Alleluia, it’s December and ‘tis the season of glory, glitter and let’s get away from it all!! With Advent, we start the Church’s liturgical year but being December we look to the end of another calendar and school year. While those in the Northern hemisphere enjoy candle light and the warmth of fires to brighten shorter, gloomy days, we are basking in extra daylight and warmth. And instead of looking forward to Christmas, there are many who look forward to Boxing Day and the real start of the holiday season!

Advent asks us to wait in joyful hope so how does our ‘waiting’, ‘hoping’ and ‘joyousness’ metre measure against our procrastination (about shopping!), and our tiredness at this stage of the year?

‘You bring me news of a door that opens

At the end of a corridor, sunlight and singing;

When I had felt sure that every corridor

Only led to another

                            Or to a blank wall.’                                                                                      T.S. Eliot


We can rejoice that there will be sunlight and singing as we end our working year. We do reflect on the many achievements of Kildare Ministries and we are thankful for those who contributed so willingly to being of service to others. Here, at the Brigidine Ministry Centre, the spirit of Christmas is most meaningful in the many hampers generously donated to BASP for distribution to families in need or the compelling work of ACRATH for those impacted by modern slavery and the compassionate awareness both works of advocacy require of us. We remain hopeful that our politicians discern what is right and just on two fronts: bring about an end to our shameful treatment of refugees and demonstrate leadership through the Modern Slavery Bill. Let’s open our eyes to the dignity of all people and our ears to their cries for help.


While Christmas is a time of love and family, it also can be a time of loneliness and sadness for some. Let’s especially consider the other in our lives. This is the season when our Kildare Ministries values are to the fore: Wonder, Hope, Compassion, Hospitality, Justice and Courage.


At the end of the school year we give thanks to those who are leaving their positions of leadership:

  • Nola Vanderfeen pbvm – Trustee for the past 5 years
  • Kathleen Donnellan – Chair of the Board – Star of the Sea College, Brighton
  • Joanne Steele – Chair of the Stewardship Council – Kilbreda College, Mentone
  • Angela Ryan csb – Chair of the Stewardship Council – Marian College, Ararat
  • Damian McKew – Principal of Clonard College for the past 9 years
  • Teresa Lincoln – Co-Principal of Kilbreda College for the past 3 years
  • Ishti Griffiths– Manager, Presentation Family Centre, Balnarring for the past 7 years


Elsewhere in this newsletter there are acknowledgements of their leadership and service and those who have served on the Boards of our schools and community works.

December is a time of waiting and hoping for our graduating students. As students and staff finish the school year and with the publication of the Year 12 results, may there be a sense of satisfaction that learning has been engaging, meaningful and purposeful.


And for all of us, may the ‘To Do’ lists and tiredness give way to celebration, relaxation and reflection. Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas!


Jesus, we wait in hope.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces

To hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things

Look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways

Long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, ‘Come Lord Jesus!’

Henri Nouwen





Jeff Burn

Executive Officer, Kildare Education Ministries