Noelene worked with people experiencing substance abuse, homelessness and mental health issues in the inner city of Sydney for twenty seven years.
Noelene was Chairperson of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership (GSAPP) Team from its establishment in 2007 until it completed its work in 2019. For more than a decade, its focus was to create and strengthen partnership and co-responsibility for mission as Mission Partners (sisters and lay) in the Asia Pacific Region.
The original mandate of the team was to plan the first Good Shepherd Partnership Gathering in the Asia Pacific Region. The Gathering held in 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, awakened in participants a deep experience of shared charism and a stronger sense of identity as Asia Pacific.
A Workshop for Province Link Persons for Partnership held in Singapore in 2010 generated momentum in shared planning for mission, and in formation and leadership development for mission partners. Over the next seven years the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific (GSAPP) Team continued to work with the Units of Asia Pacific in building capacity for Mission.
Following the Congregational Chapter 2015, the Asia Pacific Circle authorized a process to move towards the Integration of the four Teams of Asia Pacific: Formation, Partnership for Mission, Spirituality, Justice Peace. The stage was set to reflect on the powerful Chapter Direction Statement which challenged Good Shepherd sisters and lay Mission Partners to go beyond, risk to respond to global issues, co-create and be co-responsible for the mission.
Throughout 2017-2018 the GSAPP Team participated in the development of the Asia Pacific Integration Committee.
A special meeting of the GSAPP Team was held from 7-9 January 2019 at Restful Waters, Singapore. As the Asia Pacific region transitions towards an Integrated Approach, with the Regional Integration Committee carrying the torch forward, the GSAPP team completed its role.
'Our experience of Good Shepherd draws us together
The strength of our partnership propels us out for mission.'
If someone had told me, when I joined the Good Shepherd Sisters fifty years ago in Melbourne, that I would find myself doing pastoral work on the streets of Sydney's infamous Kings Cross for over twenty five years, I might well have fled out of the Abbotsford convent gates.
Of course when I was a young Sister in the 1960s, I would never have imagined the various ways we would live out the mission. But my work today, and the work of Good Shepherd Sisters and lay Mission Partners in Australia and New Zealand is not, in essence, different from what Good Shepherd has done since the Order was founded by St Mary Euphrasia in France in 1835. We have been touched by marginalised women and girls and tried to help them.
One of the places I worked in recent years was the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney where I was a chaplain for more than a decade, supporting people who use the facility. My role at the Centre was not to try and cure drug users or to talk them into any rehabilitation treatment. Often I would just sit and have a coffee with them, listen to them and help to facilitate any further treatment they may want to pursue.
I would try to build the person’s trust and importantly let them know that they are a person who is valued. A lot of the people who used the Centre are judged by the community as not being of any value. That’s really why it is right for Good Shepherd to be a presence in such a place.
The Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership Team brings to completion its ten year leadership role at a special meeting in Restful Waters, Singapore from 7-9 January 2019
Representatives of these Asia Pacific Core Teams met on 7-8 July 2016 to develop a Co-Responsibility framework for Good Shepherd Mission
Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission
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 First Nations Peoples
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand provides services and governance for Good Shepherd ministries, enabling sustainability and ongoing development into the future
First Nations women in Australia are offered support to complete higher education. This increases their capacity for leadership, and personal and financial empowerment