On May 24, a group of about fifty women gathered at Warracknabeal from all around the Diocese. Although a Catholic Women’s League (CWL) initiative, the day was open to anyone who wanted the chance to get together and share their thoughts in a relaxed social setting.
The day began with Mass concelebrated by Fr Matt Restall and Fr James Kerr, celebrating Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia and the CWL.
After a cuppa and a chance to talk together, the first speaker for the day was Marie Shaddock from Ouyen who spoke about the link between Eve and the new Eve – Mary. Marie showed connect with today in how women are particularly targeted with misinformation in an attempt to make them feel dissatisfied and cheated. Eve took the “apple” and ate of it – she swallowed the lie and the poison of sin spreading to distrust and disbelief leading to death. Mary, on the other hand, did not. Mary, with her “fiat”, her “yes”, trusted and believed in the goodness of God. Her “yes” gave us Jesus and the Eucharist – the gift of life. It is Mary who should be our role model, who just like any other Saint, models humility, self-giving and trust in God. She represents what used to be the Australian way – the quiet Australian who got things done with a minimum of fuss and shunned the accolades.
Our lunch was prepared by the Warracknabeal Anglican Ladies who are raising money to build a carport for their Rector after their garage was taken over by woodwork students. Afterwards, our group gathered to listen to Sr Jacinta Rice from Horsham who presented a slide show putting into context the titles given to Mary. From Our Lady Help of Christians to Star of the Sea to Our Lady of Fatima and so on.
The next speaker for the day was Anna Krohn, General President of CWL Victoria, who drew from the image of the wedding feast at Cana. Anna spoke of Mary as a true Mother who sees the needs of her children and quickly helps in any situation. Mary simply says to Jesus, “they have no wine”, she does not need to know how Jesus is going to resolve the issue, she does not even confirm with him even if he will fix the problem. Mary has total trust in her son, she believes, she knows he will do something. Again, Mary provides us with a model for us to follow, in firstly coming to know, then in believing and finally in trusting.
As the conclusion of the day drew nearer, it was time to hear from everyone about what was happening in the parishes around the diocese. All in all, it was a very enjoyable day set in a relaxed atmosphere with good food and great company. Well done to Margaret Rowe, President of the Ballarat Diocese CWL and her committee for organising and a special thanks to the Warracknabeal Catholic Ladies for their great hospitality and friendship. We look forward to more of the same soon.
Marie Shaddock and Noeline Hogan