Kildare Ministries Newsletter

30 October 2018
Issue Seven
Land Transfer Rituals
Wellsprings for Women
Marian College, Sunshine West
Formation Events
Year 12 Celebrations
Important Dates
2019 Calendar Dates
Social Media
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206


Here we are with Term 4 well underway, our Year 12 students heading into exams and 2019 firmly on our radar.  How quickly the year flies by!  I’ve a friend who says once we hit the ‘ber’ months the year is all but over and that seems to become truer with each passing year.


At this time of great busyness it can be easy to become single-minded in focus: exams, reports, end of year functions… And yet, there is much happening in our world that calls us to look up and engage with the plight of our fellow passengers on this earth.  Globally our hearts are troubled by the movement of thousands of refugees through Central America and the anti-Semitic attacks on a Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Back home, a scorching summer beckons with drought hurting our farming communities and a long, hot bushfire season looming.


With state elections approaching in both Victoria and New South Wales and a federal election only months away, the impact of political decisions on our lives can never be too far from our thoughts.  Turmoil in our nation’s capital continues with a revolving door of party leaders and string of unforeseen by-elections.  Typically it is the most vulnerable in our community who slip through the cracks in the political manoeuvring.  Interestingly, the recent by-election in Wentworth highlighted three key issues through the election of high profile independent candidate and former president of the Australian Medical Assocation, Dr Kerryn Phelps.


The first of these is climate change, with the apparent stalemate in parliament as interest groups attempt to balance a reduction in carbon emission with maintaining our stakes in the coal industry.  At our recent Kildare Ministries conference, guest speaker Massimo Faggioli explored how the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment ‘Laudato Si’ was the issue of power, how it is used and abused in addressing environmental concerns.  Climate science is incontrovertible but while our parliament continues to debate this issue the country is in the grips of crippling drought amongst a myriad of other environmental concerns.  We must never lose sight of how this issue is already having a very serious detrimental impact on people’s lives.  Laudato Si implores us to views ‘the cries of the earth’ through the lens of the poor who are most impacted by its destruction.


The second of these is religious freedom.  In the 2017 plebiscite on same-sex marriage, the seat of Wentworth polled the 3rd highest ‘Yes’ vote in the country with Dr Phelps an active campaigner on this issue.  In the lead-up to this by-election the question of religious freedom was surprisingly back on the agenda with the imminent release of the ‘Ruddock report’.  All of a sudden newspapers around the country were printing the disingenuous suggestion that under the terms of this report, Catholic schools would be expelling homosexual students and firing homosexual staff.  While we cannot speak for any schools other than our own the teaching of Jesus leaves no room for discrimination.  Every member of Kildare Ministries is loved and valued and we strive to uphold the dignity of everyone.


Finally, the vexed issue of off-shore processing of asylum seekers was loudly voiced during the Wentworth by-election.  As the presumptive winner Dr Phelps has made it clear she will advocate strongly in parliament for the removal of families from Nauru as an urgent response to this humanitarian crisis.  In doing so she joins with thousands of medical practitioners across the country pleading with the government to do more to care for the welfare of these children as a matter of basic human decency.  The particular focus on children calls into question the entirety of the government’s response to the global refugee crisis including the treatment of refugees already here in Australia.  As a community we have an opportunity to seize the current momentum and place pressure on our political leaders: write a letter to your local MP urging immediate action, or agitate on social media under the hashtag #kidsoffnauru.


The people of Wentworth have provided us with a timely reminder that in a democracy such as Australia we have a voice and an individual and collective responsibility to use it – not for self-interest, but for the common good.  I pass on to you a Facebook post recently shared with me:


“I want my friends to understand that ‘staying out of politics’ or being ‘sick of politics’ is privilege in action.  Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence.  Your wealth, race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.  It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression.  The fighting is tiring.  I get it.  Self-care is essential.  But if you find politics annoying and just want everyone to be nice, please know that literally people are fighting for their lives and safety.  You might not see it but that’s what privilege does.”


With every good wish for the busy months ahead,




Andrea Grant

Mission Leader

Land Transfer Rituals

Killester College - 17th September 2018

Term 3 culminated with the beautiful and significant transfer of land ownership from the Brigidine Sisters to Kildare Ministries on Monday 17th September. This event commenced with an inclusive liturgy, where we were proud to host many Brigidines, three past Principals of Killester, members of the Stewardship Council and board members and staff from Kildare Ministries. The service featured a symbolic and profound transferring of soil from the ground here at Killester, to the roots of a new tree, that signified this exciting new beginning for the future of our school. The enormous contribution of spirit, culture and leadership by the Brigidines over the past 63 years was acknowledged and appreciated by all members of our current community; students, parents and staff. The shared lunch, music and games that followed encapsulated the spirit of Brigid in the hospitality, celebration and hopefulness felt by all as we marked this momentous event. Year 7, 8 and 9 students received the Kildare Ministries badge and, fittingly, Brigid House won the “Old School Games” Trophy. It was a simply delightful atmosphere, as the past, present and future came together on our oval enjoying the sun, the food and the activities.

Leanne DiStefano - Principal


Clonard College - 21st September 2018

We remain ever grateful for the wonderful celebration that we had at the conclusion of last term that marked not only Brigidine Day, but the time when the Brigidine Sisters officially transferred ownership of the College to the Trustees of Kildare Ministries. We had many Brigidine Sisters present with us to mark this historic occasion.  I mentioned the following in my speech on the day:

“As the Brigidine Sisters hand over the Stewardship of Clonard College, we say thank you. We would not be the community that we are today if it were not for you and those gone before you and the life of Service that has allowed our community to flourish.”

On the last day of term we also had the opportunity to officially open the Brigidine Centre. We have been blessed with a wonderful facility that will serve our students and staff well for many years to come. On the day I acknowledged the $1.5 million contribution of the $5.5 million cost that had been contributed by the Commonwealth Government. Hon Sarah Henderson, Federal Member for Corangamite, joined us on the day to open the building. A feature of this new building is the wonderful stained glass depiction of Brigidine symbolism that was designed by Sr Reba Woodwiss (past Principal and staff member).

Damian McKew - Principal


Wellsprings for Women

Wellsprings for Women

Wellspring means an abundant source of something.  Wellsprings for Women lives up to its name by being an abundant source of support, education, joy and comfort to women, most of whom are migrant, refugees or  asylum seekers as well as women who are either experiencing family violence or recovering from previous traumatic circumstances.

Over forty programs engage women on a weekly basis across Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia areas.

The core programs include English lessons at various levels, computer classes, sewing, art and craft, gardening, cycling, support groups for grandmothers and more. We also provide courses such as "Introduction to Community Services", "Creative Enterprising Women", "Public Speaking" and "Learning, Living, Belonging". 

We continue to offer our Home Visitation and Mentoring programs, reaching out to women facing complex challenges including mental health, isolation, anxiety and family violence.

We are currently operating with 14 staff, and over 80 volunteers. Our Board of Management,  chaired by Janet Cribbes, consists of 7 Board members.


Women’s Health and Safety

In 2017 Wellsprings established a new Program on Women’s Health and Safety, which enabled us to design and deliver a series of educational sessions aimed at preventing family violence from occurring in the first place.  This meant introducing our participants to concepts of gender equity, respectful relationships, family safety, and domestic violence in all its forms, plus informing the women of where to get help should they ever need it.

Our increased engagement with women experiencing family violence and who were not ready to be referred to specialised response agencies, prompted us to consider our role more carefully in light of our duty of care towards the women who do disclose. As we have focused more on prevention and early intervention, we found that many of our participants in precarious circumstances expected us, to continue supporting them until they were ready to be referred elsewhere and even during and throughout the referral process.  We approached the R E Ross Trust and discussed our need as an organisation to build our capacity to offer our participants the duty of care they need. We also needed to upskill our staff and volunteers on recognising family violence signs and responding appropriately to disclosures.   We are thrilled that the R E Ross Trust have approved our grant application for the next two years to undertake this very important work.


Working with Men

Our participants have also constantly reminded us that education on prevention of violence against women cannot happen without men’s engagement and contribution.  Following a series of consultation and exploration on how as a women-only organisation can we engage men and what would be our role, we started a consultative men’s group, meeting outside our normal operating hours.  It is work in progress and we are taking small steps as we venture into this new territory. The exciting part of this project is that we applied to Melbourne University and got accepted into their Community Fellows program to conduct research on the Impact of Migration on Migrant and Refugee Men’s Role, and Gender Identity.  This project which will be carried out in 2019 will give us excellent insight into the experiences and adjustments made by men as they adapt to new country and new expectations regarding their role and changes to family dynamics.   The knowledge gained from this project will be incorporated into the education sessions we are delivering to women. We  will also continue to work with other agencies such as InTouch to explore the kind of contribution we can continue to make in helping migrant and refugee men to play a positive and constructive role in eliminating family violence against women.

Looking ahead

Wellsprings has attracted funding to build a new activity room at the back of the current property to accommodate the growing number of women participating in our programs.

We anticipate that the new space will be ready to use in February 2019.

We will continue to expand our programs into Casey and Cardinia areas, and build partnerships with like-minded agencies to boost our impact and increase our collaboration across the sector.

As a member of Kildare Ministries, Wellsprings for Women will strengthen its relationships with KM schools and community works by exploring joint projects and ways to involve Wellsprings participants in activities happening at some of the schools, especially school performances.

The legacy of Nano Nagle and Sister Ann Halpin is well and truly alive, nurtured by the commitment and dedication of KM Trustees in whose care the future of Wellsprings lies.

Wellsprings for Women Annual Fundraising Dinner

Congratulations to the Board, Staff and Volunteers of Wellsrpings for Women on a wonderful fundraising dinner in  St. Mary's Community Hall on Friday 26th October.  Other ministries

Marian College, Sunshine West

STEAM Learning at Marian College

At Marian College we have embarked on a holistic school curriculum program review. In the initial phases, we have scanned the horizon and gathered input to commence the formulation of our Curriculum Vision 2021. We thereby recognised the imperative to increase STEM learning opportunities for our students. Other priorities included the development of critical thinking skills, creativity, entrepreneurship and collaboration. We understood that we also had to ensure that students would have opportunities to plan, design, create and develop a range of other deep thinking skills.  In response, our Marian College STEAM Program was launched and continues to evolve and expand.

In 2018, we introduced the Year 7 STEAM class where students have a double period (150 minutes) of dedicated STEAM learning each cycle. STEAM classes take place in open areas, with teams of teachers and students collaboratively working on problem-based projects. Within the first few weeks, they explored Lego Serious Play, designed robots of the future and visited ScienceWorks to become their own team of rollercoaster engineers, learning about kinetic energy and momentum. Then they worked as a team to produce a prototype rollercoaster complete with loop-de-loops, bank turns and corkscrews!

In the next unit, students designed and produced games using Gamestar Mechanic before taking on the role of a rescue team to provide aid and assistance to simulated natural disaster zones. Applying their new-found coding skills, the students modelled the challenges faced by a rescue vehicle in heavily damaged and unpredictable terrain in the aftermath of a selected natural disaster. Their chosen technology was the Sphero SPRK+, a spherical robot that can drive, flash and make announcements.  Students created their disaster zones and then planned and coded for their rescue mission.

The final focus is around a sustainability theme where students will design a resource for primary school-aged children that will educate them on fast fashion or food waste. They will design using Scratch coding and the product must be both interactive and engaging.

STEAM learning has also been embedded in the Year 7 Core Science Program where they have used the electronic blocks, Littlebits, to create simple machines that could make everyday life easier. The students, applying the design process, were able to be curious, use their imagination and invent amazing simple machines. They responded to open-ended questions to find creative solutions to a posed problem. Our Science students became teams of designers and inventors, developing skills for future success.

In Year 8, the dedicated STEAM learning is built into the Design, Art and Technology rotations. The students designed an App based on a unique design brief where they had to carefully consider the target audience and the user-experience journey, resulting in the production of a functional prototype.

This year, the Year 9 Science Program also integrated real-world, authentic STEAM learning as they investigated an inquiry-based question about the health of a local creek. The task required students to gather data and observations in the field and then to draw a range of conclusions requiring deep thinking. Findings were presented in a digital scientific poster. In 2019, STEAM integration into our core Science Program will be increased and planning is underway for integration of virtual reality and Arduinos in Years 8 and 9. 

Robotics was the focus of the Year 9 STEAM Elective and students built and programmed the Lego EV3 Robots to complete a range of challenges including navigating a maze and choreographing a dance. They also completed the Mars Mission where they modelled a space rover investigating the ‘red planet’ in order to determine whether Mars is able to sustain human life.

Some students also had the opportunity to attend the It Takes a Spark: Student and Teacher Conference and this same group of students has been selected to present an App they have designed at the Catholic Education Melbourne STEAM MAD (Makes a Difference) Showcase.

Our STEAM projects will be showcased, by our students and the wonderful team of teachers who have lead these initiatives, at our inaugural Marian College STEAM Showcase on 30 October. This will take place in our new Sr Martin Jones csb Science Centre where we look forward to sharing the students’ achievements and our exciting STEAM journey so far.



Brigidine College Indooroopilly
Preparing for the 90th Year Anniversary

To celebrate their upcoming 90th Anniversary, Brigidine College was presented with a very special gift from craftswoman Caroline Smith. In 2017, during the Kildare Ministries Pilgrimage in Ireland, Deputy Principal Mission, Andrew Beiers and Business Manager, Claudia Mathews met Caroline, and so began the story of the creation of this Crozier. 
Caroline spent almost 100 hours crafting this beautiful symbolic piece for the College, to celebrate our 90th Anniversary. The 90 year old River Red Gum used in this piece was selected for its indigenous connection to our land, the crook is made from Tasmanian Oak, representing our past. The Oak tree is symbolic, as it was planted by Daniel Delany in Kildare, Ireland and was also the place that St Brigid founded a monastery. The Staff has, at its heart, a stainless-steel rod that reinforces and strengthens the timber. It has an inner strength and resilience. It is both rigid and flexible; yet on the outside, is very delicate and fragile – much like ourselves. 
The Crook, made up of many thin layers, has been carefully sculpted into a gentle curve leading to carvings of the St Brigid’s Cross on both sides. The Glendalough Celtic Cross, featured on both sides of the centre piece, is the most ancient and powerful of symbols. A Bishop’s Crozier takes its form from a shepherd’s crook. It symbolises Christ, as the Good Shepherd, caring for his flock by using the staff to encourage his flock along the right path, and the curved crook to draw back those who stray. The “rod and staff” were used to protect, guide and lead.

Kilbreda College 
New Auditorium Opening

On Monday 15 October, a wonderful and fitting celebration took place to open and bless the new auditorium at Kilbreda College. In opening this auditorium,  the College proudly recognised over 114 years of education in the Brigidine Tradition. The College welcomed members of Kildare Ministries, the Brigidine Community, past principals of Kilbreda College, staff, students and their families, past pupils and those who have generously sponsored seats in the new auditorium. 

Guests gathered for light refreshments in the Kildare Centre where Kilbreda’s very talented String Ensemble entertained them. 

Co-Principal Nicole Mangelsdorf commenced proceedings in the auditorium with the blessing ceremony led by Rev Dr Michael McEntee, Parish Priest of Mentone and Parkdale. Father McEntee led the blessing of the auditorium with a prayer and a reflection. The auditorium was officially opened by Sr Maree Marsh csb and Rosemary Copeland, Co-chairs of the Kildare Ministries Trustees. 

This was followed by a celebratory concert that showcased the many talents of Kilbreda College students both past and present. Hosts for the evening were Kilbreda’s College Co-Captains, Eliza and Katherine. The audience were then treated to a variety of musical and dance performances from over seventy students across the year levels. Some of the many highlights of the evening was having past pupils Amanda and Samantha Hargreaves return to the College to perform Somewhere Over the Rainbow from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the classical piece Les Berceaux by Gabriel Fauré. 

“Congratulations on a great opening of your auditorium last evening. It was beautifully managed and presented. So many talented students!” -Michael Doyle, Chair of the Kildare Education Ministries Board.



Formation Events

Student Volunteering at PFC

On Thursday 18 October, 40 students from Kildare Ministries schools attended a working bee at Presentation Family Centre.  They rolled their sleeves up and got their hands dirty shovelling mulch, weeding, scrubbing and sorting to help PFC prepare for its busy summer program.  Thank you to Ishti Griffiths and staff at PFC for your warm hospitality and for sharing the story of your wonderful centre with students.  It is always such a joy to see our schools and community works in collaboration.


Trustees Meeting
Plenary Discussion with 
Lana Turvey-Collins

For those of you present at the Conference, you will remember that our guest speaker Massimo Faggioli encouraged us to have a voice in the Plenary Council so that we might have some influence in the future direction of the Catholic Church in Australia. In your feedback and evaluation, many of you indicated that you would be interested in pursuing further conversations about this and since the conference the Trustees have engaged in dialogue with Archbishop Coleridge and Bishop Long as well as Lana Turvey- Collins, Plenary Council Facilitator.


The Trustees are encouraging our ministries to become involved. In endorsing the Plenary Council, Pope Francis said that he hoped “through patient dialogue and faith-filled discernment, the conciliar journey will confirm the Catholics in Australia in a spirit of unity and missionary discipleship…enabling them to be a leaven of holiness, justice and reconciliation in today’s rapidly changing society”.  The call for respectful listening and dialogue is laudable, however, to be heard we need to say something, we need to engage. 


In this light, the Trustees invite you to

  1. Subscribe to the website here:
  2. Take an hour to engage your staff, Board and Stewardship Council and even students in conversation through a process outlined here:
  3. What is important is that the Council hears the voice of the ordinary people, the people who are marginalised in our community, the voice of the youth and so on. Therefore, you are encouraged to find creative ways to engage students, their parents and people in our community who you know have distanced themselves from the church, even if this means modifying the processes outlined on their web page. 


Please keep in mind that responses need to be completed by Ash Wednesday 6th Mach 2019, after which the Council uses the responses it has to prepare papers for the Plenary Council. We learnt that organisations like Kildare Ministries will be encouraged to nominate a representative for the Council itself. This is not to say that we will be selected but that a least we might be seen as a potential contributor. All the more reason to engage with this first stage! Our Trustees, Principals and Mangers of Community Works will engage with this discernment before the end of the year. 


Year 12 Celebrations

All of us at Kildare Ministries extend our congratulations and best wishes to the graduating classes of 2018!   

Marian College Ararat


Clonard College


St. Joseph's College


Marian College, Sunshine West


Kildare College


Important Dates

Term 4 Dates

Justice Coordinators and Faith Leaders

9th November 2018


KM Principals and Managers Meeting and End of Year Function

27th of November


Student Leadership Retreat

5-7th December 2018


KEM Office closes

18th December 2018






















Pilgrimage to Ireland:    18th September - 2nd October 2019

The Kildare Ministries pilgrimage to Ireland is a journey into the heart of our narrative.  Pilgrims will explore not just our deepest roots but the very soil of our heritage which continues to shape our spirituality today.  Pilgrims will trace the founding stories of Kildare Ministries beginning with the early Celtic pre-Christian story and the liminal spaces of Brigid, through to Nano Nagle and Daniel Delany in their responses to the poverty and repression of 18th century Ireland.


Applications open 14 September 2018
Applications close 30 November 2018

Please email applications to 


Download the Flyer here


Download an Application Form here.


2019 Calendar Dates

KEM Office Reopens

21st January


KEM Principals Meetings

13th March

30th May

2nd September


KM Principals and Leaders Meeting

12th March

31st May

14th November


KEM Business Managers

Monday 25th March (Killester College)

Friday 18th October


KM Chairs of the Board Network

2nd May (Wellsprings)

27th August (Star of the Sea)


Justice Coordinators

12th February

8th May (Online)

22nd August (Online)

8th November


Faith Leaders

15th February

10th May

8th November


Student Seminar 

28th February - 1st March (Amberley)

22nd May

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

19th March

3rd September


New Leaders Seminar

22nd February

30th August


Founding Grace Retreat

15th-17th May



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

Social Media

Kildare Ministries Newsletter