Aurora August 2017

Page 1

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle August 2017 | No.171



St Mar y Maitla ’s is cele nd brating 150 ye a Domin rs of i educa can tion!


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Dep. Oct 18 & Mar 12

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 4 nights Saigon, 4 nights Hanoi, 4 nights Hoi An, 1 night Halong Bay with cruise.


20 Day Tour

Dep. Feb 19

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi. 18 day coach & air tour of Vietnam. For this tour there is no extra charge for travellers requiring a single room.


16 Day Tour

Dep. Mar 17






24 Day Tour Singapore

Dep. Sep. 28






of Siem Reap plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 19 day Vietnam tour “off the beaten track”. 4 day Cambodia tour with Angkor Wat.


9 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 1

Flying Cathay Pacific into Taipei. 8 day Taiwan tour including spectacular Taroko Gorge.

19 Day Tour

Dep. Oct 6

Flying Emirates return to Athens, 15 days touring Greece including a 4 day cruise to the Greek islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini, 3 day Dubai stopover with Abu Dhabi day tour. Tipping included.



Dep. Nov 16 & Mar 22



19 Day Tour

Flying Singapore Airlines into Delhi & out of Bombay plus 3 flights within India. 16 day coach, plane & boat tour of India. 2 days Singapore.

29 Day Tour

Dep. May 8


25 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 8

25 Day coach tour right across U.S.A.., including

Flying Cathay Pacific into Vancouver. 12 day tour of western Canada & the Rockies. 8 day cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage. 3 days Hong Kong stopover.

Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon, Zion & Grand


Canyon National Parks. 2 days Disneyland area.

Flying China Eastern Airlines into Shanghai & out of Beijing, plus 3 flights within China. Includes 4 night first class Yangtze River cruise. Tipping included.



Flying Emirates into Cairo. 15 day Egypt tour including a 4 day cruise from Luxor to Aswan. 3 days Dubai including a tour to Abu Dhabi. 4-5 star luxury accommodation.


Flying Cathay Pacific into London & out of Paris. 31 day



tour of western & central Europe. 2 nights Hong Kong



Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon & out of Hanoi. 19 day coach tour of Vietnam. Halong Bay cruise. Optional extension to Angkor Wat.

Flying Singapore Airlines into Colombo. 14 day coach & rail tour of this beautiful country.


15 Day Tour

3 Week Tour

Dep. Apr 24

Dep. Sep 6

Flying Qatar Airlines into Zagreb & out of Athens. 17 day tour of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia & Greece plus 2 nights Athens. Small group tour.

12 Day Tour

Dep. Feb 13

Flying Virgin Australia into Launceston. Places visited include Launceston, Hobart, Port Arthur, Strahan, Cradle Mountain and a Gordon River cruise.


23 Day Tour



20 Day Tour

Dep. Feb 18

including Petra, 12 day Israel tour including Jerusalem, Lake Galilee, the Dead Sea & Masada. 2 day Dubai stopover.

Flying Qantas & Latam into Santiago. A superb tour of South America by plane, coach & rail, visiting Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina.



2 Week Tour Thai


Dep. Jan 31 Bangkok




within Thailand. 4 days Chiang Mai for their spectacular floral festival. 2 days River Kwai, 4 day coach tour of northern Thailand, 2 nights in beach resort on Gulf of Siam.

Dep. Nov 21 & Feb 23

Flying Air NZ into Christchurch & out of Auckland. 16 day coach tour of New Zealand, including 4 cruises and the Transalpine rail trip.

20 Day Tour

3 Week Tour

2 Week Tour

Dep. Nov 6 & Jan 28


13 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 12

Flying Cathay Pacific into Tokyo & out of Osaka. 12 day tour of Japan during the spectacular autumn colourings period.

Dep. Jan 30

Flying Singapore Airlines into Phnom Penh. 14 day overland tour of Cambodia. Small group tour.


2 Week Tour

Dep. Mar 14

Flying Singapore Airlines into Bangkok. 6 nights Bangkok, 4 nights beach resort, 2 nights Rose Garden Resort, 1 night River Kwai.



Dep. Nov 9



16 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 1


Dep. Oct 8.


34 Day Tour

Flying Emirates into Amman, Jordan. 5 day Jordan tour


Flying Qantas into New York & out of Los Angeles.

Dep. Nov 6

Flying Thai into Rangoon plus 3 flights in Burma. 12 day Burma tour by coach, plane & boat. 2 nights Bangkok.


22 Day Tour

Dep. May 7

Flying Air Canada into Vancouver. 12 day tour of western Canada & the Canadian Rockies. 8 day Alaskan cruise of the Inside Passage in a modern ocean liner.

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First Word

On the cover

Notes on thoughtful reading

St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College, Maitland (formerly St Mary’s High School) was founded on 10 September 1867. Plus c’est la même chose…see page 6.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle August 2017 | No.171



St Mary’s Maitla is celebr nd 150 yea ating Domin rs of ica educat n ion!

Featured  Love Child: it isn’t like that anymore


 Educating in the Dominican way: preach it we must! 6  Diocese launches new Development and Relief Agency 8  Be part of something bigger


 Building the visual identity of St Bede’s


 Now is the winter of our grief


 Balancing health ministry and contemplation


 Renewing pathways, growing hope


 From big city to bush and beach


 Understanding born of experience


Every day is a good day for reading, but winter days are particularly ripe for that most simple and profound of pleasures.

in your day) Anne Gleeson reflects on the joys of reading. She may have had to stop reading in order to write about reading!

I have just read a small book, an essay really, Robert Macfarlane’s The Gifts of Reading (Penguin 2016). Macfarlane writes of a book he was given as a gift, “When I first read A Time of Gifts I felt it in my feet. It spoke to my soles. It rang with what in German is called Sehnsucht: a yearning or wistful longing for the unknown and the mysterious. It made me want to stand up and march out – to walk into adventure. The book’s strong magic derives in part from the atmosphere of miracle that attends Leigh Fermor’s peregrinations…” Now I need to read A Time of Gifts!

She reminds me of a chance conversation I had recently with a colleague. Somehow we discovered that we were both fans of the ‘Anne’ books by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables et al. Zoë is delighted that her daughter has reached the age when ‘Anne’ can become a kindred spirit – and I am sharing in the reading vicariously.

As a child I clearly remember telling a generous aunt who asked about a suitable birthday present, “If you give me a book I’ll be happy.” Little has changed in the intervening years – except the time available for reading!

When you read the extract from Helen Hayward’s A Slow Childhood: notes on thoughtful parenting I’m confident you will want to enter our giveaway in hopes of reading – slowly – further notes. I believe thoughtful parenting would include reading aloud Anne of Green Gables – and not only to girls!

In this edition (plenty of reading for the gaps

Regulars 3

 My Word


Next deadline 7 August 2017

 CareTalk


Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119

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 Faith Matters


 Seasons of Mercy


 Frankly Spoken


 Community Noticeboard


 Last Word


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Advertising Fairfax Media Phone 4979 5259 Aurora appears in The Newcastle Herald, The Maitland Mercury, The Singleton Argus, The Manning River Times and The Scone Advocate on the first Wednesday of the month and in The Muswellbrook Chronicle on the following Thursday. The magazine can also be read at


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My Word

A synodal church? Some readers will be aware of Pope Francis’ ongoing remarks on the desirability of ‘synodality’ in the church or, indeed, of a ‘synodal’ church. To many, this is unfamiliar language, although quite strong memories persist of the diocesan synod held in 1992‑93. Others will be familiar with Synods of Bishops on particular topics that have been held in Rome periodically since the Second Vatican Council, or with the meetings of the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. These various ‘synods’ are different animals that do different things. ‘Synod’ is simply derived from the Greek word for ‘a meeting’. So, although the rules and procedures of the Anglican Synod or the Synod of Bishops might be very precisely defined, to talk about the church being more ‘synodal’ simply means that its decision-making processes should be based around consultation, coming together to talk things through, and confidence in the collective wisdom that arises from the Holy Spirit’s presence in a group of believers. The instinct to go into synod is very ancient. The first great church issue was whether pagans had to be circumcised to be baptised. The question was whether Christianity was a movement within Judaism or a new faith that was equally open to gentiles. The good folks in Antioch decided to send a delegation (“Paul and Barnabas and others of the church”) to Jerusalem to discuss the matter with the apostles and elders. “After the discussion had gone on for a long time”, Peter

swayed the discussion with a speech, James proposed a resolution, the apostles and elders decided to send out a ruling, “and the whole church concurred”. “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves”, the apostles and elders in Jerusalem wrote to the “brothers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia”. ‘Synodality’ was born. Synods or councils became a prominent feature of early church life. A bishop would call together the clergy and leaders to settle problems. Bishops within a region would gather with their best theologians to sort out differences in teaching or practice. Eventually great councils would assemble from across the Roman Empire and beyond, the first in Nicaea in 325. Its decisions about the true divinity of Christ were expressed in the Nicene Creed, which we still profess at Mass. Anyway, synods and councils, local, regional and general, remained common until the sixteenth century. Ironically it was probably the Council of Trent’s reforms to church discipline that created a more centralised, chainof-command church with no further general councils until Vatican I in 1870 and then Vatican II eighty years later. Now we have synods to the right and synods to the left! Some 600 young Maitland-Newcastle Catholics have recently completed the online consultation for the next Synod of Bishops on ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment’. Their input will be collated with that of thousands of others across the country and sent as the Australian view to

inform the agenda of the 2018 synod. Secondly, the Australian Bishops have proposed a national Plenary Council for 2020 and are awaiting confirmation and approval from the pope, though the preparations continue. This development was seriously discussed by the bishops in about 2009, but the decision was to proceed with the ‘Year of Grace’ first. Then the pope’s ‘Year of Mercy’ and the church’s engagement with the Royal Commission led to further deferrals. But a gathering of the bishops and the modern equivalents of ‘the elders of the church’ in Australia is in the offing. This will require massive consultations with the Catholic people at all levels. And that fact fell neatly into place with discussions that had been going on in the Diocesan Pastoral Council about the appropriate time for our next diocesan synod, already overdue according to the thinking of the synod of 1991. So we are now initiating the broad consultations that will help set the agenda for a diocesan synod, for the good of the mission and the people of our diocese, but also to enable us to take our discernment of the signs of the times into the National Plenary Council. These next few years promise to be full of consequence. I hope that very many of you will share in the talking and the praying, that we might get to the point of saying as a Catholic community, “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us that….”

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No need to shift


Love Child: it isn’t like that anymore Jackelyn Bassett spoke to Chloe Allsopp, CatholicCare’s psychologist working in the field of open adoption.


Q What is your role in supporting the open adoption process? A I provide information and counselling to anyone affected by adoption, past or present. This can relate to mandatory adoption counselling for parents considering adopting their newborn, counselling for those who were adopted or who have adopted, and providing information or services to assist with contacting birth parents. In terms of open adoption, I help parents to understand how it will affect them should they choose to adopt their child. Open adoption allows birth parents to remain in contact with the child and the adoptive parents; directly, or through an agency such as CatholicCare. We can assist birth parents to explore the options and devise an arrangement that suits them. Adopting a child is a major decision and I aim to ensure that parents have all the information to make the best decision for all. Q How has the shift to open adoptions changed the stigma surrounding adoption? A Closed adoption prevented birth parents from maintaining a connection with their child, severing all contact until the child was an adult and could choose to pursue contact. It ignored the child’s need to maintain links with biological parents, and tended to be viewed negatively due to the psychological harm it caused. Open adoption allows for a relationship between child and birth parents, better providing for the needs of all. It also allows birth parents to be involved in choosing their child’s adoptive parents. However, open adoption doesn’t remove loss and grief, it just removes the secrecy. There are still concerns about the impacts of adoption. Q What were the psychological impacts of closed adoptions? A Knowing there would be no future contact with their child often resulted in immense suffering for birth parents.

Parents would often experience guilt and a sense of failure, as well as fearing their child wouldn’t understand their reasons for adopting. Closed adoptions left birth parents feeling shut out of their child’s life. Adoptees were prevented from asking questions about their birth and its circumstances, which often led to their making up their own – often negative − explanations. For adoptees approaching adolescence, identity issues were a challenge with family history unknown. Adoptive parents in closed adoptions were often uncertain about how to discuss birth parents, having little knowledge of them and their circumstances. Q Why is it important to maintain open communication channels between children and birth parents? A Open communication between adopted children and birth parents allows birth parents to stay informed about their child’s wellbeing, something that is very reassuring and helps reduce the sense of disconnect. Birth parents want to know their child is happy in a loving family environment. It also allows adoptive parents to be informed about significant events so that information can be passed on to the child.

parents, shouldn’t be overlooked. Children may still experience a sense of being unwanted, even if they understand the circumstances of their birth. This can be even more evident if a birth parent discontinues contact or drifts away. When children begin to understand their adoptive mother didn’t give birth to them, they may experience sadness and adoptive parents must be aware of this and validate their child’s feelings. Adoptive parents have to negotiate how to respond when children express their wishes about contact with birth parents. Birth parents can also feel unworthy of having contact with their child, or they may want to keep contact at a minimum if they feel that it deepens their heartache. Q. Adoptions peaked in 1971/72 with around 10,000 adoptions. What have we learned from the treatment of those who had forced adoptions and how has support changed? A Forced adoptions resulted in major adjustment issues amongst birth

parents who were made to give up their parental rights. We’ve learnt that mothers need to be empowered to choose what they want for themselves and their child. We also understand that fathers have rights, and can experience the same sense of loss if they are not involved in the adoptive process. Even extended family may experience loss. Decades ago, there was virtually no support for those who adopted; they were expected to carry on as if nothing had changed. Now, parents considering adoption can access support and are required to complete counselling before they can sign an adoption agreement. They are encouraged to talk about their circumstances and the options available and are supported throughout. This can include post-adoption support in the months following their decision to adopt. Please visit




/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday

Having knowledge of birth parents and adoption contributes to a child’s sense of identity. It allows for transparency so there are no misconceptions around the adoption. It also prevents searching for birth parents, allowing them to stay in touch later if they choose. Q What issues arise from open adoptions? A Even open adoption is a loss. It is a huge decision and the bond between a mother and her baby must be acknowledged. A child’s attachment to a key caregiver is crucial in its development, and the damage caused by removal from an attachment figure in the first few months of life, whether birth parents or a temporary foster carer, in order to be placed with adoptive

Chloe Allsopp and mother-to-be.

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Educating in the Dominican way: preach it we must!


We live in a society in which truth is under threat from ‘alternative facts’ in the ‘post truth world’. However, if you were to visit the diocesan schools embodying the Dominican tradition and celebrating significant anniversaries this year, I believe your faith in the possibility of truth would be restored. St Mary’s Campus (formerly St Mary’s High School), All Saints College, Maitland, is celebrating 150 years since its foundation by Irish Dominican Sisters on 10 September, 1867. St Columban’s Primary and San Clemente High School, both in Mayfield, are celebrating centenaries this year. In all three cases, there’s a distinctly Dominican flavour to the events planned, which echoes the commitment to charism that remains in each school. Year 9 student at San Clemente, Annabelle Jones, is enthusiastic about her school. “We have the Dominican motto, Veritas − truth − and that’s something we really represent as a school – truth in what we say, what we do, truth in ourselves.” Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator - Religious Studies at San Clemente, Rose McAllister, suggests that the curriculum, in the broadest sense, provides endless opportunities for students to “find their own truth”. Not only is the Dominican story embedded in the teaching program, but justice initiatives such as Project Compassion, Globally Called and Harmony Day “are all very Dominican…it all fits together” to continue the mission of Spaniard Dominic Guzman, who founded the Order of Preachers around 1206. An annual pilgrimage walk on Stockton sees students having ‘passports’ stamped, stopping to pray and raising funds to help where help is needed.

San Clemente’s Annabelle Jones, Rose McAllister, Lily Malone, Ivy Griffin and Nicholas Furney.


As Congregational Archivist, Sr Elizabeth Hellwig op, writes, “Whatever their circumstances, members of the Order of Preachers are committed to studying, exploring and discovering better, ever more effective and new ways to disseminate the Gospel message. The first Dominicans have

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Education The Dominican ideal is characterised by a commitment to truth explored in dialogue, a vibrant preaching of the Gospel, a critical appreciation of culture and cultures, and a love of the beautiful. Our goal in each of our educational ministries is to foster these values, together with a spirit of prayer and contemplation, respect for the dignity and uniqueness of each person, and the pursuit of excellence. ( passed on to us the task of salting the world with the Word of God. As one Dominican put it, ‘How can we Dominicans preach a gospel of reconciliation, love for neighbour and justice for all in the context of war, racism, powerlessness? But preach it we must!’”

Clemente) is a wonderfully diverse community with some 22 nationalities represented in the student body. Here, every day is Harmony Day. Student leader Hannah Osorio says, “You can meet people from different places and with different beliefs” while Logan Aoake insists, “Everyone’s treated the same.”

Archangel with his broken sword and of course, St Dominic, whose statue is crowned with flowers on his August feast day each year. A first time visitor to St Mary’s could well feel that the campus is a peaceful oasis amid a busy city, and indeed the early Sisters were ‘enclosed’.

The medieval origins of the Dominican Order will be evident as St Mary’s is joined this month by St John’s Primary School, Maitland, to stage “Dominic’s relay”. Ministry Co-ordinator, Helen Kearney, explains, “The students will be dressed in a scapular and rope belt and race barefoot, but they have to change into the ‘habit’ and return to the next runner…staff will be involved too!”

The school’s centenary celebration will begin with Mass, with Bishop Bill presiding, followed by a picnic with oldfashioned games for all to enjoy. Staff and parents will be pleased to know that Year 6 student Mazvita Takawira feels that “The teachers at St Columban’s are really good at teaching” while Logan says, “They always want us to try our hardest.”

Celebrations will not only cater to those who are fleet of foot. A garden party on 10 September will offer an opportunity for visitors to wander through the cloister and grounds, paying respect to the pioneer Sisters who lie there and delighting in the chapel, marble saints and the revered orange tree, all very much part of the Dominican story. A group of students and staff is working to restore the gardens to their traditional style, since places of beauty promote contemplation.

Both San Clemente and St Columban’s are installing artworks to commemorate one hundred years of education in the Dominican way. Artist extraordinaire Rose McAllister is sculpting figures of Dominic – a man who, while educated for the priesthood, left no writings of his own, preferring to emphasise the Word which he preached and which lit his path.

However, today’s students are well versed in the needs of the people of God, as evidenced by a recent ‘immersion’ on Thursday Island. One of the teachers who accompanied the group of Year 11 students, Deborah Sivyer, said, “The program provided a unique opportunity to experience life in a remote Australian location. Our students gained authentic insights into the rich spirituality and cultural life of the Torres Strait Islanders and were able to develop a genuine appreciation of a culture quite different from their own.”

St Columban’s Primary (like San

Commemorative plaques will be installed in the foundational Dominican school, St Mary’s, highlighting such features as Rosary Place, “jappy”, St Michael the

St Columban’s students Logan Aoake, Hannah Osario, Mazvita Takawira and Chloe Griffin.

Student Elizabeth Crawford agrees, saying, “St Mary’s has a number of student teams which address issues within and beyond the school community. The teams promote social justice, care for the environment, raise money and awareness, for example, through Project Compassion and ensure that school events and gatherings involve time to reflect upon and

acknowledge the rich traditions upheld by the students who preceded us.” The Dominican colours are black and white, hence San Clemente’s celebrating with a Black and White Gala Ball. You would be mistaken, however, if you thought this indicated a less than nuanced understanding of truth. In the writing of Dominican Catherine of Siena, God says to Catherine: “Reprove yourself if ever…your own short-sightedness should do you the disservice of making you want to force all my servants to walk by the same path…this would be contrary to the teaching given you by my Truth.” (The Dialogue n104). So Truth, like a diamond, is manyfaceted. It’s clear St Columban’s Chloe Griffin has absorbed her school’s motto when she says, “If you tell the truth you will get further in life.” I think St Dominic would be smiling! For details of celebratory events, see page 21 or contact individual schools.



St Mary’s students Lachlan Guy, Josephene Everett, Selina Pham and Colm Wightman.

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Diocese launches new Development and Relief Agency By KATE BENNETT

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is pleased to announce the new Development and Relief Agency (DARA). DARA’s purpose is to act as a public benevolent institution for the relief of suffering, distress, alienation, helplessness and social disadvantage. Supporting those in our community who are disadvantaged, marginalised, oppressed or isolated by cultural, ethnic or religious differences, DARA provides practical assistance, an opportunity for socialisation and a pathway to independence. Working under the auspices of Business and Community Engagement, DARA works to complement established diocesan ministries including social justice, hospital chaplaincy, grief

support and youth, initially comprising DARA’s Van (previously Community Care Van) and Refugee Hub (previously Refugee Service). DARA’s Van provides hospitality and friendship to the homeless, socially isolated, financially stressed and all who are vulnerable. Offering food and refreshments, DARA’s Van engages directly with people who may require support and assistance, as well as access to information and other services. Operated by dedicated volunteer teams, DARA’s Van supports over 60 people each Saturday across a number of events throughout the region. As principal local partner of Orange Sky Laundry in the Newcastle region, DARA’s

Van also offers mobile hospitality and support as well as laundry facilities. An exciting collaborative venture between DARA’s Van and Orange Sky Laundry, the mobile hospitality and laundry service is available five nights a week throughout Newcastle and the Hunter. Refugee Hub plays an integral role in the settlement of refugees in the Newcastle and Hunter region. By working collaboratively with other service providers, Refugee Hub walks with refugees to support and empower them on their journey to independence. Utilising Refugee Hub’s experienced and professional networks, refugees and new migrants are provided with strong advocacy and referral pathways to utilise the supports they need.

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Refugee Hub operates a comprehensive and individualised intake and referral system, as well as providing short term casework support for refugees and new migrants to access community services. An outcomes-focused service, Refugee Hub also operates English language programs and facilitates pathways to education, employment and training for refugees and new migrants. Volunteers are integral to Refugee Hub and each volunteer brings unique talents to help refugees benefit from health, education, social and welfare opportunities. To learn more, please P Manager, Business and Community Engagement, Barry Urwin, 4979 1142, E barry.urwin@ or visit

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Maintaining sound professional relationships Q By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist

CatholicCare’s Manager of Counselling and Clinical Services, registered psychologist Tanya Russell, addresses an issue each month.


The advice provided is general in nature and does not replace ongoing support and advice from your health professional. To talk to someone about counselling support, P 4979 1172. Call Lifeline 24/7 on 131 114.

Do you have a question for Tanya?

I work in a small team and generally get along well with everyone. However, there is one person I find it difficult to speak up to, and I am often upset by how she speaks to me. Her sarcasm towards me can be tiring and often upsetting. How do I talk to her and preserve our working relationship? Many of us avoid having awkward conversations due to fear of upsetting our colleagues and of conflict. Many of us also feel we need to have confidence to address issues at work or in our personal lives. However, confidence does not come naturally, and it seems you have reached a point where you must resolve your concerns.

Have the conversation

The actual steps in preparing for, and having, an awkward − or courageous − conversation are not too difficult but our emotions and the emotions of the other person can make it tricky. However, consider the consequences of not having the conversation.

ff Describe your emotion: “I felt that you weren’t listening as you started making fun of me instead of answering my question. I felt embarrassed and belittled so I shut down and didn’t feel like I could continue talking to you.”

Here is a brief outline you could use: Prepare On paper or in your mind, be clear about the issue and desired outcome. Be ready with examples – specific behaviours you have observed which relate to how you feel. Be prepared to manage your own emotions and have the conversation as soon as possible.

Email your question to or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.

ff Name the issue: “I’d like to have a chat about our conversation yesterday in relation to a client account.” ff Give specific examples: “When I asked your advice on an invoice error, you loudly started teasing me about my maths and computer skills, in an open area with other staff around.”

ff Acknowledge your contribution: If you feel you have contributed to any misunderstanding, say so at this point. ff Express wish to resolve issue: “I want us to have a good working relationship and hope that I can raise these sorts of things with you.”

ff Find ways to work together: “In future I would prefer you to answer questions without sarcasm as it does affect me. Let me know if I can act differently too.” The steps in preparing and having the conversation are not complicated but keep in mind that no conversation will unfold according to script, so be prepared to reiterate. When making your first statement about wanting to talk to your colleague, ask her to let you say all you need to say before responding. Interruptions lead to increased conflict and deflection. Be respectful and mindful of your colleague, especially if you feel her intentions are good. Continue to treat her with kindness and respect. This is not a conversation any of us really enjoys so good luck!

ff Invite response: “What do you think?”


ff Listen and ask questions to clarify your understanding.



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One by One

Jennifer, what do you want to be when you grow up? By JENNIFER RUMBEL

Eccleston’s Jennifer Rumbel shares a story of encouragement, enlightenment and excitement! At the end of May my husband, Scott, and I shared a meal in a local restaurant to celebrate the culmination of my six and a half years of university. Quietly playing in the background was the Byrds’ 1965 hit, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” This reminded me of the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, “in everything there is a season and a time.” The reality had hit me earlier that this was my tenth year of the study which began in 2007 when I undertook the Christian Formation Course through the Tenison Woods Education Centre (TWEC) with the Sisters of St Joseph, Lochinvar. Several memories remain from this tentative beginning in adult faith formation. Like many of my classmates I was concerned that three years was an enormous undertaking and I questioned my ability to see it through. We were informed that the course was accredited, attendance recorded and assessments set, so it was possible to gain credits if participants elected to attend university. I can clearly recall scanning the room thinking ‘Wow, some here will be able to go on to university’, never in my wildest dreams considering it would be me! The Sisters’ advice and wisdom made a deep impact as they challenged each of us to ‘come open − come empty’. This has been something I have carried with me, gaining incredible freedom and insight over the years. My fellow TWECians have been outstanding ‘companions on the journey’, during the course and in the years following. Throughout my life I have been blessed by the wisdom and mentoring of inspirational women, none more so than the Sisters of St Joseph. This has allowed me to grow spiritually and academically. My studies took me on a theological journey through history and philosophy that had been influenced by dominant Eurocentric male thinking, challenging at times for a woman. However, these strong women have guided me. I have been greatly supported in my ongoing academic scholarship by my spiritual director, Sr Lynette Pearce rsj. 10

Within the first three months of 2011 my father, whom I had cared for in his final stages of cancer, had passed away, I had entered university, discovered my Aboriginal heritage − and learned the truth about my paternal grandfather’s removal from family and country as a two-year-old. It was a lot to process! The first six weeks of university just made my head hurt, but I soon learned that I was not alone and was encouraged by conversations with my classmates. It was through these conversations that I came to enjoy the friendship and support of fellow travellers. Over the course of our study, the support and encouragement we received from our lecturer, Dr Tim Stanley, contributed greatly to our success and perseverance. Tim would often ask me, “Jennifer, what do you want to be when you grow up?” This question often directed my study and ultimately charted a path dominated by social justice, listening to the voices from the margins.

articulate all I have held deep within about faith and spirituality and this knowledge has been empowering and liberating. This enables me to empower others.

faith, because you have no idea of the

This journey would not have been possible without my family. Their love, support and encouragement have been at times overwhelming. Having left school at 16, with an acute sense of being an average student, now holding a Bachelor of Theology, I find myself simply smiling with delight. My advice to others is ‘Dare to take that leap of

undertake Honours in Aboriginal Studies

strength you carry within you or where your journey may take you. Do not doubt, but believe!’ (Jn 21:27) Postscript: I have been invited to in 2018. So rather than this being the end of my journey, I now feel it is only just the beginning!




One of the benefits of attending a secular university has been exposure to the diversity of people, beliefs and cultures which has been exhilarating and refreshing. Learning about the Abrahamic faith traditions − Judaism, Christianity and Islam − revealed the common ground we share. My Indigenous studies have been transformational and of enormous assistance in my recent role as an Aboriginal Youth Worker in the Biripi community. Wollotuka’s Elder in Residence, Aunty Sandra Griffin, has provided considerable encouragement in both my studies and the search to uncover and understand my family’s history. I was welcomed with open arms and warm hugs, just like my experience at TWEC. I felt I was coming home. My final unit on Indigenous Research has allowed me to see how unknowingly we carry what Roth terms an “unreflective Eurocentric bias” into the fields we endeavour to study. This course also revealed my lifelong love of stories and how we can grow and relate to others through sharing our stories. My studies have allowed me to

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Be part of something bigger


As registrations for 2017 open, Stephanie Trunk shares her experience at the 2015 Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Adelaide, accompanying students from St Catherine’s College, Singleton. Quite often when people hear about ACYF they think that all you do is pray. You are encouraged to pray, but at the same time you learn more about yourself. Everyone greets you with a smile and you immediately feel welcomed. You’re able to interact with young people of like mind, make friendships with people from all around Australia and learn about how your faith really affects the person you are.

to their personal lives.

I think the most valuable thing about

much about yourself and you will find that

The music was exceptional and everyone loved dancing and singing along. It was one big celebration because we were all there due to a common theme: our faith.

attending the Festival is learning about

you will have a different outlook on life.

yourself. Taking students along to the

The things that used to worry you won’t

Festival and seeing their growth in just

anymore! You will learn how to deal with

a few days is remarkable. You learn so

things and how to embrace your faith. The experience in Sydney with 15,000 people participating will be absolutely amazing, with 15,000 people who are there because they are like you. 15,000 people who share the same interests you do. 15,000 people are there because

In the closing Mass, a particular student leaned over and touched my shoulder. He had a big smile on his face and tears in his eyes. This student is not Catholic, yet he was moved by the power of prayer in the room. He felt the presence of something greater than ourselves. The students in my group found the workshops and plenary sessions engaging and useful. They were able to relate them to the subjects they were studying for their HSC but also

their faith matters to them. Join the Australian Catholic Youth Festival Maitland-Newcastle Group, 7-10 December 2017. Registrations are now open at


YOUR Members of the diocesan contingent in Adelaide for ACYF 2015.


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Building the visual identity of St Bede’s How does the spirit of an 8th century English monk provide meaning to the community of a contemporary Australian Catholic school?


After almost six months of consultation and development, the visual identity of the diocese’s newest secondary college, St Bede’s Catholic College, has been unveiled to the community. From the school crest, motto, uniform colours and stationery design to sports house colours and names, everything was developed with purpose and meaning. Opening its doors in January 2018, St Bede’s will be a vibrant community where a real sense of belonging and spirit is fostered in an environment that inspires students to excel in their learning across all fields of endeavour. How does one channel this vision into a school’s visual identity? Visual Communications specialist, Katie Todd, spent days researching the Venerable Bede, the community of Chisholm, traditional owners of the land, Morpeth’s Immaculate Conception Parish, local flora and fauna and the contemporary learning environment envisaged for future students. This research paved the way for the new

College’s identity. In the development of the crest, a colour and symbolism study was performed to identify the palette and icons that would feature in the crest and later in the school uniforms. The colours black/grey, violet and gold/yellow were selected as the key palette due to their association with St Bede, flora and fauna native to the Maitland area and the vision for the future school. Violet is the liturgical colour of Advent and Lent which were the subjects of forty of Bede’s homilies. The violet is a species native to the Maitland area and was an indigenous food. Another key visual feature were the symbols featured in the crest. The dynamic and symmetrical design reflects a combination of symbols and layering of meaning. Each element – book, light from heaven/sun, cross and circle (eternity) was inspired by Bede’s life. The outermost ring features bursts of light emanating from the book at the centre. This exemplifies how

Members of the Year 7 2018 cohort: Darcy Mexon (St Aloysius, Chisholm), Charlotte Easey (St Aloysius, Chisholm) and Georgia McDonald (Our Lady of Lourdes, Tarro). learning and knowledge are at the heart of education. Finally, nine mottos were proposed, arising from Bede’s works and commentaries on his contribution. Bede’s prayer, “Christ our morning star”, was ultimately selected as

the inspiration for “Shine with Christ’s Glory”.





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Family Matters

Notes on thought-full parenting By HELEN HAYWARD

This is the story of how I went from being a determined young woman, focused on career, to being a devoted mother and writer. It tracks fifteen years of my journey from London to Melbourne to Hobart. I wanted my children to have a slow childhood. I wanted them to experience the world from a deeply rooted sense of home. I wanted them to be creative, adventurous and curious. Before the world started making demands I wanted them to have a rounded sense of themselves. I wanted them to build towers from wooden blocks, fly kites, make cubby houses, play tricks, have adventures, tease each other, roll down hills, be tickled, make cakes, get bored, read picture books, ride scooters, draw pictures, climb trees and make sandcastles. Not least I wanted to do most of these things with them – as did Paul, their father. We both wanted to get something personal out of Alex and Emma’s childhood, and not just chaperone them through it.

touched by To the Lighthouse, in which Virginia Woolf reflects on her upbringing through recalling family holidays by the sea. On first reading this novel I assumed that it was about the passage of time. It was about the way that life happens to you, rather than the other way round. I felt convinced that Mrs Ramsey, the motherly central figure, was nostalgic. She harked back to a time when it was acceptable for a woman to credit her life through family, rather than her own life’s work. She doesn’t even cook the beef dish that she serves up to family and guests, I thought waspishly. She just thanks her cook. However now that I’m a Mrs Ramsey in my own family, sadly minus help, I respond to her very differently. These days I admire her for being vitally present even after her death. I see her maternal qualities seep into her every relationship, with her children, her husband, her house, her garden and her visitors. Above all I see the way that she holds everything together, enjoying her children and crediting the lives of those

around her as deeply valuable. Now that I too care for my family as much as myself, that solidity feels incredibly real. While my children haven’t read To the Lighthouse, in their minds I’m Mrs Ramsey. This is no mistake that they’ve made. Over the years I’ve let them take possession of me, encouraged it even. I’ve wanted them to feel that I’m there for them no matter what. I’ve wanted them to take me for granted. Not because I’ve wanted them to become petty tyrants, but because by letting them lean on me while they were young, by offering them a slow childhood, I hoped that they’d grow up strong inside and so less in need of me later. Just as my sisters and I once grew out of our mother. The hints I give at the end of each chapter are the things I learned along the way that might help young women who are wondering what being a mother might be like, as well as women who, already mothers, are immersed in family life and long for a perspective on it, and also women who, their children grown up, wonder what all the fuss

was about. And, no less, for all these women’s partners. Childhood is a place that we all benefit from spending time in, no matter where we are in our lives. Whether we dip in and out, or accompany our own children throughout it, childhood offers a special kind of magic which is always there for us. This is why I’ve wanted Alex and Emma’s childhood to pass slowly, to savour and draw on it for the rest of my life. This is an edited excerpt from Tasmanian Helen Hayward’s preface to her new book, A Slow Childhood: Notes on thoughtful parenting (Editia). To win a copy, send an envelope with your name and postal address on the back to Aurora Editor, “A Slow Childhood”, PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.




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This is the story of that childhood, of afternoons spent playing Lego on the bedroom floor, of trips to the park and of DVDs minus commercial television. However, before this comes over as a rosy, have-it-all, guilt-inducing story of family life to make the most relaxed working mother seethe, there was always one hitch. Which is that throughout Alex and Emma’s childhood I never found a work-life balance. I’ve never reconciled my personal ambitions with love for family. They were always chalk and cheese. Thankfully what I have found is a small still voice that guides me through family life. Not least I’ve found a grace, a pointed vulnerability, that has deepened my appreciation of life as a whole. This may not sound like much on paper – my pregnant self might have sniffed – however now that my children are finishing school, and I’ve stepped into middle age, this grace feels precious, earned even. Throughout my twenties I read and taught a lot of Virginia Woolf’s work. Though I read her less now, I’m still | C AT H O L I C D I O C E S E O F M A I T L A N D - N E W C A S T L E | W W W. M N N E W S . T O D AY / A U R O R A - M A G A Z I N E



Grief Awareness Month: Now is the winter of our grief


On Christmas Eve, 1987, an event occurred that would change my life and my husband’s life forever. I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first baby and had just taken leave from teaching. I was looking forward to Christmas and preparing for the arrival of our little one. It was a very hot day. I was rushing around, getting ready for Mass at Shortland. I had to make a phone call to arrange the music for the Mass. I was looking for Mary’s number, when this inexplicable feeling of tiredness hit me like a wave. I cannot explain that feeling, nearly 30 years ago. I have never felt it again. Even when I am extremely tired, it’s nothing like that. I lowered myself to the floor and managed to call my husband. My husband’s name was the last word I managed to say for four hours. I could not move my right side. Everything felt heavy. I had no idea what was happening. I was conscious. The ambulance arrived, closely followed by the Intensive Care team. When my husband told them I was eight months pregnant, it was action stations all around.

the answers were in my mind, but I just could not physically form the words. After days of tests, it was determined that I had CVA. What is this? I managed to articulate. A cardio vascular accident, I was told. What happened to my baby? He managed to stay in utero until 39 weeks gestation. I am proud to say I delivered him naturally. He is now a doctor at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, taking care of patients in ICU! There’s an irony there. Christmas Eve is very significant for us. For several years I had a lot of difficulty with this day. I did not recognise that I was grieving the loss of my former self and the changes the stroke brought. Along comes an opportunity to be involved with Seasons for Growth, an education program for children and adults dealing with grief. I began to recognise feelings and reactions that were coming from deep within me. I was struggling to be the teacher I had always dreamed of being — and being a mum was extremely difficult. But I was determined and the love showered on me by my husband helped me climb mountains − in my mind, anyway!

significant other griefs. Some have learned different strategies for coping with these anniversaries. These strategies can help to make us more resilient. Some people are very aware of the particular month or season when their grief event happened. The grief and loss program, appropriately titled, Seasons for Growth, has an excellent metaphor to describe these particular times. The metaphor is “Winter.” Winter is the season when we become “dormant” like many plants and animals. Not much growth happens in winter and animals tend to hibernate in the colder temperatures. People can experience a “winter” of their grief around anniversary time. Winter is also a time to snuggle up in front of a fire or heater with a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows) and to acknowledge the winters of our lives. Often people say, why would we put ourselves back in that space? It’s easier to ignore winter feelings, but suppressed feelings may eventually emerge in unhelpful ways.

Strokes only happened to the elderly. Was I in for some education! Strokes can happen at any age − even to babies in the womb.

“Grief Anniversaries and Memories - acknowledging grief, promoting resilience “ is the theme chosen for this year’s Grief Awareness Month of August.

One definition of grief is “The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (eg death), social (eg divorce), or occupational (eg loss of position). Emotional grief reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair.” (

I was lying in the maternity ward, unable to answer questions, frustrated because

Many people observe the anniversaries of their loved one’s deaths and

Memories are important in the journey of grief.

I heard the word “stroke” mentioned.

This brought me to a place of reflection about Grizabella, the glamour cat from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. “Life was beautiful then I remember the time I knew what happiness was… I must wait for the sunrise I must think of a new life And I mustn’t give in…” Grief Awareness Month occurs in winter but spring is just around the corner. The wattle trees usually begin to blossom in August. Everyone needs to process their grief and if we can focus on the memories of the person or the thing (job, house) we have lost, we may reach a point where we begin to engage in life once more. Jennie Nolan is a Family Ministry Co-ordinator, Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle.




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Photo courtesy of Paul Blyton.

It did not compute.

Why do people eulogise at funerals? It is about memories – about taking time to reflect on the impact of that person on the lives of others.


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Faith Matters

“Go and do something”: what ‘the Salvos’ believe and practise


“Go and do something!” This was the response of William Booth, cofounder with his wife, Catherine, of The Salvation Army to his eldest son, Bramwell, upon learning that men were sleeping out on the bridges of London. Bramwell duly went and did something:

and Catherine could hardly have imagined. In the variety of countries represented and the wide range of services delivered, it is the practical expression of Christianity − “Christianity with its sleeves rolled up” − that defines Salvationist service still:

Within a year, in 1888, the first facility for food and shelter was opened in London with accommodations for some 70 men. Soon more than 2,000 persons were being fed daily, including more than 700 hungry children who came for soup. Pressing need and success led to more being established. 1

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination. 5

It may be argued that, in that moment, the future direction of The Salvation Army altered. It was no longer a movement exclusively focused on evangelism and winning souls for Christ, but now an organisation actively concerned with the conditions of people in this life, as well as in the next. In Australia, ‘the Salvos’, as The Salvation Army is affectionately known, remains a trusted organisation 2, consistently supported by a generous public whose goodwill is never taken for granted by those of us who have the responsibility both for collecting funds, as well as for operating the social programs those donations make possible. Yet how many people would know that the services provided are all an outward expression of Christian faith – that our desire to “go and do something” is motivated by our understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, who came to “do something” for us? By the time William Booth died in 1912, The Salvation Army was operating in 58 countries 3. Today, it works in 128 countries 4 on a scale that William

1 2 3 4 5 6

The great passion and calling of William Booth’s life was to be an itinerant evangelist. With Catherine’s support he resigned from the Methodist 6 church in 1861, partly over the Methodists’ refusal to allow him the freedom he knew he needed to fulfil God’s calling. In 1865 he found himself preaching at a tent mission amidst the poverty and deprivation of the East End of London. Later, Booth reflected: As I passed by the door of the flaming gin palaces tonight I seemed to hear a voice sounding in my ears … where is there so great a need for your labours? And there and then in my soul I offered up myself … Those people shall be our people, and they shall have our God for their God. 7 The East End Christian Revival Society became The Salvation Army in 1878 and uniforms, quasi-military structures and terminology followed. The military symbolism translated well into the culture of late 19th century Britain. The purpose of the uniform – then and now – was primarily to witness to the faith of its wearer. In modern day Australia, the uniform is,

perhaps, less well understood although still recognised. For this wearer, the uniform is firstly a witness to myself – a reminder of the covenant I have made in response to God’s call. It should also be stated that many people who worship with us choose not to wear uniform. It remains the case that the uniform signifies the availability of the wearer – and it opens doors of opportunity for us.

the decision was made not to include

The Salvation Army’s initial growth was sometimes more organic than strategic. Salvationists simply gathered together and formed corps 8 wherever they happened to be. In 1880, two converts from England, John Gore and Edward Saunders, conducted a meeting from the back of a cart in Adelaide. The

every person’s life can be an outward

ritual observance of communion in Salvationist worship. The founders were concerned that nothing should “become a substitute for inward grace. 11” However, Salvationists also retain absolute respect for the sincere sacramental observances of other traditions. As a holiness movement, The Salvation Army teaches that demonstration of God’s inward grace. This idea is, perhaps, best described in one of The Salvation Army’s most popular consecration songs: My life must be Christ’s broken bread, My love his outpoured wine. A cup o’erfilled, a table spread, Beneath his name and sign, That other souls, refreshed and fed,

The uniform signifies the availability of the wearer – and it opens doors of opportunity for us.

May share his life though mine. 12 That same spirit of sacramental service – practical holiness – compels The Salvation Army into the world in search of the last, the least and the lost (2 Corinthians 5:14). Why an army? Because we fight against all that would enslave people, against the forces of

Salvation Army was officially recognised in Australia in 1881. Today, The Salvation Army operates 336 churches and 453 social services centres across Australia 9. Salvationist theology retains the Wesleyan emphasis of the founders, encapsulated in eleven articles of faith 10. Salvationists believe that the grace of God is freely available to anyone, in any place, and at any time. This was one of the reasons why, in 1874,

Gariepy, Henry. Christianity in Action: The International History of The Salvation Army. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 2009: 177. According to the AMR 2016 Charity Reputation Index available at Gariepy, 2009: 85. The Salvation Army. Year Book 2017. London: The Salvation Army. 2017: 30. The international mission statement of The Salvation Army, published at Now part of the Uniting Church in Australia.

evil that seek to crush the human spirit and the enemy’s lies that people’s lives are worthless. Captain Stephen Oliver is Corps Officer, Newcastle Worship and Community Centre.




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Gariepy, 2009: 7. A church or mission station. 9 The Salvation Army, 2017: 60 & 64. 10 See 11 Gariepy, 2009: 70. 12 The Song Book of The Salvation Army, 2015 edition. Song No. 610, by Albert Orsborn (1886-1967). 7 8

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Seasons of Mercy

A wondrous portal: the joy of reading


Great literature − “the best words in the best order” as Samuel Taylor Coleridge defined true poetry − has always been one of humankind’s richest resources for making sense of difficult experiences and living through painful times. With a little effort and attention, great poems, novels and drama can serve us all as “safe places” for reflection and de-stressing in the busyness of life, and as building blocks towards selfunderstanding and sharing of emotions. Those who know me well would agree that I enjoy reading. I get this weird sense of pleasure and satisfaction when I can bury my face in a good book, even on my iPad. However, I must admit that there is nothing like the tactile sense of pleasure you get from holding a real book. Reading is one of those things that takes me away from any stressful situation. It is my way of escaping even for a few minutes. It is one way to spend quality time with myself. Reading provides a way for me to learn more about myself (depending on the book), offers me options and enhances new ideas. I think my fascination with reading came from being given books and being taken to the library as a child. I remember that 16

I would tag along with Dad when he went to the library and he would even read some of the borrowed books with me. Some of my favourite childhood books were the Famous Five and Nancy Drew series, Little Women, Five Little Peppers and What Katy Did. I can’t really remember the process of learning to read. I think that innately I knew how to do it. I can remember the process of learning to spell – “i before e except after c” and learning my times tables and to add and subtract but the process of learning to read does not spring to mind. I remember clearly learning to write and practising each day, perfecting the letters and numbers so skilfully written on the blackboard. I can remember the Betty and Jim books and thinking that they were really boring. But the Open Road to Reading was another story altogether. I was recently rummaging in a secondhand shop and I came across a copy of this treasure. The years just fell away and I had an almost instant recall of the stories in the book. However, I do not have the memory of my friend. When I told her about the purchase she was able to recite, with almost word perfect precision, the poem which introduced the volume.

An open road is a friendly road, I love to travel daily, And kindly folk I meet and greet And talk to them so gaily. Here in this book are the stories of the Runaway Plum, Two Little Raindrops (called Pitter and Patter), The Brownies Winter House, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Pied Piper and my favourite, The Apple Fairy. All fodder for an avid reader. Now as I look through the book I think about how times have changed. The words and concepts in the stories struck me as being beyond the scope of infants school reading. However, I was able to read these stories and oh how I loved them! There is one story about Robinson Crusoe. In this story Mr Crusoe has been shipwrecked on the island and is living in a cave when he notices four “savages” running along the beach. He runs down with his gun and shoots two of the savages and scares one off. The fourth savage who was being chased is thus rescued and is so grateful that he becomes Robinson’s slave and is taught to say the words ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Master’. Oh, how times have changed! In the back of the book is a list of words and phrases which are contained

in the story and meant to be part of vocabulary. One of the phrases which makes me smile is “a wondrous portal”. Now I am not sure that as a child in Year Two, I knew what a portal was, let alone a wondrous one. And as for using it as part of my vocabulary, I cannot image myself sitting at the tea table asking if anyone had experience of a wondrous portal. As I grew older, my taste in reading became really eclectic and I find my greatest interest is in books that are well written and hold the attention of the reader by transporting her to another place. In To Kill a Mockingbird Scout delivers a brilliant statement about reading. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Like Scout, I cannot imagine a life without the ability to read. I am stunned and awed by its influence and I feel for those who find reading a struggle. Anne Gleeson blogs at crpsandme.




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Balancing health ministry and contemplation A story for National Vocations Awareness Week By MICHELLE GOH rsm

I joined the Sisters of Mercy (Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea) three and a half years ago when I made my first profession of religious vows. I first contemplated the possibility of religious life after finishing specialist medical training in dermatology. At that time, I enjoyed my work in medicine because I liked the variety and intellectual challenge of the profession, the interaction with people, the lifestyle and also the satisfaction of knowing that through my work, I was helping others. At the same time, there was a deeper longing for ultimate meaning, and a spiritual searching, trying to better fit my Christian faith into how I

BBI – Theology at work in a modern world

was living and what I was doing. As a Sister of Mercy now, I am blessed to belong to a group of committed Christian women who constantly model for me a balanced contemplation-withaction mode of being and doing. Out of our relationship with Jesus, we try to live the Gospel message through our service to the community especially the poor and disadvantaged of our world, through our ministries in health, education, welfare and social justice. Having first experienced and known God’s loving kindness (mercy) in our lives, we try to share God’s mercy and compassion with those around us. My current ministry is in medical

Higher Education

Sr Michelle Goh at work. dermatology – in clinical practice and medical education. I hope that by my work in health ministry, I am participating in Christ’s work of healing in God’s kingdom. I am deeply grateful for the gifts and opportunities that I have received, and am thankful that I am able to give back to the community

Professional Development & Short Courses

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Renewing pathways, growing hope By MARYANNE KERRINS

Towards the end of last year CatholicCare Hunter Manning took on a new project for women and children victims of Domestic Violence. The project is funded by Family and Community Services (FaCS) and aims to support women and children via case management, case co-ordination, information, education and community support to live a full life, free from fear and violence. The project also has a small component of work attached to help perpetrators of Domestic Violence to seek help. The project is vitally important in keeping women and children safe and in engaging with the local community about attitudes towards what actually constitutes Domestic Violence. This is where the education component of the project comes into play. People are often unaware that by putting your partner down (as an example) you are eroding his/her self esteem and depleting an individual’s sense of worth in the world. It is often the subtle little beginnings that lead to more abusive behaviour. Most deaths at the hands of intimate partners or family members are not ‘one off’ acts of violence. There is a trail of abusive behaviour that has escalated over time. The project was called the Integrated Domestic Family Violence Strategy. “What a mouthful did I hear you say?” Yes, we agree. The case manager of the project especially agreed. Her long­- winded mantra when answering the phone was, “Hello, you have called Stacy Northam from the Integrated Domestic Family Violence Strategy.” This didn’t exactly roll off the tongue, sound particularly snappy or reflect what happens in the project. So, in consultation with FaCS and the families in the project, we decided that we would all go away for a weekend 18

camp (yes, in the midst of winter) to remake and rebrand the project. We went to Kings Creek Retreat and it was an amazing experience. The decision to go camping (well actually it was more ‘glamping’ than camping) was influenced by financial constraints and by what would hold the interest of eight very active and curious children. The children were unbelievably excited by the prospect of sleeping in massive tepees or the bunkhouse. We fed chooks and pigs, collected eggs and picked, then squeezed, oranges for our breakfast juice. We talked to sheep and cattle and came to know them all by name. We made American Indian style head dresses and enjoyed other art and craft activities. The best activity was the introduction to

the pony. We began with some ground rules about not spooking the pony by moving suddenly or talking really loudly (good life skills for all creatures, great and small). We progressed to patting, then brushing the pony and talking to him in a soothing and kind manner (again, general life skills) we then proceeded to paint the pony (admittedly not the most useful life skill for your resumé). Apparently in times gone by horses would be painted or marked before going into battle so that, symbolically, they could see clearly and stay safe. The children and bigger folks were then invited to ride the pony. No one had any hesitation about mounting the pony because of the lovely process of introduction they had experienced. The women spent time with the Case Manager and a local artist to develop

a new name for the project and to come up with some art work that could be used to rebrand. The results were fantastic. The new name they have proposed is Renewing Pathways and the artwork speaks for itself. The healing power of groups of people coming together to share their stories and their determination to make change is as old as time. The validation that comes from knowing that you are not the only person to have experienced a painful situation or existence is very therapeutic. There also comes a strong sense of hope and of knowing that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The project connects women and children with specialist trauma-informed counselling where appropriate and offers a range of very practical supports including housing support, connections with court support and legal advice. There is also some brokerage funding attached to the project as families often have to flee a violent situation with only the clothes on their backs. Setting up a new home is a very expensive business and women have more often than not been subjected to financial deprivation which is another form of abuse. Women and children are most at risk when they actually leave an abusive relationship and ensuring that this can be done in a safe and confidential manner is crucial. We as a community are all responsible for how individuals are treated and what is deemed acceptable behaviour. So next time you are at a party and there is a joke about the “dumb blonde” or the story about the “silly witch” who lives next door – how will you respond?




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/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday


From big city to bush and beach By TRISH BOGAN

Margaret McMahon is a woman of countless talents, from being a solicitor in Sydney to a dedicated and awardwinning cattle farmer in the Dungog district. Now she’s an accomplished author as well. From tree change to sea change − it’s all been taken in stride, with the love and support of husband Gregan and their four children. Recently Margaret completed her memoir, Tree Change: Koalas in the kitchen – Butterflies in the bush; the story of her Sydney legal career, marriage, life changing move to two farms then finally an apartment close to the beaches of Newcastle with a magnificent view. Margaret admits, “We are so lucky. It would have been impossible to adjust to leaving the farm without having something like this to replace it.” After views of bush, greenery and valleys, watching the harbour each day is a bonus for Margaret. Throughout her life, Margaret would “write down things when I thought of them − and when I put them all together, I had eight boxes of stuff!” That is how Tree Change was created, “I’ve written it over 26 years, just little bits and pieces and I’ve grabbed those bits and pieces and put them together when I had the time.” There is no chronology to Margaret’s memoir, but each of the chapters captures something of her experience; marrying

Gregan, life in the city and the massive gamble of moving to the country and raising their family on a farm. Margaret and Gregan discovered Dungog by accident. “We had to do a property settlement” within the family. They began by visiting this property for the children to see their cousins. “As we drove in I could see this little town − isn’t it beautiful?” At the time they were solicitors living highly stressful lives in Sydney. Margaret’s dad and grandfather were lawyers; she followed in their footsteps. But living that anxious life wasn’t for Margaret and she realised, “What sort of a life is this, what sort of a life is it for our kids?” When an offer came for Gregan to work in a legal practice at Dungog, they accepted. Imagine the difficulty they had adjusting to country life! The children had to alter their lives too, “They didn’t really miss out on much, but they had to do the hard yards as well.” So began the family’s quest to own and run a farm in the area. In contrasting city and country, Margaret says, “We had everything in the city, we were making big money, but to me that wasn’t something that made me happy. If you lived in a terrace house like we did, you didn’t have a garden, we had all these animals living in the back yard.” Always an animal enthusiast, Margaret says it’s something

that was instilled in her from an early age. Possibly that is where her need for open spaces and being surrounded by animals was set in motion. For many years after moving to the farm, life was a financial and physical struggle but Margaret admits, “I never once felt we’d done the wrong thing.” Her father kept offering incentives for them to return to Sydney to work in his legal practice but Margaret always refused. Her love of farm life overrode everything. Margaret could not foresee how the family would eventually thrive. While Gregan worked at the practice, she took over the organisation of the farms. She writes of severe drought, searing summers, floods and bleak winters. To educate herself in the principles of land preservation and animal management, Margaret undertook many courses. Her perseverance paid off; she succeeded where many other women would have admitted defeat and given up. The welfare of her animals was her highest priority. In the best and worst of weather, Margaret doggedly set out every day to check on her beloved Poll Hereford cattle, and at various times goats, horses, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and other animals on the property. Fencing, feeding, weeding, clearing, planting and especially watering were constant tasks which would test the

best farmer, but Margaret found herself enjoying the challenge even more. While heavily pregnant with the two children born while living on the farm, Margaret relates her experiences with humour and honesty. In her memoir, Margaret imparts her love of farming and the freedom and independence it brought her. But she also outlines its hardship and confrontation. Her book should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking of a ‘tree change’. Margaret’s writings about family and farm are captivating and fulfilling. Since Margaret and Gregan left their farm they have filled their lives, like most retirees! They enjoy family, artistic, music and cultural pursuits and simply being able to walk around Newcastle. “When you live in the country like we did, you don’t get out, you don’t see any movies, never get to a concert or a play. We are now in walking distance of the Civic Theatre and all those things.” After many years of toil, Margaret deserves the satisfaction of having become a successful, resilient, nurturing farmer and a conservationist of our precious land.




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Margaret McMahon at home in Newcastle.

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Grief Awareness Month:

Understanding born of experience By JOHN MURRAY

Regular contributor John Murray shares a precious family story, one that surely has parallels in many families. In his late fifties, a friend had a leg amputated and for years afterwards experienced the phenomenon of ‘phantom limb pain’ – he endured bouts of, what he referred to as, ‘real’ pain in the region where his leg once had been. His ‘loss’, of course, meant permanent debilitation and the accompanying pains were superfluous reminders of that fact. The word ‘loss’ is sometimes used euphemistically, frequently being substituted for ‘death’ – one reason that this memory invited the recall and immediate comparison with another – a ‘loss’ endured by my mother‑in-law. On 28 December, 1952, Gerard Archer, the first child of his mother, Laura, came into the world stillborn. Being sedated at the time, Laura never saw her child, never held him. The nuns at Waratah’s Mater Misericordiae Hospital were kind, Laura recalls, while the general demeanour of the doctors could best be described as professional but rather distant and impersonal. Intuitively she understood attitudes towards her situation to be, “Well occasionally, mothers ‘lose’ babies; nature takes its course. So let’s get on with life.” Only the barest of clinical details surrounding this ‘loss’ were divulged.

Especially for a mother, the effects attendant upon such a traumatic happening can be many; effects no less painful, disabling or ‘real’ than the surgical removal of a limb. Two varieties of pain: both psychological; one transient, resulting from a surgical operation with side-effects best labelled ‘medical curiosity’; the other, casting a life-long shadow. For Laura and for many mothers like her, the word ‘loss’ was no euphemism; Gerard’s death was a wrench to her being, a kind of disembodiment. Having carried her son for nine months, in her own words, she “…felt a relationship with him”; his death was “…the death of a part of [her] self”. Hopefully, in this second millennium, death is something which can be ‘faced and embraced’ more openly. In the 1950s it was more likely to be ‘feared and revered’. A mother bereaved in this way was more likely, then, to be met with general avoidance. Apart from the comfort offered by family and friends there was little else. Entering her ninetieth year, Laura retains vivid memories of those years. “They were good times overall,” she says. “In a way, Gerard has never gone; the memories are always there.” She speaks reflectively, expressing touching hints

Frankly Spoken The water in which you swim, dive, play and race recalls a series of points: the value of the body, which should be taken care of and not idolized; the need for an interior life, and the search for meaning in what you do; the strength and courage to resist weariness; a clear vision of which landing to seek in life, and how to reach it; and the value of authenticity, which means transparency, clarity, and interior purity. To participants in Italy’s most prestigious international swimming competition 24 June.


of resignation and tepid nostalgia that overshadow mere sadness. She has long been steeped in her Catholic faith, a faith which, she hastens to explain, led her to an acceptance of Gerard’s death. At age 25 she had been anxious to conceive to fulfil what she saw as the role of a Catholic wife. A sister had already given birth three times, why couldn’t she? She recalls praying fervently for ‘divine favour’ to satisfy her wish for a child. Then, having conceived, Gerard was taken from her. Her instinct was not to rail against fate or God or to cast around seeking others upon whom to put the blame. Her reaction, in stark contrast, was to feel a strong sense of personal guilt. The voices of her faith led her to examine her innermost thoughts and motivations and she came to the clear conclusion that she “…had been putting God to the test”. “I asked myself,” she says, “Who is in charge of my life? Was I putting my will before God’s plan for me? I quickly came to accept that Our Lady needed Gerard more than I did.” In subsequent years four healthy children were to follow. Faith played an integral part in her grieving and healing. Laura’s faith comes from the heart. “I feel the existence of God,” she says. “The

Jesus I know is a humble friend. In the gospels the story of our Lord as a baby is told and how vulnerable and human he seems! That’s the Jesus I talk to.” There has been an odd parallel to Laura’s experiences in that her youngest son and his wife ‘lost’ their baby son Kyle in remarkably similar circumstances. “So very sad for them; so sad for me,” she says. Old memories had quickly materialised. “Then I saw how, through great sorrow, the whole family coped by facing the reality. Things such as naming Kyle, holding him, taking photographs, the funeral, the anniversaries, the fact of talking openly about him…family, friends, doctors. It seems better these days.” Doubtless, Laura’s particular care and advice at such a critical time played a significant part in that healing. Her own qualities of humility, discernment and an understanding born of experience of how vulnerable we all are, have made her the healer she is. It seems that grieving and healing – like ‘loss’ and ‘reality’ – take many forms.



Soul Food

God wants us by every means in our power to lead others to life. -St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, 1899

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Community Noticeboard Mercy Spirituality Centre, Toronto Thursday 3 August 9.30-1.00pm. A facilitated reflection time with Val O’Hara rsm Giving Eucharist: Taking time to pray about Eucharist – bring a story to share or a poem or a piece of art which expresses something of the experience of Eucharist. Cost $20, light lunch included. Saturday & Sunday 5 & 6 August 9.30am4.00pm. Biblical scholar, Elaine Wainwright rsm, is offering Stories Told and Untold on the Journey, two days of biblical exploration of the ways in which stories emerge from and shape a community through the lens of a gospel narrative. Cost $70, light lunch included. Tuesday 29 August 6.30-9.00pm. Dinner conversation guest, Vivien Williams, will invite conversation reflecting on Hugh Mackay’s statement “it matters that we are taken seriously”, naming it primary amongst 10 human needs. Is it really so important? Would it make a difference? The conversation continues over the meal. Limited to 9 participants, cost $40. 5-7 September Expanding Prayer Boundaries Colleen Rhodes rsm will lead two days reflecting on the graciousness of the Cosmos/Creation as a model for prayer. Residential $250 or nonresidential $150. Mercy Spirituality Centre, 26 Renwick St Toronto P 4959 1025 E Ecumenical Prayers in the Spirit of Taizé Sunday 13 August (8 October) at Merewether Uniting Church, 178 Glebe Road, Merewether. Commencing at 7pm for 45 minutes and characterised by the singing of simple harmonised tunes, often in various languages, interspersed with readings, prayers and a period of silence. Services are followed by supper. E or P Rev Jennifer Burns 0411 133 679. 20th Annual Special Needs Mass The 20th Annual Special Needs Mass will be celebrated at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, cnr Kenrick and Farquhar Streets, Merewether, on Tuesday, 8 August at 7pm. The communities of St Joseph’s Primary, Merewether, and Holy Family Primary, Merewether Beach, together with the Federation of P & F Associations Special Needs Working Party, warmly welcome all to join principals, teachers, school staff, families and parishioners for this special celebration. Gospel Leadership in Times of Chaos This eConference, featuring Prof Massimo Faggioli, Paul Kelly, Prof Bob Carr and Elizabeth Proust, will be streamed live on Thursday 10 August 10.30am – 2.45pm.

Register at bbi13nationaleconference For information P Christian Farrington 9847 0572 or E cfarrington@

over two days or four evenings.

St Columban’s Primary Centenary St Columban’s Primary, Mayfield, (previously St Joseph’s and St Columbanus’) will be celebrating 100 years of education on 12 August at 11am in the school hall. Bishop Bill will preside at Mass, the new centenary garden will be opened and everyone is invited to open classrooms. Byo picnic lunch will be enjoyed on the playground as well as organised old-fashioned games. You may donate a paver, with your name engraved, as a memory of your time at St Columban’s. Please contact the school to organise the paver purchase. P 4968 3315 or E

St Mary’s Maitland celebrates A Garden Party will be held in the grounds of St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College, Maitland, on Sunday, 10 September, to celebrate the arrival of the Dominican Sisters in Maitland 150 years ago. Afternoon tea will be served after an official welcome in the chapel at 2.30pm. All ticket sales will include a commemorative badge. Ticket sales will be limited to 250. Limited quantities of a specially labelled commemorative wine will be available for purchase on the day, along with other memorabilia. Tickets available at www.

San Clemente High School Centenary The school’s centenary committee presents the Black and White Gala Ball at Newcastle City Hall, Saturday 19 August from 6pm. Live entertainment, formal dress, canapés, champagne and three-course meal. $150 per person. An Open Day will be held on Sunday 27 August beginning with 9am Mass at St Columban’s Hall followed by exhibits, performances, stalls and more, concluding by noon. As a remembrance of your time at San Clemente High School, engraved brick(s) can be purchased to remain on campus forever. E MFS-Centenary@ or P 4014 7300.

Course 5/17 9 and 16 September at Singleton Course 6/17 4 and 11 November at Newcastle.

Sisters, staff, students, former students and friends are invited to attend a dinner at 6.30pm on 23 September at the Therry Centre, East Maitland. To book or to arrange a table, P Margaret Paterson 4933 4996. On Sunday 24 September there will be Mass at St Mary’s at 11am followed by an ‘open school’. All are welcome. Blessing of the Land This year’s event will be held on Sunday 27 August at Pokolbin Community Hall, 128 McDonald’s Road, Pokolbin from noon. To learn more, please P Chris 043 4332 217 or E All are welcome.

Claimed by God, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and fired by the Spirit burning in Catherine McAuley...

Bishop Bill celebrates Mass for centenary of St Kevin’s Primary School, Cardiff

Feast of St Dominic

 4

National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day

 4-6 Bishop Bill’s visitation to MacKillop Parish  6

The Transfiguration

 8

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Bishop Bill presides at Special Needs Mass

 10 BBI eConference  1 2 International Youth Day

Bishop Bill celebrates Mass for centenary of St Columban’s Primary School, Mayfield Bishop Bill presides for first Holy Communion at Cessnock

 19 World Humanitarian Day

Australian Catholic Youth Festival This event will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney from 7-9 December 2017. Expressions of interest are now open for young people in year 9 (2017) to 25 years who would like to be a part of the MaitlandNewcastle contingent. Those over the age of 25 are encouraged to register as group leaders. Register your interest now at For more information, contact us at or www.

y c r e M

 3

 18 Vietnam Veterans Day

“Before We Say I Do” Marriage education is a vital, yet often overlooked, part of preparing for a life partnership. The marriage education courses offered by the diocese are run by CatholicCare, which offers a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples to assist them in preparing for, and maintaining, their commitment to one another. Couples who are marrying are advised to attend a course which falls around four months prior to the wedding. Book early as some courses are very popular. To learn more, please P Robyn, 4979 1370.

g n i k g l n a i Tg har S n i Liv

 1-7 Homelessness Prevention Week

 15 Assumption of Mary

Seasons for Growth Companioning Training Children & Young People’s training: Newcastle, 8-9 November. Adults Training: 6-7 September. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/young people or adults. Please P Jenny 4947 1355 to find out more about becoming a Companion. Enrolments for training are completed at

Mums’ Cottage Invites grandparents to Grandparent and


 14 Bishop Bill begins annual leave

Living Waters: The place of pilgrimage in our lives Pilgrimages have been a central component of faith for people over many thousands of years. On Saturday 9 September a number of pilgrims will share their journey with us and there will be an opportunity to walk a labyrinth in the afternoon. Come to St James’ school hall, Vista Parade, Kotara from 10am - 3pm. To rsvp, E or P 0407 436 808.

“Before We Say I Do” is a group program held

For your diary

 27 Refugee and Migrant Sunday

September  1 National Wattle Day  3

Fathers’ Day

 4

National Child Protection Week begins.

For more events please visit and

Toddler day, every Wednesday during school terms from 10am-noon at 29 St Helen’s Street, Holmesville. Enjoy some companionship with other grandparents while children play. Mums’ Cottage offers a range of services, programs, workshops and family events and would love to welcome you at any time. For more information, P Mums’ Cottage 4953 4105, E au or visit

Do you want to make a real difference and reach out with compassion, hospitality and justice to the broken and displaced people of the world?

We invite you to explore Mercy phone: (02) 9572 5400

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Aurora is being read in the shadow of the ‘cardboard cathedral’, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Review By KATHRYN FOX The key message in leading educational researcher Frank Crowther’s Energising Teaching is that teachers have rich gifts to share with their students, and these gifts make a difference. In the busyness of what they do each day, do teachers spend time reflecting on these gifts? Based on the successful IDEAS (Innovative Designs for Enhancing Achievement in Schools) Project, Crowther explores what energises teachers. He views this through reflection about the profession, the engagement and self-belief of teachers, which, he argues if done intentionally, results in better outcomes for students, schools and self. Energising Teaching draws on the work of many researchers and literature in the various fields of psychology, education and organisational success. Against the current educational landscape of the Australian Standards for Teaching (NSW Education Authority NESA) Crowther argues that these capture one dimension that constitutes successful teaching. Such standards establish and articulate generic expectations for quality teaching and learning across states and territories across Australia, and do not explore the individual traits a teacher brings to the teaching profession. Crowther puts forward a more holistic view that teachers’ gifts complement and

amplify the expectations for teachers. He identifies five influences that shape a teacher’s pedagogical gifts: • • • • •

a distinct personality type first choice subject (literacy, English, Maths) a developmental stage preference (early, primary or secondary) a classroom grouping orientation (whole class, small group, individualised) an intrinsic interest in one or more functions of the brain for learning (beliefs about how children learn).

Mentoring, role modelling and school leadership for successful pedagogical gift development influence the school’s approach to pedagogy and teachers’ views of themselves and their gifts. In this case, school leadership is conceptualised as the ‘team coach’ setting the agenda for making clear a vision for learning and teaching, standards and expectations, and mentors staff in their learning/teaching journeys. Energising Teaching will appeal to teachers and school leaders particularly as they explore and deepen their understandings of how children best learn and using their gifts in the learning process. Energising Teaching: the power of your unique pedagogical gift Frank Crowther with Ken Boyne ACER Press 2016. Kathryn Fox is Head of Teaching & Learning Services, CSO.

Rhubarb Strawberry Sponge Pudding This simple but delicious warm dessert has to be in my top five recipes and my children’s top two, and is perhaps my Mum’s number one! It’s a must-try pudding that’s perfect for cold winter nights. You can use almost any baking fruits such as Granny Smith apples, pears, blackberries or peaches.

BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - The Cathedral Café



Fruit stew ingredients f f 600g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces f f 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and left whole f f 1 cup muscovado sugar (or castor) f f 1 teaspoon vanilla extract f f Grated rind of 1 lemon f f Juice of 1 lemon

Place all fruit stew ingredients into a pot with a lid and set aside for 1 hour to macerate. Set on stove over a low heat and gently cook for about 15 minutes until rhubarb breaks down. Allow contents to cool in the pot.

Sponge ingredients f f 60g butter f f 1/3 cup castor sugar f f 150g self-raising flour f f 2 eggs f f 1/4 cup milk f f Double cream for serving.


Preheat fan-forced oven to 160°C.

Chef Bart’s culinary gifts can be enjoyed at The Cathedral Café, 843 Hunter St Newcastle West, 10am–1.30pm, Monday to Friday. P 4961 0546.

In a food processor, blend the butter, sugar and flour until combined. Add the eggs and milk and blend until mixture is thick and creamy. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the fruit into a 22cm ceramic dish or similar. Don’t drain completely – you want to keep some of the liquid with the fruit. Spoon large dollops – about 2.5 cm thick – of the sponge mixture over the fruit. Cook in oven for 25-30 minutes until sponge is golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, then scoop out onto plates and serve with double cream.

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The hoarders Thehoarders hoarders NEXT DOOR The hoarders The hoarders he hoarders The hoarders Civic Theatre, Newcastle Wednesday 2 August 2017 11.00am

Thursday 3 August 2017 11.00am

Friday 4 August 2017 11.00am

Friday 4 August 2017 7.00pm

Saturday 5 August 2017 7.00 pm

Book at the civic theatre box office

Any ticketek outlet or call 4929 1977 $10 Matinee | $20 Pensioner/Concession | $35 Adult $25 Group booking of 10 or more | $55 Family Ticket Prices include GST. Booking and transaction fees may apply.

This is an initiative of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools

T! d! OU ease D l OL e Re S b 91- n to s o e So ag St 10 e tag


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