Update 14 October 2021: Sr Monica Cavanagh reflects on the themes and achievements of the first Assembly.

Sr Monica Cavanagh on the First Assembly

Dear Friends,

The long-awaited first session of Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council begins this Sunday, 3 October. After a long process of discernment and hard work, hundreds of delegates will gather to undertake “the challenging task of trying to understand what it means to belong to the Catholic Church in Australia at this particular moment in our history and what God is asking of us as his Church now and into the future.” (Instrumentum Laboris, 2) Among these delegates are many Sisters of Saint Joseph.

“A Plenary Council is the highest formal gathering of all local churches in a country. Our Plenary Council is being held so that we can dialogue about the future of the Catholic Church in Australia.” In anticipation of the first session we offer four reflections from sisters who have participated at different levels:

Monica Cavanagh rsj, who in her capacity as Congregational Leader will be a member of the Council, and who has also run facilitation sessions on synodality and listening

Plenary Council 2021: Mary MacKillop Inspires Us To Be A Heart-Centred Church

Marion Gambin rsj, a member of the Plenary Council Facilitation Team

Plenary Council 2021: An Opportunity For An Inclusive Church

Jo Brady rsj, a liaison officer for the Plenary Council Working Group in the Archdiocese of Sydney

Dignity, Service, Synodality: The Plenary Council’s Josephite Values

Chris Schwerdt rsj, who with many other sisters and companions attended the Adelaide Archdiocesan Assembly earlier in September

Plenary Council 2021: A View From The Grassroots

We hope that these reflections show the breadth of our Congregation’s commitment to the Plenary Council and the future of the Catholic Church in Australia, as well as the personal efforts and sentiments of each of the writers.

Please join us in prayer and thanksgiving as we prepare for this landmark event in the life of the church.