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Thursday, 14 June 2018 11:40

Let us continue to be people who journey with hope

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1712RuthDurick 150This edition of Pathways will be my last as President of CRA. Next week at the National Assembly we will elect a new President and Council. The theme of the Assembly “Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope” is reflective of our call to life at present.

We are here, in Australia, which while being an island is no isolated region. Many of our members are part of international institutes which brings with it a richness and resource for building a global community. We are very much part of the Asia Pacific region with all the richness and challenge that this offers. We also have a distinctive character which is Australian.

The evolutionary nature of all life is a rich gift which brings surprises wherever we might like to see them. Religious Life is no exception. This is a challenging time for us. It is also a hopeful time. What we are to be in the future is not yet revealed. However, what we do and how we live now will very much enrich that future. Which is why it is an ‘evolution with hope’.

Our hope is always for things unseen. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans: “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (8:24)

The last two years have been challenging and rich in many ways. The restructure of CRA which is seeing the closing of the state leadership bodies and the ongoing development of the new CRA as the peak body for religious in Australia has been a work in progress during that time. This new CRA is now ready to be launched. Evolution will be very much a part of the new organisation as it seeks to respond to the needs of leaders of religious institutes and the needs of the church and society in Australia.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has had an enormous impact in all of our lives. There are many ways of responding to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, some of which are well underway now. What is important is that we keep the momentum, the response, evolving. We need to keep sight of the people involved and not just the processes. We can have policies, tick boxes, have the paperwork in place but we must not forget that survivors are the central focus of all we are doing in the process of healing and redress, and respect for the dignity and care of children and vulnerable adults must be our inspiration for anything we do now and into the future to make places safe for all.

I would like to thank all those who have supported CRA during my time as President: those who have challenged us to be bold, those who have supported us in our mission, those who have enriched our lives through the wonderful ministries carried out in so many different parts of our country. I would like to say a special ‘Thank You’ to my Ursuline Sisters who have supported me in carrying this extra role while I have been Provincial.
Let us continue to be people who journey with hope to a future which calls us in love.