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The Handover of Leadership of the Sisters of Saint Joseph

March 05, 2014

On 1 March 2014, in the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney, the 15th successor to Mary MacKillop - Monica Cavanagh, formally took up office as Congregational Leader.

In the presence of many Sisters from across the Congregation, family and friends the ritual of handover took place within the Eucharist. On behalf of all the Sisters and all with whom the Sisters are in partnership, Sister Fayne Plant from the NSW Region expressed gratitude and appreciation to Sr Anne Derwin and her Council - Sisters Eileen Lenihan, Sheila McCreanor, Ann Gilroy and Annette Arnold. In response Anne and her Council stated that they had completed their term of office and expressed their thanks to God and the Sisters for their love and trust over the past six years. Fayne also extended the Sisters gratitude to the Regional Leaders who will complete their term of office on 19 March - TransPacifico Region - Colleen Keeble; NSW Region - Mary Quinlan; Victoria-Tasmania Region - Josephine Dubiel; CentreWest Region - Marion Gambin and Irish Region - Margaret O'Sullivan.

On behalf of all the Sisters Fayne called forth from among the gathering the Sisters who had been elected to the ministry of leadership in our Congregation for the next six years - Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh and her Councillors Sisters Catherine Shelton, Marion Gambin, Louise Reeves and Maryellen Thomas.

Anne Derwin ritually asked Monica if she would take up this office and serve according to the role as described in the Sister's Constitution: as ‘keeping alive the apostolic zeal at the heart of the charism, helping to break new ground at the service of the reign of God, while maintaining strong bonds of unity’. Monica replied in these words: 'With the grace of God I do'. Monica then asked her Council members if they would accept the office for which they had been elected.

Sister Antoinette Baldwin shared a reflection which brought together the mandate of the 26th General Chapter, the Scripture proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word and the call to leadership.  She used the following quotation from Jan Novokta's song, 'We Go Forth' ( Roots and Wings) to bring these elements together:

'We stand here together, hand in hand, side by side. We walk into Mystery for the sake of all!
We go forth as one, as one we stand strong. Letting go, letting in, we emerge with new wings!'

The text of the reflection can be downloaded below.

At the end of the Eucharist Monica called forth the new Regional Leaders who will take up office on March 19 - TransPacifico Region - Annette Arnold; NSW Region - Mary Ellen O'Donoghue; Victoria-Tasmania Region- Kerrie Cusack;CentreWest Region - Margaret Cleary and Irish Region - Pauline Morgan.  Monica presented each with their Letter of Appointment.

At the conclusion of the Eucharist everyone joined in praying the blessing for each other, going forth to continue to live the Gosepl in the Spirit of Joseph.


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