In 1995 or 1996 when I was a Psychologist working in Local Government in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, Good Shepherd was welcomed as a new provider of much needed services in the area. The more I met with Good Shepherd people, the more I knew I wanted to become one. In 1997, the opportunity presented itself. Good Shepherd became the provider of family services for Brimbank and I applied for the position of Youth and Family Counsellor.
And so my 20+ year journey with Good Shepherd began. I have held different roles including counselling, running therapeutic and support groups and a range of management and leadership positions. I am now the National Manager for Safety and Resilience services.
How wonderful would it be if we could do ourselves out of a job? One of the greatest challenges is that no matter how much great work we do and how many new and innovative services we provide, they are never enough. We see the life changing impacts of our supports for those who allow us to be in their lives, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.
Our safety and resilience services support women and children to remain free and safe from family violence, build and strengthen the capability of parents in families where children are vulnerable, prevent youth homelessness, support young parents and provide counselling to children, young people and families who have experienced trauma and abuse. However, it is never enough and unfortunately we know that we will always be needed somewhere.
I have been inspired by many wonderful Good Shepherd experiences over the last 20+ years and will name just a few.
In 2008, I attended the Asia Pacific Partnership Gathering in Kuala Lumpur, along with 71 other Good Shepherd Sisters and lay partners from 18 countries. Despite our different cultures, languages personal and professional experiences, we came together as one and not only talked about what partnership for mission was but we felt it. It was a truly spiritual experience that I will never forget. It’s where I discovered that we are co-responsible for the Good Shepherd mission.
In 2010, I attended the Mission Link Gathering in Singapore as the representative for the Australia New Zealand province. It was there that the co-responsibility seeds that were planted in 2008 were turned into action plans. The co-responsibility agenda was made solid and we all took away tasks and a commitment to support each other on our journey.
The ultimate highlight for me was receiving the St. Mary Euphrasia award in 2014, which gave me the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to France, where it all began. It is difficult to put words to how it felt to stay at the Mother House in Angers, but it was amazing. I became emotional when I walked through the tunnel and enjoyed time to reflect in the peaceful gardens. The wait for low tide, the appearance of a path and the walk to the island of Noirmoutier (where Mary Euphrasia was born) was incredible. During the 10 day pilgrimage, I learned that Mary Euphrasia was a courageous woman who was compassionate, took risks, made mistakes, learned from her experiences, listened to others and didn’t give up.
As a Good Shepherd leader, I have learned about great leadership. I look forward to continuing my Good Shepherd journey into the future.
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand convenes 'Good Conversations' each year. This forum explored the link between forced marriage, slavery and family violence
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
Reconciliation holds special meaning in the Australian nation - it describes the long journey towards full acknowledgment of the rights of the Indigenous Peoples
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand provides services and governance for Good Shepherd ministries, enabling sustainability and ongoing development into the future