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Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:24

Good Sams set new directions

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The Good Samaritans 25th general chapter was held  in Sydney from September 25 to October 2.

The new five-member team responsible for the pastoral governance of the congregation until 2017 comprises re-elected superior, Sister Clare Condon, and councillors, Sisters Veronica Hoey (also re-elected), Bernadette Corboy, Catherine McCahill and Bernardina Sontrop.

“It’s both a privilege and an honour to lead a great group of women who serve the Church and society in Australia, Japan, The Philippines, Kiribati and Timor Leste,” said Clare.

“It is also a daunting responsibility in these times of great change.”

In accepting the role of superior for a second term, Clare told the 187 sisters gathered at Sydney’s St Scholastica’s, Glebe, that it was a new time with a new vision statement, and not a case of continuing on with ‘business as usual’.

“This is now day one of year one, not day one of year seven,” she said.

During her closing remarks of the chapter on October 2, Clare thanked the Sisters for their spirit and extraordinary participation in prayer and dialogue. She acknowledged those among the group who had ‘stayed the distance’ of the week-long gathering despite significant health and physical challenges.

Clare noted that the daily Gospel readings for the days after the gathering were Luke’s parable of the Good Samaritan and the story of Martha and Mary. She said both stories highlighted aspects of the congregation’s new vision statement which states: “As Sisters of the Good Samaritan we seek God who impels us to be neighbour. Therefore we commit ourselves to: the Work of God, partnership, creation.”

Clare continued: “We are to seek God by both sitting at the feet of Jesus every day in our lectio, listening as Mary did, and by tending to our neighbour as the Good Samaritan.

“Monday’s Gospel [October 3] is that of the Good Samaritan – our parable of being neighbour. We seek to befriend the stranger. That stranger may be at times the stranger within ourselves or across the table, the stranger who knocks on the door or the stranger from other lands. Our seeking God impels us to be neighbour.

“Today, five of us who you’ve called forth for the pastoral governance of the congregation will do our best to be neighbour to you and to all with whom we come in contact.”

During the chapter gathering, members of the outgoing leadership team – Sisters Clare Condon, Veronica Hoey, Patty Fawkner, Kerin Caldwell and Carmel Pattinson – were acknowledged for their commitment and service to the life of the congregation over the past six years.

It was with great sadness and shock that the Sisters received news on the first day of the gathering that Sister Verna Holyhead SGS had died after suffering a stroke a few days earlier. Verna was well known and highly regarded by many in Australia and internationally as a scripture scholar, retreat giver and prolific writer. She will be missed greatly by many.

Caption L-R: Sisters Veronica Hoey, Clare Condon (superior), Bernardina Sontrop, Bernadette Corboy, Catherine McCahill.

Find out more about the new leadership team at www.goodsams.org.au

About the Sisters of the Good Samaritan
The Congregation of the Sisters of Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict, known affectionately as the Good Sams, is Australia’s first ‘home-grown’ congregation of Catholic religious women. They were founded in Sydney in 1857 by Archbishop John Bede Polding, an English Benedictine monk and Australia’s first bishop. Today, there are 272 sisters found living and working throughout Australia, in Japan, Kiribati, The Philippines and Timor Leste.