The Josephite Justice Network (JJN) gathering was held at Kincumber South, New South Wales from 10-12 March 2023. Josephite Sisters, Companions as well as young Josephite volunteers from throughout Australia, were all present.

The theme for the gathering was The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:5). We realised during the course of the weekend, that getting together and listening to each other was a breath of fresh air, and a chance for us to recharge and prepare for all our forthcoming opportunities.

There were many hot topics and important problems discussed. “A Few Girardian Surprises”, the first activity, was led by Sr Susan Connelly. The group was able to study their own behaviour in-depth and learn how rivalry and imitation are used in their own daily lives thanks to this presentation. Rene Girard’s framework served as a springboard for the enlightening and constructive conversation that characterised the whole weekend. We also came to the realisation that rivalry and imitation are pervasive in contemporary Australian culture and have contributed significantly to numerous injustices across the country.

The Josephite Justice Network has been most closely involved in the climate crisis and spreading the word and importance of responding to the Cry of the Earth. We had the opportunity to listen to a presentation that the Laudato Si’ Action Plan Committee had put together. Sr Mary Ellen O’Donoghue led this talk, which highlighted the persistent environmental injustices that exist in today’s society.

With the help of the Laudato Si’ Action Plan titled Explore~Embrace~Embody, we were able to comprehend Church teaching and apply it to our network’s brainstorming of potential courses of action for promoting climate justice in our communities.

The upcoming New South Wales State Election was of particular interest throughout the weekend. The 2023 State Election Kit, Voting for our Values (shared below), allowed the group to establish our major concerns. The ongoing disagreements surrounding ‘The Voice’ to parliament as well as homelessness and housing, were among the many concerns of the group considering the upcoming election.

As the weekend came to an end, attendees reported feeling energised, inspired, and challenged. The group was able to rekindle their commitment to justice via conversation throughout the course of the weekend. It will be exciting to see what incredible things the JJN members get up to throughout the rest of the year.

Emilia Nicholas
Josephite Justice Network

Download and view the New South Wales State Election Kit: Voting for our Values (A joint project of Social Justice, Welfare and Educational Agencies) here.