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When Iris Steward, Nora Nelson, Myrt Lynch and Gert Richards got together on July 23 1969 to start making clothes for needy families, little did they know that 50 years later the St Marys Sewing Group would still be meeting once a week and producing thousands of items each year.

Back then money was scarce and the women unpicked unwanted garments to make them into children’s clothing. They also unpicked old jumpers, washed the wool and re-knitted it into toddler garments. Blankets and quilts were made from material scraps and old blankets. Originally based in the St Bernadette’s Church kitchen, then the church itself and the school, everything had to be unpacked and packed at the beginning and end of the day’s work.

On Wednesday evening last week forty one women gathered at Trinity College for an event organised by the committee for the Council for Australian Catholic Women (Perth). The Council was set up by the bishops of Australia to increase the participation of women in the Church. Three speakers addressed the meeting on the topic Women Prompting Change in the Church. The speakers described the difficulties women have had in being respected as equals in the Church and revealed how women have manoeuvred around this obstacle.

This year, the Catholic Women’s League of Australia Inc (CWLA) will take its 49th National Biennial Conference over to the south-west of Western Australia, to reflect on the theme “Behold the Miracle of Creation”.

Scheduled to be held at the Lord Forrest Hotel in Bunbury, conference participants from around the country will gather from 9 to 12 September, beginning with a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan as celebrant.

Upper and Lower Hunter women came together on Saturday 22 June to ReKindle their Story, under the auspices of the Maitland-Newcastle contact group for the Council for Australian Catholic Women (CACW). Members of the contact group were keen to travel north and St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, is the most hospitable of schools.

The chill of the morning dissipated amid warm greetings, hot cuppas and ‘school made’ sausage rolls!

A specialised leadership program for Catholic women in Australia has been selected for inclusion on a Vatican website promoting best practices in lay formation.

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life recently chose Leadership for Mission, a course specifically developed by women and for women who are inspired by the Gospel vision of justice, freedom and the dignity of the human person, to be featured at the Dicastery’s first Plenary Assembly in November.

On Saturday July 20, over seventy women from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn met on a cold Saturday morning at Daramalan College to form a Catholic Women’s Group for the Archdiocese.

This meeting was the final step in a long path of consultation and discernment across the Archdiocese over the last sixteen months to make sure that Catholic women everywhere could speak and be heard.

This original article was written by Rebecca Hall, a member of Leadership for Mission program.

The story of the Syrophoenician woman in the gospel of Mark is one which acts as a significant turning point in the ministry of Mark’s Jesus, where Jesus’ mission and ministry expands to those outside of the Israelite family. By offering a critical interpretation of this passage in Mark’s gospel readers can see how the story is draws on themes throughout Mark’s gospel to craft a message for the early church about how Gentiles in the community should be treated. Further reflection shows how this passage can be applied to today’s church and offers insights to the tools required for women’s leadership.

This article originally appeared on the ACBC Media Blog on 20 June 2019.

After almost five years of service, Catholic Health Australia’s chief executive officer, Suzanne Greenwood, will leave the organisation in August.

CHA board chair, Paul Robertson, said while he was sorry to see Ms Greenwood leave, he was grateful for her contribution and wished her every success in her future career.

This article was written by Inés San Martín and first appeared in Crux on 15 June, 2019

ROME - Last week, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis added four women as Consultors of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

It was the first time women were appointed to the body, which was created in 1965 and as the name indicates, is traditionally male.

This article was written by Todd Dagwell and originally appeared in Aurora, the monthly magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle April, 2019.

Lidy Waanders used to prefer keeping her good deeds quiet until she recalled the message of one of her favourite scripture passages – “don’t hide your light under a bushel when you are shining Christ’s light for others to see”.