Who we are

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.

Ministry Mission

Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.

Peace, Justice, Creation

We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.


We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.



August 2016

 Lay msc August 1

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus

be everywhere loved


Page 3                From the Director Fr Jim Littleton MSC

Page 4-5             Tributes to Mary Smith, Adrienne Hemsley and Chris Topp……… May they rest in peace

Page 5-6            Year of Mercy and Migrant & Refugee Week, 22-28 August 2016 - Bernadette Phillips

Page 6-7             “One Heart – Many Bodies, National Lay Gathering” – Alison McKenzie

Page 7-8             Pope Francis visits World Youth Day 2016 Krakow Poland

Page 8                 Reminders

Lay MSC August Jim Littleton

From the Director

My personal greetings to all of you who are receiving this newsletter. In it I wish to share with you a recent article written by Hans Kwakman MSC about a similarity between Pope Francis and our Founder Fr Jules Chevalier.

              Pope Francis and Fr. Chevalier are both aware of the fact that the

central message of the Gospel concerning God’s unconditional love is received not only for our private consolation, but for the healing of a wounded society. In “Evangelii Gaudium”, the Pope shows himself to be deeply conscious of the ills of modern society. He speaks extensively about the suffering of people and the big challenges faced by today’s world: poverty, inequality, violence and war. He criticizes modern economies that disadvantage the poor. However, the Pope sees the root-causes of the appalling social inequality in today’s society not only in failing economic systems, but also in maladies of the human heart. Above all, he points to two illnesses: indifference and selfishness. He goes even so far as to speak of ‘a globalization of indifference” and declares: “Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were not our responsibility” (Evangelii Gaudium n. 54). Regarding egoism, he urges all of us to say a firm “not to selfishness” (Evangelii Gaudium n. 81).

In his day, Fr. Chevalier felt himself upset by exactly the same social evils, rooted in the human heart. Two evils, he said, are “destroying our unhappy world: indifference and egoism” (Personal Notes, Appendix p. 107). He found “an effective remedy” (Daily Readings January 4), for these evils of the heart in the devotion to “the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is all love and charity.” Why? Because this devotion, he said, will “kindle in all hearts the fire of God’s love found in the Heart of Jesus.”

Pope Francis does not specifically mention the devotion to the Sacred Heart, but he also considers love and charity to be the remedies of today’s social evils. Here he sees a role both for politicians and every private person. Politicians, he says, should get involved in “sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots of the evils in our world,” while all of us should be convinced that, “charity not only should shape our personal relationships with family, friends, and small groups, but also our social, economic and political relationships”

(Evangelii Gaudium n. 205). Several times, the Pope refers to “the inescapable social dimension of the Gospel message” (Evangelii Gaudim n. 285), which “before all else, invites us to respond to the God of love who save us, and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others” (Evangelii Gaudium n. 39).

Many of you would be aware that a national gathering of people connected with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was held at Douglas Park on June 10-12. Over 80 people attended and were very enthusiastic about it. A resume of the weekend appears elsewhere in this newsletter.

During the last few months four of our members have passed on to their eternal reward. My thanks to those who have contributed brief eulogies for this Newsletter. May our dear friends rest in peace.

Wishing all of you God’s blessings and peace

Jim Littleton msc


Tribute to Mary Patricia Smith (Pat) 5.9.64 – 1.7.2016 - Joyce Devine & Mary Cummins

Mary Patricia Smith (Pat) was born on 5th September 1924 and passed away on 1st July 2016. She came to Canberra as a young woman. She met and married her husband and had four children, all boys. She lived in Dickson and the boys were all educated at Daramalan College.

Pat was married for 27 years and was widowed for 24 years. After the death of her husband, the family house was sold and Pat moved to the Catholic Retirement complex in the Parish of Campbell. Pat was friendly with Bishop Pat Power at Campbell and had many discussions with him and they developed a great friendship.

Pat was a member of the Lay MSC Association for many years and we enjoyed lovely discussions at some meetings. Pat’s requiem Mass was celebrated by Bishop Pat Power and Fr Jim Littleton MSC at St Brigid’s Dickson, where she was given a fond farewell.   RIP.

VALE: Adrienne Mary Hemsley - Paul Hemsley.

Adrienne was born in 1936 into a large Lidcombe-based family, daughter of Charles Riggs and Imelda McManus. Adrienne’s siblings were a brother, William (Dec.) and a younger sister, Margaret.

After marrying young in February 1956, Adrienne and her husband Paul moved from their first home in NSW Blue Mountains - where 5 of their six children had been born - to Canberra, via Melbourne, early in 1968. Adrienne’s mother Imelda came to Canberra with them, but sadly died in that first year. Their sixth child was born in 1971.

During their two years in Melbourne, Paul and Adrienne had joined the Teams of Our Lady, and this had introduced them to the support and faith development offered by Catholic Lay Movements. Not long after arrival in Canberra they joined a parent education program fostered by MSC’s Terry Naughton, and Frank Andersen. Later they were accepted as MSC Associates. Adrienne was also admitted to the Associates of the OLSH Sisters. She and Paul were among the foundation parishioners of St Vincent de Paul Parish, Aranda.

Their three sons Martin, Stephen and Michael went to Daramalan College, and daughters Maryanne, Louise and Margaret went to what is now Merici College. Margaret completed her final years of school at Daramalan when that College became co-educational.

Shortly after they arrived in Canberra, Adrienne was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia. The family was indebted to the spiritual support of fellow parishioners, the Teams and the Associates. In the final years of her life she suffered from serious respiratory illness. She received much consolation in her illnesses from her deep and prayerful faith and the devoted love of her extended family.

Adrienne went home to God on 27 June 2016.

Following a Requiem Mass in St Vincent’s, in which Fr Jim Littleton, msc, concelebrated, she was buried with her mother in Woden cemetery ACT.                                                        

Tribute to Chris Topp – Fr John Franzmann msc

The funeral service for Chris Topp took place in McGrath Hall at Chevalier College on Friday 15th July. This is a brief excerpt from the eulogy delivered by his wife Trish.

Chevalier was the centrepiece of Chris’s working life –he taught there for exactly half of his 70 years. He was not a Catholic but became deeply imbued with the MSC emphasis on the importance of the heart.   He was deeply interested in heart questions: what was the heart of education, how to educate the heart, how to tune one’s heart, how to become attuned to the heart of anything and everything.   He began as a teacher, became head of the Social Sciences department, then Yr. 11 coordinator, Admin Master and the first lay Deputy Head, and finally, a teacher again. He trained the athletics squad, he began the tradition of the Year 11 play, he was part of the group which rewrote the structure of the school executive, he oversaw the integration of girls into the school, he became identified with the new and growing number of Wilderness courses. On retirement, he mentored staff and was then invited to become Chairman of the Board. He was awarded by the College in October of last year the Esprit du Chevalier.  

Woven throughout his life was Chris’s love of the bush and of bushwalking. Chris has said that the bush was his church, and this was absolutely in keeping with his sense of the centrality of the natural world in what it meant to be human. Every single time we were outside of a town, whether it was a new piece of country to us, or a much-loved familiar site like the Gib, the South Coast or his beloved Blue Mountains walk, he would wonder aloud at what life might have been like for the indigenous people before white settlers and how they might have been part of this land.   His attention to detail in the bush was indeed a sacramental view – that everything visible was simply a sign of some inner meaning. His sense of the bush was one of the blessedness at the heart of things and he ALWAYS felt that he learnt and was made more resilient by the time he spent there. There is an aboriginal term, dadirri, which roughly translates as an inner deep listening and quiet, still awareness --- and this is as close a description as any of what Chris thought was most important in life. He and Des Ryan wrote the first Wilderness courses at Chev, long before these became more common in other schools.   He spent countless weekends taking students on bush trips. Later when Wilderness became not just a co-curricular activity but approved courses from Year 7 to Year 12, he took hundreds of students on expeditions.

He found a new love for pottery. Dabbling in clay and learning to use the wheel were activities really suited to his personality – natural materials, learning about the different types and qualities of clay and of kilns, about shape and form and glazes, and the continual, consistent patience of the potter. There were also lessons which we later realised needed to be applied during his illness.   The need to be willing to destroy and start again; to not invest your ego in your own creations but to let go when a batch of fired pots didn’t work for either technical or artistic reasons; to be willing to be patient and look again the next day at a newly fired pot because it had turned out differently from the way you’d hoped or expected.   And the central, spiritual one of life itself being a continual process of centering, shaping and firing.   The number of biblical analogies to the potter took on a new meaning.

Lay msc august Bernadette 

Year of Mercy and Migrant and Refugee Week

“Turning the boats back” is a cruel and unmerciful response to the reality of an ongoing humanitarian crises. As Bishop Long knows only too well this is not the first time desperate people have arrived on our shores by boat. We welcomed them in the 70’s and offered them safety and a better life……now we show no mercy or compassion?

Surely we can do better !!!!

Lay msc August migrants

Migrant and Refugee Week: 22-28 August 2016

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has published a kit to mark Migrant and Refugee Week and help us ponder how we can help and advocate for the rights of migrants and refugees.

The kit contains Pope Francis' Message for the World Day of Migration, focusing on the theme:  Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy. 

"Migration movements are now a structural reality, and our primary issue must be to deal with the present emergency phase by providing programmes which address the causes of migration and the changes it entails, including its effect on the makeup of societies and peoples. The tragic stories of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of the world," said Pope Francis. "Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.

Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don’t we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones?"

The resource kit also includes a message from Bishop Long, who himself arrived in Australia as a "boat person," and reflections on the implications of the Year of Mercy for policy and action.

Download the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees Kit from the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO).

One Heart – Many Bodies

A national gathering of lay people connected with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

On the 10th – 12th June over 80 lay people, representing almost every MSC ministry in Australia, gathered at Douglas Park for what we came to name as our first Australian Lay Chapter.

The purpose of the gathering was to develop a representative statement from the diverse family to be presented at the up-coming MSC Chapter. We invited Sr Therese Carroll rsj to be our facilitator, knowing that she is also to facilitate the up-coming Chapter for the MSC. Her facilitation was superb.

We began the gathering with a prayer ritual that incorporated significant scripture passages and music and snippets of the MSC story. The symbol of two hearts beating as one was a feature of the prayer space. The opening ritual began with a calling of the roll, reminiscent of the beginning of each Provincial Chapter. The names of each group were called in turn and people stood and responded – ‘Yes- we are here’. This ritual was repeated again at the end of the gathering – this time with each person attaching a red ribbon to the heart to signify their commitment to be God’s Heart on Earth in their own place.

We worked in small groups drawn from a range of ministries. The facilitation process began with the question: Who are we? We drew on the Emmaus story as we reflected on what we heard, in pairs, focusing on ‘Where did my heart burn?’ and ‘When were my eyes opened?’. This led to a reflection on the question: Who are we called to be? Three themes emerged from this session that can be summarized as a mission focus, a naming of the qualities that are central to who we are and the deep and unshakable knowledge that we live refreshed and sustained by God’s love. The conversation moved from here to the creation of a symbolic representation of what we could look like in the future. This session was underpinned by an input from Phil Fitzgerald which provided a wonderful framework from which to go deeper. Steve Dives brought the day to closure celebrating a beautiful Eucharist that had been prepared by the young adults who were present.

Sunday morning was the time when each group prepared their question or statement for the Chapter. It was formulated firstly as an affirmation to the MSC and then a comment. Group by group expressed their profound gratitude to every member of the province for leading us, for sharing their spirit and for being for us God’s Heart on Earth. There was not a dry eye in the room. From the diversity of opinion and experience present at the beginning of the gathering came statement after statement expressing our desire, our willingness and our earnest hope to be able to walk with and beside professed MSC into a new future and our hope that we will be heard.

The evaluations of the gathering were very affirming. People were grateful to be able to meet each other and to experience the diversity of our MSC family, and many expressed a sense of belonging and inclusiveness that they found uplifting and nourishing. Many expressed the desire for another such gathering.

 Lay MSC August Fred

Thank you to the Province for enabling this gathering to happen. You will see footage of it at your Chapter and we hope the future will unfold in a way that enables us to fully participate in Jules’ vision of a tree withthree branches. Thank you to Fred Stubenrauch and the steering committee for their meticulous and persistent organization, without which the event would never have happened.                                      

Alison McKenzie

Lay MSC August Pope 


(Vatican Radio) Our correspondent in Krakow, Lydia O’Kane, looks back at the highlights and gives her personal impressions of Pope Francis’ 5-day visit to Poland during which he attended the World Youth Day gathering, visited the site of the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and travelled to Poland’s most revered shrine, the Jasna Gora at Czestochowa.

The fields of the Campus Misercordiae and Blonia Park are empty now in Krakow, but the echoes of Pope Francis’ rallying cries remain in both these grounds; the encouragement to dream big, not to be afraid to take risks, not to be discouraged, and to get up off one’s comfortable sofa and leave a mark on life. 

The Pope came to Poland, the beloved homeland of his predecessor St John Paul II with a message; a message of hope, mercy, and compassion for young people here at a time when the world is experiencing deep suffering and terrible cruelty.

This was a visit to celebrate the bringing together of young pilgrims from all over the world with one thing in common the love of God, but it was also a pastoral visit with unforgettable images.

The Pope’s slow solemn walk through the infamous gate at Auschwitz and his silent prayer in the cell of St Maximillian Kolbe will endure for years to come. As will his emotional visit to pay homage to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.  

But where there are tears there can also be joy, such as the unforgettable scenes of youth enthusiastically encountering other pilgrims from around the world at Blonia Park and Campus Misericordiae. There was also a delighted Pope Francis who looked positively thrilled to be taking public transport once again in the form of a tram ride through Krakow, and the little girl at the paediatric hospital in the city who literally melted the Pope’s heart by drawing him one.

At the final Mass of this youth meeting, Pope Francis told the young pilgrims that “World Youth Day begins today and continues tomorrow, in your homes, since that is where Jesus wants to meet you from now on.”  

What is clearly evident here in Krakow is that the youth are ready and willing for the challenge. They want to show people back in their own countries that it’s ok to stand up and express one’s faith with pride. They want show that there is a cheerful aspect to the Church and they want to let it shine through just like here at World Youth Day. They also want to tell their communities back home that Jesus is alive and his mercy never ends.

Before leaving Poland, Pope Francis gave the World Youth Day pilgrims here an appointment for Panama City in 2019. Many have already planned to go, but until then, the seeds have been planted; now it’s up to them to help them grow.


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National Director, Lay MSC                                         Lay MSC Newsletter

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