Formation for missionary leadership
ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
The Australian Young Catholic Women’s Fellowship (hereafter called “the Fellowship”) focuses on the formation, accompaniment, voice and contribution of women in the Catholic Church in Australia.
This long term and deep formative experience enables women to be intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and personally formed for effective leadership roles in the communities in which they live and work.
“The Fifth Plenary Council of Australia highlighted again our need to support Catholic women in their endeavours to be leaders in the communities in which they live and work. The bishops of Australia are delighted to offer these Fellowships, enabling eight young women to proclaim the faith confidently and competently in all the places they are called to lead.”
Bishop Michael Morrissey
Australian Bishops Delegate for Women
The Australian Bishops have offered a specialised formation experience for young women since 2006. The Fellowship is funded and managed by the Australian Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry (BCELM) and is not in formal partnership with any academic institutions.
WHAT DOES THE FELLOWSHIP OFFER?
The Fellowship is offered over a two-year period, supporting participants academic and faith formation.
Academic formation enables women to develop as successful leaders with highly valued formal qualifications. Learning to think and write “theologically” assists emerging leaders to express themselves articulately and authentically in a variety of faith and life settings.
Faith Formation enhances opportunities for young women to feel confident and competent to share the Good News in the world. Experiencing a diversity of prayer and faith experiences, accompaniment and pastoral care, spiritual direction, discerning of charisms, mentoring by experienced Catholic women, and exploring the work and needs of the Church in Australia, provides participants with opportunities to discern the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.
The 2024/2025 Fellowship includes:
- Course Fees Subsidy – Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies
For the 2024/25 Fellowship, the BCELM has chosen the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies (Women’s Leadership for Mission) as the academic course for financial sponsorship. Acceptance and participation in the academic course are at the discretion of ACU, traditionally requiring an undergraduate qualification.
Participants are responsible for enrolment and arranging the payment of course fees. The BCELM will reimburse $1000 for each of the four academic units (total of $4000) upon proof of enrolment. Students can pay the balance of fees directly or through a tertiary loan scheme.
Value per Fellowship participant: $4000 (see Participant Agreement for more details)
- Fellowship Gatherings and Travel
Participants will have flights, accommodation and meal costs covered to attend a Fellowship gathering each year (proposed March 2024 and October 2025- tbc). Each gathering will include formation experiences and be held in conjunction with a presentation of the academic course. Gatherings are expected to be four days depending on travel times and will require time away from your workplace and family.
Value per Fellowship participant: up to $3000 (see Participant Agreement for more details)
A short term community of participants will be established for the duration of the fellowship. This will be enabled through time together at national gatherings, online sessions in between academic semesters, and through closed social media strategies. Community participants will be introduced to past alumni, mentors, church leaders, events, initiatives and resources, and be accompanied for the duration of the fellowship. Previous Fellowship communities have tended to continue networking beyond the duration of the Fellowship.
- Spiritual Guidance
Participants will be introduced to:
Spiritual Direction: ongoing spiritual discernment of their faith and daily life.
Called and Gifted Discernment Process: designed to discern the presence of the Holy Spirit’s gifts/charisms in your life.
Called and Gifted workshops assist participants understanding their own gifts, and where they might not be so gifted; as well as the giftedness of others. Understanding how our gifts can be exercised for the mission of Christ’s Church can help us to be more effective in our roles and to work collaboratively with others.
Called and Gifted program.
The Fellowship has developed a proposed detailed schedule for 2024/2025. Dates and inclusions are subject to change; however, this initial draft will offer insights into commitments and inclusions of the program. View the proposed schedule here.
Upon acceptance, each participant will be asked to sign a ‘Participant Agreement’ outlining their understanding of the Fellowship, its commitments, code of conduct, and financial obligations.
WHO IS THE FELLOWSHIP FOR?
The Fellowship is for young women committed to their Catholic faith and who feel called to explore leadership opportunities in their chosen fields and within the Church.
The fellowship welcomes those volunteering or working in Catholic ministries or roles, and those working in secular settings fulfilling their mission in the world.
Fellowship participants should be open and willing to explore the diversity of the universal church and desire to identify and step into new mission fields.
The BCELM invites applications from young Catholic women based on the following selection criteria:
- Aged between 25 and 35 years;
- Successfully completed undergraduate study (in any field of study);
- An understanding of and a commitment to promote the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and Gospel values;
- Demonstrate how they live their baptismal mission in the world and contribute to Catholic life;
- Demonstrate a desire to enhance their leadership potential in the forums they are engaged in, upholding and promoting Catholic principles.
For the 2024/25 Fellowship, the BCELM encourages applications from women of:
- Rural and remote areas of Australia;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders background
- Migrant or Refugee background
- Working in secular settings (not employed by church organisations)
The 2024/2025 Fellowship application requires two stages:
- Completion of personal details via the Fellowship Online Application Form;
2023 APPLICATION TIMELINE:
- Applications open on Tuesday 10 October (see application process above)
- Application close on Thursday 16 November.
- Interviews will be held in the week of Monday 27 November.
- Applicants will be notified of outcome by week of Monday 11 December
- Acceptance of the offer will be in the form of a signed Participant Agreement by the end of December 2023, allowing you to enrol into ACU’s Women’s Leadership for Mission course.
The 2024/2025 the Fellowship application requires two stages:
· Completion of personal details via the Fellowship Online Application Form;