Kildare Ministries Newsletter

27 June 2019
Issue Four
Farewells to outgoing Principals
Farewells to outgoing Board and Stewardship Chairs 
      An insight into our Ministries - Kilbreda College
An insight into our Ministries - Brigidine College, Indooroopilly  
Completion of Property Transfer 
Board and Stewardship Council Seminar Day
Board and Stewardship Council Induction
  2019 Calendar Dates
Keep updated!
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206


At the end of May, we acknowledged and farewelled Principals and Chairs who have served their school with distinction over many years. For the school communities, this time marks the end, and in anticipation, the start of a new era.

Shortly after, we celebrated Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is a celebration of a new beginning for all whether it is for the celebration of the new church, a celebration for renewal of spirit within oneself and/or a celebration of the Holy Spirit giving God’s wisdom to the disciples. Pentecost is a day of the new spirit, a day of a new beginning

We live in an era that is particularly painful to be an Australian Catholic. For some, the findings of the Royal Commission into sexual abuse and the court cases involving priests and religious as well as declining connection to parish have signalled an end to a relationship with Church. For others, there is a call for renewal. In a time when confidence in traditional Church authorities has been eroded, there is a need for a new empowering narrative – one that is positive, inclusive, life giving and faithful to gospel values. The 2020 Plenary Council may be the opportunity for the pain to be acknowledged and addressed and a hopeful future entertained. It is hoped the Council will celebrate the critical role of lay governors as co-responsible, co-creators and influencers of the Mission of the Church.

At the risk of mixing politics with religion (or are they inextricably linked!), I recently read an article by Martha C. Nussbaum, Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago in which she looks at what a ‘decent nation’ requires of its citizens:

  • the ability to deliberate well about political issues affecting the nation, to examine, reflect, argue and debate, deferring neither to tradition nor authority;
  • the ability to think about the good of the nation as a whole, not just that of one’s own local group, and to see one’s own nation, in turn, as a part of a complicated world order in which issues of many kinds require intelligent transnational deliberation for their resolution;
  • the ability to have concern for the lives of others, to imagine what policies of many types mean for the opportunities and experiences of one’s fellow citizens, of many types, and for people outside one’s own nation.

One could argue that is what our Australian Curriculum General Capabilities require of our graduating students:

  • critical and creative thinking
  • personal and social capability
  • ethical understanding
  • intercultural understanding

And for Kildare Ministries, we are developing our Living Justice charter:

  • A community of witness
  • Learning for Justice
  • Courageous Leadership

At the recent meeting of Principals and Managers of the Community works, it was evident that courageous leadership, the community of witness and the learning for justice were embedded in the activities of each ministry. Each leader reflected upon questions included in the Trustees Strategic Intentions document and what actions we collectively can initiate to reach our desired outcomes.

The Living Justice Charter seeks to develop an active, discerning community that speaks out against injustice through action.

And the simple, yet powerful value that we are focussing on this year, ‘Hospitality’ requires of us to welcome an actual person into a real place; to take pleasure in difference.  How will we all “respond to the cries of the Poor and the Cries of the Earth” in our ministries?  How will we be better informed on emerging ethical and moral issues that will impact on the common good and the common home?

To return, to those leaders we farewelled and acknowledged for their witness and courageous leadership. We thank them for their contribution to the Kildare Ministries story:

Michael Doyle

Leanne Di Stefano

Margaret  Rouggos

Jane Curran

Wendy Dick

Judith Ratican


Leaders facilitate the movement of the Spirit in a group. They tend the Spirit at the heart of an institution. Parker Palmer’s description of a leader is illuminating: ‘A Leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light… A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him or herself, inside his or her consciousness’.

Regina Bechtle in Called and Chosen 2005




Jeff Burn

Executive Officer

Kildare Education Ministries

Farewells to outgoing Principals

We were delighted to welcome Trustees, Board Directors, Principals and Leaders of Community Works to the Brigidine Ministry Centre on Friday 31 May for a farewell celebration for several long-standing members of our Network.  A joyous afternoon was spent sharing stories and much laughter as we farewelled Principals Jane Curran (Brigidine St Ives), Margaret Rouggous (Kildare College) and Leanne di Stefano (Killester College), KEM Board Chair Michael Doyle and Stewardship Council Chairs Judith Ratican (Kildare College) and Dr. Wendy Dick (Killester College).  As each one shared heartfelt words of farewell we reflected on how fortunate our ministries have been to have been blessed with their dedicated and creative service given so generously over so many years.  At the same time, we look forward to the future with great hope.


Jane Curran

At the end of this school year, Jane Curran will conclude her 10 year tenure as Principal of Brigidine College, St. Ives. Brendan Cahill, Prinicipal at Brigidine College Indooroopilly, spoke about the valuable skills and knowledge Jane has imparted onto the students in Brigidine College and thanked Jane on behalf of Kildare Ministiries. Brendan outlined many strengths and qualities that he associates with Jane's Principalship. 

Jane is generous, approachable and has a great sense of humour. Jane is a great public speaker, story-teller and orator to the students and parents.

Jane has an open-door approach – all are welcome and she makes time for people to hear their concerns and responds with empathy and kindness to all staff.

Jane has updated numerous policies and enabled the College to be up to date, compliant, efficient and organised due to her concentration on accuracy. She is a great editor and ‘checker’ of detail for everyone with an eye for best phrasing and punctuation. Jane's hard work in this area has resulted in the dramatic improvement in reporting to parents and the editing of reports – a renewed process for everyone.

Jane is a  real ‘do-er’, undertaking the Anita Murray Centre building project  and the upgrade of McCammon wing in her time. Jane also built a new Hospitality Kitchen and dedicated spaces for Music, Drama and Dance to flourish.

Jane has made excellent staff appointments – employing staff in key roles to create change and build capacity and opportunity for the girls. Jane led a new approach to Professional development ‘Altitude Program’ to create learning and pastoral enhancement in the College.

As a Leader she has always made her home a place of hospitality and welcome. For these reasons and many more, Jane has the respect and support of the staff, students and parents and will be greatly missed.  We wish Jane the very best for her retirement.


Leanne Di Stefano


At the end of second term Ms Leanne DiStefano concludes an exceptional contribution to education in the Brigidine tradition over thirty-one years, twenty of these as Principal of Killester College, Springvale. Leanne has a deep commitment to Catholic education and has given great service to the former Brigidine Secondary Schools Council and to the dreaming and shaping of Kildare Ministries to ensure the future of our schools.

Killester has been very blessed to have been led by Leanne. She has a breadth of knowledge about all aspects of school life, an amazing gift to be able to look at every issue from many perspectives and has built a dynamic and purposeful learning community of students and teachers. Her core question is “Will this make a difference for students?  Will it enhance their learning?”

Leanne has a great passion for learning, capacity to think outside the square and the ability to bring staff on board. Through collaborative practice Leanne has  formed effective teams, demonstrating distributive leadership that shares responsibility for direction-setting and community building. Under Leanne’s leadership Killester is well-respected in the locality as a safe school which offers great learning opportunities where girls can succeed.

Values such as compassion, justice, hospitality, hope, courage are not just aspirational ideals in Leanne’s leadership. She has demonstrated that living these values and embedding them in the school culture comes from a place of deep personal faith and commitment to a way of being human, of being community and of being Church.  Congruence in ‘walking the talk’, taking practical steps to make these values real in her dealings with every person, especially the most vulnerable, has been really inspirational.

We are deeply grateful for Leanne’s selfless leadership of Killester College. The girls, the staff, the school have always come first and Killester has been gifted by her generosity, wisdom and compassion.

We wish Leanne every blessing and pray that new opportunities and joys come her way as life unfolds.

(Excerpt from Louise Cleary’s farewell speech to Marg at the KM Farewell) 


Killester College also held a farewell mass for Leanne on the 21st of June.


Marg Rouggos

At the end of term 2 we farewell Mrs Margaret Rouggos, Principal of Kildare College Holden Hill, SA. Marg has given outstanding service to the students, staff and Kildare College community since 2000, the last eleven years as Principal.  

Community has been at the forefront of Marg’s thinking, a key value that is translated into practical ways of finding ways to include all and into relationship building with her invitational gospel mantra, “Come and See”. The girls and their needs have been central to the way Marg has worked. Marg has a creative and strategic vision for the College and with her leadership Kildare’s enrolment has grown to 581. There has been a wonderful transformation of the school facilities to enable twenty-first century learning – seen in the new Brigidine Centre, Performing Arts facilities and Make a Space areas that promote STEM learning.

The culture of inclusion and working for successful outcomes for all young people at Kildare has grown because of Marg’s hard work and tenacious drive to give the girls the best. A gift that Marg has is her capacity to build a community of continuous learners. Margaret’s leadership has been courageous, creative and supportive. Staff and students know that, whilst being sensitive to each one’s needs, she is able to ask the hard questions and support them to find ways of improving their practice and their learning.

Margaret has been a strong educational and faith leader of Kildare College. Marg is a woman of integrity whose personal values are deeply aligned with the values Kildare Ministries and of those embedded in education in the Brigidine tradition. Marg has an absolute passion for girls’ education and during her leadership of Kildare the college has grown as a strong Catholic school community – a beacon of hope, inclusion and justice in the wider landscape of Catholic education in SA.

We thank Marg for her hard work and courageous leadership and wish her every blessing, and wonderful travels, as she moves into another exciting phase of life.

(Excerpt from Louise Cleary’s farewell speech to Marg at the KM Farewell)


Kildare College also  held a farewell mass for Marg on Monday 24th of June.


Farewells to outgoing Board and Stewardship Chairs 

Michael Doyle


Michael Doyle began his long association with the Brigidine Sisters and Brigidine schools in the early 1980’s.  As a Principal of Clonard College from 1994 to 2006, he was a strong, passionate leader.  Staff and students remember him with respect and affection.  

Subsequently he was a vital member of the Brigidine Secondary schools’ Council (BSSC).  In this role, he developed policies and guidelines for all aspects of school life, established the Relief Fund to help students in need, all the time quietly bringing to the fore the real issues in education. Michael’s emphasis was always on teaching and learning; assessment of student work (including goal based learning) was a shared passion. Michael was always interested in developing the most engaging and sound Religious Education. 

Michael offered leadership and service to the schools and wisdom to the planning for the future of these schools.  One aspect of this work was strengthening the local arm of school governance through the Stewardship Councils.  We travelled many many km to attend meetings of Councils and Committees.  On Thursdays nights we had a terrible program about cars that Michael insisted on listening to on the way home!

Michael recognised the value of shared culture in the schools and one contribution to this was organising the first pilgrimage to Ireland.  Everyone marvelled at his efficiency and lack of fuss.

Michael was also a member of the Brigidine Sponsorship Group – a group that had the overall governance responsibility for the schools.  The members of this group were drawn from the Brigidine Sisters Leadership team and Michael was also a valued member.  The Sponsorship Group worked to move to a new form of governance – Kildare Ministries.   

Michael then assumed the role of Chair of Kildare Education Ministries (KEM).

Michael has always had a clear vision looking for the common good and justice that, above all, targeted the inclusion of the most vulnerable.  Developing the Brigidine Core Values was really important to Michael. 

Michael was more than competent in figures and finance.  He established great relationships with the schools’ Business Managers and put the school finances on a firm footing.  

Michael had an amazing ability to work with people – an amazing model of leadership – quiet, consistent, strategic in best sense of the word.

He had a wider educational influence than with Brigidine schools and Kildare Ministries.  In particular he helped establish CRV Education and that has proven to be a strong influence in getting leaders of Congregational colleges to work closely together and share new directions in governance. 

Michael has been a wonderful person and leader over many years.  An unobtrusive leader – but a leader in the best sense of the word.  He embodied servant leadership before anyone used the term

He is a wise, fair, patient, loyal and humorous man.

Michael you have been such a leader and the world has been a better place for your presence and the education offered in what were Brigidine schools and now Kildare Ministries are your lasting legacy.  On behalf of all of us – thank you.


Judith Ratican and Dr. Wendy Dick




On behalf of Kildare Ministries, Morag Fraser presented Judith Ratican with a gift as a token of gratitude for Judith's commitment and dedication to the Kildare College Stewardship Council. 







Although Dr. Wendy Dick could not attend on the day, Gabrielle England spoke about the many years of service and devotion Dr. Dick has given to girls' education at Killester College. 





Kildare Ministries would  like to express their gratitude and well wishes for the future to both Judith  and Wendy.


An insight into our Ministries - Kilbreda College

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. Kilbreda College chose Lia Commadeur csb.

Sr Lia is a significant part of the Kilbreda community having joined the staff in 1992 and being the only Brigidine sister on staff since 2012.  Prior to joining Kilbreda, Lia worked in primary schools for over twenty years as both a teacher and principal.  Her current role as Fees Officer is one that few would envy but Lia loves due to the connection she forms with our families over time. She is a model of Strength and Kindliness in all that she does and truly embodies the Kildare Ministries values.  Staff and students alike have greatly benefitted from her sharing of the Brigidine story, the call to serve, and the transition to Kildare Ministries.  It was a joy for our community to acknowledge and celebrate her 50th anniversary of religious profession in 2018 with her.

One of Lia’s great loves is to walk. She walks for leisure, fitness and contemplation. In 2012, she walked the Camino de Santiago and in 2017 led the Kildare Ministries pilgrims up Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain despite gale force winds! Lia embraced every moment of the pilgrimage and it was clear to all present to see how much the experience meant to her as a Brigidine. Those that shared this experience with her quickly came to see her incredibly kind, generous and loyal heart.


Nicole Mangelsdorf

We also asked Kilbreda's leadership team to answer a few questions on their Principal Nicole. Here is what they had to say:


What words would you use to describe Nicole?

Nicole has been described as loyal, committed, compassionate, trustworthy, dependable, adventurous, goal-oriented, empathetic, determined and just.


Why is Nicole so inspiring?

During formation days for our College Leadership Team, Nicole drew upon the work of Brene Brown to inspire us to ‘dare to lead’ by answering ‘the call to courage’.  She draws on her experiences in South Africa with Sister Sheila Flynn OP to emphasise the importance of seeing a need and responding with compassion.  Nicole has a deep commitment to matters of social justice and empowers us to stand up and speak out against injustice and strive to create a just and tolerant society.


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

For Kilbreda College, St Brigid remains an inspiration and continues to ignite the sense of purpose and hope that that education brings.  Like St Brigid, Nicole challenges our community to create a better world through education, to care for creation, to advocate for the environment and sustainability, to have the courage to question their world and model the charism of St Brigid, strength and kindliness.


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

When addressing the whole school community, Nicole always emphasises the importance of embracing difference and working to create a welcoming, open, inclusive and respectful environment for all individuals, through our words and actions.  Nicole unpacks what it means to respect and uphold the ‘dignity of the human person.’  She highlights how through simple gestures we can send a powerful message to an individual that ‘I see you and I hear you.’  She uses examples of her experiences volunteering at the St Vincent De Paul Soup van to model to our school community the importance of acting justly.


What’s a funny thing that Nicole has done?

Each Brigidine Day Nicole likes to dress up with her leadership team to support a student suggested theme.  One year she came as a Police Officer from the Village People and led her team on stage in a rendition of the YMCA.  Last year, Nicole came as Professor McGonagall and weaved her magic.


What does Nicole do to relax?

To relax, Nicole likes to spend time with her family especially her nephew James.  She loves the outdoors in particular riding horses.  Nicole is an avid cricket fan and is currently enjoying going home from work and tuning in to the World Cup.  She enjoys travelling and exploring the wonders of the world.


An insight into our Ministries - Brigidine College, Indooroopilly


When asked to nominate a staff member or student who represents and embodies the values and vision of Kildare Ministries, Brigidine College Indooroopilly chose their Early Career Teacher - Jordan Whitney.


As an early career teacher of Mathematics and Health and Physical Education (HPE), Jordan strives to embody the Kildare values in her teaching at Brigidine College, Indooroopilly. Jordan actively leads by example, demonstrating an ability to welcome all and be inclusive of others, especially as she responds to the needs of students or staff.  Building self-efficacy in her students, Jordan mentors and guides our next generation, in both her classrooms and Homework Clubs.  She sets achievable goals, shifting their mindset to one of growth, and a belief in neuroplasticity. By valuing young women with a strong sense of dignity and respect, Jordan enables a strong and gentle approach to become change makers and problem solvers for the 21st Century. These are the tools for her students to then stand up for those who are silenced or marginalised.

Jordan’s compassion and gentleness are demonstrated with staff and students, as she actively hears and listens to provide ways to search and discover opportunities to move forward.  She evaluates our capacity as teachers to engage with others by singing the praises of those around her.  By making her conversations positive, she radiates confidence, energy and enthusiasm to impact her students and colleagues.

Importantly, Jordan demonstrates her courage through her willingness to be flexible - shifting her priorities in response to the demands of the situation whilst remaining positive and keeping an open mind. Teaching is a forever dynamic profession, where being kind, spreading positive news, and participating in the College community, reminds us to be present and to make the most of our talents. A sign of love and justice in our world is Jordan’s ability to be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. She quietly inspires those around her to do better and be better.


Brendan Cahill

We also asked Brigidine College's leadership team to answer a few questions on their Principal Brendan. Here is what they had to say:

What is an inspiring thing that Brendan has said?

Brendan focuses on the power of learning to be transformational for young women today and asserts the importance of taking personal responsibility for your education.


What’s a funny thing that Brendan has done?  

Brendan gets his workmates to shift house.   Max his cat,  loves him so much that he will often give him a side swipe!


What 5 words describe Brendan?   

Confident, resilient, compassionate, forward thinking and a quick healer!


What does Brendan do that demonstrates to the community that he is being true to the Brigidine charism?

​​​​​​​Brendan exemplifies the Brigidine charism through his support and encouragement of students and staff, as well as his commitment to caring for those within the wider community.  He encourages staff to develop their God-given gifts to explore new opportunities for learning and engaging in innovative educational projects. His constant engagement with the local community beyond our Brigidine campus allows all to feel supported and respected. The students at Brigidine College represent the College with strength and gentleness in all that they do, led by Brendan’s example.


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

​​​​​​​Visitors at Brigidine College always express their feeling of warmth and welcome they get when they visit campus and experience the Brigidine community for the first time. The feeling of welcome is strongly promoted and encouraged by Brendan in all staff and students. The time that he gives to all new visitors at the College is testament to the care and respect he shares for all those he welcomes into the Brigidine community.

Brendan also runs a prayer session every Friday morning for staff.


What does Brendan do to relax?

​​​​​​​Brendan loves to watch his beloved Hawthorn AFL team and plays occasional golf.




Completion of Property Transfer 

The transfer of the properties from the Brigidine and Presentation Sisters to Kildare Ministries is now complete. While the process has taken considerable time it has been completed carefully and with great respect for all involved. 


The words of Trish Buckley, after signing the transfer of Brigidine Indooroopilly, perhaps sum up the feelings of Brigidine and Presentation sisters who are bequeathing the properties to Kildare Ministries:

 “Congratulations on the completion of the signing over of Indooroopilly. For me, I felt a twinge of sadness at the final giving over! I was thinking of all our Sisters who have had a part to play in the growth of the College over all the 90 years!! What a bequest!

 I pray for all who minister and have a part to play in the new growth and care of our youth. In letting go there is room for new life to sprout forth!”

Janet Cribbes, Chair of the Wellsprings Board also addressed the  significant event in the Wellsprings Annual Report.

"The final ritual for the transfer of land to Kildare Ministries was a significant occasion for Presentation Sisters Victoria. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Presentation Sisters for their years of stewardship and financial support. The transition to Kildare Ministries leadership has been smooth, welcoming, supportive and full of hope for the future of Wellsprings for Women."




I would like to thank the Leadership Teams for the generous spirit in which the process has been undertaken. I also wish to acknowledge with appreciation the assistance of Josephine Heesh and former Associate, Jessica Lobow, from law firm of Carroll & O’Dea, and to Ric Birkett from Aitken Partners for their professionalism, attention to detail and their sensitivity to the process of transfer. We have valued their advice all along the way.




Maree Marsh

Co-Chair of the Trustees of Kildare Ministries

National Redress Scheme

Kildare Ministries will be a participating institution under the National Redress Scheme as will the Brigidine Sisters and the Presentation Sisters.


This means that any person who has experienced sexual abuse in our ministries will have their claim assessed through the Scheme. It will provide survivors of institutional child sexual abuse access to a personal approach including apology, counselling and monetary payments through an independent process.


Kildare Ministries takes responsibility for the ministries from the date at which the Constitution of each ministry was changed to reflect the Trustees of Kildare Ministries as the Member of the Company.  Prior to that date the Congregations will be the responsible entity for any claims through the Redress Scheme.

Board and Stewardship Council Seminar Day

To register for this event, please follow this link

Board and Stewardship Council Induction

On a cold and wintry Saturday we welcomed new Board Directors and Stewardship Council Members for our third annual Induction Day.  Through the course of this day we explored the history and structure of Kildare Ministries including the vital role Boards and Stewardship Councils play in its governance.  Participants also spent some time reflecting on the 2019 value, Hospitality and how the vision, mission and values of Kildare Ministries underpin all our governance decisions.  We are very grateful to each new member for attending and for Trustees Rosemary Copeland & Maree Marsh (co-chairs) and Acting Chair KEM Board Louise Cleary for their contribution to the discussions.


BASP Board: Julie Francis (Chair), Margaret Hill, Cecilia Merrigan, Norman Katende, Josh Lourensz;

Star of the Sea Board: Angela Alibrando;

Kilbreda Stewardship Council: John Mitchell, Fiona Jackson;

Kildare Stewardship Council: Jo Coonan (Chair)


2019 Calendar Dates

KEM Principals Meetings

2nd September


KM Principals and Leaders Meeting

14th November


KEM Business Managers

Friday 18th October


KM Chairs of the Board Network

27th August (Star of the Sea)


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
Michael Doyle, Chair of Kildare Education Ministries
Judith Ratican (right), Chair of the Kildare College Stewardship Council
Signing of the NSW Brigidine Leadership Team property transfer:Clare Keady, Patricia Buckley and Margaret Daniels
Signing of the Victorian Brigidine Leadership Team property transfer: Sue Chambers, Pat Dimeck, Doris Testa and Margaret Hill.
Congregational Leader, Maria Lazanno pbvm with Maree MArsh, Co-Chair of the Trustees of Kildare Ministries
Michael Doyle, Chair of Kildare Education Ministries
Judith Ratican (right), departing Chair of the Kildare College Stewardship Council
Dr. Wendy Dick (left), departing Chair of the Stewardship Council at Killester College