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140 Years of Mercy
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Theme for 2017

Past Lectures

NOTE: In 2017, the annual lectures were renamed the LIVING MERCY LECTURES.


“Mercy – the Gift, the Possibility and the Challenge in a Universe Becoming”

Sr Madeline Duckett rsm

Wednesday 14 September 2016, 7.30pm in the Marian Centre

Madeline focused on where Mercy “fits in” to a number of areas, but particularly into our current climate where things are ever changing. Mercy sees things from a broader perspective, rather than immediate cause and effect; an approach that is needed now more than ever. Referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example, Madeline spoke about “The Mercy Dynamics”:

  • to See: we are witnesses 

  • to Feel: being moved to compassion 

  • to Act: Do something about it 

  • to Sustain: check in, revisit to take an ongoing interest. In light of these dynamics, Madeline asked us to reflect on how we do “mercying” towards others in our own lives? 


Madeline Duckett is a Sister of Mercy from Victoria with a background in education, theology and spirituality. She has experience in secondary and tertiary teaching, adult formation in Mercy Ethos, and a range of experience in the area of adult spirituality. Currently she works as a spiritual director and retreat facilitator around Australia and overseas. Her writings include: Secret Places, Sacred Paths, on prayer and environment; The Mystical Heart of Catherine McAuley, reflections on aspects of the life and spirituality of Catherine McAuley; and most recently, Boots, Cracked Pots and a Place at The Table – Mercy in a World Becoming, which offers simple reflections on aspects of living a spirituality of mercy today.


"Re-membering Mary in an Age of Ecological Imperatives"
Dr Elaine Wainwright rsm, Professor Emeritus of the University of Auckland 
Thursday 6 August 2015, 7.30pm in the Marian Centre
In the face of profound oppression and poverty, liberation theologians re-membered Jesus as Liberator. In response to feminist recognition of the idealization and stereotyping of women, Elizabeth Johnson re-membered Mary as Truly our Sister. In this lecture Elaine Wainwright will re-member Mary anew in response to current ecological challenges and a striving for right relationships within the entire Earth community. 


Dr Elaine Wainwright rsm is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. She is Professor Emeritus of the University of Auckland and currently working as an Independent Scholar. She is a New Testament scholar and her primary area of expertise is the interpretation of the gospel in dialogue with the justice issues of our time. Currently she is completing the Earth Bible Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew and is co-authoring the feminist commentary on that same gospel in the new Wisdom Commentary Series. She has several published books, edited volumes and articles.  


“Mary, a disciple and a model for today“ - Exploring the universal call to Christian discipleship.

Professor Dr Anthony Gittins CSSp, Professor of Theology and Culture, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago 

Thursday 21 August 2014 at 7:30pm in the Marian Theatre 


Professor Dr Anthony Gittins, CSSp., taught Theology and Anthropology at The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago from 1984 until 2011. He held the Bishop Ford Chair of Mission Theology between 1999 and 2008, and is now Emeritus Professor of Theology and Culture.

Born in Manchester (England), and ordained in 1967, after completing his theological studies he subsequently earned M.A.s (Summa cum Laude) in Theoretical Linguistics and in Social Anthropology, and later a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After ministry in Africa, he pursued post-doctoral research at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, England. 
He is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (Spiritans).

Gittins focused on the interface between the social sciences and theological disciplines, and he team-taught courses with Professors of Bible, Liturgy and Pastoral Care. He continues to do Consultancy work and offer workshops, seminars, short course and retreats in more than thirty-five countries from Africa to the Pacific.

In terms of pastoral ministry, he worked for almost thirty years with and among homeless women on the streets of Chicago and now serves in a soup kitchen. For seven years he was part of Genesis House – a community where women struggle to escape from prostitution.

For almost a decade (1972-1980) he worked among the Mende people of Sierra Leone, West Africa, as a missionary pastor, linguist and ethnographer. From 1980 to 1984 he was Formation Director in London, and lectured at the Missionary Institute there. Since then he has done missionary anthropological work in a number of countries beyond Africa, including Pakistan, Kiribati, and the/Trobriand Islands.

He has an adopted, multi-ethnic family: a daughter (and her husband), four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

He is the author of fourteen books on theological and anthropological topics, and on mission and spirituality. Most recently, Ministry at the Margins: Strategy and Spirituality for Mission (Orbis, 2002), Come, Follow Me: The Commandments of Jesus (Liguori, 2004), and Where There’s Hope, There’s Life. Women’s Stories and Practical Theology (Liguori, 2006). His last book was Called to be Sent: Co-Missioned as Disciples Today (Liguori, 2008). Currently, he is working on a book to be called From International to Intercultural Communities: Theological and Anthropological Perspectives.  



Maryām of Nazareth, Spirit-filled Woman of Mercy and Justice”

Sr Veronica Lawson rsm , Biblical consultant and educator

Thursday 15 August 2013 at 7.30 pm

Download the transcript of the 2013 Marian Lecture (PDF 109KB)

Download the visuals of the 2013 Marian Lecture (PDF 4.3MB)

Veronica Lawson rsm is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG). She is a biblical scholar who wrote a Masters thesis on the Letter to the Colossians at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and a doctoral thesis on The Acts of the Apostles at the School of Hebrew, Theological and Biblical Studies at Trinity College, Dublin.

After seven years as Congregation Leader of the Ballarat East Sisters of Mercy, she is freelancing as a biblical consultant/educator. Her current ministry home is the circle of Mercy theologians of ISMAPNG. She writes weekly online reflections on the Sunday Gospels and is involved in theological reflection processes in Australia and other parts of the world. She approaches the biblical text from an eco-feminist perspective.

Sr Veronica has taught biblical studies at both secondary and tertiary level, spending twenty-six years at Australian Catholic University. She was the first woman President of the Australian Catholic Biblical Association.


“Mary in the Movies: how film, history and experience forms our relationship with the mother of Jesus.”

Rev Dr Richard Leonard SJ, Director, Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting

Thursday 26 April 2012 at 7.30pm

Some people think Catholic Tradition is a static block of doctrines that must be imparted to our young whereas it is often responsive, fresh and dynamic. By looking at Mary, the Mother of Jesus, we will see how this distinctly Catholic teaching can be reclaimed as sane, inclusive, liberating and Catholic.

Rev Dr Richard Leonard SJ directs the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting. He is a visiting professor of communications at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and lectures at Jesuit Theological College, Melbourne and The Broken Bay Institute, Sydney. He is the author of: The Mystical Gaze of the Cinema: the Films of Peter Weir (Melbourne University Press); Movies That Matter: Reading Film Through the Lens of Faith (Loyola Press, Chicago) and Preaching to the Converted (Paulist Press). His latest book, Where the Hell is God? Finding God in Pain and Suffering (Paulist Press) has become a religious best seller.


“Who is Mary for today’s Marists?”

Br Michael Green FMS , National Director of Marist Schools Australia

Tuesday 11 October, 2011
Brother Michael Green FMS is currently the National Director of Marist Schools Australia. He has been involved in Marist education for thirty-five years as a teacher, school principal, administrator, author, and course presenter. Brother Michael’s studies have been in the disciplines of history, theology, scripture, and education. His doctorate, which explored the charismic culture of Australian Marist schools, brought together the sociological concept of culture and the theological dynamic of charism. Since 2003, he has been a member of the International Commission for Marist History and Spirituality. As well as his expertise in Marist history, he has a particular interest in the ways in which the spiritual families of the Church can contribute to its vitality and renewal.
Download the text of Br Michael Green lecture (PDF, opens a new window)


“The Other Mary: Saints as Seeds of Hope”

The Most Reverend Mark Coleridge, the Archbishop of Canberra & Goulburn

Wednesday 11 August, 2010

Archbishop Mark Coleridge is the Archbishop of Brisbane after spending some years as Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, and before that as Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. Archbishop Mark has held posts as Master of Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, media spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and foundation President of the Forum of Australian Catholic Institutes of Theology. Appointed to Rome in 1997 Archbishop Mark worked in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. He is currently Chair of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee and the International Commission for the Preparation of an English-language Lectionary. He chairs Australian Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy and is a member of the Bishops’ Commission for Doctrine and Morals. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Download the text of Archbishop Mark Coleridge's lecture (PDF, opens a new window)


“Mary as Mother”

Dr Rose-Marie Prosser

Wednesday 12 August, 2009

As a mother and grandmother, theologian and teacher, Rose-Marie Prosser, PhD BSc (Hons), BTheol, MTheol. Dip Ed, draws on a wealth of experience for her work in scripture, theology and spirituality. Dr Prosser teaches two units in practical theology at the Yarra Theological Union, a recognised teaching institution with the Melbourne College of Divinity: ‘Faith, Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Society’ and ‘Introduction to Scripture for Religious Educators’. Dr Prosser and her late husband Bob were for many years the Australian leading couple of ‘Teams’, a movement for marriage spirituality. Dr RoseÂ? align=right>Marie Prosser is an experienced Catholic educator who has worked at both the secondary and tertiary levels, as well as in teacher development. She has degrees in science, chemistry, education and theology. RoseÂ? align=right>Marie is currently a lecturer in Practical Theology at the Yarra Theological Union in the spirituality and scripture units. She also works with schools and parishes throughout the state, helping teachers and adults in the areas of scripture, spirituality and theology.


“Mary - A New Testament Portrait”

Father Frank Moloney (SDB)

Wednesday 13 August, 2008

Professor Francis J. Moloney (SDB) is a widely respected scholar, educator, and priest, and the author of 36 books both scholarly and popular, many of which are about the gospel. His Marian Lecture – “Mary – A New Testament Portrait” reflected his deep scholarship and his ability to speak engagingly and accessibly about the Bible. He is popularly known for his collaboration with Jeffrey Archer on “The Gospel According to Judas (by Benjamin Iscariot)” which was a bestseller: Archer wrote a story for 21st-century readers while Moloney ensured that the result would be credible to a 1st-century Christian or Jew.