Mary MacKillop Today announces new CEO

Jane Woolford announced as new CEO of Mary MacKillop Today.

Jane Woolford

Mary MacKillop Today has announced the appointment of Jane Woolford as their new CEO, commencing 28 January 2020.

Jane joins Mary Mackillop Today with a wealth of experience gained in the international and Australian not-for-profit sectors. Her career has spanned senior management roles with Caritas Australia and Save the Children Australia, as well as various roles in the media, teaching and program coordination both locally and abroad.

Mary MacKillop Today’s Chairperson, the Hon. John Watkins AM, said he was delighted to announce Jane’s appointment:

Jane is an accomplished and values-driven leader who will be an asset to the Mary Mackillop Today team. Her track record in the not-for-profit sector is impressive and commendable. Jane has demonstrated incredible dedication to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and leadership throughout her career. We look forward to her contribution to Mary MacKillop Today.
Hon. John Watkins AM

Reflecting on her appointment, Jane said she looks forward to commencing the role in 2020.

I have long admired Mary MacKillop Today’s work, standing with vulnerable and marginalised communities and transforming the lives of people both here in Australia and overseas.
Jane Woolford
I approach the role of CEO with great enthusiasm and pride. I look forward to working alongside the team to deliver even greater access to education and learning of practical life skills to those who need it most. Jane Woolford

Inspired by the spirit of Saint Mary MacKillop, Mary MacKillop Today works with local communities in Australia, Timor-Leste, Peru, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, focusing on building dignity through learning for life in the areas of education, health, financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods to support and empower people from all walks of life, right across the world.

For further information visit

Media contact: Emily Hickman
Ph: (02) 8912 2777

ABC’s Fierce Girls features Mary MacKillop

Mary MacKillop — the girl who became a saint

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has recently featured Mary MacKillop on their new podcast series called Fierce Girls.

The ABC states that “Fierce Girls is a show aimed at kids 7-11 years old (and their parents) and tells the inspiring stories of some of Australia’s most extraordinary women. Each amazing story is narrated by equally fierce and fabulous women like singer Amy Shark, the first female Governor- General Dame Quentin Bryce and Orange is the New Black actor, Yael Stone.

One week’s episode, narrated by star of Little Lunch and Home and Away actor Olivia Deeble featured Saint Mary MacKillop. The episode features the story-telling of the great work of Mary MacKillop.

You’re invited to access the podcast and resources provided by the ABC below:

‘Mary MacKillop — the girl who became a saint’ Podcast

Fierce Girls: Mary MacKillop Poster (PDF)

Fierce Girls: Mary MacKillop Colouring Page (PDF)

Brand a Paver

Brand a paver at new St Anthony’s Family Care Village with the Sisters of Saint Joseph

In affiliation with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, St Anthony’s Family Care invite members of the public to donate a commemorative paver at the new St Anthony’s Care Village in Croydon, Sydney.

In September 2019, St Anthony’s Family Care broke ground on the re-development of a large 5,500m2 site in Croydon over the next 14 months, constructing an Inclusive Early Learning Centre, three short-term residences for young people with disabilities, and an activity centre for children and young people with disabilities.

The single-storey village on Alexandra Avenue will offer state-of-the-art facilities in a beautiful environment enabling St Anthony’s to continue to service the local community for many decades to come. Construction for this is well underway and completion of Stage 1 is expected in early 2020.

The site re-development is fully funded through many years of support from donors and has not received any government funding. On completion of the re-development in October 2020, a commemorative path of pavers will be laid through the centre of the village

St Anthony’s Family Care and the Sisters of St Joseph invite the public to buy a commemorative paver as part of a fundraising effort to assist with construction costs.

Joanna Najdzion, Chief Executive Officer for St Anthony’s Family Care, said “St Anthony’s Family Care is proud to provide a new Village for children and young people, including young people living with disabilities. Purchasing a paver is a great way to be part of St Anthony’s history and to mark your support of this important project.

“The commemorative pavers can contain printed text, a hand-sketched drawing, or a company logo – we invite the public to get as creative as they like to support children and young disabled people in our community,” she said. “The number of pavers available is limited, so be sure to get in fast!” she added.

St Anthony’s Family Care has been meeting the needs of children and families in the inner west since 1952, in affiliation with the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Josephite Ministries.

For more information, please contact:

Kathleen Norman
Communications Manager
Sisters of Saint Joseph | +61 2 8912 2722 | +61 438 006 566

Please see below artists’ impressions of the new St Anthony’s Family Care Village:

A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian Book

Sue and Leo Kane Announce the Release of A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian

Mary MacKillop Place Café and St Paul’s Publications are proud to offer the latest work from Sue and Leo Kane: A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian, which hit bookshelves on Friday 15 November 2019.

Inspired by the lives and legacies of Saint Mary MacKillop (the first Australian canonised saint) and Father Julian Tenison Woods, A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian invites the reader to take a moment and pause throughout the day, allowing their mind and soul to catch up with the hustle and bustle of daily life.  

The book contains a series of meditations, which can be followed according to the calendar or dipped into at random as the reader pleases.

Each meditation draws an insight from the wisdom of Saint Mary and Father Julian, the co-founders of The Sisters of Saint Joseph, whose writings and teachings continue to resonate in the hearts of people today.

After extensive careers in Catholic education, Sue and Leo Kane have long been inspired by the spiritual legacy of Mary and Julian, and more recently by the experience of helping raise their four grandchildren. A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian reminds the reader to remain grounded in the everyday, and that there is always room in our lives for a cup of tea and a moment of reflection.

“It has taken us almost three years to be able to launch this book, gathering insights to help our readers take a moment to pause, reflect and re-energise throughout the day,” said Sue Kane. “Everything within it is very close to my heart, inspired by two extraordinary spiritual leaders, and I wanted share it with others.”

This publication follows the very successful The Little Brown Book and The Little Brown Book Too from Sue and Leo Kane, which had numerous reprints to keep up with demand.

A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian book was launched in the Tenison Room at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney at 2pm on Friday 15 November hosted and entertained by young students from Mount St Joseph College at Milperra.

Complete with a foreword by Sister Monica Cavanagh, Leader of the Congregational Leadership Team for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, beautiful sketches by Judy Mitchell, and vibrant cover art by Brother John Mahon FMS, the book makes an ideal Christmas gift.

For more information, please contact:

Kathleen Norman
Communications Manager
Sisters of Saint Joseph | +61 2 8912 2722 | +61 438 006 566

Purchase ‘A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian’ from St Pauls Publications

Medevac Rallies

Last weekend, refugee supporters held rallies around Australia to urge the Government not to overturn the Medevac legislation, which enables refugees in Papua New Guinea (PNG) or Nauru to be brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment.

The rallies culminated in an all-night vigil outside Parliament House in Canberra on Sunday night (10 November). I was privileged to be part of this vigil, organised by Rural Australians for Refugees (RaR), together with rural Australians, other religious, and representatives from a number of faith traditions.

Bishop Vincent Long opened the vigil, speaking of his visit to PNG last week and the terrible conditions under which the refugees are suffering. He contrasted this situation with the welcome that was accorded him and many thousands of Vietnamese refugees who came to Australia as boat people. His concern with the change of culture in this country, and the apathy towards some of the most vulnerable people in our world, was echoed by the Catholic Bishops Conference in PNG, where their spokesman, Fr Licini, said bluntly:

Telling these people to start a life in PNG, well you will kill them. If Australia intends to kill that way – 200 people – well, you will take historic responsibility. Fr Giorgio Licini

RaR president, Louise Redmond, Senator Kristina Keneally, and former independent Cathy McGowan all spoke passionately of the cruelty being suffered by these refugees, calling on the Government, and indeed all Australians, to return to a culture of a fair go, justice and compassion. “To sleep out here in the cold and damp is our small way of saying we as Australians do not accept this,” Ms Redmond said .

The goodness and concern of those participating was palpable. It is clear they are part of a growing movement of concern around the country. It was a privilege to be part of the experience. We continue to hope and pray that their passion and commitment will touch the hearts and minds of Senate members as they meet this week.

Jan Barnett rsj

Our Volunteers Celebrate in Gratitude

It has been a big year for JAG volunteers!

Maddie Mactal and Karen Oxley

There have been pool parties for our Sudanese friends, picnics with our Iraqi families and a weekend away with the newly arrived refugee families to cultivate relationships and grow long-lasting friendships. Amidst all this activity some of our volunteers have had the Higher School Certificate (HSC) to contend with… and now that chapter is complete.

As a congratulations and in thanksgiving for all the goodness our volunteers share, we came together to pay tribute to our volunteer Year 12 students in prayer and party.

We gathered around Saint Mary MacKillop’s tomb to recall those times in the year where we felt we had made a difference. Then we prayed for the courage, wisdom and tenacity to continue to work with those in need. In the link provided below, you are invited to pray the prayer of gratitude that we used.

One hard-working young woman volunteer was acknowledged with a special justice award. Maddie Mactal has been an active member in her school justice cohort at Mount St Joseph, Milperra for many years and was an instigator in bringing new volunteers to JAG. Maddie’s humility, kindness, genuine love for her friends and her proactive drive to get the job done have been an inspiration to us all. It was an honour well deserved.

Afternoon tea was shared and we reflected on our work for 2019. In true Josephite fashion we looked to the future and planned for 2020 with great enthusiasm and optimism.

A huge thank you must go out to Sr Maria Sullivan and Sr Jan Barnett for their support, encouragement and creativity; to Mary MacKillop Today for their financial assistance and to our volunteers. If these young people are an indication of what we have to look forward to in future leaders and policy makers – we will all be just fine with them in charge.

God bless all.

Karen Oxley
Volunteers Co-ordinator
Josephite Justice Network

Prayer of Gratitude by Sr Joyce Rupp O.S.M.

JAG volunteers

Bridgeteers Build Prizewinning Bridge for the Aurecon Competition

Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College, Altona (MSJ) was lucky to be chosen to host the Victorian state finals of the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition this year.

Aurecon Bridge Building Competition offers secondary school students a ‘real-world’ experience of what they can look forward to as future engineering students and professionals. Students are given a set of specifications and they use them to build the strongest bridge possible. The College team that builds the strongest bridge that can sustain the greatest weight is named the winner.

Congratulations to the MSJ student team, Augustina Baw Baw, Tam Maryoe and Sarvleen Kaur who won first prize for the strongest bridge and $500 prize money for the College. This was an outstanding achievement considering the competition from 42 other Colleges from across the State. Thank you to their teacher, Thy Nguyen, who has supported the students throughout the competition and organised MSJ to be the host College.

We look forward to seeing what these three very talented potential engineers achieve in the future and life beyond MSJ.

In the students’ own words:

“On September 18, MSJ hosted the State Final of the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition, an engineering challenge for secondary schools across Australia and New Zealand. This year we were up against 42 other schools in Victoria. Augustina, Tam and I worked together to design a bridge using the materials provided, including balsa wood, string and glue. We named our team The Three Bridgeteers. After many practice runs, we designed a bridge which was made up of a lot of triangle trusses, which are very strong structures.

We named our construction the Royal Trust Bridge. It weighed less than 200 grams and held 85.6kg. Our team won first place for the strength award and collected $500 prize money for our College. We were very happy with our achievement which was a great improvement from last year when our bridge only held 44kg.

It was amazing how many different and unique designs schools came up with for their bridges. We are very inspired by this competition to follow a career in engineering. We enjoyed this experience and wish we could do it again. It was very rewarding and something that we will carry in our hearts for the rest of our lives.”

Augustina Baw Baw, Tam Maryoe and Sarvleen Kaur

Nicole McGee
Marketing & Communications Officer

Mount St Joseph’s Girls College

Altona, Victoria

View the Aurecon Bridgebuilding Story here

30th Anniversary of the El Salvador Martyrs

On 16 November marks the 30th anniversary of the deaths of the six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Savador.

These two links will take you to prayerful reflection on the call to nonviolence:

Homily from the funeral Mass

‘El Salvador Reality Pends Justice Romance’ by Fr Andrew Hamilton (Eureka Street)

Thumbnail image: El Salvador Flag International obtained from Max Pixel. Used with permission.