The Sisters of Saint Joseph elect new Congregational Leadership Team

22 October 2019
(L-R) Sisters Monica Cavanagh, Josephine Dubiel, Mary Ellen O’Donoghue, Louise Reeves and Clare Conaglen. Image: Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

 

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart has elected a new Congregational Leadership Team to take forward the vision and direction of the Congregation for the next six years.

Sister Monica Cavanagh has been elected to be the Congregational Leader for a second term. Sisters Josephine Dubiel, Mary Ellen O’Donoghue, Clare Conaglen and Louise Reeves, also for a second term, will be General Councillors.

The new Congregational Leadership Team was elected by a delegation of 63 Sisters from around the Congregation, during the 27th General Chapter of the Sisters of Saint Joseph held at their Spirituality Centre in Baulkham Hills from 29 September to 15 October. The Members of the Chapter considered the skills, experience and current needs of the Congregation as together they discerned the leadership for the next six years.

The new leadership team look forward to continuing the work established over the previous six years as well and implementing the new directions established at the Chapter. The new leadership team move forward in hope aware that there will be challenges to be faced and opportunities to be embraced.

During the past six years, the Congregational Leadership Team have been working with the Sisters in transitioning to establish new Regional Structures; extending our response to mission through the stream-lining of our Incorporated Works and forming a new Congregation through the journey of fusion.

Another exciting part of our leadership has been the growth of people drawn to live the Gospel with a Josephite heart and the gifts that have come through these connections. Our key focus was to listen to the cry of children, the cry of Earth and restore human dignity to those places where humanity is diminished. The women and men who have made a commitment as Affiliates and Associates bring the Josephite spirit into a bigger sphere of influence.

Works such as Mary MacKillop Today are in a much stronger position to respond to emerging needs that face people with disadvantage today. Restoring dignity and building the capacity of local groups is central to the work of our Incorporated Works.

There has been a heightened awareness to the cry of Earth as Sisters and our ministries have made significant efforts to address the issues related to climate justice. Our sisters in their wisdom years continue to keep their mission hearts alive through many voluntary endeavours.

A special time was the celebration of our Sesquicentenary in 2016 with many events being organised around the Congregation. It was a time to celebrate the lives of our sisters and to give thanks for our Founders Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.

Congregational Leader, Monica Cavanagh who was born and raised in the small rural community of Allora in Queensland, says that she is humbled to be elected again and looks forward to leading the Congregation as it continues to have a significant impact in communities around the world.

“It is a great privilege and responsibility to be elected as leader. With such diverse challenges being faced across society and within the church, the role the Sisters play is more important than ever and we will be looking to ensure people can continue to rely on us for our support.”

The Sisters of Saint Joseph minster throughout Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Peru, East Timor, Scotland and Brazil. The Congregation was founded in Penola, South Australia in 1866 by St Mary MacKillop and English priest, Reverend Julian E Tenison Woods. The Sisters of Saint Joseph have Ministries that support educational endeavours, prisoner welfare, people living with disability, anti-trafficking and slavery programs, refugees, schools and young people, and indigenous people, amongst other areas.

With thanks to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

 

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