2012 National Assembly elects new CRA President


Catholic Religious Australia News Story
Some members of the new CRA National Council: Sr Kath Tynan pbvm (left), Sr Annette Cunliffe rsc, Fr Graeme Duro sss, Sr Veronica Hoey sgs and Sr Grace Roclawska csfn.

It was not only about revisiting the idea of charism and mission at the 36th National Assembly of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), but the spotlight also turned to the new leadership of the CRA Council with Sister Annette Cunliffe rsc at the helm.

At this year’s assembly, about 140 leaders of religious institutes and lay partners gathered in Adelaide from 26 to 29 June.

The theme “Charism Beyond Borders” explored the ways in which religious charism is lived, communicated and challenged in a post-Christian Australian society.

Wisdom from a prayerful and pastoral life

Catholic Religious Australia News Story
Sr Annette Cunliffe rsc (left) with Sr Anne Derwin rsj, immediate Past President of CRA.

With lay people increasingly ministering in partnership with religious, their voices were also heard as this year, for the first time, lay partners were invited to this gathering.

At the assembly, the President and members of the National Council of CRA were elected for the following two years.

“I see my new role as a great honour and privilege,” Sr Annette said of her election as CRA President by her peers.

I see the role of President as one of facilitating collaboration of Religious to make a difference in the Church and wider society, to bring the world closer to the way God dreams it could be – a world of peace and transparent justice.

“Together, Religious can do even more than if each group acts independently.”

CRA Director Sister Veronica McCluskie sgs said she was pleased with Sr Annette’s appointment.

“Annette brings with her the experience of the last council. This will enable a smooth transition,” Sr Veronica said.

“She has the wisdom of a variety of different experiences especially in her role as Co-chair of the National Professional Standards Committee. But she also has the wisdom that comes from a prayerful and pastoral life.”

“I am delighted that she has generously taken on this role on top of a very busy life as leader of her own Congregation.”

Bringing justice and peace to all nations

Catholic Religious Australia News Story
CRA National Council members Fr Tony Banks osa (left), Sr Sally Bradley rsm, Sr Marion Gambin rsj and Br Jeff Crowe fms.

Sr Annette, who previously served as a Council member under the leadership of Sister Anne Derwin rsj, is joined on the National Council by Sister Marion Gambin rsj (Vice President and SA representative), Father Tony Banks osa (Treasurer and NSW Representative), Brother Vince Duggan cfc, Sister Grace Roclawska csfn and Father Graeme Duro sss.

New members to the Council are Sister Kath Tynan pbvm (Queensland Represenative), Sister Veronica Hoey sgs (Victorian Representative), Sister Sally Bradley rsm, Brother Jeff Crow fms and the Anglican Representative, Father Keith Dean-Jones ogs.

Sr Annette brings with her a wealth of experience from various teaching and leadership positions. Since December 2008, she has taken on the role of Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Charity Australia for the second time.

During her first term as Congregational Leader from 1996-2002, she also held the positions of President of CLRI (NSW) and Inaugural Chair of the Stewardship Board of Catholic Health Australia and Trustee of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

Sr Annette has also held Board positions as a Director of Mt St Michael’s College Ashgrove, St Vincent's Health Melbourne and Monte Sant’ Angelo College North Sydney.

From 2003 until late 2008, Sr Annette joined Australian Catholic University as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Leadership, and for three years took on the role of Head of the School.

She has been a member of the National Committee on Professional Standards since mid-2010 and co-chair since 2011 and is currently serving as Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and as a Trustee of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

Sr Annette looks forward to continuing the work of the last CRA Council and to engaging in advocacy of pressing social issues.

One exciting recent initiative has been closer collaboration through a Justice Network,” Sr Annette said.

This enables us to respond as a group to significant issues in Australia. Recently we were able to issue a joint Statement with the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, calling for our nation to listen to the wishes of our Aboriginal people.

“My hope is that, with the Council, I can listen to the needs and challenges of our members and so carry out the purposes of CRA effectively for the sake of Jesus’ mission to bring justice and peace to all nations.”

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