Archived News Item

Fifth Australian Catherine McAuley Symposium

Over the past two weeks, Mary Pat Garvin RSM (Sisters of Mercy of the Americas) has led exploration of the topic of Catherine McAuley as a ‘social mystic’, at the Fifth Australian Catherine McAuley Symposium. The Symposium, which is an initiative of the office of the Vice-Postulator for the Canonisation of Catherine McAuley, was held in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.


A wide representation of Mercy in Australia attended the gatherings including sisters, staff, associates, ministry personnel and other people of Mercy.


Mary Pat Garvin described Catherine McAuley as a “a mystic, a ‘live-wire’ between God’s grace, God’s mercy and a world in need!”.


Drawing on a description of a social mystic as a ‘person whose relationship with Jesus has direct social implications’*, Mary Pat said Catherine was a person whose relationship with Jesus  transformed her very being and awakened in her an animated life of service to God’s most vulnerable.


As followers of Jesus, in the tradition of Catherine, Mary Pat asked those gathered to consider “What has been my experience of being a ‘social mystic’? How has my relationship with Jesus had direct social implications?”.


In seeking to be a live-wire in a contemporary world, Mary Pat reinforced the importance of contemplative prayer as moving one to prophetic action.


“The clarity, courage and empowerment that emerge through contemplative prayer moves one to prophetic action”.**


A live-wire also is able to embrace God’s providence not only in moments of design but also in the chaos of life.


The Catherine McAuley Symposium is funded and sponsored by the Leaders of the Mercy Congregations of Brisbane, North Sydney, Parramatta and the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Its purpose is to engage participants in exploring the relevance of Catherine’s founding inspiration for our own time and place.


Messages to: ISMAPNG Communications


* Adapted from Rakoczy, Susan. Great Mystics and Social Justice: Walking on the Two Feet of Love. (New York: Paulist Press, 2006), 38.  
** Doyle, Katherine. “Out of God’s Deepest Mercy, A New Dawn: Reflections on the Fourth Institute Chapter.” The Mercy Association of Scripture and Theology Journal (M.A.S.T.), vol. 15, no. 3 (2005), 32-33.




Carolyn Nolan RSM and Nance Cale RSM


2. Lyndell Hagan RSM and Caitlin Pfafflin


3. Caroline Ong RSM, Faith Jones RSM and Valda Dickinson RSM


4. Moira, Jenny Ryan RSM, Carmel Daly RSM and Johanna Conway RSM


Johanna Conway RSM and Caroline Ryan RSM


Beryl Amedee RSM and Joyce Vella RSM


Beryl Amedee RSM, Joyce Vella RSM and Carla Jansen RSM


Maryanne Loughry RSM and Virginia Bourke


Symposium attendee and Margaret Harper RSM


Berneice Loch RSM, Margaret Sheppard RSM and Madeline Ducket RSM


Emma Llewellyn, Marea Roberts RSM and Anne McGuire RSM


Jenny Ryan RSM, Anne McGuire RSM and Caroline Ong RSM



Bernadette Mansour RSM, Lyndall Hagan RSM, Caitlin Pfafflin and TrIsh McDermott RSM



Mary Pat Garvin RSM and Mary Louise Petro RSM






June Rohan RSM, Mai Nguyen-Doan RSM and Nola Morrissy RSM

Theresa Dennis RSM and Mary Nuttall RSM


Kathryn Orfini and Trudy Keur RSM


Barbara Bolster RSM


Mary Pat Garvin RSM


Helen Owens RSM and Margaret Richmond RSM


Ada Jarni and Anila Isaac RSM


Anna Duble RSM and Felicia Holland RSM


Patrice Orchard RSM, Jean Walton RSM and Michelle Goh RSM


Margaret Sheehan RSM and Marie Ralph RSM


Eileen Ann Daffy RSM and Trish Mahony RSM


Helen Duffy RSM and Julie O’Brien RSM


Martin Day, Julie O’Brien RSM and Nola Morrissy RSM


Karon Donnellon RSM, Mary Racja and Trish Schofield



Marg Adams RSM and Mary Pat Garvin RSM

Tess Flaherty RSM and Anne Tormey RSM

Josie Weatherall RSM, Cynthia Griffin RSM and Kathryn Travers RSM

Anne Tormey RSM, Paddy McEvoy and Pat Fox RSM

Peter Mercer and Mary Mutlow RSM

Lyn Beck RSM and Ilsa Neicinieks RSM

Ruth Egar RSM and Mary Pat Garvin RSM



Mary Pat Garvin RSM unwrapping gift Sue Smith RSM in background


Mary Pat Garvin RSM receiving gift from Pauline Smoothy RSM


Some of the participants applauding


A group of participants


Catherine Reuter RSM welcoming everyone


Barbara Bolster RSM, Mary Pat Garvin RSM, and Catherine Reuter RSM


Prayer Focus Space showing sculpture of Catherine McAuley at All Hallows



Thank you to Barbara Broad RSM, Bev Strong RSM, and Margie Abbott RSM for taking the photos at each event.’


Messages to Institute Communication