Caught by the Josephite Spirit in Diverse Ways

Both our history and our Constitutions urge us to share the gift of the charism with those who walk with us. This gift embraces the many individuals and communities who live the charism in new ways and with intrepid spirit today. We are reminded over and over, and in often surprisingly diverse ways, that God continues to gift our world with the spirit given to Mary and Julian and their early companions.

Mary’s vision of a just and compassionate world is being lived out, both in the everyday lives of those who journey with us, and in the leadership and advocacy witnessed in new-found Josephite involvement and commitment. These diverse ventures empower people who have been caught by the charism to respond in the 21st century to the call that remains at the heart of the Josephite spirit.

AJASS – Association of Josephite Affiliated Secondary Schools

AJASS is an independent Association of Josephite Affiliated Secondary Schools and aims to embrace, extend, strengthen and perpetuate the charism of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.

By sharing ideas, events, and gatherings, schools that are part of the Association endeavour to develop and grow in the Josephite spirit.

AJASS holds regular gatherings and meetings and maintains contact through interschool activities and support, particularly through the annual Principals Conference.

Several activities occur throughout the year focused on the faith formation of staff and students. These activities include pilgrimages to significant sites in the lives of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods, collaborative justice projects, with intra and interstate AJASS School visits.

For more information about becoming part of AJASS, please contact the current president:
Mr Chris Caldow (Principal)
Penola Catholic College, Broadmeadows via email

Youth and Young Adults

Millennials and the Josephite Charism

I want to make a difference… I want to give back…

Young People Live Mary’s Vision for a Just and Compassionate World

JJAMM and JAG enable young people who have been caught by this charism to respond in the 21st century to the call that remains at the heart of the Josephite spirit.

JJAMM (Joseph, Julian and Mary MacKillop) calls student leaders from Josephite secondary schools around Australia and New Zealand:

  • To understand what’s at the heart of leadership in a Josephite school
  • To explore what it means to ‘be’ and to ‘act’ with people who are treated unjustly
    • To see needs, to plan together and to ‘do something’ for a new world
    • To build relationships and strengthen and encourage one another
  • To instigate awareness raising in schools
  • To stand on their heads for what so often seems impossible

JAG (Josephite Action Group) is a community of young Josephites (mostly ex-students from Josephite schools) committed to the charism and wanting to be actively involved in responding to injustice. Together with JJAMM, they have led:

  • Support projects for those seeking asylum
  • Residential gatherings, follow-up visits and mentor programs for refugee families
  • Reconciliation workshops
  • Social justice seminars for emerging young leaders
  • Welcome Day Mass and celebrations at Mary MacKillop Place for people who are refugees from Iraq and Syria
  • Support for First Nations peoples in realising the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • Active measures concerning care of Earth,
  • Proactive initiatives to assist those missing out in the current political climate.
If Mary and Julian were alive today, they would be here with us with people seeking asylum.
This is my faith in action.
I’ve been given so much and others do it tough.
This experience has changed my life.
Mary and Julian did it tough too. Sometimes I feel discouraged too when I see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
Everyone deserves a fair go.
Prayer has to happen with feet and hands and heart too.

Why not join us? Anyone with a heart for justice and a willingness to work for a just world is welcome. Please contact us here.

You can follow JAG on Instagram here.

Day Three
Junior Josephites

Inspired by Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods, primary school students are capable of making a big difference within the life of their school and wider communities.

‘Mary MacKillop Groups’ or ‘Junior Joeys’ have been established in many primary schools in recent years. These groups have their origins in schools which have a ‘Josephite tradition’. However, as St Mary MacKillop is a saint for all of us, all schools – primary and secondary – are invited and welcome to form a Mary MacKillop or Junior Joeys’ group!

Never see a need without doing something about it. Mary MacKillop

Interested in starting a group at your school? Read about some Junior Josephite groups here:

Junior Josephite Associates, Moree, NSW

Junior Josephite Associates or JJAs are current at St Philomena’s School, though our group for this year has been postponed until Term 2 to cope with the Coronavirus.

These children are remarkable in this country town. The Junior Josephite Associates have been here for 14 years, the group being facilitated by Margaret Cusack rsj. It is still a very active group with students from year three and four participating.

These children prayed the children’s prayer at each meeting and learnt about the family and life of St Mary of the Cross. The school also generously supported our collection of stamps for the mission in Peru. We usually have lunchtime meetings once a month, and a party at the end of the year. The children are given a certificate of enrolment and a medal of St Mary of the Cross during the year.

St Philomena’s school now has a Mary MacKillop Award at assemblies for those who see a need and do something about it. That award was introduced by the previous Principal, Karen Jagers.

Mary MacKillop Group – Holy Child School, Dallas, VIC

The staff and children of Holy Child School, Dallas (in Melbourne’s northern suburbs) are proud that their school, was the first in Australia to start a children’s Mary MacKillop group! Their special connection to Mary MacKillop has come about because there have always been Josephite Sisters working and teaching at Holy Child. The two staff leaders, REC Jo-Anne Murphy and Veronica Madigan rsj, have reported that: ‘The ongoing support of our Principals has been particularly invaluable in ensuring its success……the task of co-ordinating the group is part of the role description of the Religious Education Co-ordinator. This gives a high profile and continues to be part of school life, regardless of changes in personnel.’

Holy Child’s Mary MacKillop group has three main areas of focus:

  • Spiritual: coming together in the spirit of Mary MacKillop, in friendship, prayer and service
  • Educational: learning about Mary MacKillop, her life and work
  • Service: seeking to assist in our school and in the wider community.

The school community works hard at following Mary’s motto “Never see a need without trying to do something about it.”

Beyond the school, they try to support:

  • the work of the Josephite Sisters, both locally and overseas
  • their ‘twin’ parish in East Timor
  • the work of their former parish priest (Fr Joe Ruys) in Peru.

The group has its own banner, which is displayed in the office foyer and is used at special Masses and outings. Membership of the group is open to students in Years 4-6. All the funds raised are donated on a rotating basis to the local and overseas projects named above. The school has always received invaluable support from Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre (East Melbourne) and other Sisters of Saint Joseph who have worked closely with the group to give the students an understanding of how the work and charism of Mary MacKillop continue today.

Junior Joeys, TAS

Junior Joeys groups are flourishing in a number of Catholic Schools across Tasmania. The students in these groups are usually from Grades 4 – 6 and are regarded as leaders keeping alive the Josephite story and spirit in their schools.

Membership is by voluntary application to the teacher responsible in each school. A formation program leads to a commissioning ceremony and activities can then include leading whole school prayer and assemblies on significant Josephite occasions, coordinating fundraising activities to assist vulnerable members of the local community, promoting all things Josephite and generally being aware of seeing needs and doing something about them. Meetings are held regularly so that outreach activities can be planned and coordinated across the year.

View our Educational Resources here