CSFN Updates

What Makes Associate Meetings Special?


The associates love to gather for their bi- monthly meeting.  One wonders what do Associates consider makes the meeting of 27 February 2016 so special?  Was it the talk presented by Sister Valerie Powidzki CSFN on her attendance of the World Meeting of Families that was held in Philadelphia from 22-27 September 2015?  The previous seven meetings were held in different countries.  The 8th meeting attendance comprised Families from around the world and the Holy Father Pope Francis.  The Associates expressed surprise at never hearing about the other seven meetings that were previously held in different countries!  We put it down to lack of media advertising such an event.

 Perhaps this Associate meeting was special because it we heard Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s address to the Conference on “The Family: a Home for the Wounded Heart” that the group viewed on the Internet.  Cardinal Luis told the group that everyone struggles with painful situations such as loneliness, poverty, disability, illness and addiction, and unemployment. In our families and churches, we must walk with each other in love and support, even carrying those with great need. The latter part of his talk contained tips on how family members could assist the healing of wounded hearts.

Each Associate meeting allows us to gather around the altar to celebrate the Mass.  Father Joe Manjaly celebrated the Mass of the Second Week of Lent.   Jesus’ presence among us in Word, and strengthening us, teaching us, and giving Himself to us in the Eucharist is always a special miracle of His love. 

Finally could the social gathering of the group make the meeting special?  Is it the lunch, conversation, enjoyment of each other’s company and catching up on what others in the group experience in their lives?  Or maybe our meetings are special because at the end of our time together we anticipate the next meeting to come.

Why not come and join us?

By Sister Jean Wojcik CSFN


Postulant Reflection


Pope Francis, in his Bull Misericordiae Vultus, described the mercy of God as a never-ending, loving concern for each person. I have felt this mercy in a deep and special way throughout my life, but a particularly strong encounter with God’s love took place on March 19. On this day, I was received as a postulant into the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, after having journeyed as an affiliate for over twelve months. The previous several weeks had been a time of spiritual and emotional preparation for me as I tried to help myself become as aware as I could of what becoming a postulant, and becoming a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the Holy Spirit Province, would mean. It was particularly meaningful for me that I would be received into the congregation on the solemnity of St Joseph, a saint who is particularly special for me.

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I was received as a postulant in a beautiful prayer ceremony held at Our Lady Queen of Poland convent, Marayong, where I was privileged to be joined by the sisters from that community and from our surrounding convents. A very powerful moment of the ceremony was when I said, with all the sisters, St Augustine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit, while each sister extended her hand over me in blessing. I felt in this moment, and throughout the ceremony, that I was truly giving myself to Jesus, to our Mother Foundress, and to my sisters in the Holy Spirit Province and all around the world. It was such a powerful, stirring and exciting feeling. Sr Grace Rocławska, Provincial, gave me several symbols of my postulancy: a medal, a book of meditations, and several books on the life of Mother Foundress, our Blessed Martyrs, and Servant of God Sr Małgorzata. She then presented me to my pre-novitiate director, Sr Małgorzata Kozub, with whom I had the great privilege to work closely as an affiliate. Following the ceremony we all experienced a wonderful time of joyful fellowship. I loved just being with sisters and talking with them, as well as sharing an array of beautiful cakes!

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I truly see the work of God, and His mercy, present in my life and in my beginning as a postulant. Every day I am so thankful, and often truly amazed, that God has shown me such mercy in leading me where I am – in leading me to Nazareth and to a deeper encounter with Him. It is with deep gratitude that I look back on my call to Nazareth, on the particular events and people that led me to where I am today. It is with very real joy that I look towards my future.

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Written by Sr Sophie Boffa csfn, postulant


Associates Celebrate Christmas

The Association of the Holy Family of Nazareth met 19 December 2015 to celebrate Christmas and to hold their last meeting of this year. The group gathered together in the meeting room of Queen of Poland Convent at 10:30 am.  After taking refreshments of tea, coffee and some biscuits to nibble, they took seats to listen to Sister Helen Tereba’s presentation of the Nazareth Ministry in Ghana.

It was interesting to note that Sisters of Nazareth opened the mission in Ghana only three years ago.  Since the first arrivals, eight sisters now reside two neighbouring dioceses.  With the assistance of contributions from generous associates and sponsored ministries, the first stages of two schools have been built.  The first students- nursery level 1 comprising three year olds have begun their educational journeys at these schools.  These children are taught by native teachers, who are continuing their education themselves.  Nevertheless, it was deemed so important that the children are taught in their mother tongue-TWI. (Twi is a dialect of Akan, a member of the Kwa sub-group of Niger-Congo languages. There are about 7 million Twi speakers, mainly in Ghana.) 

Pictures accompanied Sister Helen’s talk.  The group saw the little three year old students, of Holy Family of Nazareth Schools in Chiraa and Yamfo, dressed in bright green and gold uniforms.  Other scenes depicted the houses of the people and priestly and catechists’ visits and classroom scenes.  It was amazing to find out that these little students (at three years of age) attend school for five hours a day, five days a week!

Discussion with Sister Helen followed her talk.  Associates asked how they could best continue supporting the Ghana mission.  Sister Helen reiterated that continued financial support would allow the sisters to direct funds to the training of teachers; to purchase of educational resources for the children; and to build of the next stage of the two schools. 

The Chaplain for the day was Father Dominik Karnas, CSMA from Horsley Park.  Prior to Mass, Father Dominik offered the group the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Then he celebrated Mass.

Sister Joanna Zarzyczna, Assistant Provincial, barbecued the meat for lunch.  Salads, fresh bread rolls, and condiments comprised the first course.  Ice cream, cake, a gelatine moulded, in the form of a decorated Christmas tree, and homemade lamingtons, the result of skills shared by two associates, were enjoyed for dessert.

Table conversations were lively, as the group enjoyed each other’s company. Before the group left for home, Sister Grażyna Rocławska took the opportunity to thank Sister Alicja Drabik, Director of the Associates and the sisters, who assisted in preparations for the meetings throughout the year.  Then she thanked the Associates for attending the meetings and their support with the Ghana project.         

The members of the Association wish all our readers a Blessed Christmas and peace and joy in the coming New Year.

Donations towards the places of our Congregation which are in need of your support can be made by cheque or Direct Transfer .

Kindly make cheques out to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and send to POBox 8142, Blacktown, NSW, Australia or directly to:

BANK: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Blacktown Branch

Account Name: Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth Mission Fund

BSB: 062121    Account No: 10920857

For more information about the Ghana mission please visit the website:  Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth Ghana www.nazarethfamily.org

Celebrating Life's Journey

The 21st of November is a special day for the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, as it is the day on which we commemorate the death of our Foundress, Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd. This year’s Feast Day was particularly memorable for the Sisters of Holy Spirit Province, as we gathered to celebrate the Golden Jubilees of Sisters Helen Tereba and Anita Litwin.

Fifty years of faithfulness and commitment to any vocation is such a beautiful achievement to witness and celebrate. I have been fortunate to witness the Golden Jubilees of marriage of my maternal and paternal grandparents, but had never participated in Jubilee celebrations of a religious vocation. And as someone who is just beginning their journey in religious life, this was quite a meaningful experience for me. It was, and continues to be, a sign for me of the depth of God’s love and the reality of His presence. God calls each one of us to our own particular way of life which will ultimately bring us closest to Him. He invites us without any force or demands. We are free to choose. The choice of Sisters Helen and Anita, and the way in which they live that choice, is for me a testament to the presence of God at work among and within us, calling us to live openly, joyfully, and with complete trust. It acted as a reaffirmation of the true beauty I have come to discover lies in a religious vocation, and a sign of the beauty I am excited to find as I continue on my life’s journey with God.

We began our Jubilee celebrations at 11 AM, with Mass celebrated at Our Lady of Częstochowa Polish War Memorial Chapel. We were fortunate to have as our principal celebrant the Most Reverend Joseph Oudemann, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane, who was joined by the Vicar General of Newcastle/Maitland, Father Brian Mascord, and by Father Henryk Zasiura, the rector of the Chapel. Our prayerful liturgy was all the more enhanced by the beautiful music of the choir of Mary, Queen of the Family Parish in Blacktown. Our Mass was attended by Sisters from around the Province and by the family members and friends of the Jubilarians, who all gathered together to give thanks for and celebrate this incredible milestone. The presence of so many people was a clear and beautiful gesture of the love Sister Helen’s and Sister Anita’s families have for them.
During the liturgy, Sisters Helen and Anita renewed their vows before our Provincial Superior, Sr Grace Rocławska. This was a particularly moving experience for me to witness, as once more it brought to mind the gentle guidance of God, whose presence I deeply felt in the church that day. It also reminded me of the power of our choices, as before us all Sisters Helen and Anita knelt and willingly entrusted themselves and their lives once more into the hands of God as consecrated women.

After this time of prayer and thanksgiving the festivities continued around the table of plenty. Throughout the splendid meal was woven toasts and wishes. Sr Grace spoke on behalf of the Sisters in the Province, and Eugene, the brother of Sr Helen, spoke on behalf of the families about his memories of what is it like to have a nun as his sister. Finally, Sr Helen expressed words of gratitude for the celebration on behalf of both Jubilarians.

The chats, photos and memories were shared long after the last visitor left the place. And the journey continues…

By Sister Grażyna Rocławska, Provincial Superior,  and Sophie Boffa, Aspirant

Parramatta Diocesan Celebration of Consecrated Life

On Sunday, August 9, the Parramatta diocese held a celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. Our Sisters attended a Solemn Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, which was celebrated by Very Reverend Father Peter Williams, Diocesan Administrator of Parramatta, and concelebrated by priests from different religious orders. The Cathedral choir led the congregation with beautiful singing. It was great to see that there were not only in attendance many religious from around the diocese, but also members of the general public. Following the Mass there was a Vocations Fest in the Cloister, coordinated by Sister Rosie Drum of the Missionaries of God’s Love, and actor and comedian Rob Shehadie. It was a good opportunity to connect with religious from many congregations; to hear several testimonies on religious life; and to meet and engage with families and youth. Sisters Grace Rocławska, Provincial Superior, Małgorzata Kozub, Vocation Director,  Paula Volchek, Alicja Drabik, Joanna Zarzyczna, Agnes Misiak, Rita Marie Apura, and I represented Nazareth at a beautiful stall of vocational materials! Finally, the day concluded with a prayer and a Holy Hour in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
Please join us in praying for young people discerning their vocations: that they may hear God calling them and find the courage to respond.

LORD of the Harvest,
BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.
Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving—
for vocations blossom in the
good soil of faithful people.
INSTILL those in religious life, parish
ministries, and families with the confidence
and grace to invite others to embrace
the bold and noble path of a life
consecrated to you.
UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament,
so that we may cooperate
with you in building your reign of mercy
and truth, of justice and peace. Amen.
— Pope Francis
 By Miss Sophie Boffa



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