Archived News Item

A Tribute to the first Institute Leadership Team

Left to Right: Theresia Tina rsm, Annette Schneider rsm, Sally Bradley rsm, Barbara Bolster rsm and Berneice Loch rsm.


The ‘whole-hearted gift of five utterly selfless women’ was celebrated in a poignant tribute to the Institute’s first leadership team held on the last night of the Chapter.


The ritual, organised by Schola Fakiwi and Theresia Boyek, was both a ‘Thank you’ as well as a ‘Sorry’ to the ILT on behalf of the Sisters in the Institute. The ‘Thank You’ was for their incredible achievements and marvelous job they have done over the past six years. The ‘Sorry’ was for when the Sisters had not been their best selves.


The poignant ceremony began with a traditional Papua New Guinean dance and song of thanks and included a reading from Mark’s Gospel (12:42-44), a  story of Jesus’ response to the overwhelmingly selfless action of an unnamed woman.


In breaking open the Word, Veronica Lawson drew parallels with the action of women she referred to as ‘Nedevah’, with the first ILT whom she said gave everything in the task of leading us to hear and to respond to the cries of earth and of those rendered poor.


“What we bring to Nedevah’s story this evening is a six year narrative of the wholehearted gift of five utterly selfless women- Berneice, Sally, Theresia, Annette and Barbara. There is much in Nedevah’s experience that may be right outside of their capacity or of ours to understand. At the time of election, they were certainly not destitute. They were, nonetheless, women totally dependent on an extended community of women. They gave everything in the task of leading us to hear and to respond to the cries of earth and of those rendered poor. Was their generosity in any way exploited by our system as was Nedevah’s by the temple system? Did we ask of our sisters in designated leadership more than was fair or just? Did we take account of their need to replenish their personal resources? Are we aware of how we need to change our system so that they, with all of us, might flourish and offer their considerable gifts as they move from designated leadership to other ways of exercising leadership in and for our vulnerable planet. Nedevah’s story might be a resource for us all as we move to a new moment in Mercy”, Veronica said.


Sisters Faith Jones, Sharon Price, Schola Fakiwi, Karon Donnellon and Helen Owens paid individual tributes of gratitude, on behalf of all Sisters, to Berneice, Annette, Sally, Barbara and Theresia respectively. As a sign of gratitude, the current ILT were each presented with a beautiful piece of art from Papua New Guinea (as pictured above).


At the conclusion of the tributes, each member of the current ILT, gave a moving thanks to all of the Sisters for the extraordinary ritual that had just occurred in their honour.


Click on the play button below to watch the ceremony.



Messages to: Institute Communication