A Brief Biography
Born the year the Second Vatican Council opened, in many ways my Catholic story has mirrored the energies and grace of a renewing, evolving Church. I started my life in Perth, grew up as a youngster in London and New York, before returning to Sydney in the 1970s with my parents and three siblings. Educated in State and Catholic schools, I did the adolescent ‘spiritual search’, questioned everything, and found my way back to my Catholic tradition.
In the 1980s
Having rediscovered my Catholic faith as a young adult, I became a key player in the introduction of Antioch to Australia, a Catholic youth ministry that engaged over 30,000 new youth participants in its first seven years. During this decade I obtained two bachelor’s degrees: Arts (UNSW) and Theology (Catholic Institute of Sydney), becoming one of the early cohort of women to first undertake studies at the theologate at Manly (NSW), previously the exclusive domain of a male seminary. In the 1980s I went to work for Catholic Adult Education Centre from where I coordinated the RCIA in Sydney Archdiocese and was a key contributor to the strategic writings of a successful Archdiocesan Renewal Program (PARISH 2000). By this time I already had eight years of intense involvement in a number of ecclesial movements, working alongside an unforgettable array of talented Catholic leaders of all ages and backgrounds. I initiated and co-organised two major runs for Catholic causes between capital cities. I was a keen runner, softballer and touch footballer. My first book was published.
In the 1990s
. . . I founded The Story Source, a parish resource ministry, prolific in output, which serviced a third of Australian Catholic parishes over a twelve-year period. On the one occasion I entered The Story Source in the awards of the Australasian Catholic Press Association it took out the top award. As a freelancer I also collaborated with thirty diocesan and national bodies and made some terrific contacts across diverse areas of church life. I founded Network News, the communications tool of the Australian Catechumenate Network, still in circulation. I wrote The Catholic Story, which was to be the main catechetical program of the national Catholic Enquiry Centre for the next sixteen years (and is still on its resource list). I became a regular columnist for Catholic publications, including a Jesuit spirituality magazine for fifteen years. I threw myself into triathlon, ice figure skating, and rock ‘n roll dancing. I wrote four more books.
In the 2000s
. . . I sold The Story Source's flagship publication and, pursuing a vocational instinct, moved into a five-year stint in parish ministry where I worked with a highly effective parish priest, nine assistant priests (not all at once) and an amazing team of lay women in a relatively large, complex, multicultural parish. During this time my respect for the work of parish priests sky-rocketed! I completed my Masters Honours in Theology. Towards the end of this decade, I undertook lifechanging studies in Jerusalem, exploring Torah under the guidance of Jewish rabbis. As a result, I founded Light of Torah, a ministry that introduces grassroots Christian audiences to the joys of reading the Old Testament with the aid of Jewish interpretative insights. I ran two marathons and wrote another book.
Having completed five years in Parish ministry, I acquired a five-year grant to continue developing Light of Torah. I wrote 200 Torah articles, held workshops, networked small Torah-study groups, and initiated five Holy Land tours for Australian parishioners and educators. I visited Jerusalem seven times and had the privilege of collaborating on interfaith projects with some highly talented individuals, in Australia and overseas. During this decade I moved into ecumenical and interfaith work as an employee of the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, then into teacher and parent formation work with the diocesan Catholic Schools Office. I walked, I swam, I read, I pondered the changing dynamics of the Church and society and completed a Doctorate in Theology. I wrote a trilogy of pastoral booklets.
What do the 2020s hold? Let’s find out! After seven wonderful years with the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, I have returned to freelance mode, continuing my Light of Torah ministry as well as assisting other church projects. I invite your engagement in meaningful work that draws on a lifetime of accomplishments and creative energies. These are different times, with fresh challenges. Together with God’s grace, we can do new and exciting things for the renewal of the Church.