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Term 1, Week 9 | 2024

An incredible three-day national conference, March 25 – 27, ‘Celebrating 10 Years of Kildare Ministries’, our governing body, saw over 1300 people from 10 schools and 3 community works, meet in Sydney, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Five schools across Australia, were the hubs for the Conference:

  • Brigidine College (Indooroopilly, Queensland)
  • Brigidine College (St Ives, NSW)
  • Clonard College (Geelong, Victoria),
  • Kildare College (Adelaide, SA)
  • Star of the Sea College (Brighton, Victoria)

These schools hosted staff from the 10 Kildare Ministries Schools and Community Works. Being connected with each other, in person and online during various stages of the Conference, meant that all 1300+ people across Australia were, in a sense, together; experiencing, collaborating, and exploring the Conference as one. 

The theme, ‘Crossing New Seas – Encounter | Dream | Do’ – is a testament to our unity and shared purpose, which offered a remarkable opportunity to challenge us to push beyond our boundaries and immerse ourselves in many inspiring activities centred around reflection, envisioning, and action.

Day One | Encounter saw our guests arrive at Kildare, to begin the first national conference for all staff. 

Blessed with beautiful weather, everyone at Kildare gathered at our Brigidine Centre Plaza, and our MC for the Conference, Greg Hay (past staff member at Kildare College) kicked off the proceedings. The day began with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony by Uncle Mickey, followed by an official welcome by Tina Neate (Principal, Kildare College), Erica Pegorer (Executive Director, Kildare Ministries) and Renee Oberin (Mission Leader, Kildare Ministries). 

The Opening Liturgy set the tone for the days ahead; a sense of where we are going and how we are going to achieve our dreams for building a community that ‘crosses new seas’. Focussing on hope to create and sustain a vibrant and diverse community, we explored living the transformative vision of the Kildare Ministries Living Justice | Living Peace Charter, and our Core Values, shared by all 10 Kildare Ministries schools, of Courage, Hope, Wonder, Hospitality, Justice and Compassion.

The liturgy saw a sacred space created, one that represented many elements of what it means to be at a Kildare Ministries school. We reflected on our history and explored how having the power within ourselves, and when working in solidarity with each other, can make a significant impact on our world.

We were delighted to have Rosemary Copeland and Kathy McEvoy, Co-Chairs of the Trustees of Kildare Ministries, join us at Kildare. Live from Adelaide and streamed to the other hubs across Australia, Kathy and Rosemary officially opened the conference, reminding us that ‘we too are ‘Crossing New Seas’; from the comfortable and known to fully flourishing as the community for which we are formed…as we encounter each other and all that is available to us at this Conference, may we open ourselves to transformation and renewal’.

A sense of excitement filled the air, as participants arrived, energised for Day Two | Dream. 

The day opened with a Liturgy; focusing on ‘See, Think, Wonder’ where all reflected on the words of Pope Francis, “Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable”.

We were delighted to hear and engage with highly regarded presenters across the day and thank them for sharing their time and knowledge with us.

  • Professor Ann Pattel-Gray (In Brisbane, streamed to all hubs)
  • Dr Meredith Lake (Adelaide)
  • Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO  (Adelaide)
  • Dr Elissa Roper (Geelong)
  • Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs (Melbourne)
  • Francis Sullivan AO (Sydney)
  • Fr Richard Leonard SJ (Sydney)
  • Brigidine Asylum Seekers
  • Saltbush Beach Balnarring
  • Wellsprings for Women
  • Responsibility and Equality for Women – Emeritus Professor John Warhurst
  • Generative Artificial Intelligence in Education – Leon Furze
  • Working with Partners to Create Change and Using Our Voices – Looking at the Formation of Young Volunteers and Leaders and Fostering Ongoing Involvement into the Future – Joelle Sassine and Emilia Nicholas – Josephite Justice Network
  • Dream Cooking – Chloe Stichel
  • Dream Painting – Amy Fairweather
  • Dream Mosaic – Nicole Kelly
  • Jewellery Challenge – Saba Sankauskas and Sharon Pearce
  • Meditation Practice – Annika Miesen
  • Mindful Walk – Enrico Caprioli
  • The Importance of Feedback- Responding to the Community – Maria Langwell – Wellsprings for Women
  • Woodwork Challenge – Paul Beltrame and Richard Parkinson
  • Integral Ecology and the 7 Laudato Si’ Goals – Alice Cawardine
  • First Nations inclusion – Professor Ann Pattel-Gray
  • Living Justice, Living Peace: Incorporating the Principles of the LJLP Charter within Curriculum at Kilbreda – Jane Ward
  • The Suspend Judgement Program – Nidean Dickson
  • Catholic Identity and the Context within which we Engage, Dream and Do – Fr. Richard Leonard
  • Catholics Adrift: Why are Contemporary Catholics Increasingly at Odds with the Institutional Church? Francis Sullivan AO
  • Developing our Cultural Competence: Co-Creating Trustworthy Spaces – Matthew Tyne
  • Understanding Addictive Behaviours – Robbie Lloyd JPO
  • Interculturality – Tasneem Chopra OAM
  • Tell Me About The God You Don’t Believe In – Joe McCarthy
  • Thriving School Communities – Kerrin Smith
  • Towards Regenerative Cultures: Inspiring a Unified Mission for Integral Ecology – Sally Neaves
  • What does it mean to be Synodal? – Dr. Elissa Roper
  • Finding Peace in a Disruptive World – Professor Craig Hassed
  • Refugees and a Humanitarian Response, an International Law Perspective – Professor Emerita Gillian Triggs
  • Modern Slavery and its Prevelance; The Role of the Schools Teachers and Students – Kate Kennedy
  • Keep Calm and Carry On with Climate Education. Co-developing a Resource to Support Teacher Wellbeing while Educating about the Realities of Climate Change – Dr. Katitza Marinkovic and Phoebe Quinn
  • Building Mental Health Scaffolding for Disaster Resilience in School Environments – Professor Lisa Gibbs

To conclude the day, our Adelaide Hub community ventured to the Walker’s Arms Hotel for the conference dinner, also enjoying an entertaining ‘Green Quiz’ hosted by our MC Greg Hay with contestants Kathy McEvoy (Co-Chair of the Trustees of Kildare Ministries), Belinda Curtin (Kildare College, Registrar and Promotions Officer) and Paul Beltrame (Kildare College, Material Solutions and Biology Teacher) testing their knowledge on all things Kildare!

As we gathered for the final day of the Conference, our thoughts were turned to ‘Do’; how do we carry out our dreams, wishes, goals and aspirations? How do we always think justly and ethically? In what ways can we consider others and welcome all?

Hearing from Student Leaders across all 10 Kildare Ministries schools and the three community works, staff were able to gather their thoughts, ideas and voices to dream of the future, and what it could look like, over the next 10 years for Kildare Ministries.

The final liturgy of the Conference, hosted and broadcast from Adelaide, was a collective experience for all. All five hubs journeyed through the liturgy together, truly displaying a sense of community and connection. To mark the occasion of the 10th Anniversary Conference the Kildare Ministries Trustees gifted each community work and each school with a Kildare Ministries cross to remind us of our shared and lived experiences over these days.

Together, we have had the blessing of time to look back in wonder at what has been achieved and look forward to a future we can only anticipate with hope, courage and purpose, though “Deeds not words”.

We would like to thank the following people from Kildare for all their work in making our Adelaide hub a reality: 

  • Conference Committee
    • Michelle Camilleri (Deputy Principal) and Lil Mader (Business Manager)
  • Technology Team
    • Matthew White (IT Support Officer and Adelaide Hub Technology Team Leader), Raymond Kropinski (Director of Teaching and Learning), Shaun Castles (Media Studies and Humanities Curriculum Key Teacher), Mathew Page (CESA Senior ICT Officer) and Amy Tran (Acting IT Team Leader) from Killester College in Victoria.
  • Liturgy Leader
    • Bianca Bruno (Retreats and Liturgy Coordinator)
  • Marketing Team
    • Laura Kretschmer (Design and Publications Officer), Grace Wallace (Administration Assistant – Events and Publications) and Belinda Curtin (Registrar and Promotions Officer)
  • Workshop Presenters
    • Chloe Stichel, Amy Fairweather, Nicole Kelly, Saba Sankauskas, Sharon Pearce, Enrico Caprioli, Paul Beltrame, Richard Parkinson, Nick Kellett-Southby and Brittany Neeb (Creative Industries Curriculum Coordinator) who was influential in creating engaging practical workshops for our community to enjoy.

What a wonderful experience to reflect on our history, and dream of the future together.