June 2012

Running for a cause

Good Samaritan Sister Anne Dixon will be among the thousands of Victorians participating in next month’s ‘fun run’ event, RunMelbourne. Like many of the other entrants, Anne, 55, is an avid runner and supporter of good causes.

“I usually do a couple of ‘fun runs’ a year. It keeps me motivated to keep running and there’s a great spirit of camaraderie. And the entrance fees always go towards good causes,” Anne told The Good Oil.

“This run is different in that the participants choose a charity to run for, and are encouraged to get sponsorship.”

Anne’s charity is CatholicCare which supports the work of Catholic Prison Ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, a ministry close to her heart. As a chaplain working in a number of Victorian men’s prisons, though mainly at Melbourne’s maximum security Port Phillip Prison, Anne knows well the difficulties faced by people who are incarcerated and those who support them.

Through her fundraising efforts, Catholic Prison Ministry will be able to purchase items that many of us would regard as the basics.

“We rely on donations to pay for simple things like personal needs – toiletries, tea and coffee, rosary beads. We also like to buy inspirational books for the residents; anything that gives them some hope,” explained Anne.

“Then there are our liturgical needs, like reflective music, candles and table cloths for the different Church seasons. Many and varied are the needs!”

While Anne will participate in the Australian Institute of Fitness ten-kilometre run/walk (there is also a half-marathon, a five kilometre run/walk and a three-kilometre kids run) as a member of the CatholicCare team she’ll be running alone, something she’s quite used to doing.

“I remember reading a book at school titled Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. That’s who I feel like when I run,” she said.

“It’s an aloneness, but it’s a precious time of being with nature. I delight in the trees, which are shedding their autumn leaves at present, the fresh air, the crunch of the gravel; it’s a form of prayer for me. I sometimes ‘mantra’ my way along a five-kilometre training route; I get lost in the present moment.”

That said, Anne also enjoys the community focus of ‘fun runs’.

“Although I am running alone, I am with thousands of other like-minded people; it is very energising and inspiring,” she added.

RunMelbourne began in 1994 and is now the most successful running event in Australia per head for raising funds. Last year 20,447 participants raised $1,279,395 for charities. This year the event organisers have set a fundraising target of $1.6 million.

Anne hopes to raise at least $1,000. If you’d like to support her fundraising efforts, donations can be posted to Catholic Prison Ministry, PO Box 1670, South Preston, Victoria, 3072 (please make cheques payable to CatholicCare) or online here.

How will the funds raised be used?
  • To buy CDs for relaxation and meditation.
  • Money to assist family connections. Some people are from interstate and overseas and haven’t any way of making contact with family until they have some funds for phone calls or stationery for writing.
  • Money to buy toiletries, tea and coffee for when people first come into prison (the prison doesn’t supply tea and coffee) and as they wait for family contact and support. Those in prison can’t bring anything with them because of all the problems with hiding drugs in such items.
  • Financial support for people on re-entry to the community to buy basics for their room in a boarding house e.g. electric jug, heater, pillow etc., or additional basic items for setting up a flat.
  • Continuing to provide a welcoming place in the chapels as they are built, creating an environment to uplift the spirits of the women and men with the addition of some colour by way of the liturgical colours for table covers etc.
  • Funding for a facilitator to lead reflection or prayer days.
  • Funding for an inspirational speaker. It would be great to be able to get people in to talk to the men and women – those who have been successful in life, have overcome obstacles or who have a message of encouragement.

The Good Oil

‘The Good Oil’, the free, monthly e-journal of the Good Samaritan Sisters, publishes news, feature and opinion articles and reflective content which aims to nourish the spirit, stimulate thinking and encourage reflection and dialogue about contemporary issues from a Good Samaritan perspective.

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