CSFN Updates

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.


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. 

Gathering of Associates 29 March 2014

It was a warm sunny autumn day when the Association of the Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth gathered for the first meeting for this year at the Queen of Poland Convent in Marayong, NSW on 29 March 2014.  The Sisters greeted a good number of Associates who came from the local areas in Sydney and joined with a group who travelled from Canberra that morning.  It is always very delightful to meet our fellow Associates at these meetings where we all look forward to a few hours of prayer, reflection, warmth and friendship. 

The day started with morning tea after which we all settled listening to Rev Noel Connolly SSC who shared with us a reflection and an introduction to the latest Pope Francis Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.  This raised some discussion and awareness of the Pope Francis’ mission plan for strengthening the foundations of the Catholic Church in this time of change, with a special focus on the family.  As this will be the focus for the rest of the Associates' meetings throughout this year, the books Evangelii Gaudiium and The Francis Effect were given out to all present to study and reflect on the text.  A task was given to all members present to think what our individual ‘dream’ would be for the Catholic Church to best accomplish its mission for future generations.

This was followed by Mass at the convent Chapel celebrated by Rev Noel Connolly SSC.  It is a wonderful experience to share the celebration of the Eucharist amongst a large number of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth watched over by the spirit of Blessed Frances Siedliska, Mother Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, whose image and relic is always present in this chapel.   

The meeting continued over a scrumptious lunch most generously prepared by the Sisters.  This was a chance to make better acquaintances with each other. Sr Grace gave a report on developments and events happening in various parts of the world where the congregation is present and mentioned that this year being the 60th Anniversary of the congregation in Marayong, a celebration will be held in July this year.  Sr Grace also thanked Emma for the generous donation raised by a fund raising function she organised specifically for the aide in assisting the building of a Pre-school for poor children in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska in Poland.  On behalf of all present, Sr Grace also congratulated Kevin Charles Croker, an Associate from Canberra who was present with us, for the honour he received in being granted the Order of Australia Medal for outstanding service to the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

On behalf of all the Associates, thank you to the Sisters of the Holy Family in Marayong for their hospitality and the opportunity for prayerful reflections.


Maria De Carlo,


Celebrating and Making History

On 23 April 1989, some of the Sisters from Holy Spirit Province attended the Beatification of Mother Foundress in Rome.  A quarter of a century since the Beatification has flown by quickly.  Upon the request of the Sisters Holy Spirit Province recently devised and distributed holy cards to commemorate this historic event for our Foundress and our Community. The cards featured a copy of an icon of Blessed Mother Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd and on the back was a printed intercessory prayer in either English or Polish.   It is hoped that the receivers of the cards will receive many graces through the intercession of Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska). 


Prayer to Mother Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd
O dear Mother Foundress, you who are so close to the divine heart of Jesus, look down upon this earth and see how one of your child pleads with you for this favour….

Mother, obtain it for me from his divine heart.  While on earth, you loved this heart.  How can he refuse you anything now when you plead for favour for your children? Intercede for me, O Mother , with his Sacred Heart.  ( Say Hail Mary  9 times and  “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us 9 times)

On April 23 2014, the 25 Jubilee of Mother Foundress’ Beatification coincided with another historic event:  the offering of the first Mass at the new Holy Spirit Convent in Plumpton.  The Mass celebrated by Father Albert Wasniowski OSPPE was attended  by  Sister Grazyna Roclawska, Provincial Superior and sisters representing convents in Marayong, Quakers Hill joined the first sisters who live there.   After the Homily , Sister Lucyna Fraczek was commissioned as Sister-In –Charge. The celebrating continued with afternoon tea. 

Provincial Chapter Meets

Provincial Chapter Meets

The Inclusive Provincial Chapter was held during the weekend of 8th and 9th March, 2014. On Saturday the delegates met in the Meeting room at Queen of Poland Convent Marayong to count the votes for the delegate to the General Chapter that will be held in Rome in 2015.  After the votes were tallied, several candidates for delegate emerged, but no one had a clear majority.  

Father Peter Jones OSA joined the sisters at mid- morning.   Father Jones is currently the Director of the Augustinian Novitiate at Brookvale but over the years he ministered  in parishes, teaching, and spirituality and formation.  Father Jones delivered a conference explaining different forms of obedience that we experience in life today.  After that he celebrated with the sisters the Mass for Saturday after Ash Wednesday.

The sisters had time to enjoy each other’s company at lunch, and to visit the new convent that was almost complete in Plumpton NSW.  They had until the next day to decide and pray about their choice of candidate.   

Sunday's  venue for the next segment of the first session of the Provincial Chapter was held at Holy Spirit Convent in Castle Hill.  This convent was built as the “Provincial Home” for Holy Spirit Province where council meetings were held and hospitality was offered through the provincial celebrations that occurred over the years.  However, previous provincial teams had been mooted for quite some time to sell the property and move to a new location. 

After the second vote, which elected Sister Alicja Drabik(pictured below) the delegate to the General Chapter.  


The sisters held a farewell ceremony to “say goodbye” to the house:  Holy Spirit Convent in Castle Hill. Sister Josita Paczkowska intrigued all of us when she arrived at the convent wheeling a suitcase.   She told us during the prayer service that the suitcase was brought to “pack” the fond memories that we, as a province, wanted to take with us.  Sisters took turns recalling the precious experiences they had in connection with the venue.  Some told funny incidents, others more serious ones, but all remembered fondly the hospitality the sisters, who lived in the convent, showed to all visitors.  When the suitcase was “packed” Sister Josita asked Sister Grażyna Rocławska to close the suitcase.  Then Sister Grażyna presented our luggage to Sister Lucyna Frączek, Sister- In- Charge of the Holy Spirit Convent Community.  Lunch was served and then gradually sisters departed to different destinations. 

Later that day, after the meeting, sisters stopped at the new Holy Spirit Convent in Plumpton to “unpack” the suitcase and to pray for God’s blessings for all of the sisters that will live there in the future.

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