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Good Samaritan Sisters launch young writers’ award

To celebrate the 160th anniversary of their life and mission as the first Catholic congregation of religious women founded in Australia, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan have launched “The Good Oil” 2017 Young Writers’ Award.

Are you buying slavery-free products?

As more and more Australians hopefully choose to buy slavery-free Easter eggs this year, both shoppers and the Federal Government are being urged to broaden their focus and shine a light on the supply chain of many of the goods that we buy every day.

Boulevard environmental project off to strong start

“Clean-up Boulevard”, a community-based environmental project initiated by the Good Samaritan Sisters in the Philippines, was officially launched last month with a community clean-up day at Boulevard involving some 400 volunteers, 50 of whom were children from the area.

Celebrating 30 years in WA outback

It’s 30 years since the Good Samaritan Sisters first arrived in the Western Australian outback parish of Mt Magnet. To mark this milestone, past and present parishioners, sisters and members of the wider community gathered earlier this month in Mt Magnet for a weekend of celebrations.

“Clean-up Boulevard” about to begin

Good Samaritan Sisters in the Philippines are about to embark on a two-year environmental project in Boulevard, a poor coastal community in Bacolod City, where garbage and pollution levels have become increasingly problematic in recent years.

Brisbane schools gearing up for centenary celebrations

Three Brisbane schools all established by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan are gearing up for a year of celebrations in 2016 to commemorate their centenaries.

New executive director for Good Sam Education

The Governing Council of Good Samaritan Education, the ecclesial community established in 2011 to oversee the ethos, mission and stewardship of the ten incorporated Good Samaritan Colleges, has announced the appointment of a new Executive Director.

Kiribati women professed as Good Sams

Two Kiribati women, Tuata Terawete and Juniko Toaua, were professed as Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict during a ceremony earlier this month which was described as moving, joyful, inspiring and prayerful.

Sister Rita fondly farewells Timor

After 15 years living and ministering in Timor Leste, Good Samaritan Sister Rita Hayes returned to Australia last week. Once she’s had “a good break”, Rita, 76, plans to begin a new ministry supporting asylum seekers and refugees in western Sydney.

“National lament” for asylum seekers during Lent

Catholic Religious Australian is inviting all people of goodwill to participate in a “National Lament” for people seeking asylum in Australia.

Musings of a Leader

November: a time to “keep your eye on death every day”

Pauline chose not to have invasive treatment, but to live each day to the full and to deal with dying and death in a positive and proactive way as cancer ravaged her body, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.

On making commitments

Good Samaritan Sister, Clare Condon, says her congregation’s recent assembly highlighted for her the power of a single voice and the importance of networking together.

Heeding Polding’s call about our first peoples

In 2010, the Commonwealth Government promised to hold a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition at or before the next election. Surely now is the time to act, says Clare Condon SGS.

Crises and opportunities

“We are witnesses of a new global world emerging and one which is being confronted by a number of ongoing events which can generally be identified as ‘crises’,” writes Clare Condon SGS.

The value of humilitas

Is it not time for the resurgence of true humilitas in our broader world of business, sport, politics and the Church, asks Clare Condon SGS.

Time to rethink our approach to asylum seekers

Sending asylum seekers to be processed in another country is politically sanctioned people-trafficking, says Clare Condon SGS. It is a failure in the moral credibility of a wealthy nation.

Feature

None of us knows

Accompanying someone into death is an experience that many of us have shared. Some people do it daily as part of their work or ministry. I know the journey personally. A little over a year ago I lost my wife to brain cancer, writes Garry Everett.

Roadside reflections

The roadside is an interesting place, writes Alice Priest. It’s an in-between place, a liminal space – for hostage-takers, healings and heroes to emerge.

We become what we pray

For Benedictines, daily, communal liturgical prayer is central to their commitment. They pray together because that is their work, writes Good Samaritan Sister Catherine McCahill.

Is there a place for solitude in our world today?

“I say that I need and desire solitude, but do I really? I know that I resist solitude and when I have the opportunity, do I know what to do with it,” asks Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.

A merciful Lent

Looking with mercy – in every aspect of life, has the potential to change me and all those I encounter, writes Good Samaritan Sister Meg Kahler.

The Year of Consecrated Life: why this, why now?

As the Year of Consecrated Life comes to an end, Good Samaritan Sister Catherine McCahill reflects on its meaning for her, and for religious more generally.

On suffering and God: a response to Stephen Fry

A “burgeoning interest” in cosmology provides Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner with a different ‘take’ on suffering and evil as well as new insights into the mystery of God and our place in the universe.

Port Pirie celebrates Good Sams’ 125-year contribution

Catholic education in the South Australian city of Port Pirie “owes its existence” to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, according to Brenda Keenan, Director of Catholic Education in the Port Pirie Diocese.

Leading by flipping the omelette

Pope Francis’ leadership differs markedly from that of his predecessors. He models two clear principles that our political leaders and, in fact all of us who lead in some capacity, would do well to emulate, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.

Could the ‘selfie’ help us during Lent?

The ‘selfie’ may provide yet another lens through which to view our approach to the Lenten season, writes Monica Dutton.

Opinion

Be bold and brave

When I was a child, to be told you had been “bold” meant you had done something wrong – usually that you had spoken out of turn or broken some other social convention. I don’t know if boys were ever called bold, writes Good Samaritan Sister Meg Kahler.

Diversity saves us from bland, monochrome world

“Thank God you’re here, I’m surrounded by NLUs!” A friend related the story of being greeted this way when she had joined a tourist group of Australians visiting another country, writes Moira Byrne Garton.

Do protest marches help any more?

While some argue that protest marches “don’t… help any more”, Natalie Lindner L’Huillier is not convinced we can throw them away just yet.

On dignity and care: a response to Andrew Denton

Perhaps those who believe their dignity is contingent on independence could reflect on their own judgements of others who require assistance, writes Moira Byrne Garton.

Meditation a catalyst for ecological conversion and action

In light of the ecological crisis the world faces, meditation is generally not rated high on the list of responses. But maybe it should be, writes Donna Mulhearn.

Building up the Paris momentum for climate action

Last year’s much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference in Paris did not deliver all that was needed. It did not even deliver all that was hoped for, but it did deliver more than most expected, says Jill Finnane.

House, but not home: youth residential care

For Australian children in residential care, living in a building with a bed, a fridge and a television does not constitute a home. A home can be a slum or a tent if it is a place of genuine and unconditional love, writes Ashleigh Green.

How do you make yourself heard?

Does it even matter if we have a perfect policy formulation in response to Australia’s refugee crisis if we cannot convince people of our point of view, asks Evan Ellis.

Can marriage change – again?

The idea of “marriage equality” is an idea of our time and we must engage with it seriously. We do not do this by merely re-stating past positions. We engage in a two-fold way, writes Garry Everett.

Forgotten warriors

An article published in “The Good Oil” last year inspired Colleen Keating of Sydney to write a poem which encourages us to remember and recognise all our ’warriors’.

Profile

Restoring an endangered ecological community

Debra Vermeer recently visited the Good Samaritan Sisters’ Wivenhoe Conservation Project at Camden on Sydney’s southern outskirts, where she witnessed some of the “ground-breaking” work underway to restore the endangered Cumberland Woodland ecosystem.

A professional role that’s deepened Marie’s spirituality

Marie Mohr says her role as Health and Well-being Coordinator for the Sisters of the Good Samaritan is one of the best jobs of her life; it enriches her professional life and nourishes her spirit.

Former ‘Dr Who girl’ returns to Lourdes Hill College

As a self-proclaimed iconoclast and a constant questioner, Janet Fielding’s life has taken her from an ordinary Catholic childhood in Brisbane to a career in acting on stage and screen, advocacy for women and young people, and a lifelong passion for what she describes as “everyday feminism”.

Thinking globally, acting locally at 15

Fifteen-year-old Mater Christi College student Caitlin MacDonald attributes her passion for environmental advocacy to a few significant influences: growing up on the land, support from her parents and being exposed to opportunities at school.

Sister Clement’s long and rich life

When Sister Clement Baseden, who turns 88 this month, is asked how she looks back on her long and rich life, she leans forward in her chair, gives a big grin that lights up her face, and says, “Well it hasn’t been boring!”

A remarkable passion for God

Monica Brown is well known in Australia and internationally as a Christian composer, teacher, facilitator and community animator. Through Emmaus Productions, now 30 years old, Monica and her collaborators continue their quest to offer creative approaches to spirituality.

A passion for people

When Sister Judy Margetts left Brisbane to join the Good Samaritan Sisters, she never dreamed her vocation would take her from the classroom, to 17 years in Kiribati, pastoral outreach in rural Queensland and now the Indigenous community of Palm Island.

Living a life of service to others

Good Samaritan Sister Felicity Hardy’s work in the Philippines has manifested her dream to be of service to others. The experience has also enriched her life in many ways, writes Asther Bascuna-Creo.

Following her passions and making a positive impact

As Catherine Cresswell explored the works and ministries of the Good Samaritan Sisters before applying for the position of Executive Director with the Good Samaritan Foundation, she began to feel at home.

A thirst for life and for justice

Good Samaritan Oblate Pauline Roach is a woman with a thirst for life and for justice, and she says it all started with the photo of an African girl on the wall of her Year 4 classroom.

Faith in the Ordinary

Some ‘fuel’ for your Lenten journey

“The Good Oil” has unearthed six podcasts for you to ponder – or to paraphrase St Benedict – to listen to with the ear of your heart. We hope you find in these podcasts some spiritual nourishment and challenge – some ‘fuel’ – for your Lenten journey.

Vague wanting

Our lives, yours and mine, are too precious to fritter away on lukewarm commitments and half-hearted vows, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.

Life as it happens

When, as is so inelegantly said, ‘life sucks’, it’s tempting to lose heart, to indulge in a spell of self-pity, to feel depressed, writes Judith Lynch.

Are you a “maybe person”?

Have you considered how you might give someone the gift of hope? The gift will exact a price, which is like the treasure you store up in heaven, writes Garry Everett.

Busyness: a modern-day affliction?

It seems there are different sides to being busy that can make it both a good thing that can drive achievement, and a bad thing that can have negative effects on one’s own well-being, writes Asther Bascuna-Creo.

What does it mean to be “hugged by God”?

“Last year I understood in a deep way what it is to be ‘hugged’ by God. I was diagnosed with serious illness. It happened very suddenly and I had no experience to help me cope,” writes Margaret Walsh.

An Emmanuel moment

God is breaking through, inviting you and me to open our ears, eyes and hearts to bring about God’s reign, writes Good Samaritan Sister, Pam Grey.

A tribute to Seamus Heaney

Good Samaritan Sister, Joan Sexton reflects on the legacy of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who died in August this year.

Finding God in the depths of silence

Real interior silence, not just the absence of noise, is a foundational spiritual discipline. So why are we so resistant to enter into it, asks Richard Rohr OFM.

Who are you looking for?

Where is God in the mess and madness of my family, our Church and the world? There are many times when I’ve stood beside the tomb weeping; looking for God, writes Virginia Ryan.

Being Just Neighbours

Small kindnesses from many

Neighbour Day began in 2003 through the efforts of one man who was disturbed by the fact that the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home in Melbourne two years after her death. Alison Brook explains why she’s a big fan of Neighbour Day.

A policy that diminishes us all

Anyone who describes asylum-seekers – regardless of how they got here – as “illegals” is guilty of perpetuating a big lie, writes Hugh Mackay.

My friend Lee

“It was obviously a big step for Lee to make friends outside of her ethnic circle,” says Asther Bascuna-Creo. “There are some migrants who have been in Australia for many, many years but have not yet made acquaintances outside of their families.”

Common threads: Francis’ encyclical and Benedict’s rule

The concerns and values expressed in Pope Francis’ new encyclical “Laudato Si” are also central to the rule of St Benedict, says Good Samaritan Sister Mary McDonald.

“I never thought this could happen to me”

When I meet someone affected by the lottery of life, how do I look after them? And what is the most caring way to respond to the question, “why did this happen to me?” asks Moira Byrne-Garton.

Where do you, or will you, push?

Good Samaritan Sister Mary McDonald echoes the advice of Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister: “To change a policy or practice, join a group that is committed to the same issue. Then, with everyone else, push”.

An invitation from creation

Good Samaritan Sister Liz Wiemers reflects on the new cosmology through a series of photographs she captured during a recent sabbatical in Ireland and Germany.

A family experience of the Good Samaritan

The story of the compassion and support received by my family from the Good Samaritan Sisters during a very difficult time has been passed down through the generations, and has never been forgotten, writes Monica Dutton.

War and peace within and beyond

Good Samaritan Sister, Patty Fawkner, reflects on a book that “expounds a profound teaching on peace-making that is as applicable to interpersonal tussles as it is to any global hostility”.

Changing our national conversation

Have you found the meanness, fearfulness and negativity of our national political discourse soul-destroying, asks Sandie Cornish.

What's on

 

Find out what's happening in the Good Samaritan community and beyond. Keep track of events in our Good Samaritan and Church calendars, as well as activities in the broader community of relevance to our faith life.