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Our stories

A survey sponsored by CRA in 2009 found that there were 8,422 Catholic Religious in Australia. Of that number, 5,927 were Religious Sisters, 884 Religious Brothers and 1,611 Religious order priests. Here are some of their stories:

broome diocese jubilee 2016Salesian Fr Frank Freeman recalls the part played by members of various religious congregations in an article celebrating 50 years of the Broome Diocese in the Kimberley, northwest of Australia.

Friday, 03 June 2016 14:10

No regrets for Irish exile

sr maryanne and fr mcgearty smlSister Maryanne Welsh is the last surviving Irish member of the Josephite community in Adelaide. Her memories of growing up in County Kerry were revived when she attended a Mass commemorating the Easter Rising at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on May 1. She spoke to Jenny Brinkworth about her journey.

Friday, 03 June 2016 12:31


Sr Denise Mackay rsj150Sister Denise MacKay rsj looks back on a few pivotal moments of "allurement, relationship and emergence" that led to her vocation as a Sister of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Sr Cheryle Thomson mssSister Cheryle Thomson mss was drawn to the Missionary Sisters of Service because of its outreach to people in rural and outback areas, from where she now has a fund of stories from her years on mission.

arcadia communitySt Benedict's parish in Arcadia takes its character not only from its Benedictine roots but also from the farming community in which it lies with its long tradition of gentle living, joyful generosity and care for each other, writes Debra Vermeer.

good sams aboriginal oblateElaine Walley, a Yamatji Elder from the Western Australian community of Three Springs near Geraldton, is the first Aboriginal woman to become a Good Samaritan Oblate.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 22:15

Deep yearning bears fruit for Gail

Sr Gail Leslie sosj vowsA 67-year-old grandmother who plays lawn bowls every Thursday is the newest addition to the Sisters of St Joseph community in Adelaide.

Thursday, 03 March 2016 11:11

Q&A with Sr Thao Nguyen

Sr Thao Nhuyen fdccIt has been 20 years since Sister Thao Nguyen fdcc put her feet on Canossian ground where she currently works in palliative care and young adult ministry. The Catholic Leader finds out more about consecrated life and Sr Thao's faith and ministry.

St Eugene de MazenodThis year, Australia’s Oblate Missionaries will join the worldwide congregation to mark the order’s 200th anniversary since they were founded by St Eugene de Mazenod. Their congregation's story, life and ministry demonstrate four fundamental characteristics which can be applied to our daily life.

Friday, 22 January 2016 18:16

A world in need of mercy

Sr Margaret Malone sgsSurely we can hope that by renewing our understanding and practice of mercy in this Year of Mercy, our often unmerciful world, our world of fatigued compassion will be transformed, writes Good Samaritan Sister Margaret Malone.

skateboarding FranciscanA music video of a skateboarding Franciscan, who spent 14 years living in Western Australia, received an Emmy at the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on 7 November, reports The Record.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 13:35

Listen to our stories

ballarat refugee stories On Monday, November 9, the Social Justice Group of Sacred Heart Parish Mildura organised an evening for some of the many refugees living in the parish. Sister Rosemary Graham rsm shares the moving stories they told the gathering.

Thursday, 05 November 2015 12:01

Reflecting with my two companions

Sue Kane 150When the doors were first flung open to welcome in the Year of Consecrated Life, I decided to walk with Hildegard of Bingen and Pope Francis to help me get the most out of this year, writes author Sue Kane.

Monday, 19 October 2015 20:31

Adelaide Sisters lend helping hand

Sr Sally Duigan olsh150Benedict Daswa, a teacher and father of eight was declared a martyr and beatified before 45,000 people on Sunday, September 13 in South Africa. But many may not know that a group of South Australian nuns helped to make it happen, with the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop as their inspiration.

Monday, 19 October 2015 11:43

Work of religious in Parramatta honoured

Sr Monica Armstrong sgs groupThe service and dedication of religious in the Diocese of Parramatta were recognised in the recent awarding of diocesan honours, reports Catholic Outlook.

Thursday, 08 October 2015 10:32

Dedicated to Jesus

sr-gabriel-williams osu150Ursuline Sister Gabriel Williams said she would never forget the impression of a nun at a Catholic boarding school in Armidale which moved her to join the order 50 years ago, writes Emilie Ng.

Thursday, 08 October 2015 09:35

Religious men and women on screen

Fr Peter Malone msc150Something that might be of interest in this Year of Consecrated Life would be to look at religious men and women portrayed in the movies. Father Peter Malone msc, film critic, media practitioner, author and theologian, walks us once again through iconic movies featuring Religious.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 12:26

Am I a person of peace and harmony?

peace posterWhen I reflect on the word 'peace' I think of silence, stillness and harmony. As a small child I learnt from my parents the meaning of silence, stillness and harmony with nature, writes Sister Helen Smith rsj.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 01:18

Reflections on a journey remembered

Br Robert OConnor fms150This me, here and now, is the one that Jesus loves, not some cardboard cut-out, good ‘brother’ but a flawed, wounded, damaged seeker, for whom all these experiences had all been part of the shaping process, writes Marist Brother Robert O'Connor.

Monday, 21 September 2015 23:22

My faith journey

the vine cvr150While struggling with depression, it was a friendship with two external Discalced Carmelite Nuns who became an inspiration in living a life for God, writes Lay Carmelite Russell Darby on his remarkable and inspiring faith journey.

Monday, 07 September 2015 10:12

Entering the spiritual domain

Fr-Michael-Gormly ssc 150A Buddhist monk in Korea once gave me a lesson I have not forgotten. I was invited to a Zen retreat at a hermitage in a remote valley. To get there I travelled by train and bus, then I hiked into the hills. The monk greeted me with the question: What has been the path that brings you here? Columban Father Michael Gormly reflects on the contemplative dimension of mission.

Monday, 07 September 2015 09:52

Leadership comes quietly

Sr Rose Glennen rsm and giftThe skills I learned as a child – to listen, to speak, to ask, to negotiate life in a complex world, to speak the truth – have stood me in good stead, writes Mercy Sister Rose Glennen as she reflects on her many years of religious leadership.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 12:49

Mission on the margins

Fr Kevin ONeill ssc150Australian Father Kevin O'Neill ssc reflects on his first three years as Superior General of the St Columban’s Mission Society and on the Columbans' advocacy for justice in an interview with The Catholic Leader.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 14:53

A lasting Loreto legacy in Vietnam

Sr Trish Franklin ibvm 150Loreto Sister Trish Franklin, Founder of the Loreto Vietnam Australia Program (LVAP), has in the past week bid farewell to her co-workers, friends and thousands of children she has helped over the past 20 years in Vietnam. Her inspiring work will soon be celebrated in a book to be published on October 2015, writes Elouise Hahn.

lay passionists WilsonsWhen retirees Chris and Tom Wilson aren’t teaching English or hymns to Passionist novices from China and Southeast Asia, they’re voluntarily co-ordinating about 500 people across South Australia for a Passionist lay movement aimed at strengthening parish communities.

Monday, 03 August 2015 12:34

Inspired by charity

Sr Anne Turner rscAs a child, Sister Anne Turner rsc was wary at first of nuns - the women in “unfamiliar clothing” and their “uncompromising commitment to teaching" yet they inspired her towards a journey of vocation and mission.

Monday, 03 August 2015 12:07

Refugee's journey to the altar

Fr Tru Nguyen msc 150Vietnamese refugee Tru Nguyen has turned around a displaced life, including imprisonment as a child for attempting to escape the country’s Communist regime, to one at the altar following his ordination as a a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in Adelaide last month.

Br Sean McManus Br Peter Flint 150The only two Christian Brothers remaining in Tasmania, Br Sean McManus and Br Peter Flint, have used their vocations to help others, in the charism of Christian Brothers founder Edmund Rice based not on charity but on helping people to help themselves and flourish.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 09:51

My dream came true

Sr Natalia Naki sspsSister Natalia Naki ssps reflects on the fulfillment of a childhood dream of living a consecrated life, a journey which has since brought her to nursing school, medical school, training in Australia and back to her to ministry in Indonesia.

Monday, 13 July 2015 14:28

You're doing 'life', Father

Fr Peter Toohey ssc 150As he retires from the prison ministry, Columban Father Peter Toohey reflects on the many graced moments with prisoners, prison workers and volunteers. "As Pope Francis has reminded us, Jesus stank of His sheep," he writes. "What else would you smell of when you are forever searching for lost sheep, picking up the injured and carrying them home?"

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