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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:

Monday, 27 October 2014 12:25

Carmelites worldwide honour founder


carmelites-brisbaneBrisbane’s discalced Carmelite community of contemplative women remembered the 500th birthday of their order’s founder, St Teresa of Avila, last week, reports The Catholic Leader.

Monday, 20 October 2014 20:48

Inventing love for the human heart

Sr Maria Goretti Tran spcSister Maria Goretti used to program robots and design smart phone games before she gave up a booming career in computer science and a relationship for a life of service as a Sister of St Paul de Chartres, writes Emilie Ng.

Monday, 20 October 2014 17:45

St Camillus still inspires after 400 years

camillians graphicIn 2002, the Ministers of the Infirm, affectionately known throughout the world as the Camillians, arrived in the Diocese of Parramatta to serve the sick and suffering as chaplains in hospitals across the Diocese. The recent launch of the Lay Camillian family demonstrates the enduring influence of the life, work and ministry of their founder St Camillus. 

Monday, 13 October 2014 10:04

Franciscan way is joy

Fr Benignus Clowes ofmFranciscan Friar Benignus Clowes' spirituality and his struggle with bipolar mood disorder has given him a very personal experience of the importance of pain and suffering as a path to joy, writes Peter Bugden.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:34

Planting seeds for the harvest

lay speakers 2014The growing partnership between lay people and religious institutions has brought renewed vitality to Catholic mission and a strong assurance that the work of religious congregations is moving forward into the future. Giselle Lapitan looks back to the stories of lay speakers in the 2014 National Assembly and shares their insights on mission and governance.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:44

A week in the far west

toowoomba tripSister Elaine Morzone mfic and Mary Schwartz were invited by the parishioners of St Mary’s Cunnamulla to provide formation for the Parish Pastoral Council and workshops in the ministries of funerals and communion to the sick and housebound. Mary Schwartz recounts their journey and introduces the places and good people who continue the Gospel message in the far west of the Toowoomba diocese.

First East Timor CarmelitesCarmelite Fathers Angelino Dos Santos and Martinho Da Costa became the first East Timorese Carmelites to have done their entire Carmelite formation and preparation for priesthood after East Timor became part of the Carmelites’ Australian Province in 2001.

Sr Carmel Moore rsj 150Meditation is a journey inwards to the divine indwelling, rather than a resting place. It is still and silent, exteriorly, but can lead to some very uncomfortable places, interiorly, writes Sister Carmel Moore rsj.

Monday, 18 August 2014 11:40

Why would a woman...?

goodsams vocationGood Samaritan Sisters, Sarah Puls and Bernadette Corboy, reflect on what religious life means to them. They consider some of the questions for women today who might be thinking about religious life.

Sunday, 13 July 2014 18:27

Treading gently on holy ground

Fr Luis Villavicencio csScalabrinian Father Luis Viovicente's approach to his new role as parish priest of Seaton, South Australia is guided by the words of Moses at the burning bush: “Take off your sandals because you are on holy ground,” writes Jenny Brinkworth.

Sunday, 13 July 2014 17:37

Why are Christians still divided?

Sr Trish Madigan opThe National Covenant Document, a framework of relations between Australian Christian churches for co-operation and shared hopes, brings energy to mission, writes Dominican Sister Trish Madigan who grew up in a family of mixed Christian heritage.

Friday, 13 June 2014 14:30

Meet Friar Thomas McFadden

Fr Thomas McFadden ofmcapFr Thomas is currently engaged as the full-time Vocation Director for the province of Australia, actively promoting the Capuchin way of life as a vocation to be discerned by young Catholic men. In this article, Capuchin Father John Cooper shares Fr Thomas' vocation story.

Friday, 13 June 2014 11:28

Failure and trust in God

Fr Gary Walker ssc 150How does a person know that they are successful in doing God's work? Does it matter? Columban Father Gary Walker reflects on the mysteries of faith and mission and on how God sees differently from us.

Sr Pat Bartley rsjSister Pat Bartley rsj looks back at 60 years of her vocation and finds that a phrase from among her Jubilee greetings encapsulates the joys and challenges in the story of her religious life.

Sr Helen Merrin opDominican Sister Helen Merrin loves the adventure, challenge and ability of the martial art 'karate' to still the mind and sharpen her focus, writes Debra Vermeer.

Monday, 14 April 2014 18:35

Lenten prayer in the heart of Australia

Sr Anne Foale rsmWhat do Uniting Church elders, workers from Catholic Centre Care, an Anglican priest and members of her parish, Aboriginal members from the Congress church and two Sisters of Mercy in Port Augusta have in common this Lenten season, asks Sister Anne Foale rsm?

Ayen DongDominican Sister Diana Santleben of Penola House spoke to Trazia Akec of Newcastle, whose daughter Ayen Dong (pictured) was in South Sudan at the time of this writing and she shares with us this refugee family's story.

Monday, 14 April 2014 14:44

Prayer, priesthood and pedal power

Fra Oscar Aguilera osmThe priestly ministry and cycling passion of Fra Oscar Aguilera osm complement each other and goes beyond this Servite priest's fitness and health goals, writes Matthew Biddle.

Monday, 24 March 2014 14:23

Universally useful for 175 years

RSC Aurora article What well-to-do young woman would have the courage to begin a new religious congregation that served Ireland's poor in their places of need? Sr Margaret Valentine rsc, Pastoral Co-ordinator of Myall Coast Parish, tells the story of the first congregation of religious women in Australia, the congregation to which she belongs.

Monday, 17 March 2014 22:28

A vision of service fulfilled

Sr Stancea VichieThe 70th foundation anniversary of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) promises to be a jubilant year-long celebration of its story that can be fully appreciated through the biblical meaning of the number seventy, signifying completion and fullness of an age.

Sr Elvera Sesta pbvm150Presentation Sister Elvera Sesta's seemingly never-ending battle with a digital camera gave her a clear insight on her struggles with prayer. She finds that a rich prayer life rewards us with a sharpness of vision to lovingly see the world through God's eyes.

new passionists 150 On Friday, February 14th, eight young novices from four different countries took their vows as Passionist Religious in Glen Osmond, Adelaide, reports Passionist Provincial Father Tom McDonough cp.

Friday, 07 February 2014 14:52

The edges of ministry

candles150A great deal of attention has been given to the edge where different religious traditions meet each other, yet the edge where faith meets non-faith is one of the anxious edges of mission. It is also where religious energy and creativity can spring from, ponders Columban Father Patrick O'Shea.

Friday, 07 February 2014 11:02

At ease with 'Alice'

Sr Magdalena Leutterova ssps150Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Magdalena Leutterova shares her personal journey fuelled by a desire to love and serve God as a missionary  - beginning as a Slovakian-born refugee in Italy escaping communism, a missionary posting to Ghana and in her current role as pastoral worker in the Northern Territory.


Sisters of Charity anniversary Jan 2014On 25 January 2014, the Sisters of Charity, the oldest order of religious in Australia, gathered for Amanda Nguyen's profession of vows, with the event becoming one among many celebrations marking the congregation's 175th anniversary year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:10

130 years of Loreto in Portland

loreto in portland150The Loreto Sisters celebrated 130 years of service in Portland, Victoria coming to a close. Father Justin Driscoll’s homily on this celebration reflected on the significant contribution of the Loreto Sisters in the broader community, framed in the insight-filled story of the congregation’s early leader, Mother Gonzaga Barry, and the gospel story of Zaccheus.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 17:59

Scalabrinian worker for Christ

Fr Emilio Vaccaro cs 150Father Emilio Vaccaro could easily have ended up as a successful businessman, but an encounter with the Scalabrinian Fathers when he was a young boy and a desire to be “with people” led to what he calls “a life of working for Christ” for over 50 years spanning across three continents, writes Jenny Brinkworth.

Monday, 18 November 2013 13:20

A kind heart and a zeal for souls

Fr Simon Aloisi osb150Brother Terence Kavanagh osb writes about Father Simon Aloisi of the Sylvestrine Benedictines at Arcadia: his pastoral ministry in Australia while far removed from the land of his birth, his large shell collection, and his love of the land and its creatures. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 13:40

Half a century of service

A Spiritual Advisor is one found at the coal face yet finds joy and generosity amidst great need, writes Sister Gwen Tamlyn of the Daughters of Charity, as she reflects on her years with St Vincent de Paul Society’s NSW Council and in her current ministry to the homeless in Adelaide. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 13:36

Journey to Mercy

Sr Mai Nguyen-Doan rsm150Mai Nguyen-Doan recently made her First Profession as a Sister of Mercy in the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAP). She shares her journey through refugee camps and the loving witness of three Australian Mercy sisters that finally brought her to religious life.

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