A Prayer for Openness


I don’t travel alone much, and when I do, I feel the whole process interiorly – from the planning of itinerary; to the packing, the transit and the journey.

I was reminded of one particular stay in Sydney two years ago when I was there for a conference. It was night, and many of the participants had either travelled in groups or were familiar with the locality. To add fun to the story, it was wet and quite cold that winter night, but because I was a Melbournian going to Sydney, I had decided on principle (and in stubbornness) that I wouldn’t need an umbrella with me. (Melbourne winters are not for suckers.) We had to organise our own meal and I was getting hungry and tired from the commute, and I was without the securities of shelter, familiarity and knowledge.


Sydney in the rain, by night, 19 August 2014. Image credit: G. Anderson.

I mustered courage and ventured out nevertheless, with a borrowed umbrella, and walked around the precinct awhile. Businesses were closing and people were going about their regular routine, leaving work, etc. It was not a tourist district, so everyone looked as though they knew where they were going. I did my best to imitate them, and found a haven of authentic #Japanese fare open, as if just for me. The interior was cosy and intimately lit (dark!), and I was the only customer at the time, yet there was something warm about it (apart from the steaming hot #miso). The service staff spoke little English but we managed with smiles. どうもありがとう 🙇

This was not the #Sydney I had known before, it was something else altogether, and in part, I think it was because I let myself be vulnerable yet reliant on whatever strengths I had in me.

When was the last time you lived with openness of spirit? Are you being called to openness? How can you be a welcome for someone today?



Prayer for Openness

God of Love,

Your birth knew no welcome on a barnyard floor

Your childhood estranged from the land of your home.

As an adult you lived among outsiders and lepers,

the lost and the forgotten, on the edges of sociability.

Rejected and renounced, to be abandoned by your kin

You were left to die alone, save for a few.

Even in rising, you were found unrecognised

yet remained ever faithful to the truth that is Love.

God of Love,

In knowing this, and in all you’ve given me,

Make me a haven of welcome and warmth,

that I too, may be open, to your coming again.

#spiritual #insight #instafood #restaurant #door #doorway #opendoor #travel#memories #fcjasau #mission

Sunday 11 May 2014: Vocations, Witness to the Truth

Good Shepherd Sunday, Watanabe Sadao washi | Keeping-Company.com

Image: Good Shepherd washi, Watanabe Sadao as seen on BowdenCollections.com

Good Shepherd Sunday has over the years become a day where the Church prays together for vocations, especially religious vocations and those to the priesthood.

Pope Francis has set the theme for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations as: Vocations, Witness to the Truth.

Click here to read the letter on this theme, that was sent to all the FCJ Sisters in the province, as well as to the Companions in Mission.

For related links

Message from Pope Francis
Catholic Vocations (Archdiocese of Melbourne)


Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees

It has been one of the most memorable Palm Sundays for me, personally. In thanks to God for the many graces of today, I wish to recollect very briefly on the events of today.


Palms at the rally.

After Mass, we headed into the city for an intimate, passionate and beautiful prayer service, lead by Bishop Vincent Long, himself a former refugee to Australia.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from all parts of “Catholic Melbourne”, from seminarians, to school staff, priests, sisters, families and the like.


Interior of St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne

The FCJ Sisters were well-represented, with Srs Catherine Flynn, Margaret Claver Hayes, Maureen Merlo, Denise Mulcahey and Mary O’Shannessey walking with the large gathering of peaceful protesters down the streets of the Melbourne CBD.


Our banner.

Some highlights included a group of women who called out in support for the FCJs on seeing our sign, meeting and greeting with other members of the faith we wouldn’t normally otherwise meet, as well as the joyful sounds of music, singing for justice.

Thank you to each one who attended the rally, prayed with us and kept in their hearts, solidarity with those suffering, detained and inhumanely treated.

We continue to pray and work to influence the hearts of those in government and policy-making by our actions and example, as well as all those who do not stand with us. No human being is illegal.

Photos from #LighttheDark Vigil for Asylum Seekers (Melbourne)

My family and I made it to Federation Square in Melbourne city to help shine light on the darkness that is the tragedy of detention centres like the one on Manus Island, which allowed 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Berati to suffer unjustly and die. Regardless of political leaning, every life is sacred and every human being deserves to be humanely treated and cared for.

Here are some photos from our night out. I was especially delighted to have met up with Sr Margaret Claver fcJ who joined us. I wish to express grateful thanks as well, to all who supported this night, through prayers, messages and thoughts, to help express an Australian culture that we can be proud of.

An individual flame is small, but together, we can shine a light so bright, for hope, for peace, for humanity, for all.


Melburnians stand tall even before it gets dark.




Sr Margaret Claver fcJ meets us at the vigil after a long day. Thank you.





Laying down of lights, messages and tributes in memory of Reza Berati and all asylum seekers.

Finding God in the Rain


Photo: Geralyn Anderson, Nov 2013

It’s unseasonably wet for this time of year in Melbourne. This week, the weather is mistakeable for winter, despite being in the middle of November.

I stayed overnight at the FCJs’ last week and walked down to Mass at the Redemptorist monastery. As I proceeded to leave, I saw a friend of mine who was surprised to see me. He greeted me with a smile, and after exchanging a few words, he noticed the rain and so went to get me an umbrella.

I didn’t really need it but I accepted his gift and head off.

The beautiful thing is the grace of kindness, compassion and now, memory. His one simple and seemingly unnecessary act of wholehearted warmth toward me, has given me a blessing that far outlasts the incident.

So to him, I thank you.

Perhaps you can reflect on the simple, unassuming ways of giving, of blessing and of generosity in your day today. Have I received or will I give?

The World as Icon #2

Waking up in a different neighbourhood is an interesting experience. I walked down to Mass this morning like one of the locals, but took in the sights and sounds of the residential streets, as if fresh air. Although this is still Melbourne, still the same city, I could not help but feel such newness.

One of the things that stood out for me was this tree:


Image: Australia, by Geralyn Tan for Keeping Company. 2013

And I thought to myself, “My, my, Australia, with your eucalypt and gum nut. No where else in the world is there a place like you.”

So today, I pray for Australia, for all its inhabitants, and especially for its people who share the responsibility for its protection, sustainability and continuity.

For our leaders and policy makers, for the poor and disaster-struck among us and for those who long to call Australia home.

As a nation, may we strive to live out the words of our anthem, always in a spirit of hospitality and generosity, for indeed it is true that “we’ve boundless plains to share.”


Sunset Panoramic – Frankston, VIC


Sunset Panoramic Frankston Victoria

Image | Geralyn Tan, October 2013.

Overlooking the horizon off the Frankston foreshore: How broad, how wide, how vast is this beauty in God’s creation. How broad, how wide and how vast God’s love for us is!

Frankston (VIC) is home to John Paul College, a regional high school, half of which was formerly Stella Maris FCJ. John Paul College still remembers its FCJ heritage through its past pupils, its connection with the Sisters, as well as having one faction of their House System called D’Houet, after FCJ Founder, Marie Madeleine d’Houët.

New Evangelization and Catholic Social Media

Tomorrow I will be joining the rest of the gang at CNMC (Catholic New Media Conference) Melbourne. I’m a little nervous (mostly, I don’t want to be late in peak hour traffic) but I’m very excited. I would have attended today’s session except that I had to take my children for their swimming lessons after school. However tomorrow, this little singular self will venture out into the big wide world of international public speakers, young professionals and what I suspect is almost a who’s-who of Catholic social media. At least in this part of the world.

Please follow us on Twitter. If you like, you can search the hash tag #CNMC to read what everyone’s talking about during the conference.

But please pray for this little traveller as she steps out on her own into unknown territory to learn things, meet new people and bring back all the wisdom her little smartphone can carry.

Stay tuned. Please refer to the Twitter feed (on the right hand side of the page) for real-time updates!