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Our stories

A survey sponsored by CRA in 2009 found that there were 8,422 Catholic Religious in Australia. Of that number, 5,927 were Religious Sisters, 884 Religious Brothers and 1,611 Religious order priests. Here are some of their stories:

Sr Pat Bartley rsjSister Pat Bartley rsj looks back at 60 years of her vocation and finds that a phrase from among her Jubilee greetings encapsulates the joys and challenges in the story of her religious life.

Sr Helen Merrin opDominican Sister Helen Merrin loves the adventure, challenge and ability of the martial art 'karate' to still the mind and sharpen her focus, writes Debra Vermeer.

Monday, 14 April 2014 18:35

Lenten prayer in the heart of Australia

Sr Anne Foale rsmWhat do Uniting Church elders, workers from Catholic Centre Care, an Anglican priest and members of her parish, Aboriginal members from the Congress church and two Sisters of Mercy in Port Augusta have in common this Lenten season, asks Sister Anne Foale rsm?

Ayen DongDominican Sister Diana Santleben of Penola House spoke to Trazia Akec of Newcastle, whose daughter Ayen Dong (pictured) was in South Sudan at the time of this writing and she shares with us this refugee family's story.

Monday, 14 April 2014 14:44

Prayer, priesthood and pedal power

Fra Oscar Aguilera osmThe priestly ministry and cycling passion of Fra Oscar Aguilera osm complement each other and goes beyond this Servite priest's fitness and health goals, writes Matthew Biddle.

Monday, 24 March 2014 14:23

Universally useful for 175 years

RSC Aurora article What well-to-do young woman would have the courage to begin a new religious congregation that served Ireland's poor in their places of need? Sr Margaret Valentine rsc, Pastoral Co-ordinator of Myall Coast Parish, tells the story of the first congregation of religious women in Australia, the congregation to which she belongs.

Monday, 17 March 2014 22:28

A vision of service fulfilled

Sr Stancea VichieThe 70th foundation anniversary of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) promises to be a jubilant year-long celebration of its story that can be fully appreciated through the biblical meaning of the number seventy, signifying completion and fullness of an age.

Sr Elvera Sesta pbvm150Presentation Sister Elvera Sesta's seemingly never-ending battle with a digital camera gave her a clear insight on her struggles with prayer. She finds that a rich prayer life rewards us with a sharpness of vision to lovingly see the world through God's eyes.

new passionists 150 On Friday, February 14th, eight young novices from four different countries took their vows as Passionist Religious in Glen Osmond, Adelaide, reports Passionist Provincial Father Tom McDonough cp.

Friday, 07 February 2014 14:52

The edges of ministry

candles150A great deal of attention has been given to the edge where different religious traditions meet each other, yet the edge where faith meets non-faith is one of the anxious edges of mission. It is also where religious energy and creativity can spring from, ponders Columban Father Patrick O'Shea.

Friday, 07 February 2014 11:02

At ease with 'Alice'

Sr Magdalena Leutterova ssps150Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Magdalena Leutterova shares her personal journey fuelled by a desire to love and serve God as a missionary  - beginning as a Slovakian-born refugee in Italy escaping communism, a missionary posting to Ghana and in her current role as pastoral worker in the Northern Territory.


Sisters of Charity anniversary Jan 2014On 25 January 2014, the Sisters of Charity, the oldest order of religious in Australia, gathered for Amanda Nguyen's profession of vows, with the event becoming one among many celebrations marking the congregation's 175th anniversary year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:10

130 years of Loreto in Portland

loreto in portland150The Loreto Sisters celebrated 130 years of service in Portland, Victoria coming to a close. Father Justin Driscoll’s homily on this celebration reflected on the significant contribution of the Loreto Sisters in the broader community, framed in the insight-filled story of the congregation’s early leader, Mother Gonzaga Barry, and the gospel story of Zaccheus.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 17:59

Scalabrinian worker for Christ

Fr Emilio Vaccaro cs 150Father Emilio Vaccaro could easily have ended up as a successful businessman, but an encounter with the Scalabrinian Fathers when he was a young boy and a desire to be “with people” led to what he calls “a life of working for Christ” for over 50 years spanning across three continents, writes Jenny Brinkworth.

Monday, 18 November 2013 13:20

A kind heart and a zeal for souls

Fr Simon Aloisi osb150Brother Terence Kavanagh osb writes about Father Simon Aloisi of the Sylvestrine Benedictines at Arcadia: his pastoral ministry in Australia while far removed from the land of his birth, his large shell collection, and his love of the land and its creatures. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 13:40

Half a century of service

A Spiritual Advisor is one found at the coal face yet finds joy and generosity amidst great need, writes Sister Gwen Tamlyn of the Daughters of Charity, as she reflects on her years with St Vincent de Paul Society’s NSW Council and in her current ministry to the homeless in Adelaide. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 13:36

Journey to Mercy

Sr Mai Nguyen-Doan rsm150Mai Nguyen-Doan recently made her First Profession as a Sister of Mercy in the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAP). She shares her journey through refugee camps and the loving witness of three Australian Mercy sisters that finally brought her to religious life.

Sunday, 18 August 2013 17:18

When you know you’re called

Salvatorian Father Karol Kulczicki lives out his priestly life in Western Australia after arriving from Krakow in 1997. His story echoes themes from National Vocations Week celebrated early this month, reaffirming that a deeply personal encounter with God and the sense of community is vital to religious life, writes Robert Hiini.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 02:22

App applicable to senior Sisters

‘Tapestry’ and ‘social entrepreneurship’ are not usually terms you would associate in your mind, but an innovative App that runs on Tablet computers brings the two together. Family and friendship networks are benefiting, starting with the Dominican Sisters, writes Tracey Edstein.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:28

Nuns celebrate 130 years of service

Sister Patricia Hogan of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart congregation and Mercy Sister Lucy Norma McConachie have 130 years between them of committed service in South Australia to ministries and communities close to their hearts.

The Loreto Networker Newsletter shares the profile of Loreto Sister Toni Matha who was deeply involved in social services, particularly with the St Vincent de Paul’s Society’s programs and service to the poor over several decades.

Josephite Sister Loiuse Gannon was featured in Pathways a year ago as she shared her hopes when the Year of Grace began on Pentecost 2012. She comes full circle in this piece, asking us to reflect together on our experience of the Year of Grace, which has become a transition rather than an end, as well as an outpouring of grace upon the Australian Church.

My overwhelming feeling at the end of our conference, Mission: One heart many voices was one of hope and a new beginning. It is like the new beginning many talk of with the election of Pope Francis, writes Columban Father Noel Connolly. 

Friday, 10 May 2013 15:22

A century of love in action

Sydney celebrated the centenary of its very own religious order, Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor in spectacular style, when more than 850 worshippers from throughout Australia filled St Mary’s Cathedral to capacity.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:22

Final Federation gathering for sisters

Over 80 Sisters of St Joseph gathered at Perthville in the past week to celebrate 46 years of Josephite Federation, reports the Catholic Observer, the Bathurst Diocese's publication.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 20:49

Patricians: 130 Years in Australia

In March, the Patricians marked 130 years since the first Patrician Brothers, Dominick O’Neill and Fintan O’Neill, arrived in Sydney Harbour aboard the S.S. Cephalonia on 6 March 1883. 

Monday, 15 April 2013 17:20

Mary how your garden has grown

Dominican Sister Mary Campion gets a blast from the past at Signadou College's 50th birthday and found that although a lot of things have changed, good things, such as friendships and a great sense of welcome, remain unchanged.

Monday, 15 April 2013 16:45

The thin edge of the wedge

Salesian Father Frank Freeman goes back to his earliest consciousness of church, introducing us to the first prayer he ever spoke, "Snail our life and sweetness”. His poignant reflections prepare us for the Marian month of May, reminding us how Mary’s reassuring presence, sweetness and intercession help us through many difficult situations.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 12:36

Leadership as witnessing to the cross

For Maronite Sister Marlene Chedid, everything comes back to community. This profound understanding of leadership as discipleship that underpins her work was recognised recently through her nomination in the University of Western Sydney’s 2013 Women of the West Award, which celebrates the unsung and often overlooked heroes of the Western Suburbs.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:30

Fire and all it brings to mind

We may not be on the frontline of fire fighting, or of flood cleaning, but we have daily opportunities of being on mission in our homes and neighbourhoods, writes Good Samaritan Sister Margaret Keane.

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