CSFN Updates

April Meeting of the Associates

Uplifting our Spirits
It is always a good day to look forward to when once again we gather with our friends at the Queen of Poland Convent in Marayong for the get together of the Associates of the Sisters of the Holy family of Nazareth.  On Saturday the 11th April 2015 it was time again for some reflection and prayer as we gathered at 10.00 am after a warm greeting by the Sisters in their home at Marayong.   Our first half hour was an opportunity to meet and greet all associates who attend, some of who travel from Canberra each time we get together every two months or so.  It is good to see members young and old together in our group enjoying a cuppa along with the lovely cakes the Sisters prepare for us.  We all come from various backgrounds and lifestyles but we all share the same love for our families and pray for the work the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth do to enrich families in difficulty everywhere and at every opportunity.

Sister Maureen Joseph Stempko , who is based in Brisbane, was invited to join us as the Presenter for this meeting.  She gave us a very interesting overview of her presentation at the Symposium held in Rome this year where she represented the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Australia.   Apart from giving us a challenging task of drawing a small picture our family in no more than 10 minutes, colours and all, Sister Maureen proceeded to present us with a number of posters drawn by various people of all ages and cultures to illustrate how others perceive being part of a family reflecting their culture, background and their current environment.   Sister Maureen also presented us with a visual presentation of statistics about the Australian population in regards to living standards, religion, beliefs and many more interesting facts about the country we live in.  There was an overview of the Australian history since the First Fleet landed on Australian soil some 227 years ago. To international participants attending the Rome Symposium, this would have seemed a very young nation.  Sister Maureen also talked about the Indigenous history of Australia where the native Aborigines lived since 40,000BC (no it is not a misprint!)   We were given a handout listing the Australian Catholic Church history timeline. This illustrates the immense contribution of the Church in Australia in the last two centuries.

The Mass commenced at 12.00 pm with the celebrant being Father Jose Manjaly MS. who is currently Assistant Parish Priest at St Nicholas of Myra Parish in Penrith.  This is always regarded as the highlight of our gathering and I personally always feel so blessed to be in the presence of around 12 nuns and other Associates as we pray and sing together during this celebration of the Eucharist.   Father  Jose expressed his delight in being in Marayong once again after his departure from St Andrew the Apostle Parish two years ago.  He offered encouraging words to all present in keeping peace in our families and in joining the Sisters in praying for suffering families everywhere.  We were reminded to follow the example of the Holy Family in their life journey of humility, gentleness and sacrifice.

After Mass, we all gathered again in the common room this time sharing a scrumptious lunch which was once again offered by the Sisters.  All participants enjoyed each other’s company and we are grateful to the Sisters especially Sr Alicja Drabik, our Associate Director  and the sisters  for organising this meeting and welcoming us into their home. It was an uplifting experience and I would like to encourage other families to join us at our next meeting to be held on 6 June, 2015.
Contact the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth for more information on (02) 9626 9200.

Maria De Carlo





Provincial Gathering and Chapter Marayong NSW

20-21 February 2015            

Sisters of Holy Spirit Province gathered at Our Lady Queen of Poland Convent for the weekend Provincial Gathering and third session of the Provincial Chapter.  On Saturday, proceedings began at 8:30 am. The first day of the gathering was devoted to the presentation of the findings of the Governance Committee which Sister Angela Marie Mazzeo, General Councillor chaired, and Sister Anita Litwin attended as a member of the committee.  Sister Angela Marie Mazzeo, General Councillor, opened the meeting with a beautiful reflection upon a song to the Holy Spirit.  The accompanying pictures accompanied the meaningful lyrics.  Next, sister began the segmented presentation of the Congregational responses to the Governance Study and after each mini-presentation, questions and discussion ensued.  Sister Anita Litwin, assisted Sister Angel Marie Mazzeo by presenting certain topics to the group.



At eleven o’clock  Bishop Kevin Manning and two deacons Rev. Pio Yong Ho Tang   and Thomas Bui arrived.  The deacons assisted the Bishop as he celebrated the Mass.  At the homily, Bishop Manning directed the sisters’ attention to the sacredness of our consecration as religious and encouraged the sisters to be grateful to God for the gift He had given each of us.   After Mass Bishop Manning, a group picture was taken in the chapel to mark the occasion.  Afterwards,  the bishop and deacons joined the sisters for lunch. Chinese food was served, partly to mark the Chinese New Year.  During lunch, the group celebrated the sisters’ birthdays for February and March.  This was especially pertinent to Sister Lois Ann Richardi, as it was actually her birthday.  So she blew out the candles on her birthday cake.
The proceedings resumed after lunch. More reporting by Sister Angela Marie and discussions followed.  At 5:00 the sisters gathered in the chapel for Vespers.  The evening meal was served in the meeting room.  Then the sisters retired to their places of accommodation.


On Sunday morning at 8:30, Father Phil Medlin CSsR celebrated the Sunday liturgy with the sisters.  After Communion, the sisters renewed their vows.  Each sister poured a cuppa for herself and the proceedings of the day started.  The work of the day was participation in the third session of the Inclusive Provincial Chapter.  The goal for the sisters was to conclude preparations for the General Chapter which will occur in July.  The focus for the discussions were the questions and responses the sisters made during the provincial visitation with Sister Grażyna Rocławska.  When this finished, and the minutes of the two previous sessions were accepted, the chapter was officially closed. 
After lunch and the closing of the chapter, there was some time dedicated to presentation and discussion of provincial matters.  Sisters Lucyna Frączek and Grażyna Rocławska formed a team presentation of the province’s finances.  Next, Sister Maureen Joseph Stempko reported on the Nazareth Symposium of the Family she attended in Rome.  The sisters they blessed each other as a final prayer, and returned home.


Associates' Valentines Meeting

Associates Gathering
Saturday 14 February 2015 

By      Christine Cameron                                     

“I loved you before you even existed”
These words were spoken by God to St Catherine of Siena and in essence define the great love that exists in families. A family becomes a family particularly with children and children are so loved that those of us who are parents can say ‘We loved you before we knew you.’ These were some of the thoughts that came to mind during the very special Associates’ Meeting held on Saturday 14 February 2015 at Queen of Poland Convent Marayong.
The focus of the meeting on this occasion was love (being Valentine’s Day) and the assembled Associates and Sisters were fortunate to participate in a presentation by Sr Josita who spoke about love and its many definitions in regard to families, individuals and the written word. Those present at the meeting were from various walks of life and when questioned spoke with warmth about their love for their children, spouses, friends and families.  The atmosphere and setting were conducive to engaging those present in shared dialogue, with all working together collaboratively. This ‘bonding’ created a sense of community particularly during the discussion and planned activities prior to the time set aside for reflection and prayer.
At noon the celebration of Holy Mass highlighted the importance of the occasion. The Eucharist, singing and participation by Father Phil Medlin CSsR and the congregation of Sisters and Associates united all present in love, peace and thanksgiving. The liturgy was then followed by lunch and the spontaneous discussions from around the tables emphasised the wonderful rapport and communal spirit that had been apparent throughout the day.
Finally when leaving to return to the responsibilities of daily life, the thoughts that came to mind were that the charism of Blessed Frances Siedliska was truly evident within her community and that her Sisters and we as Associates in our role as stewards continue her legacy by sharing and serving her vision.

Acceptance of an Affiliate

The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated though out the Nazareth Community as a special day.  However, today,  the Sisters of Holy Spirit Province had a very specific reason for rejoicing- the acceptance of Sophie Boffa to the Affiliancy.  Sophie’s family, parents and siblings, her PHD mentor and the sisters from the surrounding convents witnessed Sophie make her commitment to begin her discernment journey in our community  in a simple prayer ceremony.

During the ceremony, Sophie lit three candles symbolizing the Holy Family, and she received three symbolic gifts from Sister Grażyna Rocławska, provincial superior- a lighted candle, symbolizing her baptismal commitment and the one she was making during the ceremony; the medal of the Holy Family which symbolized the charism of the Community and the JMJ prayerbook, that unites the Sisters in their prayer and spirituality.  After receiving these gifts, the new affiliate was presented to her special companion on this part of her journey- Sister Małgorzata Kozub, Director of Vocations and Affiliancy.

After the inspirational prayer service, light refreshments of home-made cakes, cups of gelatine with fruit and whipped cream, coffee and tea were served.  An interesting activity occurred during this time together.  Sister Grażyna Rocławska asked the sisters to share one of their memories of the day they entered Nazareth as either affiliate or postulant.  Before the sharing began, sisters from Perth were able to welcome Sophie through Skype contact.  After the sisters shared their memory, the family shared their special memories of their feelings and thoughts about Sophie’s decision to enter the Affiliancy programme. 
Sophie will begin a lived in experience with the sisters at Our Lady Queen of Poland in February.


Celebration 60 Years of Service in Marayong NSW

27 July 2014
The organization and planning of this day took quite a long time.  But finally it was time to put the plan into action.  Sister Grażyna Rocławska, Provincial Superior of Holy Spirit Province welcomed the congregated guests.   Fifteen minutes before the Mass, a video entitled “Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth 60 Years of Service 1954-2014” was shown.  The selected scenes included Polish Saturday School, the scouts and Holy Week celebrations that occurred throughout these sixty years.
 The celebration of the Eucharist began at ll:00 am in Our Lady of Częstochowa Polish War Memorial Chapel.  The main celebrant, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP Bishop of Parramatta was joined by Fr Wieslaw Slowik SJ (Polish Council), Father Henryk Zasiura SChr, Father Kazimierz Bojda SChr, Fr Jozef Kolodziej SChr, Father Shane Reade SDB, Fr Ron Mc Farlane (St Andrews Parish Marayong), Fr Chris De Souza VG EV, Rev Peter Williams VG and Deacon Joseph Ledang, assisted the Bishop and read the Gospel in English.  The Diocesan  Master of Ceremonies, Father Andrew David Bass assisted with the planning of the Mass, as well as, directed the actual proceedings making sure they followed the plan during the ceremony.
The Mass was celebrated in English and Polish.  The readings of the scriptures occurred in Polish and English.  However, the prayers of the Faithful truly represented the different languages and cultures that are currently spoken in the Marayong area as well as in our community.  Prayers were said in English, Polish, Maltese, Belorussian and Tagalog.  The congregation was totally surprised that Bishop Fisher pronounced the final blessing in Polish. 

The front three pews on each side were reserved.  In the pews on the right hand side Sister Helen Tereba, General Assistant of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, MS Dorota Preda, Vice-Consul, represented Ms Regina Jurkowska Polish Consulate, Ms C Donaldson Delegate of the Honourable Len Robinson, Mayor of Blacktown, Mr John Farrugia, Head of Property and Facilities , Catholic Education Office  Parramatta, Mr Kevin Rocks CEO of Holy Family Services and Mr Andre Heyko- Porebski, Chairman of the HFS Board, Dr. John De Courcy Consultant of the CEO of Parramatta Emeritus and his wife, Mr Nick Vidot, Principal of St Andrews College, Mr Richard Mc Guiness, former Principal of St Andrew’s Primary School., Sister Ailsa MacKinnon RSM , Vicar for Religious and Sister Joanna Zarzyczna, Assistant Provincial of Holy Spirit Province. Sisters from interstate and surrounding convents as well as other lay people filled the next pews.
On the left hand side the dance troupe Lajkonik, scouts and scout leaders, and children from Polish Saturday School. The Associates of the Holy Family from Sydney and Canberra were also present. 
It was surprising that representatives of many religious congregations of brothers and sisters came from the Blacktown area to celebrate with us. Sister Grażyna Rocławska concluded the proceedings by inviting the guests to the John Paul II Hall. 

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After this announcement, the guests proceeded to the John Paul II Hall for a brief programme and refreshments. The hall was “packed” with guests.  So much so that table seating was totally used, and the overflow of guests either sat or stood against the perimeter of the hall.  The special guests, of course, sat at their own table in front of their name cards that marked their seat. 

After the guests were mostly seated, Mr Leszek Mądry, the Master of Ceremonies     introduced himself and the first speaker, Sister Helen Tereba, representative of Mother General, Mother Jana Zawieja.  Sister Helen Tereba delivered her speech in English in segments, and this was promptly translated by Sister Grażyna Rocławska.  After her presentation, Sister Helen requested that Sister Joanna Zarzyczna come to the stage to receive a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis that was arranged as a gift for the occasion.  Then she presented a certificate of Appreciation to Holy Family Services and the Board for their generous donation to the school in Ghana.  This was received by Mr Kevin Rocks CEO of Holy Family Services and Mr Andre Heyko-Porebski, Chairman of the HFS Board. Next, Ms Dorota Preda, Polish Vice-Consul, and Father Wiesław Słowik SJ Polish Council delivered short speeches of congratulations. 

Lunch comprising Polish sausage, bigos (cabbage dish) and bread was served by the sisters, associates, scouts leaders and the catering team.  During this time the children of Long Day Care with their care givers did two short dances.  Lajkonik juniors sang three songs in Polish and did a dance.  This was followed by the Lajkonik seniors who did a lovely folk dance as well.  By this time everyone was ready for dessert-Polish Jelly doughnuts! Coffee, tea and cold drinks were self-served.

The visitors could entertain their children with the Jumping Castle and by visiting the Long Day Care. The party ended around three o’clock.  A brief clean-up occurred and the hall was emptied. 

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