Kildare Ministries Newsletter

12 December 2018
Issue Eight
Official Opening and Blessing of the Sr Martin Jones Centre, Marian College, Sunshine West  
Student Leadership Retreat
Kildare Ministries Award
Christmas Wishes
The Office of Kildare Ministries will be closed for Christmas from the 19th of December 2019 Calendar Dates
Keep updated!
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206


Alleluia, it’s December and ‘tis the season of glory, glitter and let’s get away from it all!! With Advent, we start the Church’s liturgical year but being December we look to the end of another calendar and school year. While those in the Northern hemisphere enjoy candle light and the warmth of fires to brighten shorter, gloomy days, we are basking in extra daylight and warmth. And instead of looking forward to Christmas, there are many who look forward to Boxing Day and the real start of the holiday season!

Advent asks us to wait in joyful hope so how does our ‘waiting’, ‘hoping’ and ‘joyousness’ metre measure against our procrastination (about shopping!), and our tiredness at this stage of the year?

‘You bring me news of a door that opens

At the end of a corridor, sunlight and singing;

When I had felt sure that every corridor

Only led to another

                            Or to a blank wall.’                                                                                      T.S. Eliot


We can rejoice that there will be sunlight and singing as we end our working year. We do reflect on the many achievements of Kildare Ministries and we are thankful for those who contributed so willingly to being of service to others. Here, at the Brigidine Ministry Centre, the spirit of Christmas is most meaningful in the many hampers generously donated to BASP for distribution to families in need or the compelling work of ACRATH for those impacted by modern slavery and the compassionate awareness both works of advocacy require of us. We remain hopeful that our politicians discern what is right and just on two fronts: bring about an end to our shameful treatment of refugees and demonstrate leadership through the Modern Slavery Bill. Let’s open our eyes to the dignity of all people and our ears to their cries for help.


While Christmas is a time of love and family, it also can be a time of loneliness and sadness for some. Let’s especially consider the other in our lives. This is the season when our Kildare Ministries values are to the fore: Wonder, Hope, Compassion, Hospitality, Justice and Courage.


At the end of the school year we give thanks to those who are leaving their positions of leadership:

  • Nola Vanderfeen pbvm – Trustee for the past 5 years
  • Kathleen Donnellan – Chair of the Board – Star of the Sea College, Brighton
  • Joanne Steele – Chair of the Stewardship Council – Kilbreda College, Mentone
  • Angela Ryan csb – Chair of the Stewardship Council – Marian College, Ararat
  • Damian McKew – Principal of Clonard College for the past 9 years
  • Teresa Lincoln – Co-Principal of Kilbreda College for the past 3 years
  • Ishti Griffiths– Manager, Presentation Family Centre, Balnarring for the past 7 years


Elsewhere in this newsletter there are acknowledgements of their leadership and service and those who have served on the Boards of our schools and community works.

December is a time of waiting and hoping for our graduating students. As students and staff finish the school year and with the publication of the Year 12 results, may there be a sense of satisfaction that learning has been engaging, meaningful and purposeful.


And for all of us, may the ‘To Do’ lists and tiredness give way to celebration, relaxation and reflection. Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas!


Jesus, we wait in hope.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces

To hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things

Look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways

Long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, ‘Come Lord Jesus!’

Henri Nouwen




Jeff Burn

Executive Officer, Kildare Education Ministries


Damian McKew

Damian McKew will conclude his nine years of Principalship at Clonard to take up the position of inaugural Principal of Iona College in the rapidly expanding residential area to the south of Geelong.  Damian has 12 months to convert an empty paddock into a new school which will open in 2020.

Damian’s leadership at Clonard has been outstanding.  It has included expanding the footprint of the school to twice its original size, numerous building projects, but more importantly providing strong instructional leadership and support for student wellbeing programs.

Sound judgement has always been a characteristic of Damian’s leadership.  His capacity to make decisions that, depending on circumstances, are based in empathy and compassion, or the need to challenge have always displayed wisdom based in both his personal qualities and experience.  These qualities will provide the best possible foundation as Damian seeks to establish a new school with all of the challenges associated with forming a new curriculum, employing an entirely new staff group and overseeing the design and construction of new buildings. 

We also wish Damian every blessing as he faces the challenges of establishing a new school and thank him for his many years of service to Clonard.

(Excerpt from Michael Doyle's farewell speech to Damian at the KM end of year function) 

Teresa Lincoln

Teresa Lincoln will depart Kilbreda College as Co Principal after three years of distinguished service.  Teresa will take up an appointment as Secondary Principal Consultant for the Southern Region of Catholic Education, Melbourne.

Together with Nicole Mangelsdorf, Teresa’s leadership has been characterised by her warm manner, approachability and overall commitment to enhanced teaching and learning outcomes supported by strong wellbeing programs.

Teresa and Nicole’s leadership provided strong witness to the importance of collaboration and teaming within schools, a factor that has had a positive impact on both staff and students.  We particularly thank Teresa for her assistance in organising a number of Kildare Ministries’ projects including pilgrimage planning, the Sydney Conference held this year and a combined student leadership seminar.

We wish Teresa every blessing in her newly chosen pathway and thank her for her contributions to Kilbreda.

(Excerpt from Michael Doyle's farewell speech to Teresa at the KM end of year function) 

Nola Vanderfeen pbvm

In fare-welling Nola on behalf of the Member's Council, Anne Boyd acknowledged Nola's contribution to Kildare Ministries not only as Trustee but throughout the implementation phase.  She also honoured the long standing partnership between the Presentation and Brigidine Sisters in a range of circumstances prior to Kildare Ministries.

"Nola" Anne said, "you have brought not only a breadth of educational experience and expertise in governance for Kildare Ministries but you have imbued us all with your passion for Community Works".

In presenting Nola with an engraved vase, Anne expressed the wish that the gift would symbolize the hopes of all that Nola's life would now be filled with a new array of floral beauty and colour.

(Excerpt from Anne Boyd's farewell speech to Nola at the final meeting)

Ishti Griffiths

After seven years as Operations Manager, Ishti Griffiths decided to leave PFC and pursue other endeavours.  Ishti has been a valued member of the PFC team, and has overseen the development of the current operational model, built relationships with referral agencies to support guests in need,  brought in facilitators to deliver specialty Holiday Program activities, and most recently has supported the transition of governance from the Presentation Sisters to Kildare Ministries.

Her insights and wisdom about the needs of her community at PFC were enlightening and her collaboration invaluable. We will miss Ishti and wish here every blessing in her endevours.

Departing Board Directors

Kildare Ministries would also like to express their gratitude and well wishes for the future to departing Board Directors.


Helen Carboon (Left) and Kathy Donnellon (Board Chair, Right) from the Star of the Seas Board.

Koos Kruger and Brett Kimorley  have left  the Brigidine College, St. Ives' Board.

Marg Daniels csb from the Brigidine College, Indooroopilly Board.

 Matthew Dique and Chris Byrne have also left the Indooroopilly Board this year.

Mary Keogh pbvm, retiring from the Presentation Family Centre Board.


Apologies, photos were not available to everyone listed in this newsletter.

Official Opening and Blessing of the Sr Martin Jones Centre, Marian College, Sunshine West


We had great pleasure in officially opening our new Science and VCAL facilities last Wednesday 7 November. Invited guests included Sr Maree Marsh csb and Rosemary Copeland (Co-Chairs of the Trustees of Kildare Ministries), Mr Michael Doyle (Chair Kildare Education Ministries Board), Fr Jude Pirotta (Parish Priest St James Hoppers Crossing and College Chaplain), Brigidine Sisters, Rita Grima, neighbouring school Principals and representatives from Kildare Education Ministries, Catholic Education – Western Region, Catholic Capital Grants, Minx Architecture, Magellan Builders, Staff and Students. Most especially we welcomed back Sr Martin Jones csb after whom the Science Centre is named.

It is quite appropriate that we opened the VCAL Centre and the Science Centre at the same time because the philosophy behind applied learning can fit so easily within the science pedagogy and in fact any learning and teaching pedagogy. Our Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning program identifies where students are at, identifies their interests in order to make learning relevant and provides opportunities for the students to share knowledge and learn from each other. In applied learning, we acknowledge and value that everyone learns differently, we encourage different learning styles and in turn the assessment we use is the one that best fits the content and context. When the whole person is considered, self-worth and confidence is developed. There is an integrated approach to learning where skills and knowledge are entwined in real life needs, problems and challenges that enable the students to connect with people, life and experiences outside the boundaries of the College.

The growth in our applied learning numbers indicates that it is a popular option for learners who are seeking something different to the more traditional and academic approaches to learning. Our teaching staff, too, have had to adapt and respond to the different approaches to learning and thereby support enquiring minds, maintain a focus on team and community, and present pathways that connect with life outside the school. In many ways the staff have been on the same learning journey as the students. Our goal is to ensure that the applied learning program at the College is rigorous and robust, integrates theoretical knowledge with practical skills, and provides for personal growth and community participation. One example of us moving towards our goal are these playground friendship benches that the VCAL students have constructed which will go to our Parish Primary schools to support their wellbeing program.

Similarly there has been much advancement in the science program and there is no doubt that we need to continue to promote further opportunities that open pathways for girls in this area. A research paper published by UNESCO in 2017 entitled “Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)” highlighted the need for girls education to take a lead. The paper noted that only 17 women have won a Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry or medicine since Marie Curie in 1903, compared to 572 men. Today, only 28% of all of the world’s researchers are women. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census found that 16% of STEM qualified people were female and from the percentage of STEM graduates earning in the top income bracket ($104 000 or above) 32% were male and 12% were female. Such huge disparities, such deep inequality, do not happen by chance.

As an educational institution we play a key role in promoting interest in Science and STEAM and thereby providing equal access to any benefits that present themselves. Evidence suggests that hands-on activities, for example in laboratories, can enhance girls’ interest.

Catholic education strategy in the Science domain has three guiding principles that seek to:

• connect schools with each other, with external organisations, and with the community

• support schools to start new initiatives and endeavours in science

• extend teachers and students to lead scientific discovery in the 21st Century for the benefit of society.

Hence, there are specific outcomes desired for students from a Catholic science education. We want students that are bold and confident participants in a constantly changing 21st century world and appreciate science as a way of knowing about the world.

Our students are to possess a sense of awe and fascination about the world whilst at the same time develop an understanding of the impact of science on society. They determine how they will access accurate information and make informed decisions about what will be useful to them in future decision making. They will understand the nature of science and those science concepts that are relevant and useful to their lives, accept a responsibility towards the natural environment and accept a care for God’s creation. Students need to examine the values behind the science and participate in informed debate about science explanations and their associated moral and ethical issues. Students are in a prominent position to engage with science and become intrinsically motivated to take on its challenges whilst see the potential for science to contribute to the common good. They must be empowered to enrich the world with direction, meaning, purpose and hope.

Of course it is important that our students have role models who display a love and passion for delving into the unknown and sharing their learning with others. So it is with much pleasure and pride that the science facility is named after someone who has had an impact on many here within our Community. Sr. Martin. People will ask of her contribution here and the story will be told with much admiration and respect. Sr. Martin we thank you for your positive influence on the growth of the College over many years.

Finally, the vision, plans, funding, construction and maintenance of these buildings does not just happen so it is appropriate to acknowledge the efforts of those involved in allowing us to use these facilities.

Firstly, to the students. Thank you for your desire to expand your knowledge and thinking. Use these facilities with a mind to contribute something back to the wider community.

Thank you to the staff, especially the VCAL and Science staff, for allowing students to share the love of learning. We acknowledge your expertise and for sharing the dream to provide the best for our students.

The Opening was a wonderful occasion and I thank all those who were involved in the organisation and preparation of the day.





Raymond Pisani


Student Leadership Retreat

On 5-7 December we had the great pleasure of holding our inaugural Student Leadership Retreat at Presentation Family Centre.  Two 2019 Year 12 leaders from 11 schools gathered to explore leadership through the Kildare Ministries lens with a particular focus on the 2019 value of Hospitality and the soon-to-be-released Kildare Ministries Living Justice Charter.  Staff guided the students with thoughtful, reflective material and their contribution provided the students with much to ponder: Anthony Cormick (Kilbreda) on the Boon Wurrung connection to land, Sr Chanel Sugden csb on the historical forming of Kildare Ministries, Bedelia Melville (Brigidine Randwick) on prayerful meditation and Stephanie Smyth (Kilbreda) and Adam Prime (St Joseph’s) on leadership.  Enormous thanks to all of these staff who put much time and effort in during a very busy period.  We are also very grateful to the support of Kilbreda College for hosting the welcome lunch and to Sr Joan Power, Ishti Griffiths and the staff at Presentation Family Centre for their hospitality, as well as Teresa Lincoln (Kilbreda) for all the support during planning stages.


During the Retreat we were blessed with a visit from some special guests, as the Trustees journeyed down the highway to visit us all.  The students were delighted to meet them and share our evening meal.  This visit coincided with 4 other special guests; Luana Doko (Killester) with 3 student leaders from 2018: Karina Diaz, Isabella Jenkins, Tasneem Usman.  These recently graduated leaders delighted us all with their insights into the experience of senior student leadership and the 2019 leaders were sorry to see them leave.


It is this extraordinary group of students however, who deserve the most heartfelt thanks for their openness to the program and one another.  Their joy in the shared experience and their willingness to learn and embrace all challenges filled us all with much hope and excitement for 2019.  To you all, we wish you every joy and success as you and your peers embark on the exciting year to come.  In the meantime, enjoy a well-earned holiday!




Charlotte Carson

Star of the Sea College


Adele Nicolas

Star of the Sea College


Taymin Marks

Brigidine College Indooroopilly


Trinity Waller

Brigidine College Indooroopilly


Grace Ranner

Clonard College


Maggie Evans

Clonard College



Ella Allan

Kilbreda College


Naomi Russo

Kilbreda College


Corine Hanna

Brigidine College Randwick



Hayley Minogue

Brigidine College Randwick


Sarah Lui

Killester College


Sneha Rajackal Senthivel

Killester College


Celine Mezher

Marian College Sunshine West


Nikki Nicolaides

Marian College Sunshine West


Aduer Yuel

Kildare College


Sara Jmel

Kildare College


Jack Chiswell

St Joseph's College Echuca


Phoebe Chapman

St Joseph's College Echuca


Kahli Gilchrist

Brigidine College St Ives


Meaghan Collins

Brigidine College St Ives


Ned Parsons

Marian College Ararat


Alanna McFarlane

Marian College Ararat

Kildare Ministries Award

What are the chances of a mother and daughter receiving the Kildare Ministries Award in the same year?

This year, by an amazing coincidence, Thanvessha Basnayake, a student at Killester College  and her mother Chandi , a volunteer at Wellsprings for Women both received the Kildare Ministries Award.  

How wonderful to see Kildare Ministries values being imbedded in our daily lives.  Congratulations to both.

In addition, we recognise the very many awards that were distributed to staff and students across our 13 ministries. Each recognising the special and unique qualities of the recipients.  We are blessing to have so many people living our the KM values in our places.      

Christmas Wishes

Please click below to watch a special Christmas message from the Mission and Ministry team.









The Office of Kildare Ministries will be closed for Christmas from the 19th of December

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.

Keep updated!

Kildare Ministries Newsletter