St Thérèse of Lisieux once wrote that what Jesus desires of his disciples is ‘simply surrender and gratitude.’ At the heart of Christian worship and spirituality is thanksgiving, receiving with gratitude the good and wonderful gifts God gives us.

This week we give thanks for the life and legacy of Valerie Sumner. Valerie Sumner was a founding member of the committee of the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria Archbishop’s Dinner. Though she passed away in July 2021, this week we pay her tribute: she was a woman whose life was lived generously in service, and known affectionately as the ‘Fundraising Queen’.

We also give thanks for the life of Mother Ellen Marie of Jesus OCDM, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in Kew, who passed away recently.

Her life was a witness to the goodness of God and the generosity to which he calls all of us. In his homily for her requiem Mass, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reflected on the wonderful work of this ‘good and faithful steward in God’s kingdom’, and on some of the ways we are all invited into a contemplative life.

We also hear from another of Melbourne’s newly ordained priests, this time from Fr Andrew Kwiatkowski, a young Polish-born man who shares about his experience of God’s constant call, and about responding with a life of gratitude.

The second instalment of our series exploring some of the modern challenges to discernment includes some fascinating insights from Veronika Winkels, editor and writer for Mathilde magazine, and Fr Paul Rowse OP, who reflect on issues of anxiety, faith and maturity in the modern age, and how these influence how we might discern God's call on our lives.

Finally, St Christopher’s Parish in Syndal were deeply grateful when they were recently finally able to gather in thanksgiving for their 60th anniversary after COVID lockdowns postponed the event. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli was present to bless their new facilities and encourage them in their commitment to forming intentional disciples.

Don't forget you can find more of our news, stories and other content over at Melbourne Catholic.

Valerie Sumner: ‘The Fundraising Queen’
Valerie Sumner passed away in July 2021. She was recently honoured at the KSCV PSEF Archbishop’s Dinner. In this piece, we pay tribute to her life and legacy, reflecting to her incredible generosity and commitment to service of those most in need.
Fr Andrew Kwiatkowski, a life of gratitude
Written by: Fiona Basile
Fr Andrew Kwiatkowski is one our newest ordained priests, together with Fr Brian Muling and Fr Ignatius Tan. The three were ordained on 15 July at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne. Here, Fr Andrew shares his vocation story, and the deep gratitude he feels for a blessed life.
Remembering Mother Ellen Marie of Jesus OCDM
Written by:
Mother Ellen Marie of Jesus OCDM, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in Kew, passed peacefully into eternal life on 3 August 2022 after a long illness. She is remembered for her many gifts and interests and for her generosity and breadth of spirit, but most of all for her great love of Jesus Christ.
A life in Christ: Homily by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Written by: Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
A requiem Mass was held at Kew on 18 August for Mother Ellen Marie of Jesus OCDM. The following homily was given by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, in which he reflects on the life of this loving, generous woman, and on the call to the contemplative life on each one of us.
Modern challenges to discernment and their remedies: Part 2
Written by: Christian Bergmann
In this next instalment of our series exploring the modern challenges to discernment and their remedies, we hear from Veronica Winkels and Fr Paul Rowse OP. They explore the ways in which anxiety, fear or a lack of maturity can affect the process of discernment, and what we can do about it.
Forming intentional disciples: St Christopher’s Syndal celebrates 60th anniversary
St Christopher’s Syndal recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli visited the community and led them in Mass and the blessing of their new facilities.
‘Take discernment seriously. If someone feels the call or if they have a sense of it, then take it seriously. Find someone to discern with. It’s not a once-off; it’s usually a consistent calling.’
Fr Andrew Kwiatkowski
Upcoming Events
'The History of Christianity as a Theological Discipline in 19th and 20th Centuries'
Thursday 25 August 2022
11.00am–12.30pm
The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU is hosting Professor Christoph Markschies, who will deliver the English version of a lecture series originally given for the Joseph Ratzinger Papst Benedikt XVI–Stiftung, at the University of Regensburg in 2017, on the topic 'How Theological is Church History? Excursions into...
'The History of Christianity as a Theological or Secular Discipline in the 21st Century: Some Conclusions'
Friday 26 August 2022
11.00am–12.30pm
The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU is hosting Professor Christoph Markschies, who will deliver the English version of a lecture series originally given for the Joseph Ratzinger Papst Benedikt XVI–Stiftung, at the University of Regensburg in 2017, on the topic 'How Theological is Church History? Excursions into...
Missionaries of God's Love Consecrated Life Weekend
Saturday 27 August 2022, 9.00am
– Sunday 28 August 2022, 5.00pm
Where and how is God calling you to respond to his love? Have you taken the time to listen? Join the Missionaries of God's Love in a Consecrated Life Weekend to explore these questions further. The retreat will be an opportunity to spend time with Jesus in prayer, ask questions...
2022 Yarck to Yea Ride-Walk-Run
Saturday 27 August 2022
9.00am–5.00pm
Join the Missionary Sisters of Service on the 2022 Yarck to Yea Ride-Walk-Run, and contribute to those experiencing disadvantage and exclusion in rural Australia. Registration at Yarck (for those participating in the 27km Yarck to Yea or 17km Molesworth to Yea) Registration open time: 7:15am Location: Giddy Goat Cafe, 660...
NCEC Conference: The Future is Listening (Save the Date)
Sunday 4 September 2022, 10.00am
– Wednesday 7 September 2022, 5.00pm
The 2022 National Catholic Education Conference is taking place this September, and a limited number of Super Early Bird registrations are now available. The National Catholic Education Commission hosts a conference every four or five years in a major Australian city. Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) is proud to host...
‘Following the Way of St Mary MacKillop’ pilgrimage
Monday 17 October 2022, 9.00am
– Wednesday 26 October 2022, 5.00pm
In collaboration with Harvest Journeys, Fr Jacob Raju and the parish team at Holy Trinity Parish Bentleigh are coordinating a parish pilgrimage, Following the Way of St Mary MacKillop, our first Australian saint. You are invited to join Fr Jacob and others as they travel from Melbourne to Adelaide on...
‘In the Footsteps of St Mary MacKillop’ pilgrimage
Tuesday 17 October 2023
– Saturday 28 October 2023
Led by the Sisters of St Joseph, this pilgrimage is an invitation for prayer and reflection. Today, the Sisters of St Joseph recognise that each of us is on a daily journey of faith but there is a time in life when we feel called to join with others; seeking...
'The History of Christianity as a Theological Secular Discipline: General Introduction'
Monday 22 August 2022
6.00pm–7.00pm
The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU is hosting Professor Christoph Markschies, who will deliver the English version of a lecture series originally given for the Joseph Ratzinger Papst Benedikt XVI–Stiftung, at the University of Regensburg in 2017, on the topic 'How Theological is Church History? Excursions into...
Melbourne City Churches in Action: 2022 Bible study series
Wednesday 31 August 2022
6.00pm–8.00pm
Melbourne City Churches in Action presents a series of studies led by three Melbourne’s congregational leaders who seek to bring awareness to the resources of biblical tradition in addressing the spiritual dimensions of maintaining faith and fellowship in times of COVID. Speakers Fr Jo Dirks (St Francis Church) – Wednesday...
2022 Dare To Be Different forum
Thursday 1 September 2022
7.00pm–9.00pm
The Xavier Social Justice Network (XSJN) presents 2022 Dare to Be Forum, which will focus on accompanying women and children who face difficult challenges and the programs available to support them. The Synergy First Nations Art Fundraiser will be launched on the evening. Speakers Melissa Bickford – National Voice for...
Hearts On Fire Live-in Ignatian Retreat
Friday 26 August 2022, 6.30pm
– Sunday 28 August 2022, 2.00pm
An opportunity to make room for silence to hear the voice of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on fire with love for us. This live-in retreat includes Mass, guided Gospel contemplation, adoration, reconciliation, spiritual direction and a quiet time for personal prayer. ‘It is good for us to make room...
For Love Alone (with the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia)
Tuesday 6 September 2022
6.00pm–8.00pm
An evening for young women to discover more about the religious life, hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia. The night will provide opportunities for the sharing of vocation stories, large and small group questions and time for prayer together before the Blessed Sacrament. The event will also include...

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