Kildare Ministries Newsletter

28 March 2018
Issue Two
KEM Executive Officer Report
KM Office Arrangements
Land Transfer Ritual St Joseph's College 
Meeting of the Principals and Managers of Community Works 
Justice and Democracy Student Seminar Thursday 1- Friday 2 March
New Staff Induction Day 1, Tuesday 20 March 2018
Brigidine College St. Ives
Star of the Sea College, Brighton
Walk for Justice Rally, Sunday 25 March
Social Media
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206


March 2018

My children’s club cricket presentation night was much the same as every other year: excited kids, party pies and a room filled with tired but content parents on a Friday night… with one key difference.  This past season for the first time in the club’s history, they fielded a junior girls’ team.  Amidst the celebrations at Presentation Night there was a sense that we were witnessing a moment of great significance, a movement forward.  What caught my eye though, and captured my heart, was the young girl standing and staring at the ‘grown-up’ girls of aged 12 as they received their medals and trophies.  She was in awe and her desperation to be part of this new movement was palpable.  As I watched her, the thought that entered my head was ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’


As a moment it stands in stark contrast to the disappointment of a cricket-loving nation at the poor judgement shown by our test side in deciding to cheat during a recent test match in South Africa.  ‘What does it matter, it’s only a game?’ we may well ask, however young sports fans take their role models where they find them.  It has left me wondering about the vacuum in moral leadership on show to our young people.  There are so many examples from within Australian politics that leave me despairing, but most especially the recent denial of urgent medical care to a suicidal refugee child on Nauru.  Global politics does not seem to be faring much better, with the revolving door of staff at the White House and murder of former Russian spies appearing more like plot lines of a Le Carré novel than our every-day reality.  The current leadership model seems to involve a ‘win at all costs’ attitude with total disregard for the common good.  This puts the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see´ in a worrisome light.

When discussing the 2018 theme of Hope: Bringing a Sense of Purpose with the leadership team of St Joseph’s College, the insight was shared that it’s up to us to be ‘people of hope’ for our communities.  This has certainly been evident as we have explored this theme throughout Term 1: network meetings for Principals, Leaders of Community Works, Faith & Mission Leaders and Justice Coordinators, induction for New Staff and New Leaders, and the Educating for Justice Seminar for Social Justice Leaders in our schools.  If indeed ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, then those within our communities are very fortunate to be in the care of staff whose absolute commitment to the mission drives their leadership.


Never is this more alive to us than during Holy Week.  This reflection by Jan Richardson (© Jan Richardson. captures the very model of leadership as service embodied by Jesus, God’s mission of love incarnate:


“Holy Thursday draws us to the table, in the company of Jesus and the disciples as he begins to speak his final words on this side of his dying. The disciples will not understand everything Jesus has to say, will not be able to comprehend fully the import of what he is telling them, but his words will sear themselves into their hearts nonetheless. These are the words that will return to the disciples later, in that bewildering time known as ‘after’. These are the words that will comfort them and also stir their courage for the path that waits for them still.  But for now, they, and we, are at the table. As the night unfolds, we will see that the word at the centre of Jesus’ vocabulary is this: Love.


But, as the disciples will hear Jesus say at the table, such a grace is not reserved solely for them. They are to pass the gift along: to enact this word, to live this word, to give flesh to this word in this world. 


This is my commandment, Jesus will say to them a little later as they linger at the table, that you love one another as I have loved you  (John 15.12).

As we approach the table this week, how will we listen for the love that meets us there? How will we allow ourselves to receive the gift and the grace of this love? When we leave the table, how will we carry this love with us? How will we enact this love, giving it flesh for the life of the world?

Andrea Grant

Mission Leader- Kildare Ministries

KEM Executive Officer Report

KEM Principals Meeting
  9 March

The first meeting for the year was held on 9 March. The KEM Business Managers joined the Principals for the morning. The day commenced with  a presentation by Ms Judy Connell, Manager, Learning Diversity (Catholic Education Melbourne) on the implication of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) for the funding of students with disability.

The second presentation for the day from the Industrial Relations unit of Catholic Education Melbourne focussed on performance management and grievance protocols.

Other business for the day included an update on legislative policies and risk reporting; enrolment policies; and the sharing of innovative practice.


Consultation with Archbishop Zani

The secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See, Archbishop Angelo Zani visited Australia to promote the Holy See’s new foundation – Fondazione Gravissimum Educationis. Professor Monsignor Guy-Real Thivierge, Secretary General of the Foundation also accompanied the Archbishop.

A personal initiative of Pope Francis, the Foundation works to support innovative and impactful projects, invest in quality, promote scientific studies and foster networking between Catholic educational institutions. Current projects include:

  • International Survey on young people and their choices in preparation for the next Synod. Data should be available in June.
  • Democracy and Universalisms: the Educational Challenges. Published recently, ‘Globalising Hope’;
  • New Educational Models e.g. the House of Peace in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Role of Catholic Higher Education in hunger reduction
  • International Observatory on Catholic Education

The meeting was a valuable opportunity for Australian Catholic school leaders to directly engage in a roundtable conversation with the Archbishop and highlight the challenges and opportunities for Catholic Education in Australia.

Directors of Catholic Education and Executives of Congregations, Religious Institutes and PJPs were invited to submit a one-page overview.





Jeff Burn

Executive Officer

Kildare Ministries

KM Office Arrangements

Kildare Ministries Administration Officer

There have been changes to our office arrangements.  As you know Kate Kelsey resigned from Kildare Ministries last month and has been ably replaced by Padraig McCahey.


Monica Lang will provide administrative support for the work of the Trustees which means supporting Andrea Grant as Mission Leader and myself as the Executive Director.


You will know Monica in her previous role as coordinator of the BMC and also our communication officer.  This year Monica will work within TKM and will be the point of contact for all booking enquiries including seminars, Founding Grace Retreat and the 2018 conference.  Monica will co-ordinate the Trustee visits to the ministry for the bi-annual joint meetings and other occasions as they arise. Monica’s contact:

[email protected]


Kildare Education Ministries Administration Officer

It is with pleasure that we introduce to you Padraig McCahey who joined us this week.  Padraig (pronounced Paw-drig) is primarily the Administrative Officer for Kildare Education Ministries (replacing Kate Kelsey) but will also turn his attention and talents to communications. 

Padraig spent twelve months in New Zealand before arriving in Melbourne last September.  He is a primary school teacher and enjoys the many sports that Ireland has to offer, including but not exclusively Gaelic footy!

BMC Coordinator

The Brigidine Ministry Centre (BMC) has a new coordinator.  She is Julie Catalano and is best contacted on [email protected].  She will continue to take bookings if you wish to hire the facilities here at BMC.


Land Transfer Ritual
St Joseph's College 

Land Transfer Ritual, Thursday 22 March 

A Celebration of Hope – the Transfer of Stewardship

Representatives of the Brigidine Sisters, the community of St Joseph’s College, Echuca, Trustees of Kildare Ministries, Kildare Education Ministries Board, the local Stewardship Council

and  staff gathered in the College Chapel on the 132nd anniversary of the College’s founding.  We celebrated a most significant moment in the story of each group, and indeed of the church and wider education community.  The gathering reflected a celebration of the courage, albeit with sadness, of Brigidine Sisters, as well as a certain joy in the beginnings of a continuing and a new story in the life of the community.

 The words of Michael Delaney, College Principal, capture this significance: “This signifies a change in the role of Brigidine Sisters here in this place, from one of responsibility and governance to one of accompaniment . . .”  Sr Anne Hill in gifting the commemorative plaque to Rosemary Copeland, Co-Chair of the Trustees stated: “This is given in gratitude for your on-going stewardship of the mission”.  Rosemary acknowledged with gratitude the trust of the Brigidine Sisters.  The reflection in the prayer gathering focused on the breaking of bread at Emmaus  – there was a felt sense of all present committing themselves to continuing to share the bread of life, of welcome, of hospitality, of service and joy within the community and with the stranger.   It was indeed a moving moment in the journey of Brigidine Sisters, Kildare Ministries and the College.  This moment marked the passing of the stewardship of the ministry of education, within the community of St Joseph’s to the responsibility of Kildare Ministries.


The gathering moved from the Chapel to the College auditorium with the 1000 students and staff of the College to celebrate their belonging to a community of hope - a belonging supported by a story, by prayer, reflection, joy, song and fun!  Through dramatisation the students enacted their feisty woman of hope, St Brigid, welcoming another woman of hope, Nano Nagle, once her credentials were examined!

This was the first ritual of transfer at the first place in Victoria of Brigidine education.  Over the next twelve months the transfer rituals at the other former Brigidine and Presentation Sisters ministries throughout Victoria, and in South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales, will take place.  We look forward to more celebrations of hope.

Nola Vanderfeen pbvm

Kildare Ministries Trustee


Meeting of the Principals and Managers of Community Works 

What is Catholic about Catholic Identity? 

Rev Fr Kevin Lenehan worked with our leaders of the community works and our Principals to further explore sociological issues that are impacting on our Catholic Identity and the way we give expression to our faith. He put to us that the work of the Gospel is not about numbers and that as faith leaders we should not be scandalised by the number of Christians who are now declaring they are of no faith or belief.  Rather we need to enter into relationship with those whom we serve and do what Jesus did. Teach our communities to be questioning of the status quo to ensure a just world; be the living witness of Jesus to our student, teachers and communities and they will come to know God by what we stand for, by the questions we ask and by the example we set.  Jesus was never scandalised by the mess of our humanity, he in fact entered into it.   
Largely, the actions we take and our Christian world view will depend on our answer to the question, Is Jesus Alive or Dead? If Jesus is dead, then there is no Catholic mission but if Jesus is alive we have no choice but to encounter the mission.  In fact, Jesus is the source of our ‘aliveness’, we can’t just take it or leave it, we have to be with it.  If we just do our work, if we remain true to the mission then we won’t need to worry about our identity because others will know who we are and what we stand for by the work we do.  Our identity will take care of itself!

Erica Pegorer

Kildare Ministries

Executive Director


Justice and Democracy Student Seminar
Thursday 1- Friday 2 March

A Student's Perspective

On the 1st and 2nd of March we attended a Justice Seminar at Amberley retreat center for Kildare Ministries schools, as well as Brigidine College Randwick.  Over these two days we spent time in groups with students from other schools all around Australia, learning and sharing ideas. We had a number of amazing guest speakers including Dalal Smiley from Wellsprings for Women and Megan Bourke from Caritas.


We participated in workshops which allowed for discussion and sharing of ideas between students and teachers to better our knowledge on the justice and charity work that we carry out in our communities. During these two days we were given time for personal reflection which really helped us to gather our thoughts and think about the kind of messages we wanted to take back to our schools to help create change and assist the vulnerable people in our society so that they are able to make better lives for themselves.

We looked at a number of important concepts including human dignity, solidarity and hope. The sessions run by teachers looked at these concepts and the importance of them in the work that we do. At the end of the two days we were given time to plan with our school groups, which allowed us to draw upon everything we had learnt and to put it into action, to make a difference in other’s lives.

This justice seminar run by Kildare Ministries was very insightful and educational, it allowed us to add to our knowledge and awareness of a range of different justice issues and gave us skills that we could take back to school and implement in our justice groups so that the work we do is meaningful and helpful for those that need it. Throughout we had a great time and it was a wonderful and insightful experience that was really worthwhile.


Abdilla-Hill |

Year 12 student

Kilbreda College

New Staff Induction Day 1,
Tuesday 20 March 2018

Reflections from a New Staff Member

In the wee small hours, five bleary-eyed teachers from Marian College Ararat piled into the Principal’s car, east-bound for Kildare Ministries in Albert Park. After a much needed caffeine stop en route, we arrived a few minutes before our designated start time, to congregate with several other staff members from Kildare Ministries schools: Marian College Sunshine West, Kilbreda College Mentone, Killester College Springvale and Clonard College Geelong - as well as one of the eight Trustees of Kildare Ministries, Kathy McEvoy.



Our gracious hosts, Andrea Grant and Erica Pegorer, had asked each of us to bring with us an object of personal significance linked to our work as educators. It was a fantastic ice-breaker, and some of the objects and the stories that went with them, truly captured the essence of teaching in a Kildare Ministries school.


The session then moved on to a spokesperson from each college talking to the group about which values were alive and well in their respective schools. A common thread emerged; many of our schools’ everyday values are those which are at the core of the mission of Kildare Ministries.

On a personal note, by far the most beneficial and intriguing part of the day was learning about an Irish woman called Nano Nagle, who pioneered education in the slums of Cork in the late 18th century, and the remarkable parallels between her life and work, and the woman at the centre of the Brigidine story, Saint Brigid herself.


We then discussed the core values of Kildare Ministries, and it was so wonderful to hear that each of us attempts to embrace and promote these core values, each and every day in our practice.


I am sure that I speak on behalf of our group that we look forward to hearing more about the 2014 creation of Kildare Ministries, in which the Brigidine Sisters entrusted their precious schools to the Board of Trustees. This day is planned for September 4, 2018.


Lauren Nitschke

Marian College, Ararat

Brigidine College St. Ives

School News

Brigidine College St Ives has experienced its usual busy start to the school year. Like any school, there are a myriad of things occurring, often concurrently, but our experience and the research tells us that this helps girls grow as they learn to manage their time and commitments and flourish in understanding the value of multi-faceted lives. Providing opportunities for girls to be involved allows them to develop their leadership capacity and our aim is that they ‘act in the world with strength and gentleness’ (Mission Statement).

Our strategic intent at Brigidine College St Ives is to ensure opportunities for girls and staff to grow in understanding Christ’s mission to love and serve humanity. This has occurred through social justice programs including working with Catholic Mission Australia in Cambodia, Street Retreats and many other opportunities.


Staff and students on immersion with Catholic Mission Australia in Cambodia

In January this year, eight students, accompanied by two teachers and the Catholic Mission’s facilitator, were given the opportunity for an immersion to Cambodia.  The Immersion allowed students to embrace a variety of activities ranging from visiting historical sites such as “S21”, the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields known for the atrocities under the Pol Pot regime, engaging in the daily lives of remote communities to interacting and teaching children English. The group met one survivor of the Pol Pot era who shared her incredible personal story of the Cambodian conflict. The opportunity to teach English, interact with the local communities and undertake some service work proved an invaluable opportunity.

Sentiments expressed by students reveal the value of the experience:

“I have returned to Australia with a newfound sense of gratitude and inspiration to reach out to others.”

“However, more importantly, the experience taught me that people with the simplest lives, are often the happiest and the most loving.”

Students teaching English to Cambodian children.


Camps and Retreats

Each year, all students take 3 days out of their normal academic program to attend a Camp (Years 7-10) or Retreat (Years 11-12). Years 7-9 undertake an outdoor education program which focuses on relationship building, physical challenges to develop resilience, goal setting and group decision-making. Year 10 undertake an urban challenge which familiarises students with the challenge of navigating their way around greater Sydney, undertaking some service learning and interfaith dialogue as well.

The senior students undertake retreats. Year 11 is focused on service to others through working in such places as hospices, refugee centres, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army and centres for the disabled. Year 12 focus on thanksgiving in anticipation of their life beyond school.


Student Leadership

In 2018 we commenced a change to Student leadership at Brigidine. The leadership program is designed to empower young women with skills that will propel them into the future. Students learn important leadership skills such as resilience and problem solving, giving them the opportunity to actively participate in the decision making process of the College. Students become role models, providing responsible service to the College community, leading with Strength and Gentleness.

More opportunities are available for students in Years 7-11 to have formal leadership positions and these opportunities form part of the new Student Leadership Diploma which will be one of the criteria for selecting senior leaders. There will be a student forum held once a term and there will be some changes to the structure of the senior leadership team.

Leadership at Brigidine College St Ives is defined as any action that makes the world I touch a better place. The leadership values of integrity, courage, compassion and fairness are essential along with humility. Humility is the foundation of leadership.


NASA Space Trip

Brigidine’s inaugural inclusion in the Alliance of Girls Schools' Australasia International Study Program with NASA, USA, took place in December 2017.


Caitlin Cummins (Year 11 2018) and Kate Heffernan (Year 12 2018) joined over 100 other Alliance girls from throughout Australia to attend HASSE Space School in Houston, Texas. Caitlin and Kate were immersed in the world’s most profound and impactful STEM environment, that of space exploration and science, in conjunction with NASA. Overlaid on this experience is a learning framework that incorporates personal development in areas such as self-motivation and reliance, goal setting, teamwork, curiosity and imagination, the multi-disciplinary skills necessary to take on the changing technological landscape.


Both Caitlin and Kate graduated from Space University at Space Centre Houston, where they were required to build and launch rockets and compete in simulations developing Mars Habitats, Space Shuttle Shielding and Thermal Space Suit designs.


Premier’s Anzac memorial Scholarship (PAMS)

Brigidine College was chosen as one of the 20 schools from NSW who submitted an Expression of Interest for the PAMS ballot. Amber McCully in Year 10 will travel to France and Belgium in 2018 as part of the final stage of the ANZAC commemoration. Twelve girls submitted an application which were shortlisted by the Principal and Head of History. The six who were shortlisted were interviewed by the Principal, the Head of History, the President of the P&F and the President of the Kirribilli RSL.







Star of the Sea College, Brighton

School News

On 22 March 2018, Star of the Sea College celebrated the 135th anniversary of its foundation as a community of sisters, as a mission and as a school.


Excerpt from Adventures in Faith: “the foundation of Star of the Sea convent when the sisters moved into Turrett Lodge in Holy Week, 1883. On 22 March (Holy Thursday), Fr Carey brought the Blessed Sacrament across to the new convent. School began on the Wednesday after Easter in converted stables with 28 students”. 


Marking Foundation Day is a long-held tradition at Star of the Sea when we thank God for the courage of the Presentation sisters to leave their home in Ireland and travel to Australia in the knowledge that they were unlikely to ever see their homeland again.  We celebrate Foundation Day to remember our Foundress Nano Nagle, our heritage, people past and present, and to give thanks for the myriad opportunities on offer.


Tercentenary Year & 135th Anniversary Mass

You are light of the world… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven… (Mt 5:14, 16)

A key feature of the Mass was the interactive homily themed Take Down Your Lantern and Go Out which reflected the Gospel message.

Our celebrant, Fr Elio Capra sdb, engaged Sr Maria Lazzaro, Congregational Leader - Presentation Sisters Victoria, Principal Mary O’Connor, and a student from Years 7 and 12 to be the bearers and handlers of the light of Christ symbolised in “Nano Icon”, an enduring symbol at Star of the Sea.  Following this enactment of the gospel-based Presentation story, students shared thoughts on each of the images contained in the central panel of the “Nano Icon” as digital images beamed on the screen coming together in sequence, to create the whole. 


As we reflect on the tercentenary of our founder and the mission of the Presentation Sisters in Victoria - in particular at Star of the Sea - we read Sr Raphael Consedine’s poem, dedicated to Nano, with fresh eyes of gratitude…


Take down your lantern from its niche and go out!

You may not dwell in firelight certainties,

Secure from drifting fog of doubt and fear.

You may not build yourself confining walls

And say: ‘Thus far, and thus, and thus far shall I walk,

And these things shall I do, and nothing more.’

Go out! For need calls loudly in the winding lanes

And you must seek Christ there.

Your pilgrim heart shall urge you still one pace beyond,

And love shall be your lantern-flame.


Nano’s Walk

On Foundation Day 2018, the whole school community participated in the inaugural “Nano's Walk” to raise much-needed funds for the Presentation Sisters’ work in Papua New Guinea and the Presentation Family Centre, Balnarring.

The change to the format of Foundation Day, from a celebration for the students to one of looking beyond themselves and doing something for others at a local and global level, sits very comfortably with two of Star’s Seven Guiding Principles: Celebrating the Presentation Mission and Striving for Justice.

This was a significant time to launch Nano's Walk as it coincides with 300 years since Nano Nagle's birth in 1718. We celebrate the extraordinary influence that one amazing woman has had on education, and assisting the poor and marginalised around the world.

Students collected donations, with the aim of raising $20,000 that will make a significant difference to these communities.



Walk for Justice Rally, Sunday 25 March

#LetThemStay #BringThemHere

On Sunday March 25th, schools and community works from Kildare Ministries participated in the Walk for Justice Rally.  We are calling on Australia's political leaders to abandon the current harsh and unjust policies and to provide permanent protection for these vulnerable people. 

Australia should #BringThemHere and #LetThemStay. 

Give them HOPE - not despair.


How can you help?  






Important Dates for April 2018

Brigidine College Indooroopilly Board Meeting -

17 April 2018


Kildare Ministries Trustees Meeting

23-24 April 2018

Day 2 at Kilbreda College


Star of the Sea Board Meeting no.3

23 April 2018


Wellsprings Fundraising Dinner

24 April 2018


Network of Board Chairs

26 April 2018


Kildare Education Ministries Board Meeting

26 April 2018


Kildare Ministries Members Council Meeting

27 April 2018


Justice Coordinators Meeting

3 May 2018


Presentation Family Centre Board Meeting

4 May 2018



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