• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Thursday, 04 August 2011 04:28

Good Sams commit to ‘seeing it through’

Rate this item
(0 votes)

The gathering of more than 30 Sisters, representatives from Good Samaritan colleges with Aboriginal students and programs and members of the Congregational Council, was held at the Mount St Benedict Centre in Pennant Hills from 28-30 May.

A first for the order, those taking part travelled from all over Australia - far North Queensland, Central Australia, Geraldton, Mount Magnet, Broome and Kalumburu in Western Australia, and Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane - to share their experiences, reflect on their ministry and commit to the theme of Reconciliation Week, 'Let's see it through'.

Sister Val Deakin SGS, who has been involved in this area for more than 20 years, travelled from Geraldton in Western Australia to take part.

"Sharing and listening to each other's stories and experiences was invaluable," says Val, who is the Liaison Officer for Aboriginal people in the Diocese of Geraldton and the chaplain to the Geraldton Prison.

"It was so good to pick up the energy, passion and care for this ministry despite its hardship. I was ignited with new life and I feel many others were too."

As well as sharing experiences, each participant shared a symbol that said something about the work they do with Aboriginal people.

Val Deakin brought a watch without a face, which members of the Aboriginal community at Daly River had given her some years ago.

"It is a reminder to me that Aboriginal people have a different way of perceiving time," says Val. "They have internal time which connects with the seasons and the rhythms of the day, rather than with numbers on a watch or clock. It's also a reminder that we need to learn to sit and be, and be ready to do, as things arise from the people."

Another focus of the weekend was on exploring their ministry with indigenous people as followers of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"As I reflected on the weekend I was struck by its significant link to our Congregation," says Val.

"We were the first Australian Congregation founded, and our founder John Bede Polding, the first Catholic bishop of Australia, had a love for the Aboriginal people.

"He spoke up for them before the government of the day, saying: "My opinion may be very different from that entertained by a greater part of the community. In the first place, I conceive that there is established in the minds of the black population a sentiment that whites are essentially unjust".

"The parable of the Good Samaritan is about journeying with the needy and marginalised in our society. Our gathering highlighted for me that we are continuing in the footsteps of the parable and our founder in our present day journey," says Val.

"The whole weekend was a buzz of life and energy and it was evident we wanted to carry forward the mission of Polding and enflesh the parable of the Good Samaritan for our day."

Clare Condon, Superior of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan added: "I can confidently say that each of us departed from the time together prepared to continue the journey of Reconciliation with a determination to: 'Let's see it through."