New Roof on Bethlehem


Bethlehem now has a new roof

Bethlehem now has a new roof

Bethlehem now has a new roof. We have been so blessed by the kindness and generosity of so many people who have enabled us to totally re-roof the entire building. A local builder and his team made the most of the summer weather and were able to complete the project in only a few weeks.

The entire damaged wing, “Our Lady’s Wing”, has been completely refurbished and looks wonderful.

Two donkeys

We are now completely open for business, with our new and improved building.

St Bernard’s Retreat and Work Weekend

The desire of the St. Bernard’s Community to develop their social justice programme led to a brainstorm to go on retreat to discuss how we could make this happen. We wanted to involve the students in a social justice action as well as the theory behind the action and then use this experience to be the platform by which we would shape our programme back at school.Group

Our Friday night started with a fish and chip meal in Featherston, as it was the liturgical season of Lent. As we ate we talked about why traditionally we give up things like meat on Fridays.

We spent Friday night at Nazareth and discussed the Catholic Social Justice Principles late into the night.Group around statue

On Saturday morning we had breakfast and got into our sponsored gears from Bunnings Warehouse Naenae and set to work. Our goal was to move and stack as much firewood as we possibly could! The crew machined this task, with the fastest loading time of a caged 8×4 trailer being 1 min 58 secs!Wood

Even when time was called, the boys were keen to keep going and so did another load to clear the last paddock.

After getting showered the boys were welcomed into Bethlehem to share in the community meal which was probably a new experience for most of the boys we brought. It was a chance for them to meet the community and fellowship! It was amazing and we even had dessert – made from fresh – not a packet! Yahoo! We went back to Nazareth to watch Entertaining Angels – The Story of Dorothy Day, who was a hands on advocate and tireless campaigner for those who nobody else cared about. This coincided with the 80th Anniversary of the Young Catholic Worker Movement.On A Trailer

On Sunday we gathered for a Eucharistic para-liturgy in the morning and spent some more time reading over different social justice publications we had brought with us, so our boys could see the breadth of social justice work in the Church.

Our discussions then turned to what were we going to do once we returned to school. What things we were going to put in place. The comment came from the boys themselves that once we do a retreat like this and have our eyes opened up, we don’t want to return to school as if nothing has happened! We want to do something and make things happen! Plans were made and things are underway as we speak.

As the teacher in charge of this event, I guess the moment of revelation about the Spirit really moving was generated when both the boys, and the community asked –when is the next one?!!

Nick Wilson
Assistant DRS
St. Bernard’s College








Bethlehem Damaged in Storm – now fully repaired

Thanks to all of our very generous benefactors. Due to your incredible generosity, we have been able to totally re-roof Bethlehem

On Saturday 8th September, Wellington and the Wairarapa experienced a severe nor’westerly storm. As well as torrential rain, there were wind gusts of over 150km/hr. Unfortunately our Bethlehem Retreat Centre lost the roof off the east wing.

Most of the painted galvanised corrugated steel together with the wire netting, building paper and purlins were blown off the wing. Some of the pinex ceiling linings were blown away with much of the remaining pinex ceiling linings left water logged and/or bowed down with moisture. All the carpet and underlay were saturated by heavy rain. Some of the framing has become saturated resulting in the timber expanding and cracking gibraltar board wall linings.

While insurance will cover the damaged portion of the roof, other sections of the roof have been weakened and we are planning to completely replace the rest of the roof. This will be a very expensive undertaking but one that is necessary for the long term future of the building.

Damage to bedroom ceiling

Damage to bedroom ceiling

Hugo our builder preparing the roof for the tarpaulin

Hugo our builder preparing the roof for the tarpaulin

Water on floor

Water on wooden floor

Water damaged wall

Water damaged wall

Carpet being removed to be dried out

Carpet being removed to be dried out

The once straight chimney

The once straight chimney

Pots collecting water from the open roof

Pots collecting water from the open roof

Roof missing

Where the roofing iron was blown off during the storm

Carpet damage

Carpet damage

If you are able to donate towards repairing this facility, please send your donation to:

Magnificat Community Charitable Trust
PO Box 43
Featherston 5740

Donations $5 and over will attract a tax rebate 


Lambing and Calving Season


Martha with her new daughter Scholastica


Scholastica enjoying life

Mother with twins


Beautiful little lamb


Farm and Community News

A new member of the community was born on Saturday. Our pet sheep Mary Rose gave birth to a beautiful daughter McKillop.

Seen here with Lucia.

Lucia meets McKillop for the first time

Lucia meets McKillop for the first time

Our lovely pig Bernadette of Lourdes has a new house. It has taken a while for her new accommocdation to be built but it was well worth the wait.


Craig and Bernadette

Craig and Bernadette discussing the new house

As with the rest of NZ we had snow at Cross Creek. The Highland cattle were enjoying the sun after all of the snow.

Highland cattle enjoying sun

The Highland cattle enjoying the sun


Jeff and Craig renovated the goat house in the weekend. The goats are very grateful.

Jeff and Craig mucking out.

Jeff and Craig mucking out the goat house


Anthony, Ambrose and Agnes inspecting their home.

Anthony, Ambrose and Agnes inspecting their home.


Val And Glennis enjoying the sun outside the new community room with Anthony and Agnes.

Val and Glennis outside the new community room with Anthony and Agnes.


Spring is on the way and to prove it we have signs of new life. Lillian was born in the snow and has just discovered there is sun!





The ‘Fati-mas’ ladies’ retreat at Magnificat

 By Marie Andrewartha

Hi we’re the ‘Fati-mas’ a woman’s group from Our Lady of Fatima church Tawa! In 2001 we discovered the Magnificat Community Retreat Centre. It’s an oasis, in the midst of our busyness and every year we return to this beautiful haven to soak in its peace and tranquillity. As busy Mums, the opportunities to recharge our batteries and to draw closer to God, are few and far between. Our weekend away is very precious to us. Whether it’s a formal retreat or just a weekend away from it all, God’s presence abides there and envelops us.

The chapel, with the Blessed Sacrament, the river meandering through the property, the beautiful gardens and the friendly animals, make this an awesome place. The community members are so caring and have become honorary members of our group!! Sometimes one of our own priests will come and say Mass for us or we offer our singing talents to the local Martinborough church!

Nazareth house where we stay is a sprawling farm house with ample room for us. May God’s blessing and Grace continue to fall on this community who through their faith in God have been able to do far more than they have ever dreamed possible.