A survey sponsored by CRA in 2009 found that there were 8,422 Catholic Religious in Australia. Of that number, 5,927 were Religious Sisters, 884 Religious Brothers and 1,611 Religious order priests. Here are some of their stories:
Loreto Sister Trish Franklin, Founder of the Loreto Vietnam Australia Program (LVAP), has in the past week bid farewell to her co-workers, friends and thousands of children she has helped over the past 20 years in Vietnam. Her inspiring work will soon be celebrated in a book to be published on October 2015, writes Elouise Hahn.
When retirees Chris and Tom Wilson aren’t teaching English or hymns to Passionist novices from China and Southeast Asia, they’re voluntarily co-ordinating about 500 people across South Australia for a Passionist lay movement aimed at strengthening parish communities.
Vietnamese refugee Tru Nguyen has turned around a displaced life, including imprisonment as a child for attempting to escape the country’s Communist regime, to one at the altar following his ordination as a a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in Adelaide last month.
The only two Christian Brothers remaining in Tasmania, Br Sean McManus and Br Peter Flint, have used their vocations to help others, in the charism of Christian Brothers founder Edmund Rice based not on charity but on helping people to help themselves and flourish.
Sister Natalia Naki ssps reflects on the fulfillment of a childhood dream of living a consecrated life, a journey which has since brought her to nursing school, medical school, training in Australia and back to her to ministry in Indonesia.
As he retires from the prison ministry, Columban Father Peter Toohey reflects on the many graced moments with prisoners, prison workers and volunteers. "As Pope Francis has reminded us, Jesus stank of His sheep," he writes. "What else would you smell of when you are forever searching for lost sheep, picking up the injured and carrying them home?"
Sister Veronica Willaway, an Australian Aboriginal Sister from the Yuat Noongar tribe who joined the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of New Norcia in 1958 and currently serving in Nebraska USA, shared her fascinating story with journalists Marco Ceccarelli and Jamie O'Brien.