The Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart are proud to launch their Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The launch of the RAP took place on 16 June 2023 at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney and coincided with the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Attending the launch included representatives from Reconciliation Australia, special guests, Sisters, staff, student dancers from Redfern Jarjum College and supporters of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Although the Sisters of Saint Joseph have a long history of being in relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the Congregation is now seeking to formalise its ongoing commitment to reconciliation.
Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader, says the launch of the Innovate RAP is a significant step for the Congregation.
“Inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Sisters, in collaboration with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, have chosen this pathway to deepen our commitment to walk alongside First Nation peoples as they seek voice, treaty and truth-telling.
“Although this might be our first RAP 2023 – 2025, it is driven by a vision for a reconciled Australia accepting the legacy of its past, and where First Nations peoples can resume their rightful place. The RAP will explore and act on new initiatives through relationships, employment opportunities and supply networks.”
Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine, says this Innovate RAP is an opportunity and an invitation for the Sisters of Saint Joseph to expand their understanding of their core strengths and deepen their relationships with community, staff and stakeholders.
“By investigating and understanding the integral role the Congregation plays across its sphere of influence, the Sisters will create dynamic reconciliation outcomes, supported by and aligned with their business objectives.”
“Our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan takes us to a place of truth and greater integrity as a Congregation,” says Sr Monica.
“The soul of what matters now is respectful listening and truth-telling. We will grow as a Congregation and heal as a Nation as we listen with courage and empathy, to take significant steps to provide opportunities for greater recognition, reconciliation, and equity.”
The RAP launch was accompanied by the unveiling of a new artwork for the Sisters of Saint Joseph produced by Gumbayngirr/Dhungatti man, Richard Campbell.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph Innovate RAP is available to view online here.
Launch Photo Gallery
About the Painting and Artist
The Sisters of Saint Joseph engaged celebrated Gumbaynggirr/Dhungatti artist, Richard Campbell, to create a painting in recognition of the Congregation’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.
A survivor of the Stolen Generations, Richard was born in Bowraville in 1958. His mother was a Gumbaynggirr woman and his father was a member of the Dunghutti tribe.
In 2010, the Sisters of Saint Joseph requested the use of two of Richard’s works to be used in the Canonisation ceremony of Saint Mary MacKillop. Richard was fortunate enough to travel to Rome to witness the event. Richard has gone on to exhibit and sell artwork across New South Wales and Australia.
When commissioned to create the art for the Sisters of Saint Joseph Innovate RAP, Uncle Richard described the Rainbow Serpent meandering across time, space, and through the ancient lands, it will tell a story that is full of memories. For in this symbol lay all the answers and a path towards reconciling with Australia’s First Peoples.
The Rainbow Serpent represents transformation, the shedding of the ‘old skin’ to the present new understandings and responses contained in the Innovate RAP. The Sisters of Saint Joseph, through their Innovate RAP, are entering into the next phase of their intention ‘to learn’ and to make cultural changes within all Josephite communities and organisations, changes that respond to the profound injustices perpetrated against First Nations Peoples.
“I feel that the task/project before me,” says Richard, “and indeed the Sisters, is best encapsulated by one of the many beautiful quotes that represent Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, which I love;
“Never see a need without doing something about it.”
Acknowledgement of Country
The Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the Traditional Custodians who have sovereignty of the lands and waters where we live and work.
We respect their historical and continuing spiritual connections to country and community and pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging. We commit ourselves to the ongoing journey of reconciliation.