News Items

Sister Mary Claude McNamara of Wembley WA recently celebrated 70 years as a professed Sister of Mercy. Despite retiring from active ministry last year, she still lives a very full life. While most would marvel at such a wonderful commitment to Mercy life and mission, Claude says, "Well, really, the 75th is the big one". Sister Joan Smith, Perth Congregation's Local Communications Facilitator, caught up with Claude and invited her to reflect on her religious life thus far.

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The year 2007, and specifically Sunday 27 May 2007, marks the 40th anniversary of Australia's most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation's history. The 1967 referendum saw more than 90% of eligible Australians vote to acknowledge Indigenous Australians as citizens and to give the Commonwealth Government power to make laws regarding Indigenous people. This event is often referred to as the first stage of the reconciliation movement in Australia. The anniversary provides a rare and significant opportunity to encourage the Australian community's interest in reconciliation. Reco

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The Institute Leadership Team - Sisters Nerida Tinkler, Caroline Ryan and Karon Donnellon - recently hosted Sister Denise Fox, Leader of the Sisters of Mercy New Zealand, and her Council, in meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern. These included the operation of the Mercy International Justice Network; ways of enhancing each country's Initial Formation Program; and how the emerging vision of the Mercy International Association might be most effectively implemented.

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"With Catherine, My Spirit Mother", a book by Sister Marie Gaudry RSM (Parramatta Congregation), first published in 1999 and much appreciated throughout the Mercy world, has just been revised and reprinted in a new, "˜friendlier' and more compact format. Read Marie's comments about the new issue and obtain an order form.

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Recently Nerida Tinkler RSM (Institute President) visited the sisters in Pakistan along with Cheryl Camp RSM. This was a wonderful return for Cheryl who was in Gujrat for several years and she looks forward to further work with the sisters over the coming years.

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At St Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday March 11, over 1500 people gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Sisters of Mercy in Melbourne. Gathered in the cathedral were Sisters of Mercy from Ireland, Newfoundland, New York and New Zealand, and from all parts of Australia.

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For many reasons, I am delighted to speak at the launch of Professor Elaine Wainwright's significant book, Women Healing/Healing Women: The Genderization of Healing in Early Christianity: as a friend and colleague in feminist New Testament studies; as a woman of Aotearoa New Zealand to acknowledge Elaine, a leader internationally in this field and to express delight that she works in this land; as one who has an Australian connection with Elaine through the Brisbane School of Theology and Griffith University; as one who has shared Elaine's excitement as the discoveries contained in this book w

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On Friday March 2, 2007 the Brisbane Congregation celebrated Sister Mary Senan Conroy's 100th birthday at Emmaus Nursing home with Mass followed by morning tea. Among those celebrating with her were three of her past pupils whom she had enrolled and taught in Grade One in the early 1940s.

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Sister Veronica Lawson RSM (East Ballarat) offers a reflection on the Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent (Year C, Luke 9:28-36). Veronica is a biblical scholar and holds a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, Dublin. Before becoming congregation leader three years ago, Veronica taught on the Ballarat and Melbourne campuses of the Australian Catholic University for 20 years.

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Sister Gulnaz Alfred (Pakistan) recently reported on some of the projects being undertaken by the seven Sisters of Mercy currently residing in Pakistan. Gulnaz follows up with a report on outreach work being undertaken by the sisters.

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Sister Josephine Dillon (Perth) recently joined with many other Western Australians at the opening of the International Perth Festival to sing a specially composed piece in the language of the local Aboriginal group, the Noongar people. Josephine, who, for many years has been a member of the Mirrabooka Reconciliation Group, writes about the experience.

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