A first retreat

Regular readers of mine will know that I’ve helped to run a retreat for mothers at a Catholic retreat centre. For some of the women it was the first spiritual retreat they’ve gone to since their school retreat that was part of the religious education program at Catholic high schools. These are great but are not…

A friend in the ‘sister’ of St Therese

The canonisation of St Elizabeth of the Trinity recently was pretty special for our family. We have a social butterfly, piano-playing, fun-loving, sweet and prayerful girl in our family who is very happy to have a namesake in one of the Church’s newest saints. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880), Elizabeth Catez, was born in…

Doubts and growth in prayer and life

A few months ago, speaking with a friend, I tried to explain my sense of loss of intellectual conviction about the most important beliefs that have so far underpinned my life and identity. At a deep level I seemed to be truly fed by the rituals of Catholic faith, it’s tradition, its people and the…

How to keep busy when you’re on retreat

When I was at the mothers’ retreat at the Mt Carmel retreat centre the other week I gave them a one-page ‘to do’ list of things that I suggested they try to complete by the end of the retreat at Sunday lunchtime. When I wrote this list I just thought it was a cute idea…

Michael D. O’Brien and ‘Elijah in Jerusalem’

I have an interview published in this week’s Catholic Weekly with the Canadian author and artist Michael O’Brien, about his new novel, Elijah in Jerusalem, sequel to the best-selling Fr Elijah: An Apocalypse. I also got his thoughts about his sense that we are living in the end times predicted by Jesus and the Biblical prophets. Yes,…

The Best Thing You Will Do All Year For Your Children

To welcome guests to our home I keep a peace lily plant in a pot by the front door. Whenever its dark glossy green leaves lose their graceful arch and start wilting (usually when I’ve been too busy to notice it for a few weeks) I don’t just spray some water onto it and expect it to perk up.  I…

Three points to ponder from a retreat with Fr Jacques Philippe

Popular Catholic author and retreat director Fr Jacques Philippe has just completed a round of speaking engagements in Sydney giving retreats and talks at a variety of events held over ten days. I attended his retreat day for women held at Notre Dame University, along with around 300 others from all over the city and elsewhere who had heard about…

What St Teresa of Avila and Jamie Oliver have in common

I’ve been following lately an excellent informal book study on the Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila run by author Connie Rossini on her blog Contemplative Homeschool. St Teresa is a Doctor of the Church because of her teachings on prayer and the spiritual life. Next year, 2015, will be the 5th centenary celebration (500th anniversary) of…

Busy? Yeah, me too.

    This was my column published recently in The Catholic Weekly (under a different headline though!).   I’ve been a little obsessed lately with the idea of time management and just trying to work out how best to use my days. Clearly most of my time is spent on physically caring for young children,…