Archdiocesan Women’s Taskforce: Responding to the Call

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Clara Geoghegan

Clara Geoghegan is the Executive Secretary to the Bishops’ Commission for Evangelisation, Laity & Ministry.  Clara has lectured in Church History and Spirituality at Catholic Theological College (Melbourne). Clara is also the Co-Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute, Australia.

Talk summary:
Clara hopes to inspire the women of the Archdiocese to respond to their baptismal calling to intimacy with Christ and to co-responsibility for the mission of the Church.

Contact details



Download: Clara Geoghegan Talk

Brigid Cooney

Brigid Cooney Official Delegate from the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn to the Plenary Council of Australia Brigid is a 21-year-old native Canberran. Since working on the Youth Mission Team in 2017 and 2018, Brigid has been studying a double degree in History (ANU) & Teaching (ACU) and hopes to make a difference to young people by teaching history and religious education.

Talk summary:
Brigid will share her personal journey of discovering her own baptismal calling to intimacy with Christ and co-responsibility for the Mission of the Church. She will also explain why she put her hand up as a delegate for the Plenary Council and what she hopes will be achieved.


Download: Brigid Cooney Talk

Profiled Groups

Contact Person: Karen Doyle
Phone Contact: 0499 877 833
Email Contact:
Instagram: @sisterhood.ncwm
Facebook: Sisterhood

How to get involved:
  • Join a Sisterhood Connect group in your local area.
  • Purchase the Sisterhood Connect starter resource to start your own group.
  • Connect with a Sisterhood representative in your local area.
  • Attend local Sisterhood retreat days
  • Register for the National Conference
  • Listen to the Genius Podcast series that was recorded for virtual Sisterhood connect groups on Searching for and maintaining inner peace.
  • Follow on social media
  • Subscribe to the website

Background Info: Sisterhood is a National Catholic Women's movement that seeks to support women from all walks and stages of life.

The Sisterhood movement emerged 16 years ago from a small group of Catholic women in Canberra, seeking to go deeper in their faith and to connect with other women. It was not long before a number of other women expressed interest in joining these groups and now there are Sisterhood groups operating across Australia.

The vision of Sisterhood is to see women supported in their Catholic faith and walk with the Lord through formation in what it means to be a Catholic woman in the world today and the Sacraments. Sisterhood also recognises and encourages the valuable gift of female friendships and meaningful connection.

Connect Groups:
Walking alongside other women in the journey of faith is vital for us to be able to remain supported and encouraged in our walk. We hope that you have a place of nourishment like this in your own life, where your faith is nurtured and you can seek wisdom and support from other women of faith.

Sisterhood Connect groups seek to support women in their faith journey. These small groups meet on a regular basis in someone's home. We have a group registration process that allows you access to a starter resource kit which contains everything you need to launch a group. As a registered group, you will receive support and resources to help establish and sustain your Connect Group.

If you are interested in forming a weekly or fortnightly Sisterhood Connect group, we encourage you to talk to your friends, other women in your local community or parish to see who might be keen to start a group with you. Otherwise, please let us know and we would love to help you connect with an existing group or to assist you in starting one of your own and registering with our network.

Virtual Sisterhood connect groups:
During Covid lockdown we launched a virtual Sisterhood connect group book study. This book study was on the book by Fr Jaques Philippe, Searching for and maintaining inner peace. You can access the podcast and the free journal download at on the podcast page.

Local Retreats:
The Sisterhood Movement in partnership with the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia Nashville Tennesee host local retreat days each year in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. These are being moved online due to Covid.

National Conference:
Every second year Sisterhood hosts Australia's only National Catholic Women's conference. This conference brings women together from around Australia for a weekend of prayer and worship, formation through keynote talks and speciality workshops, adoration, mass and quality sisterhood time.

Due to Covid restrictions this year's conference has been postponed but we will be launching an online Catholic women's conference before the end of the year.
Contact Person: Anne Hartwell
Phone Contact: 02 6282 0874
Email Contact:

How best to get involved:
See if there is a group in your parish or school or contact Anne who will provide you with a starter pack – you only need 2 women to start a group.

What is it?
Mothers Prayers is a prayer group for women who wish to pray together for their children and grandchildren, and for all children. It is for all spiritual mothers.

How does it work?
Our groups are small, usually ranging from between two and eight mothers. We gather in homes around a small table set with a candle, bible and cross and at the foot of the cross we place a small basket.

We follow the prayers set out in the Mothers Prayers Booklet. These are prayers of praise, thanksgiving and intercession. We also include a scripture reflection.

The culmination of the meeting is when we each put the names of our children one by one in this basket, accompanied by a prayer, as a symbol of our handing our children into the Lord’s care. This is often a wonderful healing moment, as we realise that the Lord has taken our problems to himself.

Every meeting is given to the Holy Spirit for guidance and therefore we find that they all are slightly different, sometimes the emphasis is on Praise, other times on reading and praying the Scriptures – other times longer is spent on sharing and praying for each child.

Each week we may have a different reason for praying for our children or it may be “the same old story.” It is good to remember the account of the unexpected guest as in Luke 11 v 5-13 … and keep asking … (through this we ourselves grow – as we learn the grace of perseverance.) We acknowledge that our prayers are always answered – although not always in the way we expect, but always for the best – that is: The Lord’s Holy Will to be done in their lives.

At these meetings mothers may share with each other in a personal way, and they need to know that everything they say will be kept confidential.

What is achieved?
Such blessings have come through ‘Mothers Prayers’ with many children coming back to their faith, work and accommodation being found, children coming home after long absences (recently we have been told of a mother who after praying at her very first meeting, was reconciled one week later with a daughter she had not seen for seven years! This is just one of many.) We have also been told of improvements in children’s health, children coming off drugs, babies being born after mothers having several miscarriages, and improved relationships.

The Lord is honouring His promise: ‘Ask and you shall receive’
Mothers too, have told us of the blessings they themselves receive, as they share in prayer with other mothers. It is such a blessing for them to be able to share their pain in a Christian, confidential way, and through their weekly meeting, a great love and compassion has developed.

Being part of Mothers Prayers is a wonderful comfort to us, especially knowing that we are united with many other mothers throughout the world and that they too are praying for our children.

How did Mothers Prayers begin?
Mothers Prayers began in England in November 1995 when Veronica Williams and her sister-in-law Sandra, felt the need to pray in a more committed way, in order to combat the problems facing their children. They met with three other mothers and used the format which is now used by Mothers Prayers groups throughout the world. Mothers Prayers has now spread to over 140 countries throughout the world in spite of the fact that we have not initiated any publicity and we have only given talks about Mothers Prayers when invited.

During the preparation period – when Veronica prayed that the Lord would guide them and keep them on the right path – she opened the Bible – at the page of Jeremiah 31 v 16. She says “If I had searched the whole Bible I could not have come up with a better verse!”

“Stop your crying and wipe away your tears. All that you have done for your children will not go unrewarded They will return from the enemy’s land There is hope for your future Your children will come back home I, the Lord have spoken”

Veronica felt the Lord placed on her heart, right at the beginning, that He was the boss and that they were His secretaries! He would guide them, open all the doors and bring the people to them. This has happened (often in the most unlikely of circumstances.) Their part was only to pray and listen! This was a wonderful relief, as they felt that He had taken away from them the burden and effort. He has certainly guided them in every way. The following words came to Veronica as an inspiration through prayer …
“Rejoice in Motherhood” “Be aware of the responsibilities” “Ask for protection” “Ask for guidance” “Ask for gentleness and a loving approach” “Be thankful that we are not on our own but only the temporary guardians of their souls” “Understand that Jesus loves our children even more than we do and that He is eager for their protection and growth in Him, and as He will intervene when requested, He is EAGER for our intercession for them.” “When we pray for our children, we must try to think, what would He wish for them – to pray for an understanding of His will for them not our own.”

How do I get involved?
We ask those who feel called to start a Mothers Prayers group to pray for one month in preparation before starting – a prayer to ask the Lord to guide them to the right prayer partners. If they are Catholic we recommend the meditative prayer on the Holy Family – the 3rd Joyful Mystery.
Contact Person: Winniefred Rebello
Phone Contact: 0451 015 527
Email Contact:

How to get involved: Email or text Winnie. We have a WhatsApp group (Women Alive Canberra 0451 015 527). You can also join us by Zoom for the reflection at the end of our monthly Rosary. We are also beginning a nightly novena to Mother Mary from Sat Aug 29th to Mary’s birthday Thu Sept 8th.

About Women Alive:
Women Alive prayer group predominantly serves the Indian, Pakistani & Sri Lankan Catholic women of Canberra, but all women are welcome.

What happens?
We meet at 4.30pm on the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of the month in a family home. Families are rostered on at the start of the year to host. We start our meeting with a hymn and then pray the Rosary & the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The host family reads the scriptures and everyone reflects on them. Since the pandemic began we have also welcomed others to join us via Zoom at 5:15 when Anastasia, a lay Minister of the Word from Mumbai, also joins us via Zoom to provide a short reflection. The prayer usually concludes with fellowship and every family brings a plate to share.

How did the group start?
Our prayer group started with a women’s retreat for the Canberra Catholic women in 2015 under the title ‘Women Alive’. Around 60 women join us every year for Praise and Worship at St Benedict’s Catholic Church in Narrabundah. Anastasia a lay Minister of the Word from Mumbai along with her Women’s Team travel every year to Canberra for a full day Retreat.

A group of women in Canberra started praying the Rosary and interceding for the Women’s Ministry Team before the start of each retreat. Initially the prayer group met at the Church but at some point, we decided to extend this to our families and as a result, the venue moved from Church to our homes. We now meet monthly to ask Mother Mary to intercede for all our families and the community.

Contact person: Bronnie Schlager, Braidwood
Phone Contact: 0432 257 622
Email Contact:

How to get involved:
Contact Bronnie via Facebook message or by email for all enquiries and Starter Kit requests.

What is it?
Looking to connect with other women? Keen to grow in faith and share the faith journey? Call to Connect Ministry aims to strengthen relationships between women, and to facilitate a deepening walk with God.

How does it work?
The Ministry offers 2 options of a prayer sharing group, one is via Zoom and one is in the physical setting. The Zoom option is for women anywhere to pray together with friends in small groups, where sharing the faith journey is often incorporated into the prayer theme for the meeting, in a free Zoom 30 minute session. The frequency of meetings is to be determined by the participants. A starter kit is available to help women get going. It contains prayer segments of various styles, resource list, leaders guide and support. Available on email for free.

The physical meeting has components of prayer, to suit the gifts and wishes of the membership, hospitality as desired, and sharing the faith journey using tools such as books, in small groups (between 6-8 recommended) every 3rd week, at an agreed place and time. A starter kit with prayer segments of various styles, resource list, leader’s guide, sharing tool options explained, as well as booklets for participants. The kit is posted with booklets at $4.00 each in packs of 6 with extras available singularly, plus postage.

How did Call to Connect begin?
Call to Connect began 11 years ago after a women’s breakfast at St Benedict’s Narrabundah at which women were asked what they wanted in terms of faith nurture. Following that a team of three women - Anne Woods, Diane Fulop and & Bronnie Schlager - began to organise retreats, events and prayer groups. Eventual the Call to Connect prayer groups sprang up. The zoom development is very recent and the group is co-ordinated by Bronnie Schlager and a small leadership team. Bronnie lives in Braidwood.

Contact person: Vikki McDonough
Phone Contact: Vikki McDonough 0437876487
Email Contact: Rod and Susan Page

How to get involved: Phone Vikki or email Rod and Susan Page to find out more about what’s happening locally in our Archdiocese or alternatively to find a meditation group close to you go to

How to get involved:
  • Christian meditation is a form of prayer that is concerned primarily with listening. In this form of prayer we commit to stillness, silence and simplicity. We aim to become more open and receptive to God’s spirit, who Jesus tells us dwells in our hearts, as the spirit of love. In our time of prayer we are not talking to God, thinking about God or imagining God, we are instead being with God
  • This type of prayer has a long history in the Christian tradition dating back to the Desert Mothers and Fathers of the 4th Century. In recent times the English Benedictine monk Father John Main has revived this tradition and worked to share it with the wider Christian community
  • The World Community for Christian Meditation carries out the work of communicating and nurturing this form of prayer. They have a fabulous website which has lots of material to support anyone starting out or continuing on this journey of faith:
  • Archbishop Christopher Prowse is a patron of the World Community for Christian Meditation and is an enthusiastic advocate of Christian Meditation:
  • The WCCM Australia website details local events and activities and also lists all the groups that meet on a weekly basis, both here in Canberra and throughout rural NSW. There are currently 25 groups meeting in Canberra and Queanbeyan and there are also on line groups that you can connect with if there isn’t something close to you geographically:

Please know that you’d be welcome to connect with any of these groups at any time. Christian Meditation - 0437 876 487

Archdiocesan Women’s Taskforce

Contact Person: Lara Kirk
Phone Contact: 0429 192 869
Email Contact:
The Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn Women’s Taskforce was formed in October 2019 after consultation with the women of the Archdiocese at meetings held in Canberra, Goulburn, Young, Nimmitabel, Batemans Bay and Bega.

There are 12 members of the Taskforce who meet 6 times a year and elected positions are held for three years.

The purpose of the Taskforce, as discerned through consultations with the women of the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn, is:

  • To provide a mechanism for the sharing of the Catholic faith and culture for women across the Archdiocese in a supportive, welcoming environment.   A hub to facilitate faith formation.  To develop the technology, with its own website and social media presence
  • To connect and communicate with all women and energise them on the journey with the Spirit and to disseminate information and resources for adult education in the faith, theology, scripture, spirituality. To form relationships with other Archdiocesan support and prayer groups. 
  • A place of nourishment and wisdom so we can, in turn, nourish our world.
  • To be a powerful and positive influence for good within our church community.
  • To provide an inclusive voice for women across the Archdiocese and to advocate for their varied interests.
  • To become a voice for change for women in our church



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