CSFN Updates

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



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.


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