27, May

Reflections from Nagle Education Australia Conference

Author: SEO



Susan Miller of Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga, has collated insights from participants at the Nagle Educational Alliance of Australia (NEAA) Conference held in Sydney 3-5 May 2017.


Keynote speakers at the NEAA Conference were:


Sr Joyce Meyer pbvm from Aberdeen in the USA.  Joyce is currently working with Global Sisters Report and as a consultant to organisations working with Religious Sisters in Africa and Asia.  She opened the conference with the invitation to reflect on the Presentation call to go “one step beyond”  as we grow into being  global citizens who see the cosmic world as home and take active responsibility to work toward creating a world of justice and peace.


Points which found a place with participating Presentation people:

  • The danger of a single story—as long as I keep a single vision of something that is what it becomes..
  • Open myself to those who have different lives, then I become a global citizen…
  • If we look beyond our borders we are on the right side of history…
  • Experiences are only the seeds, it is what we do with them…
  • Our secularised society is inward looking.
  • All is impacting everywhere/here/there/among us/around us..
  • The charism catches us…We are all caught by the charism…


Mr Tim Costello, AO, World Vision Australia’s Chief Advocate spoke of his experiences in different parts of the world.  His stories of standing with the oppressed, acting against injustice and offering relief in emergencies took us “one step beyond” and invited us to reflect on the “why” behind the commitment of Presentation People to do the same.


Points which found a place with participating Presentation people:

  • There are scars on our hearts to prove we are feeling people.
  • There is value in disaster as all our mistakes go up in flames and we can start anew.
  • Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.
  • Success is stumbling from one step to the next…
  • We scapegoat others to explain our pain and keep our power.
  • Even our enemy carries the image of God.
  • Christian faith draws us out to places no one else will go to assist the needy.
  • What is it that if I don’t do it, the world is going to be poorer and I’m going to be poorer?
  • The world has to work together to solve problems.


Sr Marlette Black pbvm, Queensland’s Congregation Leader and President of Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea presented a critique of how the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being implemented.  Marlette invited us to see the intrinsic connection between Nano Nagle’s vision and the SDGs.  She challenged us to take “one step beyond” in developing a new understanding of what development needs to look like as we seek to create a world where no one is denied what they need for living in dignity and freedom.  Presentation People in Australia and Papua New Guinea are invited to join in working toward the realisation of Goal 5:  Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Sr Josephine McCarthy pbvm, from Cork, Ireland shared something of her 20 years’ experience as a missionary in South America.  It was this experience of being Presentation in the developing world that had an impact on her when she returned to Ireland.  Josephine now works with the Presentation Sisters’ Cork Migrant Centre and co-ordinates the Global Education Experience project.  This project provides teachers and students in Presentation Schools with the opportunity to be immersed in Presentation ministries in developing countries, to expose them to a different people and culture.

A quote from Sr Josephine, pbvm that touched many of us at the NEAA Conference:     “Nano didn’t talk her vision, she walked it…”

Other speakers gave practical expression to the theme of going “One Step Beyond”:

  • Papua New Guinea The challenges of Presentation ministry in PNG were shared by Sr Mary Tubor pbvm ( Mary is a teacher) and Mr and Mrs Job and Alexia Tomur.  Job is the District Education Manager for Aitape.  Alexia has been a teacher and  is currently a counsellor.
  • Local examples of Presentation People going “one step beyond
    • Sr Anne Jordan and a worker from Cana Communities spoke of their service with disadvantaged men and women living with multiple barriers to fullness of life. They spoke of the resilience of these people.
    • Sr Margaret Barclay and Jenny Sheppard spoke about their work with children and their families of Sydney’s south-western suburbs through the Nagle Camps for disadvantaged children.
    • Sr Susan Miller spoke of her experience of people seeking asylum in her work at the House of Welcome, of their needs for material and emotional support during the complex application process and of their resilience and courage.
    • Sr Lynne Crilley spoke of her involvement with ACRATH as they work to eliminate human trafficking of every kind in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Where to from here:  In this final session, participants were invited to reflect on and share with each other their experience of the conference and what had touched them.  Their ideas about how they would take this theme of going “one step beyond” back to their school communities were creative and full of energy.


A general comment was that the Conference drew upon the enthusiasm of men and women who have been “caught by the charism” of Nano Nagle. As Susan Miller comments “it is energising and encouraging for me and leaves me with a wonderful sense of hope in the future for those who will be touched by Presentation People and our students.” 


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