Young Catholic women exploring leadership pathways

11 April 2019
The 12 young women who are participating in the Leadership for Mission program. Image: ACBC.


Twelve young women from across Australia are “Reimagining Leadership” as part of a two-year program to help develop a new generation of Catholic leaders.

The women have just completed the third unit in the Leadership for Mission program. The unit – “Theology for the Future: Reimagining Leadership” – saw the students visiting different workplaces across Sydney to speak with women leaders in business, Church and the media.

With just one more unit to complete next semester the students are savouring every experience on offer in the current residential session.

Maeve Louise Heaney and Antonia Pizzey, lecturers from Australian Catholic University, said it is “a delight” to work with young people with such a passion for Church and for theology.

“We have noticed that because the women have been studying together for more than a year, they are keen to work together, to be honest with each other and to bravely enter into a dialogue that probes new ways of being Church,” they said.

Sarah Dixon, an occupational therapist from Darwin, says it is worth the inconvenience of travelling overnight to get to classes in Sydney.

“This topic celebrates female leadership in the Church and engages with both the challenges and opportunities,” she said.

“The readings, lectures and experience of praying and being together has informed my faith. Being with like-minded women who are sharing similar life experiences inspires me to live my faith wholeheartedly.”

Polly Marriott, a Hobart mother and primary school teacher, described the joy she experiences in a program designed by women, for women.

“The style of learning is fantastic. We are challenged to research and to respond to contemporary theological issues,” she explained.

“For example, in this unit, one assignment asks us to imagine that we are developing a background paper for the Plenary Council 2020 process that will justify increased opportunities for women’s participation. That theology offers meaning and value for my daily life.”

Leadership for Mission is a cooperative project of the Office for the Participation of Women, Catholic Mission, Catholic Church Insurance and the Australian Catholic University. The two-year program aims to prepare Catholic women for leadership for mission within and beyond the Church.

Andrea Dean, director of the Office for the Participation of Women, an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the program “is such a gift”.

“We are looking forwarding to recruiting new candidates from July with a view to commencing the program next year. I’d be delighted to answer any questions from organisations or individuals who are interested in participating or promoting Leadership for Mission,” she said.

Email for more information on the program.

With thanks to the ACBC.


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