known as Marist Learning Zone. They began to look for a way to bring this into being.

A meeting with the Executive Director of CEDP ensued and a partnership was forged.

Thus MLZ began on the site of Aengus Kavanagh Centre.

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The Marists established a new community in Mount Druitt, part of their Lavalla200> initiative, a worldwide group of lay Marists and Brothers committed to forming international communities in parts of the world where young people are at risk … the Amazon, South Africa, East Harlem, Romania, Sicily, Lebanon and MOUNT DRUITT, among others.

Marist Learning Zone, located in multicultural Mount Druitt, benefits form the witness of the Lavalla200> community, with its rich experience of inter-cultural living and ministry.

 

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Lavalla200> Mount Druitt working at MLZ:

  • Brother Noynoy Sisneros
  • Rodrigo Gris Castro
  • Argie Hernández Mendoza
  • Brother Lawrie McCane

The Marist Connection

Lavalla200> communities: Our Call


  • We live in a moment of change of epoch in history, a time of paradigm shift in our world, our Church, our way of being human, and, above all, our way of being Marist. Like Mary at the annunciation we are invited to see such change as the work of the Spirit.

  • As Marists following Champagnat, encouraged by new experiences of Marist life and mission by so many, we are responding to new realities, new needs: what is the Missio Dei in our world today?

  • We are moving beyond dreaming together for a new beginning, as we have done throughout the Institute in recent years in chapters and assemblies. It has been a “long” dawn but now there is daylight: a time for decisions!

  • We feel led by the Spirit, as perceived in the yearnings of individuals and the Institute. More than a strategic plan for a new future developed by ourselves, the Lavalla200> initiative is a prophetic response to the unexpected, dynamic action of the Spirit which brings hope, reconciliation and wholeness.

  • We believe that the Spirit is calling us to embrace a new way of sharing life in community: internationally, interculturally, with lay and brothers, with men and women, single and married, intergenerationally. Our relationships are core to our mission and central to a new beginning for Marists.

  • We are beginning a new form of Christian life in the Church, living in communion with no sharp distinction between Religious and Lay but respectful of different vocations, mutually enriching, all co-responsible for the life of the community and called to a shared mission that expresses our common charism in fresh ways.

  • We experience the Spirit of God within ourselves, within one another, within all of life and creation. We contemplate. We cultivate silence. We meditate on God’s Word. Our spirituality encompasses every moment of our lives: our love, our passions, our hopes and fears, our successes and failures, our choice to follow the lead of Jesus in his ministry to those excluded by society or religion.

  • Our apostolic engagement with and for vulnerable children and young people in their local context shapes our community and personal lifestyles.

  • Respectful of the presence of the Spirit in all people, cultures and religions, we adopt a posture of dialogue – listening, empathising, understanding, collaborating, networking with all people of good will, praying together, sharing our faith stories. We consciously seek to be the Marian face of the Church.

  • We know we are imperfect as individuals and as communities, in our educational, pastoral and social work. Humbly, then, but with personal conviction, we commit ourselves to one another and to the vision of Lavalla200>. It is worth the gift of our lives.

  • It is an annunciation moment for us and for all Marists: “Do not be afraid. Nothing is impossible with God”.

French priest, Marcellin Champagnat, founded the tradition of Catholic education that is known as ‘Marist’ in 1817.


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St Marcellin Champagnat

The son of a farmer who was born in a mountain village in the south of France, Marcellin grew up in the years of the French Revolution. His formal schooling did not begin until he was fifteen years old. To the surprise of his family and friends, he decided to become a priest, and, in spite of many difficulties, he did so.

He founded a Congregation of Brothers to work with the youth in his own area, though his vision went beyond his own hills. “Our field of work lies in every diocese of the world”, he used to tell his Brothers. He also told them that his Society would prosper more and more after his death. Following his death in 1840, aged 51, there were 280 Brothers in the south of France. Today, there are 3000 Brothers and 75,000 laypeople who undertake the work of Marist Education in 79 countries around the world.

With six other Seminarians, Marcellin pledged to work for the creation of a Marian Society, similar to the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola.

This inspired vision led to the formation of the Marist Brothers (FMS), the Marist Fathers (SM), the Marist Sisters (SM) and the Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM).

Today, Marist schools, colleges and universities are found in over seventy countries around the world, encouraging hundreds of thousands of young people to be what Marcellin believed each of them could be – good Christians and good citizens.


As a Marist Community, at MLZ we embrace an educational environment and develop a community with the following characteristics.


Pillars-Family

Family Spirit

We relate to all members of our community as being part of our ‘Marist Family’. There is a strong commitment to the development of mutual trust, forgiveness and reconciliation amongst all students. We recognise the diverse needs of the young men who attend our school, especially the vulnerable.

 


Pillars-Presence

Presence

At Marist Learning Zone we believe that presence is essential in the development of a holistic education for our students. Our educational vision supports this Marist characteristic through the development of relationships. The relationships between teachers and students are extremely important and are built on care, trust, respect and responsibility.

 


Pillars-Work

Love of Work

We follow the example of their Founder, St Marcellin Champagnat, who came from a hardworking rural background. We strive to equip students with a strong sense of work ethic and commitment to their peers as these characteristics are the fundamental pillars of our innovative curriculum.

 


Pillars-Simplicity

Simplicity

We believe it is the little things that make the greatest difference. Students are encouraged to be open, truthful and respectful to our MLZ rules and procedures. Through the practice of simplicity our students achieve an integrated and balanced approach to life.

 


Pillars-Mary

In The Way of Mary

St Marcellin had a profound confidence in Mary, the Mother of Jesus, entrusting all his projects to her and looking to her for guidance and support. Our students are encouraged to seek guidance in Mary and reflect on how their actions can develop a deeper care and awareness for the wider community.

 

 

From the beginning the Marist schools reflected many of the qualities of Marcellin himself; they were places where hard work and excellent achievement were valued, places where the individual was genuinely loved and prized, warm places where a strong family spirit was evident, places characterised by a lack of pretence but rather by simplicity and calm determination.


A special concern was afforded to those students who found school most difficult.

Above all, the schools were places that had the Gospel at their heart, encouraging students to respond to it with the same faith and generosity as Mary did.


What is distinctive about Marist pedagogy?

Marcellin’s insight was to promote a new style of relationship between teacher and student. It was, and continues to be, a relationship premised on love and expressed in a style which Marcellin called ‘family spirit’.


Your students are God’s precious gifts entrusted to you. Walk in their shoes. See with their eyes. - Marcellin
If you wish to educate children, first you must love them, love them all equally. - Marcellin
The spirit in our schools should be a family spirit. Respect, love, mutual trust prevail. Never fear of punishment. - Marcellin

These are the values underpinning our educational approach at Marist Learning Zone.

Lavalla200> began in 2015 when the Marist Superior General invited Marists, lay and Brothers, to commit themselves to a more radical way of living Marist Life.


The invitation was to live in international communities, each community comprising a mix of men and women, Brothers and Lay, a variety of cultures and a mix of ages.

These communities live in parts of the world where they can witness to and work with young people in desperate need, for example, Amazon, East Harlem, South Africa, Sicily, Romania, Asia and here in Mount Druitt.

Volunteers for these communities undertake a two month period of formation prior to their appointment to a Lavalla200> community.

Here in Mount Druitt, our international community comprises a married couple from Mexico (Argie and Rodrigo), a young Brother from Philippines (Noynoy) and a Brother from Australia (Lawrie).

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Members of each Lavalla200> community live together, sharing many aspects of life, including accommodation, prayer, meals, money and ministry. They embrace these principles:

  • A significant evangelising presence … we work with young people 'on the edge'
  • Global availability … we are ready to go anywhere in the world, where there is a need
  • Interculturality … we value living and working with people of different cultures
  • A significant Life …we show by the witness of our lives that we value diversity
  • Emphasis on spirituality … our spirituality encompasses every moment of our lives.
 

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