New Institute Leadership Team

Back Row – Elizabeth Moloney and Margaret Madden From Row – Theresia Tina, Karon Donnellon and Duyen Nguyen. Picture – Abbel Gaspi


Five fine Mercy Women were elected at the Institute’s Third Chapter to guide the Institute for the next four years. They bring to their new roles considerable wisdom and experience obtained from diverse backgrounds in mission and ministry. The Chapter was held at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney from September 10-17. The new Leadership Team  commenced on 11 November 2023. 


The newly Institute Leader and her Council are:

  •  Karon Donnellon RSM, Institute Leader
  •  Elizabeth Moloney RSM, Institute Vicar
  •  Margaret Madden RSM, Institute Councillor
  •  Duyen Nguyen RSM, Institute Councillor
  •  Theresia Tina RSM, Institute Councillor



Karon Donnellon, Institute Leader
Karon hails from the town of Donald, 280 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. After joining the former Ballarat-East Congregation, Karon’s ministries have included being a secondary teacher, Diocesan Youth Director, Juvenile Justice Chaplain, and Director of Mission for Catholic Social Services Victoria. She has had many years’ experience in facilitation and completed studies in the areas of organisational change and leadership. Karon’s formal qualifications include – a Master of Arts – Leadership and Organisational Analysis from the Alanus University; a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Criminology) from the University of Melbourne; a Bachelor of Education from the University of Melbourne; and, a Bachelor of Theology from what is now the University of Divinity . She currently works with several religious congregations in Australia, was previously a member of the Institute’s Mercy Ethos team and now coordinates and facilitates the Leadership Program and Dublin Pilgrimage now offered by Mercy Ministry Companions. She has served on a variety of boards and is currently on the Ethos and Culture Sub-Committee of the MacKillop Family Services Board and the Board of Catholic Social Services Australia. Karon served on the final leadership team of the former Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia until the formation of the Institute in 2011.


Elizabeth Moloney, Institute Vicar
Elizabeth comes from a large Catholic dairy farming family in Western Victoria. She is a social worker and has had a long history of involvement with supporting vulnerable children and families in a wide range of ways, both individually with groups and in community development situations. Elizabeth has held positions in a number of ministries including coordinating a boarding school, support and advocacy work with asylum seekers and refugees.  Elizabeth steadily moved into leadership positions – first at Mackillop Family Services (2000 – 2010) and at CatholicCare NT where she was based in Darwin and Alice Springs which involved reaching out to many remote communities.   Her love of tai chi and walking the natural landscape allows for a healthier life balance. Elizabeth is currently a Councillor on the Institute’s Leadership Team, which is a very rich and rewarding experience.


Margaret Madden, Institute Councillor
Margaret was born in Ipswich Queensland. Upon finishing her schooling at St Mary’s College, Ipswich she joined the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Margaret has had a long history in education both in classroom teaching, school administration, education systems development and administration. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland, Master’s degrees in both Education and Theology from the University of Toronto, Canada, and a Doctorate from Deakin University, Australia. Margaret has taught at Catholic schools in Gympie, Toowoomba, Brisbane and Stanthorpe, at Australian Catholic University and is a former Director of Religious Education for Toowoomba Diocesan Catholic Education. Margaret was a member of the Leadership Team of the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy from 1988-1993. In 1995, Margaret moved to Pakistan, teaching at the Notre Dame Institute of Education and then served as its Director for a decade.  She lectured at the National Catholic Institute of Theology, Pakistan and served as its president from 2008 -2011 and at IQRA University from 2012 – 2016. In 2017, she was appointed the Principal of St Patrick’s High School in Karachi. In more recent years, back in Australia, Margaret has been a Member of the Board of Catherine McAuley Services Limited, Chair of the Institute’s Chapter Preparation Committee and has been a volunteer in her local parish, at the Brisbane Mater Hospital, and with the St Vincent de Paul Society.


Duyen Nguyen, Institute Councillor
Duyen was born in the Mekong Delta Region of Southern Vietnam. In her early 20s, she migrated to Australia and took up residence in Adelaide. Prior to entering the Sisters of Mercy, she was the Leader of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Adelaide Vietnamese Catholic Community. Duyen has extensive experience in working with young people and people of different backgrounds and cultures. She has taught in many different schools in South Australia. While teaching in Port Augusta, Duyen supported Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the nearby detention centre and witnessed the hardship they faced. Duyen is currently the Catholic Identity and Mission Leader at Mercedes College in Adelaide, as well as a Biblical Lecturer as part of the Theological Program for Women Religious in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Duyen’s formal qualifications include – a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of South Australia; a Bachelor of Education from the Australian Catholic University, Aquinas Campus in Ballarat; a Bachelor of Theology from Flinders University, South Australia; and, a Master of Theology from the University of Divinity, Melbourne. She is a former member of the Board of Mercy Works Limited, the Institute’s Initial Formation Team and 2017 Chapter Preparation Committee.


Theresia Tina. Institute Councillor
Theresia comes from Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. She joined the Sisters of Mercy after teaching in Primary Schools in the Mt Hagen Diocese for seven years.  After making her final profession she continued teaching before becoming the leader of the Sisters of Mercy in Papua New Guinea. With the formation of the Institute in 2011, Theresia was elected as a Councillor on the first Institute Leadership Team, a position she held until 2017. She is currently working with the women in four villages in four provinces with the Cookhouses and Tanks a Lot (CTAL) project, a Ministry of Catherine McAuley Services Ltd.  She travels providing training in areas such as cooking, sewing, and teaching health and wellbeing to village women through the ‘Mercy Life Skills Training’ program. She also facilitates the formation in Ecology in the ‘Degradation of the Earth’ with other likeminded people.  Theresia was an inaugural fellow in the Mercy International Association – Mercy Global Action Emerging Leaders Fellowship (MELF) Program that began in 2019.  Her research project for MELF was titled ‘Degradation of the Earth and Water: Where have the Forests and Rivers gone in Oumag?’.

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Commissioning of the New Leadership 

The Ritual of Commissioning of the New Leadership will be held on Saturday, November 11 at 11am AEDT.

It is accessible via the following link –