Appreciating the many faces of God

About

I was born in Bendigo, Victoria on December 2nd 1952. My brother John followed in 1956. My parents, Edna and Len, were hard working, their lives reflecting the importance of their faith.  They instilled in both John and myself the importance of respect, justice and love. I attended both primary and secondary catholic schools in Bendigo. I have been involved in many sports over the years from childhood onwards, which I have really enjoyed. 

After leaving school I worked in various positions, with a focus on child care. I became involved in YCW (Young Christian Workers).  This organisation was founded by Fr Joseph Cadijn, in Germany. Its mission was to identify and respond to unjust working conditions and local issues impacting on young people’s lives.  Gospel justice was at the centre of weekly reflections within groups – the imperative being to SEE, REFLECT and ACT.

A Good Shepherd Sister was the chaplain for the group that I was involved in. This then led, over time, to my involvement and working with Good Shepherd Sisters in residential care. During this time I was inspired by their life of commitment to the young people in their care.  In particular, the care, respect and compassion that was shown to these young people. In light of my YCW experience, which was grounded in Gospel life and justice, this then was the beginning of the call of the Spirit. I decided to resign from employment with Good Shepherd, to give time and reflection to the possibility of entering Good Shepherd Sisters. I travelled a little and worked in a pre-school, all the while continuing contact with Good Shepherd Sisters, and attending week-ends of reflection.

In Good Shepherd

I entered Good Shepherd Sisters in 1978, making life commitment in 1985.

Educationally, I completed a Diploma in Clinical Massage and a Bachelor of Social Work.

My ministry involvements:

  • Residential care for adolescents.
  • Presence at local children’s court and remand centre for young offenders.
  • Bereavement and loss Programme in a low socio-economic residential area.
  • Living community in socio-disadvantaged area with members of Mercy and Ursuline Congregations.
  • Creating, with staff members, a Day Survival Programme for young people who were challenged with the conventional education system, due to many issues that were impacting their lives.
  • I spent 1 year in the Philippines, experiencing and living with our sisters and the challenges of another culture.
  • Being exposed to Zen, Sabashi, workshops on body, mind and Spirit.
  • And most significantly, the exposure to the lived reality of millions of people, who have limited or no access to health, clean water and food.
  • Assisting with pyscho-social workshops for Filipina women.
  • Lived and spent time in community in Australia, with 2 sisters from the Philippines.
  • As a social worker, I worked in a large hospital, in Oncology and Orthopaedics.
  • Then for a number of years, I worked in a Community Palliative Team of allied health professionals, supporting individuals and their families who were living with a life limiting illness.
  • Offering supportive counselling, case management and linking to services as required. 

At the heart of these many and colourful experiences of mission, the face of the Good Shepherd was revealed in many ways - through people, their experiences and their lived reality - often being expressed through their experience of their God, whoever that may be.

The Challenges

During this time, my brother, John was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. I continued work and giving ongoing support to John. This meant a 10 hour drive from Sydney to Bendigo on a 6 weekly basis. In 2011, a reoccurrence of the brain tumour was discovered. I resigned from my Social Worker’s position and returned to Bendigo to live with and support John for 3 years. It was during this time that John realised that he required more ongoing care, and decided to go into residential care.  After living some years in specialized care, John died peacefully in 2019.

The Inspiration

The role of Asia Pacific Spirituality Link person was a great opportunity for me to acknowledge and experience the many faces of God. Having spent 6 weeks in India, a number of years ago, this reality was very present to me - spending time in a Hindu Ashram, experiencing the diversity of culture, life and religion. I am sure that the hope of Peace, Justice, Tolerance and Compassion is at the heart of all religions. For us, as Good Shepherd, internationally and locally, we have a depth of richness, cultures and experiences to make a difference creatively to our world.

 

Projects

Report from the Asia Pacific Partnership Team

Report from the Asia Pacific Partnership Team

Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region

Reconciliation in Australia

Reconciliation in Australia

Reconciliation holds special meaning in the Australian nation - it describes the long journey towards full acknowledgment of the rights of First Nations Peoples