introducing Fr Jim Consedine
key activities in this agenda area coordinated by Deirdre
Gardiner rsm have been:
organisation of a workshop on Restorative Justice with
the Catholic Prison Chaplains and Catholic Prison Ministry,
involving Father Jim Consedine
follow-up to the workshop
submission, in collaboration with PolMin, to a Senate Inquiry
on the excision of islands from the mainland
for Aboriginal people seeking justice for stolen wages
of a seminar module on CST and Prisons.
best that most of us can do is to take hold
of the near edge of some great issue/problem
and to act at cost to ourselves.
Communications and Information Technology
O'Keeffe pbvm has continued to ensure that SAO communications
are of a high quality in terms of presentation. The bi-monthly
newsletter INFORM-ACTION, the website and the fortnightly
e-bulletin SAO BYTES have been the main means of communication
of the SAO's agenda and their high quality presentation is
due to Cathy's commitment and expertise in this area.
is worth noting that like many similar non-government agencies,
the SAO's media are part of a global network of micro media
outlets which provide a real alternative to the big mass
media conglomerates which are owned by private interests mainly
and which offer little or no relief from the promotion of
the dominant culture and economy and the mass consumption
that accompanies this. The SAO takes considerable pride in
being part of the global micro media network.
has also provided expertise in the production of:
Climate Change Fact Sheet, which drew praise from
many sources for both content and presentation
Sophia Circles bookmark
CST seminar modules.
of an email and facsimile political and media database has
been a priority in the second half of 2002 as well as working
on improving the presentation and usability of SAO BYTES.
Research and Education
has encompassed the coordination and editing of the newsletter,
fortnightly preparation of the content of SAO BYTES and regular
updates of the SAO website. The website has been an important
vehicle for linking SAO agenda areas to research undertaken
by others thus eliminating the duplication of resources in
in previous years, political ministry is based on sound research
and analysis of issues. In 2002, the production of the Climate
Change Fact Sheet and the sample lobbying letter were
an example of this linkage between research and lobbying for
the common good.
year two articles for the media were prepared to promote the
SAO's work and to educate on issues. Going Green for God
was contracted to a journalist to maximise exposure in mainstream
media outlets - with marginal success. Standing the Test
of Time was written to highlight the tenth anniversary
of Common Wealth for the Common Good and was published
in The Catholic Leader. Two SAO stories have appeared
in Australian Religious and while not authored by SAO
staff, they have relied considerably on SAO input.
seminar modules on the environment and on prisons have been
Kingston has continued the responsibility of coordinating
the SAO in 2002. This has involved tasks such as:
with other staff in the planning and preparation of a Work
Plan to cover all aspects of the SAO's operation
with staff on the requirements of each agenda area
the preparation of a monthly report to CLRIQ
the liaison point for CLRIQ
reviewing of the Work Plan at SAO staff meetings
with the Communications/IT Officer on a weekly basis and
planning the timing of newsletters and SAO BYTES
with Annette Arnold rsj, the SAO finances and providing
CLRIQ with quarterly financial statements.
early part of the year Coralie took eight weeks' long service
leave and the SAO survived with the wonderful effort of everyone.
duties have been undertaken in 2002 by Annette Arnold rsj.
Annette has kept the financial records updated, maintained
office equipment and kept office essentials supplied. This
is a very important part of SAO life and the other staff are
very appreciative of this contribution made by Annette. She
has also made an outstanding contribution to the running of
Justice Place, often in frustrating circumstances. It is fair
to say that the SAO's role in the operation of this multi-tenanted
centre goes well beyond what it should be - if true mutuality
existed among the tenant groups.
spirituality which is the foundation for the Social Action
is centred on Sophia's transformative dream for all creation.
Vigil at the Cathedral of St Stephen
that comes from prayer and reflection has been nourished in
the SAO in 2002. The Sophia Circles have been continued and
a number of public prayer vigils have been organised by the
SAO to mark special events - notably the WSSD and the anniversary
of 11 September 2001.
the end of 2001 the SAO was caught up in a campaign of vilification
of women Religious and of their commitment to enabling
the expression of a contemporary spirituality especially
among women. The emphasis on "Sophia" in the
SAO's spirituality was targeted. While this caused some
distress at the time, it actually assisted the SAO in discerning
more and clarifying the basis of a social action spirituality
- especially for women in developed countries such as Australia.
The Sophia/Wisdom tradition speaks more to us now than
ever. This criticism also provided the opportunity to improve
the way in which this spirituality is communicated to others
and to ensure an understanding that this is grounded in
the timeless tradition of faith.
of the Sophia Circles have been:
the Refugee in us all
still to come:
of the Outback (held in October)
Times (held in November).
page on the SAO website has been updated throughout the year
with one new inclusion being a Recommended Reading section
- short book review - uploaded on a monthly basis. The recommended
books are generally related to social action and spirituality.
Tony Hempenstall cfc has continued as the SAO staff's group
supervisor. The staff have had group supervision for almost
three years and it is still beneficial. It provides a safe
forum for raising issues that impact upon staff relationships
and for resolving these, if that is required. While sometimes
demanding, group supervision has contributed positively to
the operation of the SAO.
Inter-Congregational Social Action Group (ICSAG)
a meal after an ICSAG meeting
of the ICSAG have continued to be high-energy gatherings,
combining business and reflection with a good social occasion.
important to acknowledge the contribution of the many people
who are a part of the SAO network and who work alongside the
staff in various campaigns and who participate in the same
social movements which encompass the three SAO agenda areas.
SAO operates on the basis of partnership, mutuality and shared
values and vision. It is a great privilege to be with those
who, day after day, seek to transform this world into a place
where justice, peace and ecological sustainability will flourish.
to East Timor
and Fr Peter in Dili
this year Cathy O'Keeffe was given leave from SAO to visit
East Timor at the invitation of the Fr Peter Puthenkandam
cmf, the Director of Catholic Communications East Timor (CCET),
to assist him in assessing the performance and needs of CCET
and making plans for the future of the ministry. CCET is a
ministry of the Diocese of Dili which lost everything in the
mayhem that followed the referendum in 1999. Its mission of
providing the people of East Timor with educative, liturgical,
cultural and faith-building resources is now taking on a new
importance at this time of building an independent and free
her visit, Cathy wrote a report for CCET which was forwarded
to Fr Peter. This report has also recently been submitted
to Aid to the Church in Need (Asia Section) to accompany
CCET's application for funding. On a smaller scale Cathy is
also raising funds to help with some operational costs of
CCET, particularly staff benefits such as increment in salary
and educational opportunities, facilities such as a motorcycle,
sickness benefits and midday meals. With funding from the
Presentation Sisters' Promotion of Mission Fund, Cathy has
produced professionally printed cards using photos she took
during her visit to East Timor. These are now being sold and
the proceeds are going to CCET.
years of the life of the SAO is brought to closure we are
mindful that 2003 will bring staff changes and, with that,
other changes are likely to follow. Life and growth require
change. The soil is rich and we are confident that life will
flourish in the years 2003 to 2005.
major aspect of the change to take place is the departure
of Coralie Kingston from the Social Action Office. In 1992
Coralie was the person who was engaged by CLRIQ to bring to
birth the shared vision they held for the SAO. Coralie (along
with some administrative support) was the only worker for
the first five years. Her strong and enduring commitment to
social justice along with her very high degree of skill has
been highly valued by all associated with the SAO. She will
indeed be missed. Life and growth require change and the rich
soil that will nurture and enable SAO's life to continue to
grow and develop is a legacy Coralie has had a very significant
role in creating.
thanks for all who have been part of the SAO since 1992 -
the Congregational Leaders, women and men Religious, the people
who have worked here at various times, the partners and supporters,
the Justice Place groups who have come and gone, the organisations
that have made donations to support projects, the wider partners
in the social movements. It has been quite a story so far.
our stories is a political act.
Without stories there is no articulation of experiences -
Without stories we don't learn the value of our struggles
or comprehend our pain -
Without stories we cannot understand ourselves
or dance in the rain -
We are closed in the silence.
Action Office Staff