From the Office

Last week I had the privilege of speaking (via Skype) with Marta Rodriguez Diaz from the Office for Women within the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life at the Vatican. She was impressed with what is happening through OPW and the CACW!

After all we have sixteen women aged between 25 and 35 who have commenced the two-year program Leadership for Mission. This program replaces the Young Catholic Women’s Fellowship and is conducted in partnership with Australian Catholic University and Catholic Mission. The first residential session will be held in the week after Easter. Rachelle Smith from Hobart is the new coordinator of the program.

In October, the National Foundation for Australian Women hosted a dinner event at the National Press Club. The guest speaker was notable journalist Virginia Haussegger, who now leads the University of Canberra’s 50/50 by 2030 Foundation. The 50/50 by 2030 Foundation advocates for women’s equal representation in decision-making positions in government, public sector leadership and publicly listed companies in Australia. They receive widespread public support for this endeavour.

What change are you hoping for in the Catholic Church? We know that the Royal Commission into sexual abuse will make strong recommendations to the Catholic Church. We know too that the Plenary Council which is planned for 2020 will be an invaluable opportunity to create change.

In September last year the Colloquium for Australian Catholic Women was held at North Sydney. One powerful and energizing topic that emerged was the Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church that is planned for 2020. In September no details were known about the Plenary Council but the colloquium participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to shape the future direction of the Australian Church.

Recently in Canberra there was an incredible fund raising campaign called “Love Your Sister”. I hope you heard about it in the media. Connie Johnson is dying from cancer and her brother Samuel is committed to raising funds for cancer research. As a result there have been some creative ventures to raise money for cancer research, including Samuel riding a unicycle around Australia!

This guest editorial was written by Tracey Edstein, editor of Aurora Magazine, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Director Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures tells the true – albeit massaged for maximum screen impact – story of the women whose mathematical genius was integral to the United States’ mission to explore space, ultimately seeing a man on the moon in July 1969.

Earlier this month we celebrated epiphany-the “showing forth” or “the revelation” of Christ in the world. Ruth Haley Barton writes that Epiphany is a wonderful celebration for those who commit themselves to the process of spiritual transformation, for it contains themes of journeying from the known to the unknown with only a mysterious light as a guide.

The end of the year is approaching very swiftly. Various groups are gathering for Christmas parties and some have started school holidays already. Unfortunately, Advent, a time of preparation and reflection can be diminished.

I’m planning to take this question seriously in the lead up to Christmas

“Colloquium means sacred conversation!” This is how Mrs Lyn Horner, chair of the Council for Australian Catholic Women introduced the two day conference “Women as Witnesses to the Joy of the Gospel”. The eighty participants took this invitation seriously, listening intently to the speakers and opening their hearts to the voice of God and to their companions from across Australia.

Dear Friends,

Don’t miss the article written by a group of students from Maronite College of the Holy Family (MCHF). The article is the result of a gifted and talented project for 2016 which involved female students from years 7 to 11. The intent was to capture the insights of these girls on how they interpreted the role of women in the Gospels. The result is terrific and I’m sure it will give you great encouragement.