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News and Reflections for the Year of Consecrated Life

News & Views

CRA conference flyer 150The 42nd Catholic Religious Australia National Assembly will be held in Brisbane from June 19 to 21, with the theme 'Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope'.

Keynote speakers will include Gail Worcelo cp and Michael Whelan sm and registration forms are available here to download.


Vocations Ministry Report 150A new report on recent religious vocations in Australia has uncovered some common characteristics of religious orders that are attracting new women and men, which could help strengthen religious life in Australia and overseas.

Understanding Religious Vocation in Australia Today was commissioned by Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia (CVMA) and carried out by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Pastoral Research Office.

1712RuthDurick 150The plight of children is constantly before us these days. Often it is from a distant, bureaucratic perspective – compliance, record keeping, reporting. While these are important, we need to check ourselves that we do not lose sight of the child as an individual, as a gift.

We need to check ourselves that we have not become inured to the violence which is perpetrated on the most vulnerable members of our society in so many ways and which forms a regular part of our daily news reporting. We can get caught up in the policies, protocols and political strategies of the powerful and the administrators and lose sight of the very people for whom we are here.

0318IconsMercy 150When Mercy Sisters Margaret Broadbent and Barbara Bolster attended an icon painting workshop at ACU, they both found themselves led to a place of reflection and contemplation.

The five-day workshop in Melbourne, Directed by St Petersburg Iconographers Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova, was centred around the prototype of the sacred Icon entitled: “The Holy Mandylion” and lent itself to many hours of silent concentration and reflection.

0318SrElizabethDodds 150Sr Elizabeth Dodds’ passion for learning feeds her ministries as a Sister of Charity which centre around leadership, formation of leaders and formation in charism and governance.

“I love governance,” she said. “I really do.”

0318AsylumSignThe Sisters of the Good Samaritan have called on the Federal Government to urgently review proposed changes to a Government support program for people seeking asylum which will force vulnerable people, including families and children, into destitution and homelessness, The Good Oil reports.

“The Sisters of the Good Samaritan are deeply concerned by the Government’s proposed changes to the Status Resolution Support Service which fail to recognise and respect the human dignity of all people,” said Congregational Leader Sister Patty Fawkner.

0318TJHC 150The Chief Executive of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, Mr Francis Sullivan, has urged all states to join New South Wales and Victoria in signing up to the national child sexual abuse redress scheme, as Catholic leaders reiterated their long-standing support of the scheme.

"Today’s announcement paves the way for non-government organisations in NSW and Victoria to join the scheme," Mr Sullivan said.

0318EcologyJesuits 150Jesuit Social Services has been on a journey of introducing ecology into its organisational structure, culture and programs, convinced that green issues are also social justice issues, writes Bronwyn Lay in Eureka Street.

The CEO Julie Edwards was inspired to introduce ecology into a traditionally social justice focused organisation seven years before Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato Si' was released.

0318SrAnneGardiner 150International Women’s Day was celebrated in Rome this year with a talk from Australia’s Sr Anne Gardiner on the work being done to support indigenous women into leadership positions in in the remote island community, Vatican News reports.

Australia’s Embassy to the Holy See sponsored the event and invited Sr Anne, a Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who was recognised as the 2017 Senior Australian of the Year because of her work with the Tiwi island people.

0318Majellan 150The Redemptorists have launched a year-long party to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their much-loved family publication, The Majellan.

Since 1949, The Majellan has been a much-loved Catholic magazine for mothers and families. It covers articles of importance to families, including how to raise children.


0218FrWarrenKinneSSC 150Missionary priest Fr Warren Kinne ssc is looking forward to one of the more unusual challenges of his religious life – he has signed up as an official Commonwealth Games chaplain, The Catholic Leader reports.

“There will be surprises on the track and in the pool, and there could well be surprises of the spirit,” he said.

0218solarpanels 150St Vincent’s Health Australia, Australia’s largest non-government health and aged care provider, is leading the way in taking steps to reduce the carbon imprint of its hospitals and health facilities, the ABC reports.

SVHA, which operates six public hospitals, nine private hospitals and 17 aged care facilities, is overseeing a plan which has been reducing the environmental impact of operations, as well as saving money.

0218JesuitIndigenous 150As the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the National Apology to Indigenous Peoples, the Australian Jesuits have announced the first details of their Bookends Project, outlining a process where Province community members will be invited into deeper engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Bookends Project, was launched in July, committing the Province to redoubling its efforts to promote reconciliation with the country’s First Peoples and its most recent arrivals – refugees and asylum seekers, jesuit.org.au reports.

1712RuthDurick 150The release, in December 2017, of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse marks an important point in our development as church and as religious in the church and society here in Australia. We are particularly mindful at this time of all those whose lives have been so damaged by the evil of sexual abuse.

The release of the final report is not a full stop. It is an ellipsis indicating a pause, perhaps a faltering pause, but one denoting that the future is ours to take hold of, and to move forward as gospel women and men, doing what we are called to through our consecration: To bring good news to the poor; to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison. (Luke 4:18)

0218SrLucyvanKesselPBVM 150Presentation Sister Lucy van Kessel kicked off 2018 with a new role as Congregational Leader in Western Australia, bringing to a close 25 years working alongside people living in poverty and on the margins at Ruah Community Services.

Here, in a story from Global Sisters Report, Sr Lucy reflects on those years where she, as a Presentation Sister, worked with the Daughters of Charity in a non-government organisation, paid by the government – a collaboration which she says would make the Presentation founder, Nano Nagle, feel right at home.

0218MercyLGBTIQ 150Mercy Health has launched a new network called ‘Whole Self @ Mercy Health’ aimed at supporting the organisation’s commitment to equity and inclusion for its LGBTIQ employees.

A cross section of employees have developed the network which will provide valuable resources, networks and events for employees who identify as LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning) and their supporters.

0218GeoffGiudiceCPSL 150The seven-member board of the Catholic Church’s new child and vulnerable person standards setting, auditing and reporting organisation is now in place and busy developing a major new approach to the way the Church ensures everyone who comes into contact with its ministries is as safe as possible.

The Chair of CPSL, The Hon Geoff Giudice, said following the appointments of Queensland education specialist Dr Kerrie Tuite and WA governance expert Dr Ruth Shean this month, the board is now made up of members with a wide range of skills and expertise.

0218ArmsTrade 150The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart have challenged the Federal Government’s recently announced plan to increase weapons exports.

"Weapons are designed to kill and maim human beings," said the Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh. "We completely reject the philosophy which finds it acceptable to boost industry, create jobs, increase exports and protect local manufacturing via the arms trade.

Friday, 26 January 2018 17:26

Australia Day honour for Sr Sheelah

Sr Sheelah Mogan 150Eighty-eight year-old Brigidine Sister Sheelah Frances Mogan says she is “astonished” to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Days Honours List, The Catholic Weekly reports.

Sr Sheelah, who lives in Randwick has been recognised for her long career as a teacher in Catholic schools, spanning almost 60 years.

TJHC 150 JPEGThe CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) said today that the release of the Royal Commission’s final report into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is an historic occasion which brings to an end one of this nation’s most important judicial inquiries.

“While the release of this report signals the end of the Commission, the work on implementing its latest set of recommendations and findings is only now just starting,” Mr Sullivan said.

1215 RCFinalReport 150The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has today released its final report, which includes a large number of recommendations, many of which will have a significant impact on the way the Catholic Church operates in Australia.

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, said the release of the final report is the culmination of almost five years of intense examination of the way in which many different institutions, including the Catholic Church, have historically failed children.

CRAL logo 150The Royal Commission has today released its Final Report. Sister Ruth Durick OSU, President of Catholic Religious Australia, has acknowledged the pain suffered by so many and said religious orders across Australia are committed to continuing the work of recent years to ensure a future in which the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults is paramount.

1712RuthDurick 150As we come to the end of a year, we can look back on 2017 with joy for the graces received and with satisfaction. We might also experience regret and pain for incompleteness, for sufferings caused, for opportunities missed, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.

In this season of Advent, we are called to patient waiting, a time of expectation, a time of hope. It is not just the incarnation of God into our history more than 2000 years ago, in the person of Jesus, that we celebrate. It is the ongoing incarnation which we experience in our daily lives, in our communities and relationships, in our world and in the cosmos that we anticipate, celebrate and embrace.

Monday, 11 December 2017 13:26

Catholic schools at the margins of society

1712ChristianZahra 150As a young student attending Catholic schools in the 1970s and 80s in the Latrobe Valley in country Victoria, there was always a presence in our classroom of the Catholic commitment to assisting people who were disadvantaged or at the margins of our society, writes Christian Zahra, Executive Director of the National Catholic Education Commission.

Catholic schools in the Valley – and indeed across Australia – had a long tradition of serving lower and middle income families and the schools I attended were full of kids from struggling, working class families who in today’s terms, would be described as ‘poor’ or ‘disadvantaged’. I personally knew many families who couldn’t afford the very modest fees charged by Catholic schools and were supported by the generosity of local church communities.

1712SrHilda 150Members of Religious Congregations were a joyful, engaging presence at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, held in Sydney last week.

More than 19,000 young people from all across the country descended on Olympic Park and the Sydney Showgrounds for ACYF17, an initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, which this year was hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney.


1712SrChristine2 150As a woman from country Queensland, Sr Christine Henry, a Sister of Charity, recognised the need to support farmers struggling to survive the extremes of climate change, which were taking a toll on their livelihoods and families.

This vision and initiative grew into the Downs and West Community Support ministry, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, writes Sr Karan Varker RSC in the Global Sisters Report.

Monday, 04 December 2017 19:17

Faith groups seek nuclear weapons ban

1712ICANAustralia's Religious have joined other faith and community organisations in supporting an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, calling for the Australian Government to sign a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Catholic Religious Australia and more than 50 other faith groups, including religious congregations, signed an open letter in solidarity with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) in October, urging the Government to act.

1712SrAnneGardiner 150Out-going Senior Australian of the Year, Sr Anne Gardiner FDNSC, has been bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate by the Australian Catholic University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to society, especially to the people of the Tiwi Islands.

And Sr Anne has concluded her year in the same way she began it, by thanking the people of the Tiwi Islands and her Congregation, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Monday, 04 December 2017 17:23

Bring Manus detainees to Australia

1712refugees 150Catholic Religious Australia has called on the Australian Government to bring the asylum-seekers currently being detained on Manus Island to Australia and support them to become productive and contributing citizens of Australia.

CRA issued the call during the stand-off between the detainees, local authorities and the Australian Government after the government closed down the detention centre and sought to move the men to another location on the island.

Monday, 04 December 2017 17:04

Papal honour for Sr Mary Leahy RSJ

1712 Mary Leaheyrsj 150Sister of St Joseph, Mary Leahy, was among a group of six Catholics presented with Papal Honours for their outstanding contributions to the Church and wider community, The Catholic Weekly reports.

Sr Mary received the Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for the dedication she has shown in ministering to seafarers through the Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris).

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