“Openness to the Spirit”: Why being on the Curia is such an honour for Margery Jackman 

By Antony Lawes, 9 April 2024
Margery Jackman, the newest member of the Diocese of Parramatta Curia. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


The newest member of the Diocese of Parramatta’s governing body, the Curia, has a long association with the Sisters of Mercy and extensive experience in lay decision-making within the Church. 

Margery Jackman is a long-time resident and parishioner of Parramatta and has spent decades working for Catholic organisations, many of them within the Diocese. 

She was appointed by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, in December and replaces Sue Walsh as a lay representative on the seven-member panel. 

In his letter announcing her appointment, Bishop Vincent said Ms Jackman was “perfectly suited” to the role. 

“Her unique perspective, experience, expertise and wisdom will contribute to a more effective decision-making and synodal governance of the Diocese going forward,” he said.  

Ms Jackman said she was honoured to be asked by Bishop Vincent to sit on the Curia, because she felt a striving within the Diocese to find out what God was saying to the Church, and where the Holy Spirit was leading the Church.  

“I do think that openness to change, openness to the Spirit is a real strength of the Diocese,” she said. 

Ms Jackman grew up Victoria, “in Josephite country”, trained as a teacher and worked in schools in Victoria, Queensland, NSW, the UK and Canada for more than 35 years. She was the Principal of Catherine McAuley Westmead, a Diocesan secondary girls’ school in the Mercy Tradition, for nearly a decade until 2014. 

Her association with the Sisters of Mercy began in 1978 as a contract teacher at one of their schools in Brisbane, where she and her husband were living after returning from overseas. 

“And I’ve been working and associated with the Sisters ever since,” she said. 

“I really resonate with the charism of the Sisters of Mercy: their focus on education; their focus on women and children; their focus on social justice, and their focus on the mercy of God.” 

After leaving Catherine McAuley, Ms Jackman went to work for the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea for four years as their Safeguarding Officer. She presently works for the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta as their Safeguarding Coordinator and also as a member of their Heritage Project Group. 

She has also served on the board of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Schools Council, and as chair of the St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish finance committee, where she is a parishioner. 

She is currently a Trustee Director of Mercy Ministry Companions, and a member of the Professional Standards Reference Group for the Diocese of Parramatta. 

Her position as a lay representative on the Curia gives her “a certain freedom to express my views, which I very much value and which I see as being part of my role”, she said. 

There are two areas, in particular, where she hopes to make an impact. 

She is very supportive of the role of women in the Church, “particularly in decision-making areas”. 

“So when Bishop Vincent invited me to join, it was an area in terms of change in the Church which I think is overdue. That would be my first hope that I can contribute in that area. 

“The second area would be that I’m very supportive of Pope Francis’ view of a poor church for the poor. 

“And if we are to achieve that as an institution then it’s very important that in all decision-making the question we always ask is, ‘How does this affect the marginalised?’”

Ms Jackman said the synodal process – begun by Pope Francis and continued by dioceses such as Parramatta – was essential to addressing these issues and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead the Church. 

“I feel that this focus on the role of all of the baptised in the ministry of the Church, which is very much the synodal model and very much the model of our Diocese, is the way the Holy Spirit is leading the Church at the moment,” she said. 

“I’m very pleased and thank God every day that I’m in the Diocese of Parramatta, where there is this strong focus on synodality. I think we were very blessed to have that focus here.” 


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