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Monday, 20 February 2012 09:37

Working and praying for families

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The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (CSFN) are an international order of Religious Sisters. Blessed Frances Siedliska, a noblewoman from Poland founded the order in Rome in 1875. She chose Rome as the founding location to emphasise the CSFN’s international nature.

Today the Sisters have a presence in 13 countries – America, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, France, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Italy, Israel, Philippines and Australia.

The Sisters came to Australia in 1950s and are now based in Marayong, Quakers Hill and Castle Hill in Western Sydney, Maitland near Newcastle, Brisbane and Perth. The 23 Sisters live in communities of different backgrounds and countries of origin: Australia, America, Philippines and Poland. They are trying to create the atmosphere of family life among themselves and serving families through their prayer and apostolic life. Their role in family ministry involves working in child care, parishes, schools, universities and aged care.

Sister Grace Roclawska CSFN is the Provincial Superior of the Congregation in Australia. Born in Poland in 1972, Grace joined the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth after leaving high school. She had come into contact with the Sisters through her parish in Gdynia by the Baltic Sea in northern Poland.

“What attracted me so much to this congregation was the fact that I could be a religious Sister who worked and prayed for families,” says Sister Grace.

“In all our various ministries, across several states and dioceses, we focus on creating community together and on supporting the integrity of family life by the way in which we minister to all whom we encounter through those ministries.”

Since coming to Australia in 2004 Sister Grace has lived at the congregation’s base in Marayong in the Diocese of Parramatta.  Her Sisters have had a presence in this Western Sydney community for more than 55 years.

Holy Name of Nazareth SistersThere are currently 14 Sisters living and ministering in the diocese of Parramatta. Two work as chaplains at the University of Western Sydney. Grace works as the Sacramental Coordinator at St Michael’s Parish, Blacktown South.

The Sisters are a vivacious presence in their service to the children and elderly at Holy Family Services: Aged Care and Childcare in Marayong. Some of the Sisters with a Polish background support the Polish Community in Marayong.

When the members of her order’s newly chosen General Administration of the Congregation visited Australia in November last year, Mother Jana Zawieja CSFN, General Superior, and Sister Angela Marie Mazzeo CSFN, General Councillor, had a unique opportunity to discuss with Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and Sister Grace on the need for family ministry according to their charism, within the Diocese.

Sister Grace said the Sisters share their prayer and personnel resources to support the mission to the families in prayer and action according to the charism left by their Foundress: to spread the Kingdom of God’s love between themselves and others in any possible way.

Learn more about the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth at: www.csfn.org.au