When Good Samaritan Sisters Elizabeth Brennan and Christine Manning look back on their time at the Mount St Benedict Centre in Pennant Hills, it is with deep gratitude for the people they met and the partnerships they forged over the years.
Serving the community is a significant part of the life of religious sisters, but it’s not often you meet a sister who works as a public servant for government. Recently, Good Samaritan Sister Catherine Norman retired after 25 years of public service with the Hunter New England Area Health Service.
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.
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.
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”.
Over 200 people from diverse walks of life came together in Sydney last month to witness and celebrate the perpetual profession of Sister Sarah Puls as a Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict.
The first female Aboriginal student sponsored by the Good Samaritan Sisters’ Rural Outreach program has graduated after completing Year 12 at Nagle Catholic College in Geraldton, Western Australia.
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Musings of a Leader
Integrity and hypocrisy play out in all aspects of societal life; in politics, business, religion and even sport, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
If we are to be prophetic for our time, which is the fundamental calling of religious life in the Church, then changes beyond our contrivance are before us daily, says Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
If but one broken relationship could be mended, our Christmas, our God-with-us, might just be real for one other person, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
What speech should be free, and what speech has no place in a civilised democratic society, asks Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
I am grateful for the decision of my sisters to venture to Japan in 1948 however “imprudent, untimely and injudicious” it was from a rational point of view, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
Inner enemies such as jealousy, envy, revenge, obsessive guilt, pride, embittered anger can cripple my capacity to reach out to others in a spirit of reconciliation and pardon, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
Vocation must be recognised and fostered within every person. There can be no special status for anyone, writes Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
Who amongst our world leaders has the capacity and the skill to engage in a long-term healing process for a wounded world, especially in the Middle East, asks Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
Two weeks out from a Federal election, may we all weigh up what is most important and precious to us as a people and as residents of this earth, says Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies are like an infected sore eating away at the fabric of society, says Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
In this special feature, internationally respected anthropologist and theologian Father Gerry Arbuckle analyses the global reality of fundamentalism. He says: “The disturbing fact is that every individual and culture is capable of fundamentalist attitudes and actions”.
For 13 million years, since the Big Bang until now, death has been part of life. We know that, and as Christians we believe that death is the prelude to new life. We call it the Paschal Mystery. But what do these words, Paschal Mystery, mean, asks Good Samaritan Sister …
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.
“I think we in the West have often sanitised, romanticised and tamed Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus through our nativity sets and carols,” writes Good Samaritan Sister Marella Rebgetz.
It’s that time of year when “The Good Oil” invites some of its readers to nominate a book they particularly enjoyed and would recommend to others for the summer holidays. The main criterion was that the book stimulated their mind or nourished their spirit.
“The Word was made flesh and lived among us… and the world did not know him.” Be gentle with their unknowing, writes Judith Lynch. Your life and your words can untie the God-chimes and bring the Word of God to new life this Christmas.
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.
This year’s Social Justice Statement from Australia’s Catholic Bishops focuses on the value and dignity of older people. In her address at the launch of the Statement, Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner asked: “what do the elderly of our world teach me for the journey of life?”
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.
Across the western world, people are revolting against political and economic systems which are demonstrably unfair and which polarise rich and poor. Redemptorist Father Bruce Duncan looks at growing inequality in the US and elsewhere, and how neoliberal philosophy influenced the 2016 Federal election in Australia.
Monica Dutton reviews the newly-released book “The Attachment: Letters from a most unlikely friendship” – between a writer and an 80-year-old Catholic priest, both of whom have written for “The Good Oil”.
We should be reluctant to let economic arguments trump the profound human ones for leaving penalty rates where they are, writes Evan Ellis.
This year the pain of the passion story may contain a deeper significance than ever before, says Tony Doherty. And with it a new sense of adult responsibility we all bear to remake this harsh and gentle world.
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.
I admit it: despite a life of deep involvement with the Catholic Church, I now feel on the fringe. I haven’t moved much – or have I? asks Andrea Dean.
How we name another, how we speak of them, St Benedict reminds us, is more a reflection of our own heart and our desire to build up or break down the bonds of community, writes Good Samaritan Sister Catherine Slattery.
“Are you an ecclesial person?” It’s a loaded question because it is a radical question. It will take us to places we may not wish to go, to answers we may not like, says Garry Everett.
The 25th anniversary of East Timor’s Santa Cruz massacre will be especially poignant for those families who still long for a body to bury, some physical link to a child, a brother, a sister who didn’t come home that day in 1991, writes Josephite Sister Susan Connelly.
In our wealthy and stable society, the most dispossessed and vulnerable today are the mentally ill, writes Margaret-Mary Flynn. The ones most needing mercy and care may be sitting in inner despair beside us at Mass, or standing alone at a family barbecue.
One of the biggest gifts we can give one another is to honour and validate someone’s expression of suffering, be it physical, spiritual, emotional or a combination, and not judge or offer solutions about how they feel about it, writes Joanna Thyer.
Former Mount St Benedict College student, Julie Knutsen, now an academic, educator, researcher and artist, is hoping to introduce a program to Australia which improves children’s literacy through art.
Marie Milne says her life as a Good Samaritan Oblate underpins all areas of her life. “For me, it’s about going inward in order to go outward,” she says.
Looking back, Sister Catherine Slattery recalls that her vocation and her work, both as a teacher and in promoting the Good Samaritan Benedictine charism in schools, is a long way from her original career plans.
“It’s so aptly named The Good Samaritan Inn,” says Mary O’Donohue, “because it is reaching out to people in their most vulnerable moments, and caring for them and making sure they’re well cared for when you send them lovingly on their way again.”
Walking down Brunswick Street in inner city Melbourne with self-described “feminist-activist nun” Sister Mary John Mananzan is a unique lesson in the power of culture to shape, to transform, and also to conceal.
At 93, Sister Mary Gregory has witnessed enormous change in the world. She’s also experienced significant change in her own life. But unlike many of us, Mary hasn’t resisted change, even when it’s brought suffering and loss. She has been open to change. She’s also been an agent of change.
Two little girls from Sudan have reminded Sister Mary Randle why, after 50 years, she is still a Sister of the Good Samaritan, writes Peter Bugden.
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”.
Faith in the Ordinary
A poem for Easter week from Good Samaritan Sister Pam Grey.
Pilgrimage can be undertaken anywhere, any day, says Donna Mulhearn. It encompasses overseas travel and trekking long distances, but it can also mean heading to the nearest bushwalk, public Labyrinth, and – she suggests – it can be done without leaving your lounge-room chair.
“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.
Christmas beckons us to be the gardeners of hope, says Sydney poet Colleen Keating.
In the slipstream of life, in the eyes of innocence, hope awaits us all on our wandering paths through life, writes Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento.
The greatest awakening of my World Youth Day pilgrimage took place when I got back home, writes Ashleigh Green.
“At the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam I met Rembrandt’s mother, and brought her home packaged in a cardboard tube – my souvenir of two days in Holland. Decades later she sits in solitary splendour on my bedroom wall,” writes Judith Lynch.
We can create relationships of stability and hope in fragmenting and fractious times by recognising “the call of the moment and responding to it”, says Good Samaritan Sister Pam Grey.
With the Federal election looming in Australia, Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento offers us all – but particularly politicians, candidates and voters – a prayerful poem to ponder.
“Not conscious that you have been seeking suddenly you come upon it,” wrote the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas in his poem “Arrival”. Has this ever been your experience, asks Good Samaritan Sister Pam Grey.
Being Just Neighbours
Home is our sanctuary, our safe haven, our Glocca Morra, writes Roisin Kelly. But what about those fleeing war-torn countries like Syria? Where is their home?
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.
Before setting out, I was uncertain about the journey ahead of me, but I have returned home and to school with a renewed sense of self and an understanding of how I can help, and learn from, others, writes Melbourne student Khiem (Kevin) Tran.
Anyone who describes asylum-seekers – regardless of how they got here – as “illegals” is guilty of perpetuating a big lie, writes Hugh Mackay.
Labour exploitation in Australia is a massive problem and becoming worse. And it’s not like our parliamentarians are unaware of the facts, writes Good Samaritan Sister Sarah Puls.
As Catholics, we have a great history that includes meat-free Fridays, vegetarian contemplative orders and powerful social justice statements, writes Mercy Sister Elizabeth Young. Isn’t it time to reassess our eating habits and stand for compassionate consumption?
It’s a year since Pope Francis’ ground-breaking encyclical “Laudato Si” was released. Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Tess Corkish outlines the impact of the Pope’s eco-manifesto, particularly here in Australia.
“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.”
On the weekend before world leaders gather in Paris for the UN climate summit, millions of people will gather in cities throughout the world and march together for global action on climate change. Good Samaritan Sister Veronica Quinn is one of those who’ll be marching.
It’s hard to believe, but in the same week that Japan remembered the horrors of the 1945 nuclear bombings, and only four-and-a-half-years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese Government restarted the country’s nuclear power program, writes Good Samaritan Sister Haruko Morikawa.
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