Kildare Ministries Newsletter

04 May 2018
Issue Three
Land Transfer Ritual Kilbreda College 
Network Meeting:  Chairs of Boards​ 
Wellsprings for Women April Fundraiser
Killester College, Springvale
Brigidine College, Indooroopilly​
Important Dates
Social Media
Kildare Ministries
(03) 9682 2973
54 Beaconsfield Parade
Albert Park, Victoria, 3206



Ah, the joys of Autumn, as Keats wrote, ‘seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. Whether it be the mists cradling Mt Langi Ghiran on the outskirts of Marian College, Ararat, the turning vines around St Joseph’s Echuca, or the hues of the leaves as they tumble from our oak trees, Autumn is a season for enjoying the beauty of our natural world. The recent gospel reading from John, provides us with the image of the vine and reminds us that we are interdependent on each other and the environment; we cannot survive alone. During this season, we prune the vines, the roses, the hydrangeas etc to ensure renewed growth in spring.


National Reconciliation Week

At this time of year, we have two commemorative days: ANZAC day and National Sorry day. As a nation we pause, remember and hopefully raise our awareness of what it means to not tend to the vineyard – our inhumanity, our intolerance and lack of recognition of basic human rights. National Reconciliation Week provides us the opportunity for listening and healing. National Sorry Day is held on 26 May each year to acknowledge and recognise members of the Stolen Generations. Charles Passi, a Dauareb tribesman from the Mer Island group in the Torres Straits, and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation shares his thoughts on the importance of National Sorry Day.

‘National Sorry Day is important to us as an organisation, but also to us as Australia’s First Peoples because we use it to remember and recognise our Stolen Generations.  Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people I know have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible part of our history since European colonisation.  With no disrespect intended, I am a strong advocate for turning our hurt from the past into something positive for our community and for our future generations, as a sign of taking our destiny into our own hands.  That’s why I was very happy to hear the recommendation from the Bringing Them Home report (tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997) that a National Sorry Day be celebrated each year.  And that’s what we’ve been doing since 1998. I see this as a positive contribution to our healing journey, just as the national Apology was five years ago.

At the Healing Foundation, we are dedicated to supporting the healing of Stolen Generations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia.  We see healing as a process of returning to our physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.  It’s a journey that can happen over a long time and that’s understandable given the profound and damaging effects that forced removal has had on peoples’ lives.  As our brothers and sisters over at Reconciliation Australia know, recognition is a big part of healing.’


Transfer of Land

Schools have prepared special liturgies to mark the transfer of land from the Brigidine or Presentation sisters to Kildare Ministries. These moving occasions, enable us to celebrate the gifts and stewardship of those who have gone before us with gratitude. It is also a time to acknowledge the mixed emotions that accompany such significant moments in each school’s history. The gatherings that have occurred so far at St Joseph’s Echuca and Kilbreda College, Mentone have appropriately included Sisters with a long connection to the school, parents, staff and students – all with a deep love of their school. Our blessings and prayers will always be with those who continue the work of education in the spirit of Brigid of Kildare, Nano Nagle and Daniel Delany. In the words of Sr Anne Hill, ‘The disciples recognised Jesus in the breaking of the bread and their hearts were aflame with the calling of the Spirit.’



To conclude, I thought the following from Pope Francis latest apostolic exhortation, ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ was fitting as a return to reflect on the simple joys of this season:

Hard times may come, when the cross casts its shadow, yet nothing can destroy the supernatural joy that “adapts and changes, but always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved”. That joy brings deep security, serene hope and a spiritual fulfilment that the world cannot understand or appreciate. (Gaudate et Exsultate, 2018 # 125)



Jeff Burn

Executive Officer

Kildare Education Ministries

Land Transfer Ritual
Kilbreda College 

1st May 2018

The Transfer of Land Ritual was held at Kilbreda College, Mentone on Tuesday 1 May, signifying that the Trustees of Kildare Ministries have now been fully entrusted with the stewardship of Kilbreda College.  A large gathering of Brigidine Sisters, representatives of Kildare Ministries (Members Council, Trustees, Education Board and Mission and Ministry Team), Kilbreda College Stewardship Council and other invited guests, joined Kilbreda staff, students and family members on this momentous occasion.


A brief history of the 114 years of Kilbreda College, first known as Brigidine Convent, was read by Sr Anne Hill, Community Leader of the Victorian Brigidine Community.


For the Kilbreda community, it was a moving and emotional moment when the lamp of learning was symbolically passed down through the ages, representing the many years that Kilbreda has offered a quality and inclusive education to generations of young women. 


Sr Helen Toohey, as the last Brigidine Principal, passed the lamp of learning to Virginia Ryan (1946-1971), who passed it to her daughter, Fiona Carter (class of 1990), who passed it to her daughter, Ellie (Year 9, 2018), who passed it to her sister, Claire – not yet a student of Kilbreda College (Year 7, 2019). Representing the hope and aspiration the prospective students Claire proclaimed that, this lamp will burn for future generations, passing on the spirit of Strength and Kindliness. We will treasure this gift.’

To signify the official handing forward of the governance of Kilbreda College to Kildare Ministries, Sr Anne Hill presented the commemorative plaque to Rosemary Copeland, who accepted it on behalf of the Trustees.

Following the reading of the Emmaus Story and reminding the community of the pledge that was made during the 2014 launch of Kildare Ministries, each group – Kildare Ministries, Kilbreda Community and the Brigidine Sisters – committed to supporting the work and mission of Kilbreda College, continuing to give expression to the Gospel values through the newly articulated vision, mission and values of Kildare Ministries.  To end, those gathered sang the Hymn to St Brigid and a celebratory afternoon tea was enjoyed, with many happy reunions between the Brigidine Sisters and current and past pupils and co-workers.


Sister Lia Commadeur 

Kilbreda College

Network Meeting:  Chairs of Boards​ 

26th April 2018

All ministries were represented at the first network meeting of Chairs of Boards on 26 April 2018.  We welcomed Joanne Rosewall, who stood in for Janet Cribbes chair at Wellsprings for Women; Julie Catalano who represented the newest member of Kildare Ministries, BASP and we were delighted to welcome Rachel Connor as the chair of Presentation Family Centre who on previous occasions was not able to attend and the last new comer to the group was Jeff Burn as the Executive Officer of KEM Board.

The Director of Catholic Education Ballarat, Ms Audrey Brown was the guest speaker for the morning session.  She focused on her learnings from the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Sexual Abuse which took centre stage in Ballarat in the middle of last year. Audrey’s insights into the long term impact of the findings and how this will affect us in our governance roles was comprehensive, challenging and thought provoking.  Chairs of Boards were made aware of the current Victorian legislation and new areas that now need focus and attention.  

For the remainder of the meeting, various documents were discussed and practises were shared.  The Trustees of Kildare Ministries are forever grateful for the generous and competent work of the Chairs of all our Boards.  Their leadership, discernment, energy and passion for the ministry they represent is a vital link to Kildare Ministries.


For your interest below is a list of who our Chairs are:

Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project

TBA – Julie Catalano as contact person


Brigidine College Indooroopilly

Robyn Killoran


Brigidine College St Ives

Kitty Guerin


Kildare Education Ministries Board

Annette Broadfoot (Acting)


Presentation Family Centre

Rachel Connor


Star of the Sea

Kathleen Donnellon


Wellsprings for Woman

Janet Cribbes

Wellsprings for Women April Fundraiser

24th April 2018

On the 24th of April 2018, Wellsprings for Women hosted their inaugural mini fundraiser at Rahimi Afghan Restaurant in Dandenong.  The event attracted 100 guests who enjoyed a sumptuous Afghan feast that catered for all tastes and dietary needs.  The evening was supported by the Mayor of Greater Dandenong Cr Youhorn Chea, and Councillors Roz Baldes and Tim Dark, Federal Member of Parliament Julian Hill and Victorian Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs MP, Inge Peulich.   Kildare Ministries were represented by Anne Astin and Sr Nola Vanderfeen.  The evening featured a presentation on Afghan Culture, history and customs delivered by Monira Tahery, Project Officer at Wellsprings.  Monira gave a personal account of her life under the Taliban regime and the reasons that led her to make the decision to migrate to Australia searching for a better future for her family especially her daughter who was newborn at the time. Monira wore the Burqa at  the start of the presentation  and shared with the audience both negative and positive stories associated with wearing the Burqa including  funny tales and images of  what it was like to wear the Burqa in some circumstances.  Guests’ knowledge of Afghanistan was tested during a quiz and everyone enjoyed the evening, the food and the raffle prizes that were available to win.   Wellsprings for Women is grateful for the support and generosity of everyone who attended.

Our next Fundraiser will be our High Tea event on the 21st of July to celebrate Wellsprings for Women’s 24th birthday (please save this date).


Dalal Smiley

Chief Executive Officer

Wellsprings for Women

Killester College, Springvale

Hope - bringing a sense of purpose

Exploring the theme of ‘Hope – Bringing a sense of purpose’, the Killester Community have been inspired by the challenge of Pope Francis who reminded us that hope begins with one person, and each of us is that one person.   At the end of 2017 the Student Leaders work-shopped the theme of hope to explore how they might work within the teams and the larger student body to live out hope.  In particular, they wanted to ensure that hope was not passive but understood as an action, something that we could all work towards and bring life to within the school community. Drawing on the beautiful piece of scripture in Jeremiah, that God has plans for each of us and it is a plan of hope for the future.  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".  


In a world where it is not easy to find role models of hope the recent Commonwealth Games have been an important and accessible example.  The combining of athletes with disabilities competing in the same games with abled athletes is the result of people working towards acknowledgment of equality and acceptance.  Whilst many of the older generations remember inspiring people such as Martin Luther King, this is a current example that our school communities can be challenged by as we consider the question of if we are truly inclusive and welcoming of all our students.  We hope we are a place where all, especially the most vulnerable, are treated with dignity and allowed to develop their potential, but do our actions reflect this? At Killester, this is one practical way we are exploring how to live out this Kildare Ministries Core Value.


Hospitality - welcoming all

Late last year the team from the Family Learning Centre (FLC) attended the Parent Engagement Conference. This Conference is a reminder that a child’s education is about more than what happens in the classroom. The challenge is to give more support to the people who generally have the strongest influence on a child’s future: the parent(s). At Killester, the FLC was initiated in order to provide important support to parents. We also run English Language classes, certified Business courses and computer classes. We also have Community Conversations each term, when we encourage parents to come in and talk to other parents and community members. “Parents want the best for their children. The more we do to facilitate their engagement in their children’s learning, the better the long-term outcomes will be.” (Dr Lisa O’Brien, The Smith Family CEO)

Last week our VCAL students organised a Beyond Blue morning tea for staff. They invited Lucas, from the foundation, to speak to students in classes regarding positive mental health and to then speak to staff at the morning tea. The girls raised $535.65 - which was a terrific effort.


Compassion - walking with and having empathy for all

Appreciating others, and their gifts and talents, is what can lead to such a wonderful end product. At Killester we certainly have this central to our vision for our students and as a driving force behind all that we do – our mission.


We run a program of activities that all our students interact with and have the opportunity to give back to their local community.

  • Wallara visits - Year 8
  • School Community Partnerships - Year 9
  • Building Bridges - Year 10
  • Retreat - Year 12
  • Justice and Democracy group
  • St Vincent De Paul group
  • Joey’s Van - Year 12
  • Participation and Leadership - Year 12
  • Peer Support - Year 10 for Year 7

The collection of items for Wellsprings and St Vincent de Paul has commenced and will be the focus of the school for Term 2.


Wonder  -  celebrating all that is good with joy and gratitude

Congratulations to Joanna Guelas (Year 11), who applied for and was successful in winning a scholarship to participate in the Melbourne Theatre Company Ambassador Program. This program will allow Joanna, and other scholarship winners, to work with professional actors and stage production people in theatre work. Joanna has been a great supporter of the Performing Arts at Killester and richly deserves this opportunity.

Congratulations also to Tiahna Nickels (Year 8) who has gained the role of the Cheshire Cat in the Alice In Wonderland production at ACMI.

This week the Jazz Band heads to Mt Gambier for the “Generations In Jazz” festival. High school students from more than a hundred schools around the nation compete in the Stage Band Awards, while individual Jazz and Vocal Scholarships are also highly coveted.  Then there are the daily concerts – with the James Morrison big top pavilion, seating up to 6100 people in the middle of a paddock.


Justice - making the needs of the vulnerable paramount  

Killester’s focus is the support of the whole individual. The learning needs of each student is catered for by a dedicated team of teachers who use best practice to support each student.

Our Learning Support program focuses on developing each student individually in a caring and supportive environment. Each student’s learning needs are carefully assessed and individualised support is provided in a range of ways, from in class support and a homework program to individualised programs.


Year 7 Programme at Killester College continues to make a difference for all.


At Year 7 Killester invests resources into the development of literacy and numeracy understanding. The programme involves four teachers to three classes in Mathematics, English and Humanities with the objective of closing the gap between students whose literacy and/or numeracy skills are vulnerable to becoming a risk factor in their learning. The programme also focuses on raising the bar for students who are showing a strong understanding and transfer of literacy and numeracy. The fourth teacher in each of these subjects works with the team, in dedicated, timetabled planning meetings to discuss and devise various strategies to enable the closing of the gap and the raising of the bar. Recent research into this programme, and our NAPLAN results since commencement ten years ago, indicates very significant growth in numeracy and significant growth in literacy. Another positive outcome of the programme, shown in the research, is that the focus has also resulted in enhanced positive relationships and successful transition from primary to secondary school and increased collaboration between teachers. Both of these outcomes have been posited as significant reasons for the growth in literacy and numeracy. We believe this programme, targeting all Year 7 students, is underpinned by the school’s strong commitment to justice. The outcomes show that a school can be capable of achieving both equity and excellence simultaneously, as suggested by the Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008)


Courage -  speaking and acting with integrity

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”, is a story of courage. When confronted by the choice to show her love of God through dedicating her life in his service, or to show her love of God by loving another person, young postulant, Maria, is forced to make the most important decision of her young life. Captain Von Trapp, a recently decorated Austrian World War I hero is confronted by Austrians who want him to pledge allegiance to the Third Reich. Both lead characters in the well-known musical make courageous decisions that show profound honesty. Both real life characters, were brave and acted with integrity; Maria knew she loved the Captain despite committing herself to God’s work, and Von Trapp was passionately patriotic to the Austria that he fought for, an Austria that held different values to those of the Third Reich.


About one hundred of our students are showing their passion for performing as they rehearse the play for its season at The Drum Theatre in the final week of July this year. Singing, acting, and dancing in front of an audience also shows a great deal of courage. In playing the roles of real people, in a musical as renowned as The Sound of Music, requires our students to take the risk to be judged on the integrity of their performances. Will it pay homage to the many versions already performed? Will it touch the audience in the same way great theatre often manages to do? Will it be able to achieve these things with an all- female cast and crew? To answer these questions and to see performances of courage and integrity, we invite you to Killester College’s exciting and original performance of.


The Sound of Music, running from July 26th to July 28th at The Drum Theatre, Dandenong. You won’t be disappointed.


Brigidine College, Indooroopilly​

April 2018 - HOPE

In 2018 we gathered around our theme Hope, bringing a sense of purpose.                      

The Australian bishops have identified that this year is also the Year of Youth and are inviting young people to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of society and church. Jesus also invites us to come and see. The apostles followed Jesus, but they wanted him to be a saviour. They followed, they doubted, and they deserted him.

As followers this will happen to us as well. It is our duty to explore what this means.  Following Jesus is full of challenges, but we are invited to Love our enemies, Love those who persecute and hate you. We look to the example of our own saint Mary MacKillop who talks about the fact that she had her enemies and had to explore what Jesus was asking her to do.

Do not be afraid, embrace hope, with a sense of purpose.


Opening Mass and Year 12 Induction

On Friday 9 February, we celebrated the beginning of the 2018 school year with a College Mass, led by Fr Frank O’Dea, in Kildare Hall. Joining us were Sisters Maree Marsh, Chanel Sugden and Margaret Daniels from Sydney, as well as Sister Brigid Arthur from Melbourne. With Mrs Robyn Killoran (Board Chair), Ms Hanh Luu (Board Member) and former Principal Mrs Madeleine Sayer, invited parents and guests also joined with the College Community to welcome in the new College year.

The Year 12 students received their senior badges and were officially welcomed as the College Leaders for 2018. The College Captains and Co-curricular Captains were also presented to the College community. Our College Captain for 2018, Emilia Spry, led the rest of her Year 12 colleagues in reciting the traditional Seniors’ Pledge.



Milpera/Brigidine Karibu Club

Recently, 25 students from Year 10-12 have been visiting Milpera State School and engaging in a variety of activities with students including cooking and sport. The program is called Karibu, meaning Welcome in Swahili. 

Milperra is an educational institution totally dedicated to the settlement and English language development of recently arrived migrants from backgrounds where a language other than English is spoken.  The formation of this group provides an opportunity for Milpera girls, new to Australia, to meet girls their own age and have fun. Other activities have included: netball matches, the making of friendship bracelets with twine, buttons and beads and hospitality.


International Women’s Day

In Term 1, Brigidine College celebrated International Women’s Day with an evening of guest speakers sharing their stories and celebrating their struggles and achievements. Hannah Wilson from the One-Woman Project, Pamela Curr from Asylum Seeker’s Resource Centre and Samantha Fairbairn from RAAF engaged in extraordinary stories of transformation, challenge and heartfelt understandings of women in society today and the issues that are being faced. Next year we will focus on our 90th celebrations with graduate students and community leaders presenting together with the current students.


House Patron Feast Day Celebrations

Foley House

This year we have initiated House Patron Feast Days for each of our House groups.   In Term 1 we honoured Mother Brigid Foley and St Martin de Porres each with their own Mass. 

Mother Brigid Foley (Mother Superior), one of the five foundation Brigidine Sisters in Indooroopilly, who was devoted to providing education, training in character as well as academic pursuits, to the students in her care.  Mother Foley was involved in submitting the application for registration as a secondary school in 1929.  Their application was successful allowing the school to take state scholarship pupils to Brigidine College Indooroopilly. 


De Porres House

A lay Brother of the Dominican Order, St Martin de Porres’ was an advocate for the marginalised and seeking social justice on their behalf.  This passion achieved deep resonance in a church attempting to carry forward that ideal in today's modern world.

St Martin was often scorned for going against the rules set to him by his superiors.  When chastised though, his reply would be "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity."

Our Chaplain Fr Pan Jordan is a Dominican priest and enjoyed celebrated St Martin de Porres with the students.









Important Dates

May 2018

Kildare Ministries Trustees Meeting

7th-10th May 2018


Brigidine College, St. Ives AGM

7th May 2018


Brigidine College, Indooroopilly AGM

9th May 2018


Student Seminar

16th May 2018



Faith Leaders Meeting

18th May 2018


Founding Grace Retreat

23rd - 25th May 2018


Brigidine College, St. Ives Land Transfer Ritual

24th May 2018


Star of the Sea College Land Transfer Ritual

28th May 2018


PA Seminar

30th May 2018

Social Media

Kildare Ministries Newsletter