Kildare Ministries Newsletter

06 August 2019
Issue Five
Principal Announcement - Brigidine College, St. Ives
Exciting times ahead for St. Joseph's College, Echuca
      An insight into our Ministries - Wellsprings for Women
An insight into our Ministries - Marian College Ararat
Board and Stewardship Council Seminar Day
  2019 Calendar Dates
Keep updated!
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206


A Giant Challenge...

Just over fifty years ago, I and my fellow student teachers crowded into a lecture hall and strained to make out a grainy grey image on a very small TV.  The world held its collective breath that day as millions of people watched the almost unbelievable spectacle of human beings walking on the moon.  People all over the world were awe-struck at the realisation that they were watching history unfold as a dream that had hitherto seemed impossible was fulfilled.

In recent weeks, we’ve re-lived this event. We’ve pondered its significance for humankind and wondered about possibilities for the future.  Of course, back then, the world was in the midst of the Cold War and space exploration was one aspect of a competition between opposing political ideologies. It is true to say, however, that without this venture, we would never have had access to many major technological advances that we now take for granted and our world could be vastly different.

In 1962, US President John F Kennedy announced to the nation: “We commit ourselves, by the end of this decade, to put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth.  We do this, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”  Just imagine the morning after as the scientists, engineers and others at NASA sat down to consider how they were going to accomplish the enormous task set before them.   The details would have been mind-boggling as they set out to plan the program that, in seven short years, would achieve their goal.  They knew that every advance would be   accomplished only through a long series of steps during which there would be multiple opportunities for something to go wrong.  And sometimes, it did.  In fact, Apollo space flights had a very inauspicious beginning when, on 27 January 1967, a devastating fire swept through the Apollo 1 capsule as it sat on the launchpad, killing all three astronauts inside.  Nevertheless, step-by-step through trial and error, success and failure, persistence, ingenuity, teamwork and extraordinary courage, the task was accomplished.

The Apollo 11 moon landing was the realisation of an astonishing dream – the consequence of a challenging vision, thorough planning, teamwork, ingenuity, persistence and courage.  If any of these had been missing, the whole Apollo program and the feat of putting a human on the moon would not have happened. 

When you think about it, these same elements – vision, planning, teamwork, ingenuity, persistence and courage - are necessary for the success of the adventure that is Kildare Ministries, and all of us who are part of this community would do well to reflect on how we are living out the challenge  articulated in our Vision and Mission statements and the Living Justice Charter.  If people observed us at our daily work, would they see real commitment to mission from each person in our individual ministries and roles? Would they observe us continually critiquing and tweaking our plans so as to respond to emerging needs and to the inevitable challenges that confront us along the way?  Would they see real teamwork within and between our ministries, with each of us, regardless of position or title, contributing his or her expertise and giftedness, and supporting each other in accomplishing the mission?  Would they recognise in us the courage to stand outside the mainstream when necessary, pointing to a greater reality so as to build a community of justice and peace?  And would they see us persisting in the face of set-backs, disagreements, negative criticism, opposition or even ridicule?  Would they be able to discern evidence of us consciously and purposefully working towards a community where all people are valued, where all creation is recognised as sacred and where hope, justice and courage are our hallmarks?

As Pope Francis reflected on July 21 in St Peter’s Square, “May the memory of that great step for humanity ignite the desire to progress together towards even greater goals: more dignity for the weak, more justice among peoples, more future for our common home.” This is really our Kildare Ministries’ mission and challenge.  Are you up for your part in it?




Vicki Ward

Trustee - Kildare Ministries

Principal Announcement - Brigidine College, St. Ives

We Welcome Laetitia Richmond to Kildare Ministries


On behalf of the College Board I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Laetitia (Teash) Richmond to the position of Principal of Brigidine College St Ives. The Trustees of Kildare Ministries have ratified the appointment and warmly welcome her to Brigidine College. 

With a career spanning more than thirty years in Catholic education, Teash is highly experienced to lead Brigidine College into the future. She is currently the Principal at Catherine McAuley High School, Westmead, a large Years 7 -12 girls' school in the Diocese of Parramatta. 

Prior to that, she was Deputy Principal at Nagle College, Blacktown and Bethlehem College, Ashfield, both Years 7 -12 girls' schools. Teash's extensive educational career has included roles as Curriculum Coordinator, Creative Arts Coordinator and Visual Arts Coordinator. 

Recognition of her significant leadership skills has led to Teash's involvement in the consultation of the site masterplan for the Westmead Catholic Community and the development of sustainable partnerships between Catholic schools, the Westmead Hospital Complex and Western Sydney University. 

With a strong commitment to her Catholic faith, Teash is an active member of her Parish. In her leadership roles she has ensured that the Catholic tradition and charism of each school is kept alive and evident in the daily life of students and staff. Teash comes to us with an impressive academic background. In addition to her Bachelor of Education, Teash holds Masters Degrees in Religious Education, Art Education and Arts Administration. She engages in continual professional learning to ensure she can lead her school community with a contemporary understanding of educational priorities and the needs of students and teachers. Teash has had strong governance experience as a Board Director at a Good Samaritan Education school and is currently a member of the Good Samaritan Education Assembly. 

The position at Brigidine College attracted many experienced education leaders. I would like to thank the Board Directors who formed the Selection Committee with me, to manage the recruitment process on behalf of the College Board. We were assisted in this process by an external consultant. 
I take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome Teash Richmond as our new Principal. She will take up the appointment in January 2020. 

As the year progresses, we will take the opportunity to thank and acknowledge Jane Curran's enormous contribution to Brigidine College St Ives and wish her well for the future. 


Yours sincerely


Kitty Guerin

Chair - Brigidine College Board of Directors

Exciting times ahead for
St. Joseph's College, Echuca

Exciting times ahead for St. Joseph's College Echuca


St. Joseph’s College is excited to announce the purchase of land at 66 Stratton Road for the purpose of establishing a second campus. The demand for Catholic secondary education in Echuca has continued to grow, and with the St Joseph’s Dickson Street Site at capacity, the need was clear.


In the official announcement of the land purchase Sr. Louise Cleary, Chairperson of the Kildare Education Ministries Board said, “Since its establishment in 1886 St Joseph’s College has been known as an inclusive school offering quality Catholic education appropriate for the times. The new campus is an exciting educational venture that will enhance contemporary learning and provide for the growing number of students. The Board is confident that the master planning underway will lead to facilities and educational provision on both campuses that will enrich St Joseph’s as a Kildare Ministries school in the Brigidine tradition.”


The decision to expand was announced in late 2018 and since then there has been engagement and consultation with staff, parents and students regarding their priorities as planning proceeds for this exciting move forward.  The commitment to the new site (80 Acres) on the corner of Stratton Mount Terrick Roads now gives specific direction to the development of plans for future facilities. These plans include a multi-million dollar upgrade of the Dickson St. facilities as well as the commissioning of a state of the art, sustainable and custom designed new campus; two complex projects that it is hoped will come to fruition over the next 6 – 8 years.


“In a world that is both enabled and distracted by technology, the opening of a second campus that allows our students to connect to the community and environment is both brave and necessary,” College Principal Mr Delaney, said. “This announcement continues the courageous journey of the Brigidine Sisters who founded St. Joseph’s College, Echuca.  From the very beginning, our College story has been one of commitment and willingness to break new ground.”  St. Joseph’s College is continuing to grow with its local community by engaging with it, immersing itself in it, and responding to it according to its mission. It will have the space to welcome those who wish to come and share in what it offers; the opportunity to challenge and empower students to be creative and critical thinkers who act with Strength and Kindliness in the Gospel Tradition.


In delivering the news to the College Community, Principal Michael Delaney was clear,  “We remain one Catholic learning community in the Brigidine Tradition: St. Joseph’s College, Echuca. Our two campuses, only 4km apart will exist in harmony and balance, accessible and complementary, strong and kind: two siblings in close relationship”  He went on to say: “The second site, with ease of access to Echuca, Moama and the current Dickson St site, is ideally placed to cater for future growth and community needs.   The combined facilities will provide contemporary learning & teaching spaces which will continue to provide quality Catholic secondary education in the Brigidine tradition to the students entrusted to our care.”


Existing Site Upgrade

  • Long Term Senior Campus (10-12)
  • Multi Million dollar Master Plan
  • Upgrading all spaces
  • Rejuvenation of our Heritage Buildings
  • Reclamation of yard space

Core New Site Benefits

  • Long Term Junior Campus (7-9)
  • Enhanced educational opportunities for our students
  • 4kms from current site
  • Innovative facilities
  • Accessible to both Echuca, Moama and current Campus
  • Opportunities for bike tracks and free space
  •  Minimal or no impact by or on residential traffic
  •  Free of town development constraints
  • Accommodate growth of the town


From all of us at Kildare Ministries, we would like to wish all at St. Joseph's College and the wider community, the very best of everything in this exciting time of growth and expansion.


An insight into our Ministries - Wellsprings for Women

This year we are asking our ministries to nominate a staff member or student who represents and embodies the values and vision of Kildare Ministries. Two ministries will feature in each newsletter. Wellsprings for Women chose one of their volunteers, Philippa Wilson.


Philippa Wilson is an active embodiment of Kildare Ministries’ Vision and Mission. A dedicated Wellsprings for Women volunteer for the past 7 years, staff often feel that they would be lost without her significant contribution. Throughout the week, Philippa can be seen patiently minding a room full of pre-school children so their mothers can attend classes to gain valuable life skills. She uses this time to gently teach the children English and interpersonal skills. Philippa is something of a child whisperer and the children treasure their time with her.

Philippa has also taken on the often difficult role of providing one-to-one support to isolated and vulnerable women through Wellsprings’ Mentor and Home Visitation programs. She currently visits 2 women in their homes, both of whom are in quite difficult situations, and has gone above and beyond what is expected of volunteers. Philippa is able to listen without judgement, to support without directing and be the genuine friend these women so desperately need.

Moreover, she is an active Wellsprings choir member, fills in for other volunteers when they are away, is a loving grandmother and volunteers at another women’s organisation. Philippa is the kind of person who may be overlooked for such accolades due to her humble and unassuming nature. However, she is surely a deserving candidate to highlight Kildare’s Values. 

We are proud to announce that the team of Wellsprings’ child-minding volunteers, including Philippa, are finalists in the 2019 Learn Local Awards – we offer them thanks and wish them luck!

Dalal Smiley 
Chief Executive Officer

We also asked Dalal's colleagues and regular volunteers to answer a few questions about Dalal. Here is what they had to say:


What is an inspiring thing that Dalal has said?


"I can summarise what we do at Wellsprings by quoting an ancient Arabic proverb: A woman is a hub of teaching. If you nurture her, you give rise to a hub of knowledge and goodness".


Dalal’s leadership is inspiring. She is enabling of her staff and passionate about delivering the best possible outcome for the women of Wellsprings. Dalal holds people to high standards and supports them to be the best that they can be.


What’s a funny thing that Dalal has done? 

Dalal has a great sense of humour which she regularly shares with colleagues and volunteers at Wellsprings. This can help bring a light touch to sensitive situations.


The funniest thing Dalal has said recently was that she sleeps to relax. This came through in an email from her time stamped at all hours of the night so we knew this was a joke!


Our CEO did set a precedent at Balnarring on a staff planning trip. Striving to keep the budget low, we went shopping at the local supermarket to get items for lunch and Dalal took charge and grabbed a small trolley. After some strange looks from staff, we discovered at check-out she was walking around with the basket stand. We were all in stitches laughing!!

What 5 words describe Dalal?  

Dalal has been described as dedicated,

compassionate, fast paced, inclusive and



What does Dalal do that demonstrates to the community that she is being true to the Presentation charism?

Dalal embodies the Presentation charism in her daily interactions with staff, volunteers and participants alike.

Her strong sense of justice is evident in her commitment to eliminating violence against women, providing support and strengthening women and children through education and connection with each other– giving hope to participants and their families. 

She is passionate about cultural competency and women developing an understanding of learning and living in Australia and taking on opportunities that will enhance their lives.


How does Dalal give expression to this year’s KM value of Hospitality?

Under Dalal’s stewardship the number of programs, area covered, and the number of women welcomed to Wellsprings have grown significantly.

Dalal shows hospitality every day where no job is too big or small for her to ensure Wellsprings is welcoming to all – from cleaning the kitchen to working tirelessly on strategic alliances, and submissions. She prioritises participants, staff and volunteers and warmly welcomes and accepts each individual respecting their faith, family relationships and connection to community. She is friendly and always open minded. She engages well across diverse groups of people and actively takes an interest in everyone around her.


What does Dalal do to relax?

Though we have rarely witnessed Dalal relaxing, she assures us that she likes to watch quality movies and TV series, read and listen to podcasts. Dalal also likes to socialise with friends, go for walks on the beach (when she gets time once a year) and spend time with her granddaughters.

An insight into our Ministries - Marian College Ararat

Marian College Ararat nominated Sr John as their staff member who represents and embodies the values and vision of Kildare Ministries. Carmel Barker, the Principal, explains why:

This year Sister John turned eighty.    At eighty years of age, Sister John is far from slowing down, and continues to remind us all of the reason why we do what we do for the students in our care at Marian College. 

Sister John works with the most vulnerable students struggling to cope in Mathematics, providing that gentle challenge and support to build confidence and skills.  She is highly respected and valued for all she brings to our community.  She is passionate about ensuring our welcome is genuine and includes those who may feel like a foreigner in unfamiliar territory.  She quickly puts them at ease and welcomes them warmly.    Of a Friday afternoon when we are all looking for the exit door after a busy school week, Sr John is always there, running around the corridors gathering the recycling for the week with a smile on her face.   

Sister John’s social dancing lessons leading up to the Junior Social each year are a highlight for me.  I have never been to a school dance quite like the Junior Social at Marian College.   After weeks of rehearsal, every child is on the floor for the Pride of Erin or Two Step, and thoroughly enjoying the experience as Sister John taps out the rhythm.    She very easily puts others at ease.   Sister John reminds us all of the importance of our mission at Marian College.

Carmel Barker

We also asked Carmel's colleagues  to answer a few questions about their leader. Here is what they had to say:


What words would you use to describe Carmel?

Carmel has been described as hardworking, experienced, resilient, knowledgeable, reliable, kind, empathetic, compassionate and humurous.


Why is Carmel so inspiring?

Carmel's leadership team find comfort in Carmel's ability to face any issue with the mantra that "everything will be ok" and that they can find a way to overcome whatever challenge may arise. 


What does Carmel do that demonstrates to the community that she is a ‘Brigidine’?

Carmel welcomes all to the school, whether it be staff, student, parent or visitor. This is a true demonstration of the Brigidine Charism. Carmel ensures that she provides as much assistance as possible to all families that may be facing difficulties in some way to ensure that their children can still attend Marian College and achieve an education. Carmel leads Marian College with both strength and kindness.


How does Carmel give expression to this year’s KM value of Hospitality?

Carmel has integrated this year's KM value of Hospitality into every aspect of staff and student life from the beginning of the year. Carmel ensures that all members of the community are included in events, activities and decision making. In an effort to promote a caring and inclusive community at Marian College, Carmel has allowed opportunities for growth in the areas of staff and student wellbeing which is proving to be very successful. 


What’s a funny thing that Carmel has done?

Carmel performed the 'nutbush' dance at assembly one year, much to the amusement of the staff and students at Marian College. 


What does Carmel do to relax?

To relax, Carmel likes to spend time with her family especially her  grandchildren. Carmel also enjoys travelling overseas with her husband Russell. Carmel is a keen gardener and a frequent visitor to the spa.

Board and Stewardship Council Seminar Day

It was my privilege and pleasure to represent Presentation Family Centre, Balnarring at a seminar organised by Kildare Ministries for Boards and Stewardship Council members on Saturday 20th July.  Held at Killester College in Springvale, it was built around a theme of hospitality – God's hospitality to us and our call to offer hospitality to others.


The day began with a chance to explore some of the gospel stories of the hospitality offered by Jesus. Led by Father Michael Trainor who teaches Biblical Studies at A.C.U. there was not only the chance to hear something of his insight into this subject, but also to engage in some broad ranging observations from the group.  Coming from very different backgrounds, we all had the chance to learn from each other as well as from Fr. Michael.


Staff and girls from Killester College more than lived out the Hospitality theme of the day. We were all made feel welcome and were given the chance to see something of the school. This was the first of many chances to get to know some of the other Board and Council members.


We then gathered in the kitchens to learn how to prepare food from Pakistan – ably organised and taught by Ayesha Awan and her team from Wellspring for Women in Dandenong.  As we worked together, we not only learnt something of the work of Wellspring but also of the work being done by both Boards and Stewardship Councils in the ministries.  Food and conversation go well together and needless to say that sharing of experiences continued as we ate lunch together!


My thanks to Andrea Grant and her team at Kildare Ministries for organising a happy and informative day.



Rev. Christine Barren.  

Board of Presentation Family Centre. 




Here are some of the recipes from the day if you would like to give them a try!



2019 Calendar Dates

KEM Principals Meetings

2nd September


KM Principals and Leaders Meeting

22nd November


KEM Business Managers

Friday 18th October


KM Chairs of the Board Network

26th August (BMC)

please note change of venue


Justice Coordinators

22nd August (Online)

8th November


Faith Leaders

8th November




Student Seminar 

30th October


KM Leaders and Faith Leaders Retreat

BCI & Ormiston (Brisbane)

7th-9th August


Kildare Ministries Pilgrimage

18th September - 3rd October


Student Leadership Retreat

4th-6th December


New Staff Induction

3rd September


New Leaders Seminar

30th August


For a full program of the Formation Events for 2019, please click here.

Keep updated!

Kildare Ministries Newsletter