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.
Many thanks to those people who completed “The Good Oil’s” recent reader survey. Your feedback will help us to continue publishing content that is relevant to your needs and interests.
Volunteers have been integral to the life of the Good Samaritan Inn in Melbourne ever since it opened its doors 20 years ago to support women and children in need. At a special event last month, over 50 volunteers were honoured for their commitment and service to The Inn.
Sydney-siders or those visiting Sydney later this month will have the opportunity to participate in the popular Advent Festival of Readings and Songs hosted by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in their Mount St Benedict Centre Chapel, Pennant Hills.
More than 80 people from across Australia, and internationally from Japan, Kiribati and the Philippines, came together recently for a gathering to deepen their understanding of the Good Samaritan Benedictine charism and to explore ways to carry that charism into the future.
Sister Anne Dixon left Australia nearly four years ago to live and work among some of the poorest people of Bacolod in the Philippines. For Anne, it’s been a life-giving experience, but that’s not to say she doesn’t find life there difficult, frustrating and even disturbing at times.
Musings of a Leader
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.
What do we mean when we say the next generation should be better off than the previous one, asks Good Samaritan Sister Clare Condon.
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.
“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.
Love Letters from a War “is my family’s story, the story of my people”, writes Margaret-Mary Flynn. “But it is a story shared with so many Australian families, so many little country towns.”
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.
The unique challenges of competing in Rio, which so often became the headline during the Olympics, became a footnote in the Paralympics, writes Evan Ellis.
There is a link between exclusive sexist language and abusive behaviour towards women, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.
How do the Christian churches effectively counter such marketplace-driven ideas as assisted suicide, asks Garry Everett.
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”.
Sister Ann-Maree Nicholls is something of a rare species. She laughs at the idea, but agrees. Ann-Maree is the only Sister of the Good Samaritan working as a school principal in Australia. She’s also one of only two religious principals in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Faith in the Ordinary
“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.
“Before the eyes of the world, in the dead of night they came, seeking passage between their lands of desolation and the possibility of a better life.” Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento takes us on a journey from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection.
Our lives, yours and mine, are too precious to fritter away on lukewarm commitments and half-hearted vows, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner.
Being Just Neighbours
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.
“I stare at the TV numb to the soul; so much hurt and anger in this world we call a home. A little boy washed ashore, his life is at its end; and I have been shaken to the core.” Ellie Betteridge-Garvey’s song lyrics capture the sentiments of millions of …
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.
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.