St Joseph’s Spirituality & Education Centre, Kincumber South – Mary of the Cross Walk.

After a period of discernment and review, the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 2023 launched a new ‘whole of ministry’ approach to their spirituality and heritage programs – including and going beyond the spirituality and heritage centres across Australia. This whole of ministry approach will continue to respond to the spirituality needs in our community in a contemporary manner.

The first stage of this new approach was the appointment of a Board in late 2023. This Board includes Chair Natalie Acton, Rob Kennaugh, Josie Vescio, Brianna Ragel and Andy Kuppe, and has been meeting monthly. I was appointed Director of Spirituality Ministry, commencing in early March this year, and Xavier Crimmins joined the new enterprise as Chief Executive Officer in April. The transference of governance to the new entity will take place on 1 July 2024.

The Josephite Spirituality Centres around Australia include the Mission and History Centre in Hobart (Tasmania), St Joseph’s by the Sea, Williamstown (Victoria), Kilmolee, Safety Bay (Western Australia), St Joseph’s Centre for Reflective Living, Norwest (NSW), St Joseph’s Spirituality and Education Centre, Kincumber (NSW), Mary MacKillop Precinct, Adelaide (South Australia), and Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre, East Melbourne (Victoria). All of these centres are living out the Josephite Spirit very effectively in their own ways, under excellent leadership.

While Josephite spirituality ministries have been offering high quality and effective programs for decades, there is always a need to reflect and consider how best to serve the needs of the community. Australian culture continues to change, becoming increasingly individualistic and secular in more recent times. We take this into account and listen to the promptings of the Spirit as we continue to develop and consider new approaches and plan for the future. Pope Francis (2013) reminds us to find “new paths of creativity” and “more eloquent signs and words with new meanings for today’s world”.

There are many wonderful Josephite Ministries that overlap with Spirituality Ministries. These include the Josephite Laudato Si’ Action Plan team including the Eco-Spirituality team, Rural School of Faith Leadership, Josephite Justice Network, Josephite Companions and the Association of Josephite Affiliated Secondary Schools (AJASS). All of these groups are doing great work and all would fit under the banner of ‘spirituality’ in their own, distinct ways.

Part of the work has been a ‘gap analysis’, which has included dialogue with other Religious Congregations with a view to understanding what is being offered, what can be learned and where the gaps might be. This has been a very worthwhile exercise, with possibilities for collaboration also emerging.

Planning for 2025 is underway. Michael Bezzina (2024) has noted that successful spirituality offerings are experiential, relational, have substance and should be inclusive. We have a great mix of new and experienced staff to continue to bring these offerings to life for current and new generations of people who are looking for meaning and purpose and the opportunity to enrich their own spirituality and faith. As Mary MacKillop (1874) wrote, “there where you are, you will find God”.

Eamonn Pollard
Director Spirituality Ministry