I’ll Ride With You

This morning in a central Sydney café, a group of people were taken hostage by armed men, believed to be militant Muslims. (Read here for live updated reports.)

That there is a hint of religion involved or what claims to be the message of Islam as a motive for the siege has created waves in the wider community. For some, it is a unified solidarity standing up against terrorism and racism. For others, it is fear.

And so started a movement through social media: “I’ll Ride With You”. You can read how it began when one woman noticed another taking off her hijab in public so as to protect herself from outward recognition.

We can take so much from the story, and say so much about today’s events, but in the quiet of the night, this story has shed some more light on the meaning of Advent and the forecoming feast of the birth of the Christ.

It all comes back to us in how we treat one another, in how we live with each other. Here is companionship in everyday life.


We are busy during this time of year,  so terribly busy, and we all have our tasks to get through. But this story has shown me that as urgent as our meetings and deadlines are, more imperative is the awareness of our need to pause and connect with each other, to say to another, “Whatever you’re going through, it’s ok. I’ll ride with you. We’ll journey together.”

Let us remember and pray for the hostages and their families, the negotiators and security forces as well as for the perpetrators themselves. Love is stronger than hatred, light more saving than darkness. Let us work and live for peace among ourselves.

Reflection | I can only give thanks…

This morning I was delighted to read Pope Francis’ interview with Antonio Spadaro SJ – the first of its kind in this 6-month-old papacy, published by America magazine. Reading it, I felt a certain mutuality of respect between Fr Spadaro and Pope Francis, almost as though I was invited to listen in on an intimate conversation between the two (me, and billions of people worldwide, of course!) Was it their shared Jesuit experience? Or was it the profound humility in which we have come to associate with Francis? These questions, I will mull over the coming days, I am sure, but for now it is enough to say that in honest-to-goodness-cross-my-heart-truth, reading the article this morning was a wonderful way to start the day. (OK, you caught me – I was in bed, the curtains still drawn…) And within seconds of glancing over it, Francis’ words were jumping out at me off the page, as in a love letter – I soaked it all in, reading and re-reading, and smiling. My excitement was palpable, busting to be released, so I did what I do, and made something visual:

ImageBy the time I ended up leaving home for work, I was fully charged with feeling like this (I know I’m daggy, but it’s self-appreciation!):

ImageI met with Sr Maureen and our Provincial, Sr Judith and together we enjoyed a lovely morning tea and meeting, of which the details I will not bore you with. I will however say that I received some very exciting news, which I am not sure I am quite able to share yet, but for now, let’s just say that the dreamer in me has been awakened. Should it all go to plan (God’s plan), I would be experiencing one of my life’s dreams-come-true. And the prospect of this – no – the very idea of it has already filled me with such joy that I cannot say very much other than give thanks to God.

So in conclusion, I wish to remind everyone that God loves each one of us very much, even if we cannot see it or do not know it. With our hearts open wide to God, we will receive graces and blessings. And in such celebration of life, we will know and feel the power, the majesty and the beauty of God’s love for us, the same love that calls each of us to strive for the magis in our world.

And for all that has happened today, my faithful and ever-loving God, I give thanks. Amen.


Media Release Statement to Politicians

The following is a media release statement:

Calling politicians and voters to work together for justice

Today we celebrate the Feast of Mary MacKillop. “Can the politicians who celebrated with us when Mary was named as Australia’s first Saint now see her as a model and mentor”, asks CRA President, Sr Annette Cunliffe rsc.

“Can our politicians rise to being worthy of our vote rather than descending into vote seeking, no matter the moral and ethical cost? Can Australians heed the advice of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to look beyond their own individual needs and vote for the common good?”

Sr Annette Cunliffe speaks of Mary MacKillop as a woman of great humanity and justice. “She lived a life of heroic goodness and responded totally to the needs around her. Her life was motivated by compassion for those most in need. Mary epitomises responding to the Gospel call”.

“The Gospel call challenges us to help create a just society. We all need to identify where the injustices are, really listen to the people affected, and then work together to influence change.”

“Politicians and the people of Australia need to work in harmony to promote and protect human dignity, seeking to identify and assist the poor, the marginalised, the sick and the forgotten in our community.

“Can we all heed Mary’s watchword: Never see a need without doing something about it? Mary’s feast is an opportunity for all of us to engage in reflection and prayer for the wisdom and courage to make our vote count and for our politicians to be accountable.”

“Australians need to cast a vote that is responsible and principled and our politicians need to be responsible and principled,” said Sr Annette.

8 August 2013

Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) is the peak body for leaders of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life resident in Australia. Our membership comprises more than 180 congregations of over 8,000 Sisters, Brothers and Religious Priests living and working in all states and territories.) The Faithful Companions of Jesus belong to Catholic Religious Australia.




I’m very excited because I had my first glimpse of an FCJ Sister on national TV!

I was tuning in partway to the ABC’s Compass with Geraldine Doogue presenting a bulletin on Pope Francis entitled, White Smoke A New Pope.

To my surprise, one of the people interviewed was Sr Christine Anderson FCJ, of the Province of Europe. And it reminds me in a visible way: these faithful companions really are women in the world, and a formidable voice at that, heeding Marie Madeleine’s call to be fully engaged in the world.

To watch a preview of the episode, click here.

Otherwise, it may be viewable from the ABC’s iView or on Tuesday 9 August at 1.30 pm AEST.

Please share with us, your thoughts on the program by commenting below!