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The Sisters of the Good Samaritan and Rosebank College, Five Dock in Sydney are both celebrating significant milestones in 2017. It’s 160 years since the congregation was founded and 150 years since Rosebank College began.
On a recent visit to Australia to celebrate her golden jubilee as a Sister of the Good Samaritan, Sister Yoshi Suzukawa, from Japan, said she clearly remembered the first time she ever saw a Catholic religious sister.
Good Samaritan Sister Mary O’Shannassy of Melbourne was among the 958 people recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours list. Mary was awarded an Order of the Australia Medal (OAM) for her “service to the community through church and social welfare bodies”.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Musings of a Leader
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ‘selfie’ may provide yet another lens through which to view our approach to the Lenten season, writes Monica Dutton.
Good Samaritan Sisters, Sarah Puls and Bernadette Corboy, reflect on what religious life means to them. In doing so, they consider some of the questions for women today who might be thinking about religious life as a ‘Good Sam’.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
One of the significant and pressing pastoral theological issues currently dividing opinion among the hierarchy and among the laity of the Church, is the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics, and their access to eucharist, writes Garry Everett.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Our lives, yours and mine, are too precious to fritter away on lukewarm commitments and half-hearted vows, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Good Samaritan Sister, Joan Sexton reflects on the legacy of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who died in August this year.
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.
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.
Our new self, born of reflection from reading, may seek greater intimacy with God and others, writes Good Samaritan Sister, Joan Sexton.
Being Just Neighbours
Anyone who describes asylum-seekers – regardless of how they got here – as “illegals” is guilty of perpetuating a big lie, writes Hugh Mackay.
“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.”
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
Have you found the meanness, fearfulness and negativity of our national political discourse soul-destroying, asks Sandie Cornish.
I’m sure that somebody reading this has been affected either directly or indirectly by mental illness. I have. Mental health problems, suicide and attempted suicide have touched my life in so many ways, writes Marie Lunt.
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.