Noelene worked with people experiencing substance abuse, homelessness and mental health issues in the inner city of Sydney for twenty seven years.
She has also been Chairperson of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership (GSAPP) Team since it began in 2007. Its focus is to create and strengthen partnership and co-responsibility for mission as sisters and mission partners in the Asia Pacific Region.
The original mandate of the team was to plan the first Good Shepherd Partnership Gathering in the Asia Pacific Region. The Gathering held in 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, awakened in participants a deep experience of shared charism and a stronger sense of identity as Asia Pacific.
A Workshop for Province Link Persons for Partnership held in Singapore in 2010 generated momentum in shared planning for mission, and in formation and leadership development for mission partners.
The Team continues to link with provinces in Asia Pacific on matters relating to partnership for mission, and has participated in the development of the Asia Pacific Integration Committee.
‘Partnership creates greater capacity to support the growth of mission into the future.’
If someone had told me, when I joined the Good Shepherd Sisters forty-five years ago in Melbourne, that I would find myself doing pastoral work on the streets of Sydney's infamous Kings Cross for over twenty five years, I might well have fled out of the Abbotsford convent gates.
Of course when I was a young Sister in the 1960s, I would never have imagined the various ways we would live out the mission. But my work today, and the work of Good Shepherd Sisters and lay Mission Partners in Australia and New Zealand is not, in essence, different from what Good Shepherd has done since the Order was founded by St Mary Euphrasia in France in 1835. We have been touched by marginalised women and girls and tried to help them.
One of the places I worked until recently is the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney where I was a chaplain for more than a decade, supporting people who use the facility. My role at the Centre was not to try and cure drug users or to talk them into any rehabilitation treatment. Often I would just sit and have a coffee with them, listen to them and help to facilitate any further treatment they may want to pursue.
I would try to build the person’s trust and importantly let them know that they are a person who is valued. A lot of the people who used the Centre are judged by the community as not being of any value. That’s really why it is right for Good Shepherd to be a presence in such a place.
The sisters in Australia set up a Support Centre for people seeking Asylum when this was a hidden issue. Now an independent facility, ASC is celebrating 25 years
Representatives of these Asia Pacific Core Teams met on 7-8 July 2016 to develop a Co-Responsibility framework for Good Shepherd Mission
Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
Reconciliation holds special meaning in the Australian nation - it describes the long journey towards full acknowledgment of the rights of the Indigenous Peoples
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand: providing governance and enabling the sustainability and development of Good Shepherd ministries into the future
Indigenous women in Australia offered support to complete higher education. This increases their capacity for leadership, and financial empowerment