L-R: Sr Joan Murphy, PLT, Ms Stella Avramopoulos, CEO Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, Sr Monica Walsh, Province Leader, Sr Bridget Paily, Congregational Leadership Team, Sr Caroline Price, PLT, Sr Anne Dalton, PLT.
Staying in touch with local communities is key to keeping Good Shepherd’s mission strong around the world.
One way the Sisters stay in touch is by having Link Councillors connect with each other and mission partners in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
In August we were privileged to meet Sr Bridget Paily, a Link Councillor within the Congregational Leadership Team, who came to learn more about Australia and New Zealand.
“We have to maintain a global understanding of the Good Shepherd Congregation,” said Sr Bridget. “The realities of each region are very different so we have to constantly ask ‘what do people need?’ and ‘how can we help one another?’”
Every six years the Congregational Leadership Team appoints Link Councillors who visit their respective regions. Link Councillors forge relationships with Province Leaders who arrange visits and open up lines of communication.
Sr Bridget added, “Once we visit a province it’s easier to understand. We know the people better. We learn what their challenges are, what’s changing, what direction the province is taking and how it relates to the Congregation’s direction statement.
“When we return from our visits we debrief with other Link Councillors. We put together everything we have learnt so we have a current picture of our global realities.”
Sr Bridget is based in Rome and is the direct link to Australia/Aotearoa NZ, Singapore/Malaysia, Lebanon/Syria, Germany/Albania, Austria/Switzerland/Czech Republic and New York/Toronto.
In her recent visit to Australia/Aotearoa NZ, Sr Bridget met with Sisters and mission partners in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (Australia) and Auckland (New Zealand).
“It gave me a great insight into the work mission partners do,” said Sr Bridget. “I didn’t know in detail how mission partners support the Sisters or provide services to community.
“I saw the great effort and enthusiasm that mission partners put into their work. It was very rich and informative to spend time with teams in Good Shepherd’s community services and Good Shepherd Microfinance.
"Two programs in particular stood out for me: St Clare’s School in Western Australia and Waranara School in New South Wales (Australia).
“What struck me is that students who nearly dropped out of mainstream education have found a new path at these alternative schools. I’ve been reflecting on how they’ve been able to overcome their personal difficulties with the help of so many different types of professionals at the schools.”
While she was visiting Waranara School, two students took Sr Bridget on a tour of the school. “It was fantastic. The students took on their leadership roles. They explained their daily time table, what they have been working on and told me how happy they were to be in such a school.”
In addition to her role as a Link Councillor, Sr Bridget is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Circle.
“There are 9 provinces or units working across 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Each year there’s a general meeting to discuss what needs to be done in each province and to give insight into the reality of each region.
“A lot of networking takes place regarding justice and peace issues, formation and partnership across the region. It’s also a time for introspection and reflection on what we can contribute to the Asia-Pacific region.”
Sr Bridget continues on the Board of Good Shepherd International Foundation along with Sr Ellen Kelly, Congregational Leader, and Sr Hanan Youssef, member of the Congregational Leadership Team.
(Communications Team, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand)