June Prayer Intention: Families

Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – For Families.

Each month, Pope Francis asks for our prayers for a specific intention. For the month of June, the prayer intention is for families.

Family Ties

Within the family, bonds can be strong, helpful and a valuable gift. Others can be torn apart after tragedy or trauma. As Pope Francis urges us to pray for families, the history of many religious groups reflects the unconscious influences parents and sibling can have.

Last month while exploring our family tree, I discovered the O’Mara family: sisters in religion as well as in life. Another interesting fact is that two of them led their Congregation in Goulburn.

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Australian National Pilgrimage 2022

St Mary MacKillop statue located at St Mary of the Cross Square opposite Mary’s birth site in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne – one of the sites visited on the Australian National Pilgrimage.

In the Footsteps of Mary MacKillop – Bookings for Australian National Pilgrimage Now Open

Mary MacKillop Place and the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart are delighted to welcome back pilgrims to its popular Australian National Pilgrimage: In the Footsteps of Mary MacKillop. The next pilgrimage will be running from 18 – 29 October 2022 and will visit many places associated with Mary MacKillop’s life and ministry in Victoria, South Australia and Sydney.

The Pilgrimage is run by Mary MacKillop Place and will be led by a Sister from the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the inaugural Director of the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre, East Melbourne.

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Celebrating 130 Years of Education

A reflection by Sr Maureen McDermott rsj on an exceptional milestone and celebration.

It was with a joyous and grateful heart that I journeyed home after the celebrations of 130 years of education at St Joseph’s School, Hillston, New South Wales on Tuesday 3 May.

The celebrations began with Eucharist concelebrated by Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE and the parish priest, Fr Christopher J Lim, for the parish community, in which the pupils were the focus. The spirit of Mary MacKillop was tangible as the entrance hymn in praise of Mary was sung with great gusto.

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A hand-up not a hand-out

Judy, one of Mary MacKillop Today’s dedicated Financial Inclusion Officers working with a NILS recipient. Photo by Rachael Lenehan.

CEO of Mary MacKillop Today, Jane Woolford, explains how affordable access to financial services can stop the cycle of poverty.

Imagine your fridge breaks down one day — but you simply can’t afford to buy a new one to ensure you have fresh food to feed your family. Would you take out a loan to get the money you desperately need right away — even if it means falling into a debt trap?

Hardship is rife in Australia, with more than 1 in 6 households unable to raise $2,000 for an emergency. The combination of the pandemic, floods and droughts, rising fuel prices, and the housing market has sent the cost of living skyrocketing.

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Celebrating June Feast Days with Mary MacKillop

During the month of June, we have the opportunity as followers of Mary MacKillop, to recall and celebrate the great feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (24 June) and St John the Baptist (25 June).

Our Josephite constitutions expresses Mary’s hope that:

God’s compassionate love, symbolised for Mary MacKillop by the Sacred Heart, would become a reality for her sisters and the people with whom they shared their lives.Constitutions – Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart

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Trinity Sunday – Invitation to dance

The Trinity by Rublev showing the three Angels being hosted by Abraham at Mambré.

Attempts to explain the Trinity are multiple. St Patrick is said to have used a shamrock to illustrate that the Three are One. The Russian iconographer, Rublev, offered us a beautiful image where the three appear equal around a table and there is a space for the observer to join them. Hildergard of Bingen left us an image of the Christ figure surrounded by a golden circle representing the Spirit, enclosed in a larger circle representing the light of God, Father.

In another relational representation, the Cappadocian (Eastern Turkey) Fathers of the third and fourth centuries, offered us the image of God as a circular movement of total outpouring and perfect receiving among three intimate partners. The word used by these wise men was perichoresis which comes from the same root word as choreography, so the Trinity is relating in a dance of love, into which we are invited.

So, how might these representations influence the life of you and me?

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Sesquicentenary of the NSW Sisters of Saint Joseph 2022

New South Wales Region Sesquicentenary logo.

This July, the Sisters of Saint Joseph will celebrate 150 years of the Congregation’s presence in NSW since their arrival in Perthville in 1872.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph was founded by Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods in 1866 in Penola, South Australia.

The first ministry of the Congregation was the opening of a school for all the children of that small distant town. The education being offered was an important step in breaking the cycle of poverty that had trapped so many of the children’s parents, struggling to make a go of it in the pioneering times of colonial Australia. By the end of that first year there were four sisters.

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Pentecost 2022

Photo by Akindele Ibukun.

One of the joys of my recent participation in the International Union of Superiors General’s (UISG) meeting in Rome, was the deep sense of the Spirit moving in and among us.

On a number of occasions, we were asked to pray the Our Father in our own language. This profound experience drew me into the reality of the first Pentecost where Luke records in the Acts of the Apostles – each one understood in their own language: ‘We heard them telling the wonders of God in our own languages.’ (Acts 2:11) At this moment in the Assembly, there was a deep sense of communion among us. As the days progressed, the call to work in collaboration with one another grew stronger – an indicator of the Spirit’s presence with us.

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