Sister Noelene White received an honourable mention in the New South Wales Parliament in March 2021. Below is the address given by Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill.
"Sister Noelene White has dedicated the past 37 years to the Marrickville community and to supporting those confronting substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness.
Sister Noelene served as Chaplain at the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross for over a decade, providing counsel and support to those living with drug dependency.
In 1983, Sister Noelene pioneered the creation of what we now know as the Waranara School, a day program for teenagers facing complex home lives or who struggle to thrive in mainstream schools. She served as the Manager of the Rosemount Service in Marrickville and served on the board for 30 years. I had the pleasure of joining Sister Noelene at the Waranara School graduation ceremony last year, where 51 students graduated from Year 9-12.
Sister Noelene is moving to be with family in Victoria and will be sorely missed by our local community. She is a passionate and dedicated local leader and is a source of inspiration and guidance for so many.
On behalf of the community, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Sister Noelene for her years of service and for helping change the course of hundreds of young lives."
Signed: Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, Parliament of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
If someone had told me, when I joined the Good Shepherd Sisters fifty 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 Partners-in-Mission 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 in recent years was 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.
Noelene was Chairperson of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership (GSAPP) Team from its establishment in 2007 until it completed its work in 2019. For more than a decade, its focus was to create and strengthen partnership and co-responsibility for mission as Partners-in-Mission (sisters and lay) 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. Over the next seven years the GSAPP Team continued to work with the Units of Asia Pacific in building capacity for Mission.
Following the Congregational Chapter 2015, the Asia Pacific Circle authorized a process to move towards the Integration of the four Teams of Asia Pacific: Formation, Partnership for Mission, Spirituality, Justice Peace. The stage was set to reflect on the powerful Chapter Direction Statement which challenged Good Shepherd sisters and lay Partners-in-Mission to go beyond, risk to respond to global issues, co-create and be co-responsible for the mission.
Throughout 2017-2018 the GSAPP Team participated in the development of the Asia Pacific Integration Committee.
A special meeting of the GSAPP Team was held from 7-9 January 2019 at Restful Waters, Singapore. (See link below: GSAPP Team celebrates completion.) As the Asia Pacific region transitions towards an Integrated Approach, with the Regional Integration Committee carrying the torch forward, the GSAPP team completed its role.
'Our experience of Good Shepherd draws us together
The strength of our partnership propels us out for mission.'
The Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership Team brings to completion its ten year leadership role at a special meeting in Restful Waters, Singapore from 7-9 January 2019
This accredited secondary school based in Sydney supports young people, particularly those experiencing anxiety or mental health challenges, to re-engage in education
Representatives of these Asia Pacific Core Teams met on 7-8 July 2016 to develop a Co-Responsibility framework for Good Shepherd 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 First Nations Peoples
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand provides services and governance for Good Shepherd ministries, enabling sustainability and ongoing development into the future