Lives of service

In the 1970s, motivated by a deep desire to see vulnerable pregnant women find the support they need, the late Dr Philomene Joshua Tenni began a network of volunteers whose work steadily grew into what we know today as the Caroline Chisholm Society. Earlier this year she was awarded a posthumous OAM as part of the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours for her services to the community, and two of her daughters were recently invited to Government House to receive the medal on her behalf. They speak to us about growing up with a mum who lived so generously for the good of others.

As we approach the feast day of St Thérèse of Lisieux, we share the warmth and wisdom of four Carmelite sisters who have dedicated their lives to serving the Church through prayer and by following St Thérèse's ‘Little Way’. We also meet Sr Carolina, the Salesian sister who is the face of Catholic Mission’s recently launched appeal for World Mission Month. And we celebrate the generous service of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, whose selfless commitment to the care of our retired clergy over the past 50 years was honoured at a recent luncheon.

Also this week, St Patrick’s Cathedral was filled with colour and song as we celebrated Migrant and Refugee Sunday. Ahead of next month’s referendum, the Australian bishops have released a statement pointing out that the issues surrounding the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice are ‘not just political’ but also ‘moral and ethical’. Melbourne will host this year’s Night of the Witnesses in November, focussing attention on the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. And with the Synod on Synodality just around the corner, we share eight things you should know about this important event.

Finally, we explore what it means to live a life in motion, and how the itch to be on the move might point to something deeper about the human soul.

For more, visit the Melbourne Catholic news and stories page or follow us on Facebook.

A better world for women and their babies: the legacy of Dr Philomene Joshua Tenni
Dr Philomene Joshua Tenni was a co-founder of the Caroline Chisholm Society, an organisation dedicated to the support of vulnerable pregnant women. Although she died in 2022, she was awarded a posthumous OAM, which two of her daughters recently received on her behalf. They reflect on her beautiful legacy and how she sought to make a better world for women and their babies.
‘The sacrament of the present moment’: Carmelites follow in the Little Way of St Thérèse
As we approach the feast day of St Thérèse of Lisieux, four Discalced Carmelites—Mother Angela, Prioress General at the Carmelite Monastery in Kew, and Srs Rosemary of the Sacred Heart, Miriam of Jesus, and Marie Aimee of Jesus—share their vocation stories and wisdom about St Thérèse, the young French nun who ‘rediscovered’ the very heart of the Gospel with her Little Way.
Sr Carolina: the face of missionary devotion
Written by: Catholic Mission
Catholic Mission is launching the celebration of World Mission Month 2023, focusing on Pope Francis’ World Mission Sunday message, ‘Hearts on fire, feet on the move’. Sr Carolina is the face of the awareness and fundraising campaign, and a great example of the devotion of missionaries, dedicating herself to providing critical healthcare services to the rural community of Venilale in Timor-Leste.
Celebrating 50 years of service: Sister Disciples of the Divine Master
It has been 50 years since the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master took up the invitation to come to Australia and care for the sick and retired priests of the Archdiocese. Since then, they have looked after more than 150 priests from across the Archdiocese. Their many years of dedicated service and care were recently acknowledged at a special luncheon held at the Veneto Club in Bulleen.
Melbourne’s cultural richness shines for Migrant and Refugee Sunday
On Sunday 24 September, St Patrick’s Cathedral was filled with the many colours and languages of Melbourne’s vibrant migrant communities, who came together to mark Migrant and Refugee Sunday. More than 800 people gathered for the occasion, which was rich in song, dance and prayer.
8 things to know about October’s Synod on Synodality in Rome
The eyes of the Catholic world will turn to Rome on 4 October as the worldwide Synod of Bishops convenes on the feast of St Francis of Assisi to focus on ‘synodality’ and what it means in terms of ‘communion, participation and mission’ in the Church. As the days count down, we look at what the synod is, how we got here and what to expect.
Bishops say issues around Voice are moral, not just political
Written by: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)
Australia’s Catholic bishops say the issues surrounding the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice ‘are not just political’, but are also ‘moral and ethical’, in a statement ahead of next month’s referendum
Melbourne to host next Night of the Witnesses in solidarity with persecuted Christians
Written by: Aid to the Church in Need
St Patrick’s Cathedral will host the second annual Night of the Witnesses on 22 November 2023 at 7pm. An initiative of the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Night of the Witnesses is an evening of testimony, prayer and song to honour the courage and fidelity of twelve recently martyred Christians and to stand in solidarity with the more than 200 million Christians worldwide who are suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.
A life in motion
There is a reason we celebrate our children’s first movements, wildly applauding as they crawl, sit up, bum-shuffle, and take their first steps. As we launch ourselves into a life in motion, new vistas and opportunities open up. And while mobility isn’t without its risks, our movements can also be exhilarating—beautiful even—pointing us not just to the goodness of the bodies we have been given but to the infinite graciousness of the giver.
Continue reading: A life in motion
‘It’s a beautiful moment when we are reduced to nothing. That is where God loves us very particularly; he is there to help us … If we hand ourselves over to him, the little effort that we make can be multiplied infinitely.’
Mother Angela, Prioress General at the Carmelite Monastery in Kew
on the beauty and power of humility
Upcoming events
Eucharist and visit of relic statue of St John Bosco, St Margaret Mary’s Church
Saturday 30 September 2023
As part of the centenary celebrations of the arrival of the Salesians on Australian soil, a relic statue of St John Bosco is touring Salesian communities and works in Australia. The relic casket arrived in Melbourne in late June and the schedule for the tour can be found here. The...
Solemnity of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Monastery Kew
Sunday 1 October 2023
Join the Carmelites for the feast day of St Thérèse of Lisieux at the Carmelite Monastery in Kew. Solemn Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Terry Curtin, and roses will be blessed in honour of St Thérèse after the Mass. All most welcome!
Theology @ the Pub: ‘OnePlate’ with Thérèse Nichols
Monday 2 October 2023
October’s Theology @ the Pub event will feature Thérèse Nichols, a creative entrepreneur who has worked for local and international organisations in the fields of communications, perfume, events and TV. Thérèse’s love for travel and food, along with her entrepreneurial spirit, led her to launch OnePlate in 2015, a charity...
God and Beer: ‘Becoming Missionary Disciples’ with Archbishop Julian Porteous
Tuesday 3 October 2023
God and Beer is an initiative of the Knights of the Southern Cross, and brings together people of all ages from across the south-east suburbs several times a year. In this talk, Archbishop Julian Porteous will inspire Catholics to be missionary disciples using their ‘head, heart and hands’ to evangelise...
Melbourne Catholic Professionals luncheon
Thursday 5 October 2023
Join us for the third Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) event of the year, where the Hon. Justice Susan Crennan AC KC—former Justice of the High Court of Australia—will join us as guest speaker. MCP creates opportunities for Catholic professional men and women to network and support the life and mission...
An invitation to connect with Aboriginal spirituality
Friday 6 October 2023
In the light of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and the upcoming referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria (ACMV) is inviting interested parishioners to spend some time at Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Thornbury, where they will lead a session exploring social justice and Aboriginal spirituality...
Centenary of Consecration of St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill
Sunday 8 October 2023
St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill, is celebrating 100 years since its consecration! To commemorate the anniversary, the parish is hosting a series of events: 3 October, 9.15am: School and parish Mass, with special school activities to follow 8 October, 11am: Concelebrated Mass of celebration and thanksgiving, followed by the...
Marriage Anniversary Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 22 October 2023
Couples and families are invited to join us as we celebrate our annual Anniversary Mass. Couples who register and are celebrating the following anniversaries—5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th or 40 years and above—will receive a commemorative certificate. Register by Sunday 15 October at For all enquiries, please...
Proclaim 2023—Inaugural Archdiocesan Gathering
Thursday 16 November 2023, 6.30pm
– Saturday 18 November 2023, 4.00pm
Over three days, the Catholic Leadership Centre will host a vibrant gathering, where sojourners will be inspired, engaged and equipped to go out and proclaim the joy of the Gospel in their local communities. Encounter Jesus through prayer, music and fellowship; hear from inspiring local and international speakers; participate in...

To learn more about upcoming events and opportunities, visit the Melbourne Catholic events page.

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