VICTORIA NEWSLETTER Summer 2015 Letter from Victorian Executive Committee Greetings from Victorian EXCO. Hello CLC friends across the state, As Summer...
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VICTORIA NEWSLETTER Summer 2015 Letter from Victorian Executive Committee Greetings from Victorian EXCO. Hello CLC friends across the state, As Summer is upon us, Advent and the coming of Christmas, it is truly a wonderful time to be outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, the festivities, company of friends and the many gifts of God in nature and the environment. ExCo recently had our last meeting for 2015 and reflected on where we had felt God with us and where our struggles were. Here, we would like to share with you some of our joys and struggles over the 16 months that we had been ExCo, the activities that had taken place (or not) in 2015 and a sneak preview into what's coming in 2016. Joys and struggles

Coming together as a new team and working together has been both exciting and challenging, in particular fitting into our new roles and responsibilities. Planning and preparing for activities have been no less challenging and exciting. The real joy, was seeing how well everyone worked together at Anglecrest going the extra few yards to allow the weekend to come together seamlessly. This ranges from the gentle but necessary collection of fees, to spiritual enrichment to all aspects of hospitality/house keeping. The different gifts that each ExCo member brings to the team has been a joy too, with each of us leveraging each others strengths and weaknesses. One struggle was the time commitment, particularly, prior to an event. However, as always, upon reading all that was achieved in 2015, it is also fulfilling. Another was coping with the emails although we (mostly) have this under control now. We also co-opted an additional member to ExCo Mel La Brooy. We welcome and thank Mel very much for his generosity in joining ExCo and serving the Victorian CLC community. Mel, welcome on board. Activities in 2015. 29 March - World CLC Day celebration at JTC. Input from Veronica Hendriks on the CLC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, 29 Jan to 1 Feb 2015 in Taipei, Taiwan; and from Fr. Andy s.j. on the theme “Wisdom”.

Activities cntd

April - Launch of our new and rejuvenated Victorian website. We especially thank Michael McGann and Noreen Nicholson, two long term Victorian members, for their spirit filled innovation, talent and hard work in refreshing our site. 23 May - Big Day Out - Geelong Unfortunately, the Big Day Out planned for Geelong had to be cancelled due to the illhealth of their advertised speaker. Re-launch of Victorian newsletter. Our grateful thanks to Gerard Winch for taking the role of editor. We had a wonderful Winter edition with inspiring content and good layout. 1 August - Feast of St. Ignatius CLC at the pub. Michael McVeigh, editor of Australian Catholics and CLC "Come and See" group member delivered input to over 50 Victorian CLCers, family and friends at the Royal Oak Hotel. A truly bustling and enriching evening. 5 September - Guides Formation Day Our grateful thanks to Trish and Sr Mary for preparing and facilitating a wonderful day attended by an intimate group of 10, including Tess Gilles and Chris Power from Bairnsdale. cntd P2


Activities cntd Our grateful thanks to Mary Nolan, in collaboration with the Parkville Group and Come and See JTC group, for discerning and preparing the theme and Saturday Program at Anglecrest this year.

CLC FSE National Project. There is a Project Committee overseeing our national project. The committee comprises Chris Gardner (our National President) and Chairpersons of each Regional ExCo. Victoria is represented by Trish Collier

We also thank the diversity of facilitators who offered creative, artistic, spiritual and inspiring workshops in the afternoon. Megan Atkins, Michael McVeigh, Trish Collier, Sr Mary O'Shannessy, Janine Hellard and Mary Nolan.

Annotations. There is a Regional Annotations Link person to encourage members in the regions to contribute and discern on a theme for each edition. Victoria is represented by Anna Munari.

It is hoped that some of these workshops will be offered again in 2016. We practically had a full house with 30 CLC members and friends attending.

Celebrating 40 years of CLC in Australia 2016

President's report of the AGM can be found on the CLC website. Note that the minutes of the AGM hasn't been accepted by NEXCO yet. However, if anyone is keen, please contact Chris Gardner for a copy. It contains some good information from Chris Hogan on the World CLC activities.

22 May - "Come and See CLC" at Campion. A time and space to discern how God is speaking to us in our daily lives and experience some of the ways practiced by members of CLC groups.

30 October - 1 November 2015

For more events, please see the CLC Vic calendar 2016 on our Victorian website

6-8 November - Anglecrest.

CLC National Assembly 2016 Refugees, etc... please see the December AnnotaMany thanks too, to all those who volunteered in the tions for more news and information. background, to ensure Anglecrest was a place of welcome and hospitality. ————————————————————— ———————–————————————— Sneak preview - 2016. NEXCO Update. Check out the two new events below. Can you tell 31 October 2015 which two?? CLC AGM. The AGM was attended by approximately 15 Victorian CLC members - a great turnout 4 April - World CLC Day at JTC. - well done Victorians! 15 May - Big Day out in Geelong.

NEXCO-Regional Chairperson meeting. This is held once every year and was attended by Veronica Hendriks as Chairperson of Victoria. This joint meeting has contributed greatly to our sense of national community. The dialogue that takes place enables us to have a better awareness of what is taking place in each Region and provide input in planing at a national level.

7 August - "Come and See CLC" at Campion. For anyone seeking ‘more’ in life, those interested in CLC, friends and CLCers


Finally, ExCo would like to wish all CLC friends peace and love this Advent and Christmas. May you feel the joy in your home that you bring to CLC This is a joyous time to take a step back from our busy lives and enjoy time with our loved ones. May God’s blessing shine down upon you and your famiIn addition to Tony French who is the national treas- ly this Christmas season urer, Anna Munari and Veronica Hendriks have Love, Peace and Joy from Veronica Hendriks, been co-opted to NEXCO They will serve in NEXChairperson Victoria ExCo on behalf of Trish CO until the Assembly in July 2016. Collier, Mary O'Shannessy, Anita Mueller Mel La Brooy, Natania Thien & Chris Longman. In addition, Noreen Nicholson (CLC Geelong) has also been appointed to take on the role of Tertian Co-ordinator, taking over from Felicity Flynn. Felicity has done a great job for us over ten years and will mentor Noreen for the first year. Noreen will work with Steve Curtin s.j. and Felicity to get things rolling. A big thank you to Noreen - and again, well done Victorians!!


Editors note : The following is an edited extract of the presentation by Michael Mc Veigh for ‘CLC at the Pub’ on 1st August 2015.

Those shining little beacons that we are being called to nurture and bring to life, as Christians.

Set aside your preconceptions. Imagine that God is My journey in CLC is only beginning, but it's been a still speaking with all of the people in our world today. Imagine that the Holy Spirit was still moving in blessed few months already in our new group at their hearts. What would that look like? What eviJTC. dence might we see of it around us? One of the beautiful things CLC has been for me is a source of hopefulness. Often we come into our even- Now the cynic might say that if the Holy Spirit was ing meetings feeling exhausted by the events of the really speaking to people it would be driving them to day. We're told by many that the faith that gives us do more than connect with each other. It would be driving them to love each other, and thereby driving so much nourishment is dangerous to our mental health. We're told that the world doesn't need us peo- them into a deeper connection with God. They'd ple of faith and conscience any more, that our time is point to all the unloving outcomes of the way people connect - the development of online hate groups, the past. way people bully and demean each other over social But more than ever, I think we're called to be people media, the way pride of country and team can lead to of hope in the world, and CLC has been important in hatred of anyone outside our circles - and ask, 'How can you say that's a thing of God?' showing me that this year. But what happens when our connections don't lead us to love each other, the world around us and ourselves? Does it leave us satisfied? Happy? Or does it leave us searching for more, and different, connections? Is the fact that people continue to pursue different modes of connection - some of them unloving and unhealthy - a sign that the Holy Spirit isn't really speaking to them? Or is it a sign that the way they're responding to the Holy Spirit is wrong - that it's not helping fulfil the calling that they're experiencing at Rust says, ‘Marty, I’ve been up in that room looking all? If they did find the deep, human connection that the Holy Spirit is pushing them towards, would they out those windows every night here and just thinking. It’s just one story. The need to keep searching? oldest.' And so I come, finally, to St Ignatius, and what Ignatian Spirituality can offer the world today. He Marty says, ‘What’s that, light versus dark? It apwas a young nobleman dreaming of doing great pears to me that the dark has a lot more things for his family and his country, who was struck territory.’ down in battle and left to recuperate on his family's estate. There he read of the life of Christ, and the Rust says, ‘Yeah, you’re right about that.’ lives of the saints, and realised that what he'd been doing with his life - the way he'd been following his A moment later, they’re about to leave. Rust stops and says to Marty. ‘You know, you’re looking at it God-given desires - was wrong. It wasn't necessarily wrong, the sky thing... Once there was only dark. If bad, or evil, but he realised that it would never lead him to fulfilment. The only way that he could ever you ask me, the light’s winning.’ be authentically fulfilled was to give up that life, and devote himself to Christ. The light’s winning. I don’t know if you saw the TV show True Detective. The two main characters Rust and Marty are sitting outside a hospital, both recovering from their many wounds. One of them, Rust, is looking up at the night sky. Throughout the show, he’s spoken of the meaningless of life, the pervasive nihilism of existence. In an earlier scene in the show he describes human beings ‘sentient meat’. But in this moment, he has an epiphany:

We, Christians, are people of the morning. It might seem that times are dark, but the light we shine - the light of Christ - is chasing that darkness away, inexorably, year by year, century by century. The shadows we see are the dark corners that light hasn’t yet reached.

I want to set aside pessimism, and our instinct to be cynical about the world - and try to direct us to the points of light.

Ignatius knew that everyone was motivated by this desire for something. C S Lewis called it the 'inconsolable longing' in our hearts. It's felt as a need for connection, a need to be valued, and a need to be loved. Our world offers us different ways to fulfill that desire, but there are authentic ways to fulfill it and inauthentic ways. Ignatius showed us how to find the authentic ways. Cntd page 4


As a Jesuit, Pope Francis understands that the Holy Spirit is moving inside each and every person in the world. I think he understands it more than any other pope I've known in my lifetime. He understands that we have to speak to people's interior desires if we're ever going to have any hope of influencing their exterior behaviour. He understands that a Church that simply points people to rules to follow is one that will suffocate itself. But a Church that connects people with their deepest longings is one that will set people free. So how do we do this? The same way Ignatius did, of course. Through conversation. And I think that’s what it’s going to take from all of us if we’re going to lead people to the truth. engaging in open, honest conversation for as long as it takes. One of the most moving stories of goodness I’ve read recently was the story of Alice and Emmanuel. Alice and Emmanuel grew up as schoolmates in Rwanda. When the genocide occurred, they ended up on separate sides. Emmanuel was among those tasked with wiping out Tutsis. Alice, a Tutsi, was one of his victims. In an attack on her family, Emmanuel hacked off her hand with a machete and left her for dead. In the same attack, Alice’s infant daughter was killed. A few years later, Emmanuel turned himself in for his crimes. He did six years in prison, then afterwards spent his time visiting the families of those he had killed. He met Alice, surprised to find her still alive. He asked her for forgiveness for what had happened to her and her infant daughter.

Not only did she forgive him, but eventually they became friends. They became treasurer and vice president of an organisation that constructs houses for genocide survivors. This is a story of truth, radical goodness, engagement and honest conversation. But what of beauty? It’s a term that’s been taken and turned into an industry in our society. But people still respond to authentic beauty. We just have to encourage people to raise their eyes sometimes to see it. I was chatting with a friend recently who has an office with a huge window overlooking Port Philip. He said when he first moved in, his eyes kept being drawn to the beautiful view, but these days he barely saw it. His work took all of his attention. The only time he got to engage with the view was when he took a walk at lunchtime along the beach - the office, with all its associated stresses and deadlines, made it impossible to see the view. How true is that for all of us - that the busy-ness of our lives obscures our view of beauty? St Ignatius used to try and get out of the office. He used to love sitting on the roof and staring up at the night sky. He once wrote: ‘The greatest consolation I experienced was gazing at the sky and the stars... which I often did and for long.’ Some people look up at the sky and see an overwhelming, never ending darkness. Others, like Ignatius, like us, can look up at the sky and notice something else, something true, good and beautiful: That the light’s winning.

Image: Port LincolnNational Park S.A by Julie Winch



by Noreen Nicholsen (Geelong Group) Across the globe, 785,000 people in 175 countries hit the streets at more than 2,300 People’s Climate March events. That’s three quarters of a MILLION people! And in Australia, we came together in record breaking numbers in more than 50 towns and cities right across the country to show the world just how much we care ( Bill, Noreen, Mary O'Shannessy (and I am sure other CLCers that we did not see) marched with the 60,000 people in Melbourne to demand that our political leaders adopt positive targets and clean, renewable energy solutions that enable us to build a better future for all. We must protect our precious natural capital from corporate greed, so that generations to come will have the same access to the beauty of nature and the diversity of flora and fauna we have enjoyed. We are proud that CLC Victoria signed on as a partner with the Australian Conservation Foundation for the People's Climate March, encour aged by Pope Fr ancis' histor ic document Laudato Si ... 'I urgently appeal, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all'. We know we can change the world when we act together inspired by the Spirit. And if our governments won't lead we will. People throughout the world are on the move against greed and environmental destruction such as that which occurred recently in Brazil. 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.' (Margaret Mead) "You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make". Jane Goodall

Image top courtesy” NASA



by Jim Finlayson What brings us together every two weeks as a discerning CLC group, is the big question? As we live our lives each day with all its ups and downs, and regimented routines, it’s nice to step back and to think about our relationship with God and our faith community. Life can be full, either being married, partnered or single. Our commitments' to Family, friends and work can make us busy people. We desire to be refreshed in mind and spirit. We need to decelerate and share with others our journeying.

Our CLC Way of Proceeding in Action By Mary Nolan AM After busy weekend at farm, train left Geelong an hour late. Twilight and tired at Southern Cross I took a taxi. I greeted the taxi driver, we began to talk and I asked him where he came from. He said Somalia. He went on to say that he’d recently been in USA and when asked the same question there, a person would reply with US state. He said that many asked black people where they came from but not Anglo. His Australian born son was often asked the question.

I apologised and said my question came from a genuine desire to hear and understand more about the stories and cultures of the rich mix that make up our Every two weeks we, set aside time through Ignatian Spirituality, to allow God to gently seep into our population. And that I had learned much from taxi drivers and others. He softened and began to talk lives and grow with other group members. God about Somalia and why he left 16 years before. touches us through people. As we gr ow and r espect each other in faith, We also acknowledge each Apart from indigenous people, we acknowledged how our families/we have all come here, and how other as people, with spiritual and emotional we identify ourselves, in my case as Australian of strengths, that comprise out humanity. Irish descent. Our gathering brings an intimacy of sharing with He said Islam condemns anyone who suicides or trusted friends, on a deeper human spiritual level. kills another and that what is happening with terrorWe share not only deep reflective insights but also personal issues that affect us, laughter, moments of ists is not Islam. He spoke about how they had killed their Islam scholars in Somalia and then brain joy and sadness. Remembering that we are fragile and at times we can be broken and again be uplifted. washed and radicalised impressionable young peoWe see ourselves and are seen for the people we tru- ple with movies and hatred for the west. ly are, this can be enriching or risky. At this point, a couple of young men on a motor bike My attitude is that it is worth the risk, as who we meet and share within our group can affect our lives greatly. On our jour ney to God, our life is short and our encounters over a life time can be brief. The Spirit guided me to the Ignatian group through different paths, I let my heart be open in a secure and respected place.

stopped on his right at red light and sniggered at him. I could sense his angst and anger. He expressed how angry and helpless he felt at times. He said his cousin lived in northern Victoria and said that area was much more tolerant, and had suggested he move there.

In turn, I am aware that God uses us also to touch other people, we are vehicles for his grace and love to grow. Sometimes, we do not see this till later.

During the shortish journey to the Brunswick NH where Chris lives, we continued our conversation listening and being present, honest and a genuine exchange. When we arrived, he immediately came to the side door of the maxi taxi and helped me out I have been a CLC member for over a year now, with my bags, and we thanked each other for the hoping to fully experience God in my life in this setconversation – gift and grace and joy for each and ting. both of us. His eyes and expression said it all. Go and meet others where they really are, not where we think Thank you Fire and Water for welcoming me and for allowing me to journey in my faith, I hope I have they should be. Go out again and again without fear, without hesitation. Go out and proclaim this joy which is for all the made a contribution. people” Pope Francis Madison Square Garden New York,


CLC Gathering at Anglesea

By Michael Mc Veigh More than 30 participants gathered in Anglesea from 6 to 8 November for the annual Christian Life Community (CLC) weekend, exploring how we can live more attentively to the people and the world around us. The theme of the weekend was 'Living in relationship with God, self, others and our world - a way of proceeding'. Presenter Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ - the ecclesiastical assistant for CLC in Victoria - said the theme perhaps got the priorities right, but the order wrong.

Exploring the story in chapter 6 of Mark's Gospel when Jesus and the disciples tried to get away from the crowds only to be followed by them, Fr Hamilton spoke about how Jesus always calls us into attentiveness for those around them. In the story, the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away, pretending to care about whether they have food to eat but really just wanting their own space. Jesus responds by calling them back - 'You feed them', he says. 'If we start by living for others and for our world, then we find we end up with better relationships with God and ourselves as well', he said. The fine weather saw participants spend the afternoon walking on the beach, then continued with a variety of workshops exploring spirituality through the lens of art and film, as well as the First Spiritual Exercises, spiritual contemplation and the mandala.


Connection -When a Stranger Knocks! by Jane Phelan

Mandala Workshop by Bernie Hevern

On the CLC Anglesea retreat, I participated in the workshop led by Sr. Mary on mandalas. The mandala is about peace in situations where peace is not easily found. I felt drawn to use blues for peace and ended up drawing strokes on the page that weren’t I was nervous, little anxious, & the scars of a masnecessarily soft and peaceful but quick and crisssive stroke left me with severe speech problems, & a crossed and with a sense of movement. right side hemiplegia. Before the stroke I was a TV journalist - talking all the time. Now, a listener, & My mandala seemed to reflect the theme of my not just what I hear, but understanding as well. week. I’d had a very busy week at work and a few times of feeling overwhelmed with everything I About 5 o'clock, I was shuffling into the kitchen needed to get done. Phone calls seemed to constantly when I met Andy Hamilton. Andy is the gentle man be met with brick walls, urgent referrals made had & totally disarming. He asked me how I came along slipped through the cracks, I had a couple of clients to the retreat, what did I do before my stroke, & how in crisis, interacting with services that are very under did I fill in my days since. resourced and unable to adequately cope with the demand and then I also met with other clients who Haltingly, I began telling my story. He listened. As faced painful and heartbreaking circumstances. I went stumbling on he listened, really listened. Eventually I finished & he had listened to me. My story had been given life. Then the conversation turn In my Morning Prayer times, I’d been reminded and challenged that I can let my circumstances dictate to Andy. my response and react out of that, or I can stop… step back and make more of a conscious choice I think 'connection' means believing in the other. Loving them & wanting the very best for them. about how I really want to respond. Having the awareness Ignatius speaks of, and more freedom, to 'Connection' with self, others, environment, & most choose to make decisions and choices that will be importantly - God, is just that. life-giving. Over the weekend, people looked at me. They Potentially overwhelming, frustrating days that smiled with me. Laughed with me. We shared stowould have seen me previously dwelling in these ries. We shared silence. We were able to share the beauty of creation - the ocean, the sand, the rich blue feelings, instead saw me choose to face these cirsky, trees, the flowers, & little things which God has cumstances with more of an acceptance that led to given us. And we pondered God. His mercy. His greater peace. This also freed up energy to put tocompassion. His understanding. His Love. wards sorting the situation out. Part of the acHis awe-inspiring Love. ceptance was also letting go – whilst feeling empaMy, the thundering silence at the start of the retreat thy and compassion for my clients, also having to gave way to 'our connections' - both giving & receiv- accept the adversity along with the joys of their lives. ing. Our connections, allows me to inspire a more 'compassionate, peaceful & just world'. When I’d finished drawing, I noticed something in (Pope Francis) the mandala that I hadn’t planned to be there. It was Now the stranger is connected with you. Thank you. the outline of an eye in the centre of the mandala. The line of a song came to mind – ‘His eye is on the sparrow, His eye is on you,’ and the sense of God’s attentiveness to me in all the moments of the day. That in the midst of it all, I’m seen, known and loved. It was 3 o'clock & 3 hours before the CLC retreat was due the start. The caretaker of 'Anglecrest' at Anglesea Kerryn Trounsor, ushered me into the tv room to wait.

In a busy, potentially overwhelming day, in the difficulties of your own or others circumstances, in times when things are not smooth and calm - there can be a way to peace.


Reflections of CLC retreat at Anglecrest Anglesea

By Jim Finlayson Theme: “Living relationship with God, self, others and our world- a way of proceeding” The CLC Victoria retreat weekend on the 6-8th November was another opportunity to stop and think about Christ in our lives. To be able to do this with members of the CLC groups was a privilege. It is important that we come together to meet, pray and share with each through celebration of the Mass, meditation, quiet walks, or quality spiritual workshops. Over 30 CLC members took part in this weekend and it was enhanced by the loving care people gave to each other. This was all accompanied by great food, wine, and sharing at meal times. I have never tasted so many quiches in my life! The quality spiritual workshops were 1.“ God Steals the Scene”: looking at transcending moments in movies, 2.“ Our way of proceeding: contemplating life as it is in relationship with the environment, self , God and others, 3. “ First Spiritual Exercises”, finding God in all things, 4.” Simplistic experimentation with nature and art” : finding God in nature, 5.“Mandala” a way of expressing of expressing a living relationship with God , 6. “ Through different eyes”: experiencing God in Art. Throughout these workshops there was time for discussion and prayer in our own way. Janine Hellend kept us entertained as the host of radio talk back show on Saturday night , I can see a great career in that for her. It was very clever and well done Janine . I attended her art session on “Simplistic experimentation with nature and art” I tried to get in contact with the other side of the brain I rarely use, a big failure, I tried to attempt to draw two dogs in a kennel it turned out looking like two human faces in a jail! I need to develop this side of the brain more! My left hand drawing was far better than my stronger right arm drawing. In our discussion times and plenary sessions came great words of wisdom from group members. I tried to write some down that appealed to me. Here is a small list of them: I hope I got them right. 1. Life is messy, it is never straight forward, as pope Francis said we must get down and get messy. 2. Living relationships can get messy, but we have the power to shape it at times. 3. Positive people help us to live positive lives. 4. We can have living relationships or dead relationships. Quote from Fr Andy the person was dead two years before he died. 5. Good relationships gives us and others the power to grow as God wants us to. 6. Life and death of a relationship is in my hands and it’s a choice. 7. If we feel we are listened to, it’s half way to solving our problems. 8. If we listen to another person, we give grace to their lives. 9. If a relationship is not working out and you have tried very hard for it to succeed, sometimes you just need to walk away. Fr Andy Hamilton sj gave us spiritual guidance in his address to us and left us with many questions to an answer. Thank you Andy for your spiritual wisdom and insights they were really appreciated by us all.

It was a great weekend and I am very glad I went. We need to come together to appreciate the life of and teaching of Christ through the eyes of Saint Ignatius Loyola. Thank you to Exco who put it all together,


Anglesea Retreat 2015 – A perspective

Fr Andy mentioned that our relationship with God is nurtured by times of reflection, just as Jesus the Susie Hii Christ goes up the mountain to pray (Mk 6:46). We These are my thoughts resulting from the talk Fr need to pray/reflect in a quiet place. It is not possiAndy Hamilton SJ gave, the readings for meditation ble to be free of people, but we do need to make and the workshop run by Michael McVeigh, ‘God time to be I for a short time every day. To be alone steals the scene’, which was about ‘Exploring and with God, drop my role and just I. reflecting on transcendent moments in movies’ that The Sunday meditation was on the raising of Lazawere presented. On the weekend there were six rus. We may not like to reflect on this passage beworkshops from which to choose. cause it is lengthy about death and the raising of the I think the readings I chose for meditation/ Imagina- dead. Biblical stories like these can be metaphors tive Contemplation fit in with the readings (Mk 6) for healing. We want to hear Jesus’ words, ‘Unbind and the theme of the weekend. As Fr Andy said be- him. Let him go free’. Even more powerful than fore the weekend, whatever readings we chose will looking at it metaphorically is looking at it literally. complement each other. Would I live my life differently if I died and was given a second chance like Lazarus? Would I have a For Saturday, I had chosen Mk 5:3-15, 18-19, and called the exercise, ‘Let the pigs fall over the cliff’. more living, more fully alive relationship with others, the world first, then God and myself? The inspiration for this came from a ‘transcendent moment in the movie’, ‘Far From the Madding On Sunday, the sun was shining bright, and as we Crowd’. prayed, we reflected on the sun’s rays shining on us The scene of the sheep falling over the cliff immediately reminded me of the pigs falling over the cliff in the Gerasene demoniac and left a vivid image, good for imaginative contemplation that I am so poor at. I now use that image as a way of letting go of strong negative emotion, to enhance a living relationship with God, self and others rather than carry the pig, (the burden inside) and unwittingly dump it on others.

and thanked God for the gifts provided us. I look at others, refugees from countries beset with anarchy, civil war, victims of terrorist attacks, living in poverty or mental torture, those who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused, the sick, the dying, and endless examples of The Christ crucified, and see only unanswered pain, then God and myself.

Relationships dominated by fear and anxiety are ruinous and dead. Living relationships are complicated, infinitely variable and life giving for ourselves and others, bringing life and possibility to others.”

The weekend was rich and I came away buzzing with thoughts. There were so many different threads, that I’m not sure if I can spin a yarn.

But somehow… God’s glory shines through if I not only reflect on the sun shining on me and thank him During his presentation Fr Andy mentioned, the way for the gifts given me, but share my gifts with others. is ‘Others, the world first, then God and ourselves’. As Jesus says, “You feed them.” (Mk 6:37.) I had thought that it is love of God and self-first that ‘I believe we are invited to gaze upon the image of enables us to love others and the world. Perhaps, it the The Christ crucified to soften our hearts toward does not matter which comes first, one feeds the oth- others and God, and to know that God's heart has er, it’s a circle. ‘God is a circle whose centre is eve- always been softened toward us, even and most esrywhere and circumference nowhere’. pecially in our suffering.’ (Richard Rohr)

This is beautifully illustrated in clips from the third movie we watched, ‘Amelie’, (set in Paris) a lonely café waitress performing many random acts of kindness. I recall the scene in which Amelie, looked as if she was floating on air, feeling a sense of harmony, that life is simple and clear (but maybe it’s from the character’s liking of cognac)


A collage from the Anglesea weekend



by Fr Andy Hamilton SJ The Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2015, ‘For Those who’ve Come Across the Sea’ publications/social-justice-statement-2015-16 is an eloquent and moving document. It described the journey of people who have sought protection in Australia from persecution in their own nations and sets their treatment in Australia against Christian and humane standards.

When we fail to respond personally with decency and compassion to people we rightly feel ashamed afterwards. When our nation responds brutally to vulnerable people, we are also right to feel shame. The Bishops’ Statement is strongly critical of the way Australia has treated people who come to us for protection. It draws particular attention to the policy of deterrence, which dictates that we treat people brutally in order to stop others from coming to us by sea. ‘How can we justify Australia’s policy of deterring people from claiming protection in the light of Jesus’ words? As a nation, we harm innocent people by detaining them, pushing back their boats and transferring them to other impoverished nation.

The Statement allows people to speak for themWe pretend that the pain and diminishment of one selves. I was particularly moved by young group of people, including children, is a justifiable Najeeba’s haunting description of asylum seekers as price to pay for sending a message to others. This ‘kneeling persons’ policy dishonours the human dignity of people who ‘Asylum seekers carry sorrow and distress seek protection and denies the truth of their humaniand depend on human sympathy. ty.’ An asylum seeker is a kneeling person; These are strong words with which many of us in kneeling in front of the ship to ask for a re- CLC may resonate. But of course they are shared by duced escape price; kneeling in front of the very few of our fellow Australians. This may leave aid agency asking to be saved.’ us at a loss about how we are to respond to Najeeba as she kneels before us. It is all so hopeless. There Najeeba describes perfectly the needs, desires, seems to be nothing much we can do. helplessness and routine humiliation of people like herself who seek protection. But she also places her- And of course there is little we can do. We cannot self before us. change the world, magically turn the seventy per She invites us to imagine her kneeling before us, to cent of Australians wanting to stop the boats into imagine her journey with the suffering and persecu- seven per cent. But every tiny little bit helps. tion that led her to leave her own beloved land and Above all we can hold Najeeba and her companions to cast herself at people’s feet, begging to be offered in our hearts and minds, resisting the attention to hope for herself and her future family. turn away from their faces and to turn them into a To listen to a young woman who kneels before us is distant, anonymous and faceless ‘problem’ for govchallenging. She demands that we give close atten- ernments to solve. tion to her story and to the inner strength, suffering We can keep them in our prayers. And of course and vulnerability that express themselves on her prayer is all about faces. The people whom we hold face. in our hearts soon give words to our tongues. We might gently put our views when people speak disShe also calls on our responsibility. She makes an appeal to which we cannot but respond, whether it is missively of people who seek protection. to push her away with averted gaze, to weep with If Najeeba’s face is imprinted on our hearts, too, we her, or to take up her cause. shall also become interested in meeting people like her, listening to them and showing them little acts of Our life becomes i when we attend to people like kindness. Najeeba, we shall find not only our personal lives bound up with hers but also our lives as citizens. We There are many opportunities to do this in parishes, shall judge ourselves as persons and as a nation by festivals and other little events. It takes a little courthe way in which we respond to people who come to age to overcome our fear of the unknown and of us seeking our protection. Intertwined with hers. having nothing to give, nothing held in common. When we meet people in a friendly environment we When we attend to people like Najeeba, we shall find not only our personal lives bound up with hers usually find something in common straightaway. but also our lives as citizens. We shall judge ourselves as persons and as a nation by the way in which we respond to people who come to us seeking Cntd p12 our protection.


Cntd p12 Refugees Meeting people binds them more strongly to our hearts. It may also draw us to others who want to change Australia’s brutal treatment of people seeking protection, and so to respond to the kneeling Najeeba. Many organisations do this. The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) http:// is one Catholic organisation that links people together people across Australia who want to help. When we feel that we are not alone and hear of the simple things that others do, we can overcome our sense of helplessness and begin to light the candles that penetrate the darkness.

——————————————————————————————————————————— PRAYERFUL SUPPORT NEEDED By Dooreen Roache A young Tamil family who have been living in Ballarat for two and a half years are in a very delicate and desperate space and it worsens each day as they await further news about the future of their lives!

CLCer’s may remember signing a petition to the Minister for Immigration regarding this family – that they be allowed to stay in Australia and to be safe, despite having received a letter just over 2 months ago now, from the minister, telling them to “prepare to leave Australia”. Their applications for permanent protection have all been rejected and there are no avenues left! However, a further appeal was made to the Minister, Peter Dutton, since that final letter to the family, with the assistance of a pro bono migration lawyer from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. (ASRC) This package contained copies of online signatures and letters from many people, including one from the Mayor of Ballarat, appealing that this family be granted permanent protection in Ballarat, Australia. (“For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”) During their time in Ballarat they have had no work rights and have been totally dependent on charity.

We, the Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) thank you for signing the petition and your prayer and ask your continued prayerful support for this family.


A REFLECTION - CLC VICTORIA GUIDES DAY - SEPTEMBER 5 The day at JTC for our small group of 9 began with prayer and reflection on Mark 1:29-­‐39; fol­ lowed by morning tea, discussion in 2 groups, personal reflection, lunch and then a plenary session and ended with an entertaining, contemporary and short, sharp rap video on Ignatius (recommended watching!!). Thanks to Mary O’S, Trish C and Veronica H for their thoughtful preparation and the food, respec­ tively; as well as to Natania T for taking notes and contributing and the other participants for their sharing and ideas. Special thanks to Tess G and Chris P for travelling all the way from Bairns­ dale (and to Chris L for putting them up and the drop off at JTC).

We missed other Guides but being a smaller group allowed the Spirit to move in in a way that had its own benefits. The following words came to me in my reflection time: Jesus held her hand…….He healed Fever gone, she got up and served Many came to Him…….He healed He went to a quiet place……He prayed What is my Father’s Will?....He followed He went to other places, other people…..He continued He missioned I am broken……but still called Everyone else around me is also broken Open my eyes, ears and heart to all I am called to heal the other I want to heal the other Inspired by others’ sharing’s We are all evolving God’s Spirit is in our hearts and bellies He/She is, …I am, We are One Bread, One Body One Mission

The Pilgrim 5 Sep 2015


Vic CLC Newsletter Please send news and stories of your CLC journey to our editor Gerard Winch [email protected] Winter edition: submit news by May 31 Summer edition: submit news by November 30

February 21st Campion Open Day Campion Ignatian Spirituality Centre, 99 Studley Park Rd, Kew. Annotations 2016 Attendees register directly with Campion. Bookings are essential Please send items to Jenny Mansell Black: adph.98548110 [email protected] rd Websites: Sunday April 3 World CLC CLC Victoria Day Celebration Jesuit Theological College (JTC) CLC Australia For CLCers and interested others. Further details to follow. 9am registration. CLC World 15th May Sunday Big Day Out in Geelong New Enquirers For CLCers, friends and interest- Welcomed by Trish Collier ed others. T: 0417 313 614 E: More details to follow. [email protected] 22nd May ‘Come & See’ CLC at Campion 10am – 3.00pm A time and space to discern how God is speaking to us in our daily lives and experience some of the ways practiced by members of CLC groups. 99 Studley Park Rd, Kew. 30th July Feast of St Ignatius CLC at the Pub - all welcome. Details to follow.

Ecclesiastical Assistant Andy Hamilton SJ CLC Victoria NexCo Representative Veronica Hendriks EXCO Meetings: Monthly with additional meetings as required

Cluster Facilitators Contact your Cluster Facilitator for local events. Cluster 1 – Eileen Gough Cluster 2 – Jim Finlayson Cluster 3 – Mary O’Shannessy In a spirit of shared responsibility the following members have generously given their time to be of service to our Vic CLC community:

Members of the VIC Regional 7th August ‘Come & See’ CLC at Executive Council Campion Chairperson: Veronica Hendriks 11am – 4.30pm T: 0408 062 789 Secretary: Anita Mueller Treasurer (co-opted) : Christine For anyone seeking ‘more’ in life, Longman those interested in CLC, friends General Member: Natania Thien and CLCers. General Member: Mel La Brooy 99 Studley Park Rd, Kew. (co-opted) General Member/New Enquiries 10th September Guides Forand Groups: mation Day Sr Mary O’Shannessy Details to follow. General Member/New Enquiries and Groups: Trish Collier ABN 78 933 Inc 4-6 Nov Anglecrest Weekend A0029889G (Vic) Jesuit Villa, 16 Harvey St. All members may be contacted at Anglesea. [email protected] Friends and interested others welcome.