Australian Catholics prepare to welcome the most influential woman in the Vatican

By Christina Gretton, 29 January 2023
Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ. Image: Supplied


This week, thousands of Catholics around Australia will be meeting and listening to Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ, the most senior woman in the Vatican, and, historically, the first woman to vote in the upcoming Synod of Bishops. 

RELATED: Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ in Australia: we have to be open to the surprises of synodality

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, invited Sr Nathalie to Australia to share her story and her message on synodality with local Catholics. He will be joined by Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, to welcome and dialogue with Sr Nathalie in the Diocese of Parramatta this week.

To enable Catholics to easily follow her visit and see her lectures, the Diocese of Parramatta is launching an online hub with key information about her trip to Australia on

Last week, Bishop Vincent explained why he is keen to promote the concept of synodality which Pope Francis has emphasised during his pontificate 

“We are living in a time that requires a radical shift from the ‘business as usual’ approach’,” he said. “It is time to embrace a new paradigm of equitable, sustainable, harmonious, shared life with and for all.” 

“We don’t just need to do old things better,” he said. “What we need is to be a truly humble, listening, inclusive and synodal church.” 

Bishop Vincent explained what this looks like in his own diocese, where he has been working to transform the Diocese of Parramatta to practise synodality. 

We are structuring our diocese so there is active collaboration between clergy and laity, a diverse membership in governance structures, and we emphasise accountability, transparency and inclusivity,” he said.  

“The pope’s appointment of Sr Nathalie as the first woman to hold the position of Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops was described by Cardinal Grech, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, as showing that ‘a door has been opened’,” said Bishop Vincent. “I think Australian Catholics are ready to listen to her message of inclusion, demonstrated by their enthusiastic responses to the lectures she is giving around the country.” 

Sr Nathalie’s visit to Australia takes in Victoria where she will lead a forum and lecture at Newman College on Tuesday 31 January. She then travels to South Australia before arriving in Sydney to speak to Catholic Religious Australia on Thursday 2 February. 

Her visit culminates with a forum and public lecture on Friday 3 February at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. She will also be meeting with Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro while she is in Parramatta. 

Where to see Sr Nathalie’s lectures live and online

Tuesday 31 January at 5pm (AEDT) from Newman College, Melbourne. Watch a recording of the lecture here 

Wednesday 1 February at 6.30pm (Adelaide time) in the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide. Go to

Friday 3 February at 7pm (AEDT) from St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. You can watch her lecture live through the Diocese of Parramatta YouTube Channel. The direct link is

Videos of her lectures, as well as a panel interview with Geraldine Doogue featuring Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, Caritas Australia Chief Executive Officer Kirsty Robertson, and Paul McClintock will be available to view on Catholic Outlook in the following week. 

Log on to the Sr Nathalie Becquart link on Catholic Outlook to see other articles about her visit throughout the week.


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