The Josephite Risk and Dare (RAD) Conference 2023
Mary MacKillop Place opened its doors to more than a hundred young people across Australia and New Zealand to attend this year’s Risk and Dare (RAD) Conference. We gathered as Josephites – and as social justice allies – to energetically accept our call to action and confront the challenging experience of what it means to live the Gospel in the 21st century.
For the young attendees, on fire with the urgency and thirst for a fair deal for all, the call of Jesus to bring good news to those who are poor and to work for freedom for those who have been oppressed, found practical expression in the listening, learning and action-packed experiences of our days together.
Surely if humans are fortunate enough to live longer than the age of producing and rearing of offspring, there must be a purpose. We know that elderhood is a distinct phase in life that many of us achieve through the grace of longevity. It involves completing the previous stages of childhood, adolescence and adulting. Elders are those who have lived the joys and sorrows of life and who have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and insights that can only be acquired through years of experience.
At the Journeying into Conscious Eldering Conference held earlier in the year, facilitator, Karon Donnellon rsm, invited the participants to consider the qualities that stand out as vital for Sisters of Saint Joseph when considering conscious eldering. We agreed that ageing is a natural process that involves decline and physical changes and we spoke of conscious eldering as getting older with intention, self-awareness, resilience and grace. It involves finding meaning and purpose addressing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of ageing. It is an opportunity for growth, wisdom and personal transformation through self-reflection, relational connectedness and generativity.
A Josephite Companions Webinar held on 2 September 2023 saw Annie MacKillop, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s sister and constant companion, recognised as the ‘first’ or ‘original’ Josephite Companion. Guest Speaker, Sr Judith Mary Geddes, detailed the life and times of Annie who supported and walked the journey with Mary and the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Formerly a teacher, Sr Judith undertook research in the Sisters of Saint Joseph Archives uncovering diaries and little-known correspondence between MacKillop family members, and in doing so wrote her book A Faith-Filled Family – Mary MacKillop’s Sisters and Brothers. It is a story of an ordinary close-knit family whose religion helped them through some difficult times. Alexander and Flora had come from Scotland to settle in Australia with Mary being the eldest of eight children who were well educated by their father and filled with the love of God learned from their mother.
With Fr Julian Tenison Woods’ anniversary of death on 7 October, I am drawn to reflect on a visit I made to his grave at Waverley Cemetery  earlier this year.
Perhaps it was because the weather was so good that day that I followed a sudden impulse to travel across Sydney by train and bus with only my phone as a guide. When I entered the gates of the cemetery, I was amazed to see so many headstones spread out across the hillside below me. The further I walked the more I felt enfolded by so many stories from the past.
On Sunday 24 September 2023, we celebrated the Vatican’s 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. In his message, Pope Francis has expressed that freedom must determine the decision to leave one’s native land.
Free to leave, free to stay.
World Day of Migrants and Refugees is a day to reflect and honour the resilience and courage of the now 100 million men, women and children who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
As a Josephite Action Group (JAG) volunteer, I have had the privilege to listen to the testimonies of the unimaginable experiences of those who have come to seek refuge in Australia. Among these disturbing stories of rape, terrorisation, torture, and loss, it is difficult to ignore the common theme of hope that they all seem to have.
Many migrants and refugees have narrowly escaped unimaginable circumstances, some have come just short of death, and yet they have emerged alive and continue to remain hopeful. Being witness to these testimonies has allowed me to see that it is indeed possible to overcome extreme adversity and continue living even when everything has fallen apart.
Carrollanne O’Brien – Eco-Hero Profile
Meet our Eco-Hero of the month – Carrollanne O’Brien who works as an Executive Assistant to the Congregational Leadership Team for the Sisters of Saint Joseph in North Sydney.
Carrollanne’s passion for environmental advocacy impacts both her professional and personal life. Working for the Sisters, she is encouraged and supported to seek out environmentally friendly office supplies, catering, and hospitality goods.
St Joseph’s by the Sea in Williamstown, Victoria, is a Sisters of Saint Joseph Spirituality Centre – a gathering place for all who seek to nurture contemplation, explore and celebrate the wonders of the Universe and Earth, nourish body, mind and spirit, develop just and respectful relationships and live into new ways of being.
There is a real sense of excitement around the place… a feeling a sense of renewal and buzz. We welcome you to join us for Eco-Spirituality Week from 13 – 19 November, ending with a Day in the Garden. An event filled with blissful bites, fascinating concepts on sustainability, cosmology, wellness, reflexology and beauty.