Triennial Conference Banner - depicting a butterfly

Workshops

Participants will choose from a variety of workshop options, devised to explore our theme through the following contexts:

Ecological Conversion

Synodal Church

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Leadership

Education

Building Bridges

Spirituality

Workshop Session and Presenter Details

Registration and Workshop selection is open from May 24 to June 24.
Click to expand and explore workshop opportunities below.
Download the Workshop Summary PDF here.

Ecological Conversion

The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

Who Is My Neighbour? Called to Ecological Conversion

This workshop is an invitation to engage with the rich theology of the encyclical Laudato Si’ and recognise that we are in a new moment in Catholic Social Teaching: a time where the Gospel question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ takes on a broader context. At this point in human history, we are invited into a way of dialogue set within the context of the urgent call to ecological conversion and vocation. This workshop is an opportunity to reflect through a Benedictine lens on what it means to be a human being on this planet with a 21st Century understanding of our world, its origins and complexities.

Beth Riolo
Beth Riolo

Beth Riolo is a Catholic woman born and bred in Wollongong, on the lands of the Dharawal people.
Beth is an earth creature, a by-product of the Big Bang and some 13.7 billion years of evolution. She is also made of remnants of stardust and part of the evolutionary history of life on earth.
Beth is a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a soul mate, friend, Benedictine Oblate and part of her local community.
An educator in Catholic schools for over 34 years Beth has been; a teacher, an REC and Education Officer. Her current role is leading the Wollongong diocesan school system’s response to Laudato Si’, with particular emphasis on creating linkages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Spiritualities.

Synodal Church

Plenary and Beyond

Pope Frances and Synodality – what it means for us

What is synodality and why is Pope Francis making it a big deal? This workshop will explore the roots of synodality and get to the heart of what it means to be synodal: being responsible, mature Christians in our engagement with each other and with the world. The good news is that examples of this are already happening. The bad news? Clericalism is entrenched in much of Catholic culture so some hard work is needed in identifying, rooting it out, and choosing synodality as our preferred path.

Dr Elissa Roper

Dr Elissa Roper is an Australian theologian specialising in ecclesiology and synodality. She has a passion for renewing the Catholic Church’s understanding of the People of God as baptismal in identity, and missionary in discipleship. She is working with the Drafting Committee of the Plenary Council.
Elissa works for the Sisters of Mercy. She manages a Program of Theology in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; which offers tertiary theological education for women.
Elissa has served in the areas of parish planning and liturgy, understanding clerical abuse and working for healing, and ecumenical and interfaith relations.
Elissa and her husband have four children and live in the beautiful Yarra Valley, Victoria.

Building Bridges

Inclusive Church and the Image of God

This session is aimed at challenging pre-conceived ideas about the image of God and the impact that has on communities. Through song, along with opportunities for reflection and discussion, we will explore the privilege of inclusion and the realities of exclusion in contemporary faith communities.

Dr Danielle Lynch

Danielle Anne Lynch is a theologian, musician and teacher. As well as working as a sessional lecturer at the Australian Catholic University, she works in a secondary school in Brisbane. Over the last decade she has held Mission, Pastoral and Curriculum roles in schools in Melbourne, Cairns and the UK. Her PhD is in Theologies of Music, and her book, God in Sound and Silence: Music as Theology, was published in 2018. Her recent academic work is at the intersection of theology, music, and the flourishing of all people, influenced by feminist and queer theologies. In 2020, her album of original songs, Into Silence, was released.

Education

Preparing for the best and worst of times

The session looks at the challenges and opportunities for emerging technologies and how education will evolve for a changing world. What jobs are available? How do we prepare students for this world?

John Buchanan

Professor John Buchanan is Head of Discipline, Business Analytics, University of Sydney Business School. He has produced many scholarly and policy research publications on work and skills formation, the latest as editor (along with Chris Warhurst,
Ken Mayhew and David Finegold) of the Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
John’s recent research work has been in partnership with EDUCATION: FUTURE FRONTIERS, an initiative of the NSW Department of Education exploring the implications of developments in AI and automation for education.

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Incorporation: the Good Sams’ deep dive into partnership

Inspired by the insights of Vatican II, the Sisters made a courageous decision in the early 1980’s to incorporate their schools, thereby inviting others to share directly in the ministries of leadership and governance. This workshop will briefly trace the Sisters’ learnings and ongoing commitment to incorporation as an authentic expression of synodality, of engagement in our shared mission. Participants will have opportunity for Q&A, discussion and sharing their own insights and experiences.

Catherine Slattery sgs

Catherine Slattery is a Good Samaritan Sister, with an abundance of experience of Catholic Education, and has developed a deep appreciation of the unique contribution of Catholic schools across our Australian social landscape. Catherine’s great joy over the past two decades has been to accompany so many wonderful ministry partners, especially the Good Samaritan Education Council, on the journey that has culminated in the establishment of GSE and then to serve as a member of the Governing Council until the beginning of 2021.

Spirituality

Listening to God: Prayer in the Benedictine Tradition

In the Rule of St Benedict we learn that prayer is at the heart of Christian Discipleship. For St Benedict prayer is a response to God’s Word to us

Christine Manning sgs

Christine Manning is a Good Sam and, a member of the community at St Scholastica’s Convent, Glebe. Much of her time is engaged in Congregational Ministry, facilitating sessions on the Rule of St Benedict, companioning an Oblate group and designing units of work on Benedictine Spirituality for the Sisters in formation.
Christine is a Company Member for St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown and is the Chair of Members for St Mary Star of the Sea College, Wollongong.
Many know Christine from her years as part of the Team at the Mt St Benedict Centre, in Pennant Hills. Christine is a teacher to her bones, having lectured at ACU and taught in secondary and primary schools across NSW, ACT & Qld
A Doctor of Ministry, completing her PHD in Chicago, Christine has a great passion for sharing The Rule of St Benedict as a guide for living Christian discipleship.

Leadership

The Benedictine Way

Obedience Revisited

The common perception of what is entailed in the exercise of authority and in responding to it is subjected to critical examination by a discussion of certain elements in the Benedictine tradition which give a more nuanced approach.

Michael Casey ocso

Father Michael Casey has been a monk of Tarrawarra since 1960. After completing degrees in Scripture at Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology for his study of Saint Bernard by Melbourne College of Divinity. In April 2022 the Roman university Sant Anselmo conferred a Doctorate honoris causa. He is the author of many books and articles on monastic spirituality.

Ecological Conversion

The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

Pouring Out Mercy, Pouring Out Love – Being Stewards of Earth

Stewardship is rooted in an understanding of who we are in relationship with God and all of creation. It is a total way of life which emphasises wholeness and wholesomeness and connectedness. It is a call to a conversion of life that impels us to pour out mercy and pour out love as we respond to ‘the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor’ (Laudato Si, n49). This workshop will encourage dialogue about being stewards of Earth and what is asked of us as we engage with the ecological challenges presented in Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. Through the lens of our Benedictine spirituality and Catholic social teaching, we will see that the environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored. The workshop will explore ways we can respond to the call to respectfully care for our planet and live our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.

Pat O’Gorman

Pat O’Gorman is a Good Samaritan Oblate who lives in the beautiful village of Jamberoo on the South Coast. She is a creature of Earth, made of stardust and a product of 13.8 billion years of evolutionary history. After more than 40 years in Catholic education, Pat recently left fulltime employment as Director of Mission Integration for Good Samaritan Education and is enjoying easing into retirement, learning to forge a new relationship with time and discovering what life is like on the other side of busyness. She continues to be a seeker and life-long learner and has recently set up ‘Berakah Consultancy’ with a focus on identity, mission and formation.

Synodal Church

Plenary and Beyond

What being Church means in the context of a Ministerial PJP…beyond the Plenary

This workshop will explore the role of Ministerial PJP’s and their role and context in the Australian church.

Eva Skira

Eva has been a non executive director for 30 years of some 30 organisations, including ASX listed companies, private companies, government utilities, not for profits and faith-based organisations. Industries include engineering, mining services, water infrastructure, energy, construction, higher education, health, superannuation, insurance, energy, forestry, membership services, community services and cricket.

Current roles include Chair Catholic Education WA, Chair Association of Ministerial PJPs, Chair Macmahon Mining Services, Director Western Power and Chair WACA.

Building Bridges

Reconciliation and Story

Dig deep into story…”the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you (Aboriginal people) have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others” Pope John Paull II – Alice Springs, 29 Nov 1986.

Brooke Prentis

A descendant of the Wakka Wakka peoples.

Brooke is an international speaker, writer, educator, and poet, as well as a community pastor and pursuer of justice.  She has published a number of academic papers, chapters of books, and lectures.
Brooke was the first Aboriginal person to be appointed as the CEO of a national Christian organisation in Australia that is not a specifically Indigenous organisation, the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts, and one of only about 30 Indigenous Chartered Accountants in all of Australia. 

I have loved building relationships with Aboriginal peoples right across these lands now called Australia particularly through being the volunteer Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering (www.grasstreegathering.org.au), a growing network of over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders from across Australia and across denominations.  

Education

Futures of Work: what education can and can’t do

The session explores the context for education now and in the foreseeable future – climate change, changing gender relations, technological change, inequality. What is the impact on education and education policy?

John Buchanan

Professor John Buchanan is Head of Discipline, Business Analytics, University of Sydney Business School. He has produced many scholarly and policy research publications on work and skills formation, the latest as editor (along with Chris Warhurst,
Ken Mayhew and David Finegold) of the Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
John’s recent research work has been in partnership with EDUCATION: FUTURE FRONTIERS, an initiative of the NSW Department of Education exploring the implications of developments in AI and automation for education.

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Lay leadership of an apostolic work

“Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the people of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium). By virtue of our baptism, we are called to participate in the mission of the Church and to contribute to its fruitfulness with our innovation, creativity and passion. As we listen to the Spirit and come into full awareness of our identity and being as children of God, we play a part in the transformation of the world. Come to this seminar ready to receive and give witness to examples of lay people who are participating in mission leadership with dynamism and joy.

Selina Hasham is the CEO of Harvest Journeys Australia, a pilgrimage specialist agency dedicated to sacred journeys of faith. Selina has worked in communications for the Church for 15 years in the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Diocese of Broken Bay. She has returned to Harvest where she began her career building up the World Youth Day pilgrimages for young Australians. She is a member of a lay Catholic community, involved in works of evangelisation and dedicated to offering Catholics creative opportunities for encounters with God.

Spirituality

What on earth is an “Oblate”? Lessons from the Manquehue Apostolic Movement.

St Benedict invites us to “listen with the ear of the heart” and “prefer nothing whatever to Christ” while trusting always in the mercy of God. Oblates are women and men who seek to live their baptism in the tradition of Benedict. What can we learn from the Manquehue community in Chile that might help us in our inculturation of ancient wisdom in our contemporary Australian school contexts?

Dr Paul O’Shea

Paul O’Shea has taught in Sydney Catholic schools since 1991. He holds degrees in theology, education and history. Since 2011 he has been the Dean of Ministry at Rosebank College where he discovered the Good Sams and learned that one did not have to quit his day job to be Benedictine. Paul will make his commitment as a Good Samaritan Benedictine Oblate in August.

Leadership

The Benedictine Way

Discipline – Discipleship

Discipline is a harsh word, but it is a variant of “discipleship”. A disciplined life is one of ongoing learning; accepting reality, responding to it and building up a wealth of experience which enriches one’s capacity to respond creatively to changing situations.

Michael Casey ocso

Father Michael Casey has been a monk of Tarrawarra since 1960. After completing degrees in Scripture at Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology for his study of Saint Bernard by Melbourne College of Divinity. In April 2022 the Roman university Sant Anselmo conferred a Doctorate honoris causa. He is the author of many books and articles on monastic spirituality.

Synodal Church

Plenary and Beyond

Is a transformed Church possible after the Plenary Council?

The workshop will consider the factors making a Transformed Church possible, likely or unlikely. Transformation is a challenging aspiration, relying on cultural and structural change. The diversity within the church makes for various possible answers.

John Warhurst

John Warhurst is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, chair of Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn, and a Member of the Plenary Council.

Building Bridges

It’s wisdom born of pain: Women and the Church

Let’s courageously explore our current relationship to the Church, name the experiences and issues that cause us pain and uncover the wisdom strategies that enable us to grow deeper rather than grow bitter as women of faith.

Andrea Dean

Andrea has a background in education, theology and spirituality. After more than forty years working within and for the Catholic Church she is now endeavouring to ‘be Church’, most publicly through her role as President of WATAC (Women and the Australian Church).

Education

Harnessing the transformative potential of education

Today’s five year olds will spend most of their working lives in the second half of the 21st century. Does our current approach to school education sufficiently ensure our young people will have the knowledge, skills, values and experiences to thrive in a rapidly changing world? Do we need to reframe education to better meet the future needs of students given predicted economic, societal and workplace change?

Tish Creenaune

Tish Creenaune is a Senior Manager at IPPG. Tish is a highly regarded and experienced public sector executive in the education and training, innovation, communities and social policy fields as a policy planner and strategic project manager leading change projects and reform. She has worked closely with senior officers in government agencies and Government Ministers in leading the implementation of government policy and delivered on social, innovation, community and educational outcomes.

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

The Holy Spirit and Lay Ecclesial Ministry

This workshop will explore the phenomenon of Lay Ecclesial Ministry as a hope-filled sign of the Spirit’s work for the life and mission of the contemporary Catholic Church. The valued contributions of educators in Catholic Schools will be considered as an example of how the Spirit is inspiring the growth of a synodal Church underpinned by “an ecclesiology of communio” envisioned at Vatican II.

Julie Trinidad

Julie is a lecturer in Catholic Studies Lecturer at the University of South Australia. She also works as part of the Religious Education and Faith Formation Team at Catholic Education SA. Julie has been Ministry Formation Program Coordinator for the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide and lecturer in ministry studies at the Catholic Theological College. She has held the position of Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide and has been a teacher and Religious Education Coordinator/Assistant Principal Religious Identity and Mission (APRIM) in a number of Catholic secondary schools both in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Leadership

The Benedictine Way

Humility: Self-Truth

The Benedictine tradition of humility is focused on coming to a truthful estimation of oneself and of others and on behaving and responding in a way that is concordant with the truth perceived.

Michael Casey ocso

Father Michael Casey has been a monk of Tarrawarra since 1960. After completing degrees in Scripture at Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology for his study of Saint Bernard by Melbourne College of Divinity. In April 2022 the Roman university Sant Anselmo conferred a Doctorate honoris causa. He is the author of many books and articles on monastic spirituality.