Celebrating Jubilee: gathering pays tribute to those in Consecrated life

By Sr Patty Andrew OSU, 24 May 2024
Some of the Jubilarians being honoured at the gathering for Consecrated life, at the Polish church, Our Lady of Czestochowa Queen of Poland, in Marayong. They are pictured with Bishop Vincent Long, centre, and Sr Patty Andrew, far right. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta


It was a special moment in time on the evening of 16 May when 88 men and women from Consecrated life in the Diocese of Parramatta met at Our Lady of Czestochowa Queen of Poland Church, Marayong, to share in the Eucharist followed by a special meal.

The gathering provided an opportunity to celebrate our unique identity and role within the Church, described more dynamically as the People of God.

During his homily, Bishop Vincent Long OMF Conv, the Bishop of Parramatta, reminded us that Consecrated life calls us to visualise the radicalness of Christian discipleship by the witness of our lives.

Members of the gathering for Consecrated life at Marayong. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta

He encouraged us to continue to be catalysts for renewal and pioneers who clear the pathway for others. Bishop Vincent noted a current experience of this way of being is the decision made by the religious sisters in Gaza, who are being tested to the limits of their endurance yet remain totally committed to God’s people. They are living as pilgrims of hope in the most radical way.

The theme of Jubilee threaded the evening and echoed the presentation by our two guest speakers.

Monica Vaughan, a member of the Company of St Ursula – Secular Institute of St Angela Merici, and Philippa Murphy, a member of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, shared with us some of their experiences from the international conference for people in Consecrated life, held in Rome in February.

One of the guest speakers, Monica Vaughan. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta

At the conference, there were 200 delegates from the various forms of Consecrated life representing 63 countries. Their four reflective days together focused on what it means to be pilgrims of hope on the road to peace as we journey towards the Jubilee year of 2025.

Philippa noted, “there were stories of heartbreak and stories of resilience. Despite our cultural, social and political differences, there was a great sense of solidarity”.

Monica highlighted the sense of mission, which was renewed in all the participants. She said, “our stated mandate as we returned to our countries was to be pilgrims of peace by living as hope-filled people.

Philippa Murphy, another guest speaker, addresses the gathering after the Mass. Image: Alphonsus Fok/Diocese of Parramatta

“There was an appeal for Consecrated men and women to keep the flame of love burning in our hearts and whatever the joys and sorrows that accompany our lives – personally, socially, politically, geographically and culturally – was to be beacons of hope and so affect peace.”

We heard that intrinsic to the program was the synodal process – listening deeply to each other and to the Spirit. From our recent Parramatta diocesan experiences, we could resonate with the synodal round table experience and sharing that each one described.

Following these reflections, each of our 17 jubilarians was named and came forth to receive a card and gift from Bishop Vincent. It was a joy for all of us present to honour the jubilarians, applauding their years of faithful service. The Jubilee milestones ranged from 25 years through to 40, 50 and 60 years, with Sr Marilena of the Schoenstatt sisters and Sr Joan of the Poor Clare sisters celebrating 70 years of dedication and faithfulness to their calling.

It was good to experience solidarity with each other and give thanks for the encouraging friendships we share. Such positive energy nourishes and strengthens us as we continue our mission which is to build and enhance the spiritual capital in our Church, our neighbourhoods, our world (Lumen Gentium 43).


Name                                                                 Jubilee (years)

Fr Artur Botur SChr                                                  25

Sr Rita Apura CSFN                                                  25

Sr Sally Brady RSM                                                   40

Sr Anne Porter RSJ                                                   50

Sr Isabella Huynh CMR                                           50

Sr Susanne Nguyen CMR                                        50

Fr Dave Austin OSA                                                  60

Sr Maureen Elliot FMM                                           60

Sr Naomi Smith RSJ                                                 60

Sr Susan Ward RSJ                                                   60

Sr M. Inez Strnad ISSM                                           60

Br Joe Vassallo CFC                                                  60

Br Barry Donaghue CFC                                          60

Sr Louise Hume OSC                                                60

Sr Joanne Fitzsimons OSC                                      60

Sr Joan Murphy OSC                                                70

Sr Marilena Voeller ISSM                                        70

Sr Patty Andrew OSU is the Vicar for Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Parramatta.

For more photos from the event, click here.



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