Participants in women’s leadership program graduate

The 2021-22 Leadership for Mission (LFM) program for young women has officially drawn to a close with a retreat and graduation ceremony in Sydney.

Graduation full team 350pxThe program is a collaboration between the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Catholic University (ACU), with support from Catholic Mission. The 10 graduates have now completed an academic program, resulting in the awarding of a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies.

To complement their academic studies, the women have participated in a rich array of formation offerings. This has included dialoguing with many exceptional Catholic women leaders and participating in and preparing beautiful spiritual reflections and prayer liturgies.

Graduate Sharina Rabusic, who studied forensic and analytical sciences, is currently using her newfound skills in her role as the Lasallian campus minister at St Michael’s College in Adelaide.

“The LFM program has helped me engage with and grow in my faith and to be willing to step out of my comfort zone,” Sharina says. “It has helped me to actively listen to others and taught me the importance of ongoing communication in different communities.”

Public school teacher Monique Hill says completing the program has made her a better Catholic leader.

“I have grown in confidence, deepened my understanding of social justice and how to recognise the areas in my life where I can contribute and make a difference in my community,” she says.

Stephanie Langley, who works as a teacher and head of house at an all-girls school in Brisbane, says her participation in the program will greatly benefit her faith and her professional life.

“The LFM program has given me a strong theoretical grounding in Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching which allows me to contribute in an informed and meaningful way to the future of Catholic education,” she says.

LFM labynth 350pxLike many initiatives, this most recent iteration of LFM was affected by COVID-19. However, students, lecturers and all involved in the program embraced modern technologies, striving to connect and accompany each other in very real ways throughout the two years.

Bishop Michael Morrissey, the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry Delegate for Women, met with the graduates via Zoom at their final retreat at St Joseph’s Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW. He congratulated them on completing their studies and encouraged them to use their abundant gifts to further Christ’s mission in all the forums they are involved in.

At the conclusion of the retreat and graduation, two ACU lecturers for the LFM program, Dr Janine Luttick and Dr Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF, affirmed the young women in their current and future leadership endeavours.

The LFM program is supported by the Bishops Conference’s National Centre for Evangelisation (NCE). The NCE congratulates the following graduates and looks forward to seeing how their academic study and formation in the Catholic faith bears fruit in the future:

Lisa Bright, NSW
Melinda Chand, NSW
Mandy Hayward, WA
Monique Hill, NSW
Jiwon Lah-Youn, Queensland
Stephanie Langley, Queensland
Olivia Lee, NSW
Kathryn Pettersen, NT
Sharina Rabusic, SA
Jaime Slattery, Queensland

The NCE will be opening expressions of interest for the next young women’s leadership program in the coming weeks. Please stay connected with the NCE via social media and our website.


Images: (L-R) Dr Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF, Sharina Rabusic, Monique Hill, Melinda Chan, ACU Pro-Chancellor Virginia Bourke, Lisa Bright, Kathryn Pettersen, Dr Janine Luttick, Stephanie Langley, ACU Professor Dermot Nestor, Sharon Brewer (NCE).
Some of the graduates walk the labyrinth at St Joseph’s Retreat Centre, Baulkham Hills.
Words: Sharon Brewer

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