Sr Maryanne Confoy: Mother Mary’s philosophy in the boardroom

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In response to KIT’s request to write about my experience as a Sister of Charity on the Board of St Vincent’s Health Australia, my first reaction is to step back from the task and to reflect that each ministry of my 50- plus years as a Sister of Charity has opened me to diverse multi-leveled learning experiences.

An openness to the “new” and the “possible” life and relational challenges that different ministries bring is the gift and fruit of our religious life.

What I therefore bring to the Board experience is a background of decades of learning and teaching in a variety of institutions and cultural contexts.

Life as a Sister of Charity has taught me, through the interactions with colleagues, staff, students, and parents, about the fundamental importance of listening and of being present to others in both formal and informal conversations and interactions.

This way of being present is a key aspect of Mary Aikenhead’s heritage that has been handed on in diverse ways in Sisters of Charity education, health and community care.

Mary’s attentive presence to others, to both those in need and to those who wanted to share her work of service of the poor, was evidenced in her loving and practical relationships and decision-making.

This heritage is integral to the Sisters of Charity today, to the spirit of Mary Aikenhead Ministries and particularly to St Vincent’s Health Australia in all aspects of its life.

What the breadth and depth of St Vincent’s Health Australia brings to me is a growing awareness of the panorama of personal, professional, and clinical care, of scientific research and of institutional excellence that takes shape in the community of communities that is St Vincent’s Health Australia.

This permeates each of our facilities and our values are evident at every level of employment, voluntary or philanthropic service.

As a Board member, I have learned a great deal about the extraordinary range of gifted and deeply committed personnel who serve in our many institutions and who share the mission of bringing God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus.

I am also aware of a similar diversity of expertise, of national and international experience that each Board member brings to our meetings.

The issues that we face are both cutting edge and daily reality.

Attentive presence and response to the demanding breadth and depth of the agenda is my way of being accountable to Mary Aikenhead’s vision in and through the vibrant
exchanges of each Board meeting.

My personal commitment as a Board member is to be authentically present as a Sister of Charity with a passion for the living charism and an awareness of the reality of our heritage being lived out in the changing contexts of mission and ministry in the Australian Church.

Our Mononia community supports and is present to the St Vincent’s campuses in various ways. The community carries the memory of so many Sisters who have been integral to the establishment and expansion of our ministry.

While the community has changed during the decades in both size and institutional service, it has been consistent in its prayerful support and varied ways of being connected and present to the
St Vincent’s health care campuses over the decades, into the present and open to the future.

This article first appeared in Keep in Touch magazine, June 2017. You will find it here.

Sisters in Ministry

THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
When we have so much to praise the Lord for, we must not complain.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
True affection is to rejoice in the happiness of our dear ones. Never allow a sentiment of resentment to enter into our hearts.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
May our dear Lord Jesus fill your hearts with His own love. Amen!
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We must have patience with others as He has patience with us.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Under every difficulty try to pray fervently.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We have much to thank Him for, even for those little drawbacks on our comforts and conveniences.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Go on now as steadily as you can, relying on the Divine assistance and fear not.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
What we do ought to be done well.

The Sisters of Charity acknowledge the First Peoples and traditional custodians of this land where we live. We respect, value and honour their history, culture and spirituality. We are committed to standing in solidarity and to actively working for justice, peace and harmony in this land.

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