ACI Newsletter March 22

Empowering women

Dear Friends,

Appropriately for the month of March, "Empowering women" has emerged as a prominent theme for this edition of our newsletter.

Former YCS leader, Sophie Stewart, features in a newly released TEDx video entitled "Three things that can change the world." Plus we have a three-part spiritual reflection from former Adelaide YCS leader, Catherine Whewell.

Katharine Massam presents a new ACI initiative, the Jocist Women Leaders Project.

Pax Romana ICMICA president, Ana Maria Bidegain, who is also a member of our Jocist Women Leaders project team, will address the theme "Empowering Women in Church and Society" in a webinar organised by IMCS Asia-Pacific next week.

Our April ACI webinar with Clara Staffa Geoghegan and Rodney Stinson will focus on Australian lay apostolate pioneer, Caroline Chisholm.

Meanwhile, the video and documents from our March webinar "Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II" is now available.

Pope Francis also features in this edition with his promulgation of a new apostolic constitution that enables lay men and women to head Vatican dicasteries. We have a newly translated 1955 article by Argentinian intellectual, Alberto Methol Ferré, an important influence on Pope Francis.

Ukrainian Pax Romana leader, Dr Yuriy Pidlisny, shares a moving appeal for solidarity.

We remember YCW extension worker in India, Bernie Docherty, as well as recently deceased former YCW chaplains, Kevin Mogg and Don Burnard.

Finally, although we are already into the third week of Lent, we invite you to join our ongoing Lenten Gospel online reflections, drawing on Pat Branson's "If today you hear his voice" program.

Stefan Gigacz
Empowering women in the Church and Society
Ana Maria Bidegain
Originally from Uruguay, Ana Maria Bidegain was a prominent Catholic student leader during the 1970s.

In 1979, she completed a PhD in history at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve on “The organisation of Catholic Action youth movements in Latin America. The cases of workers and university students in Brazil and Colombia between 1930-1955.

Currently, she is professor of religious studies at Florida International University.


Empowering women in Church and Society (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Empowering women in Church and Society – IMCS Asia-Pacific – 8pm Manila/Perth 11pm Sydney – 31 March 2022
Pope Francis: New Vatican roles for lay people
Pope Francis, Philippines
After nearly nine years of preparation, Pope Francis has promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium,” reforming the Roman Curia and its structures.

Fundamental among the general principles in the new Constitution is the provision that anyone – including lay people – can be appointed to roles of government in the Roman Curia by virtue of the vicarious power of the Successor of Peter.


Pope Francis: New roles for lay people (Australian Cardijn Institute)
'Stand with Ukraine' appeal
Yuriy Pidlisny
Dr Yuriy Pidlisny PhD, head of the Department of Political Science at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Kyiv and a member of Obnova, the Ukrainian affiliate of Pax Romana ICMICA, has issued an appeal for solidarity following Russia's recent invasion.


Stand with Ukraine! We fight for civilized future (Dr Yuriy Pidlisny/YouTube)
Three things that can change the world
Sophie Stewart
“Almost exactly a year ago I gave a TedX Youth talk called ‘Three things you already have that can change the world’,’ writes former Perth YCS leader, Sophie Stewart. “It’s now online!”

“I touch on some of the awesome work I’ve gotten to be part of with Social Reinvestment WA, Swim For Refugees, and Olabud Doogethu."


Sophie Stewart, Three things you already have that can change the world (TEDx via Australian Cardijn Institute)
Making life beautiful: The Jocist Women Leaders project
Early Belgian JOCF leaders
Led by Katharine Massam and Stefan Gigacz, ACI’s latest project aims to record the lives and contributions of women jocist leaders from around the world and of every generation.

Few remember today that when Cardijn began his ministry in the parish of Our Lady of Laeken, near Brussels, he started by forming study circles of young female teenage workers. And to achieve this, he recruited several young women with experience in community and labour organising, including Victoire Cappe and Madeleine De Roo.
Entitled “Making daily life vast and beautiful,” the Jocist Women Leaders project will draw on oral and written sources to bring the stories of these women to life.

The international project team includes researchers from Latin America, Europe and Australia. The initial aims will be to publish a book presenting the life and work of ten jocist women leaders and to develop an online database recording the stories of so many more of these powerful women.

A special website has been launched to host the project.


Jocist Women Leaders Project (Australian Cardijn Institute/Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Alberto Methol Ferré: Catholics and the diversity of civilisations
Alberto Methol Ferré
Alberto Methol Ferré (1929 – 2009) was a Uruguayan Catholic political theorist and theologian who was influenced by Jacques Maritain, Augusto Del Norece, and the JOC chaplain Lucio Gera, among others.

As a student, he was a co-editor of the International Catholic Movement of Students (IMCS) publication, Vispera, and he worked closely with leader of the JUC and JAC in Argentina. More recently, his work has also greatly influenced Pope Francis’ own thought.

Terre Nouvelle has recently translated and posted online an important 1955 article by Methol Ferré in which he reflects on Catholics, western culture and the diversity of civilisations.


Alberto Methol Ferré: Catholics and the diversity of civilisations (Terre Nouvelle via Australian Cardijn Institute)
Reflection - Taking off our shoes
Shoes seaside
Former Adelaide YCS worker, Catherine Whewell, who later worked as Director of People in Ministry and Chancellor, shared her reflections on “being Church” in a recent series of articles published in Catholic Outlook magazine.

"Central to Christianity is belief in life after death; resurrection after apparent failure; letting go so that something new can be discovered, the seed that dies in the ground so new life can grow," Cath Whewell writes.

'Death. Brings. Life. These themes are often repeated in the Word we hear together when we celebrate Eucharist, or in our own prayer. And yet even though we know the truth of this in our own lives, that God can make something new where nothing seems possible, as a Church community it seems that we fear letting go of what is, in order to discover what might be even more faithful and faith-filled.'


Catherine Whewell, Taking off our shoes (Catholic Outlook/Australian Cardijn Institute)


Dennis Jarvis / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 2.0
Lay apostolate history: The Caroline Chisholm story
In our April webinar, Clara Staffa Geoghegan and Rodney Stinson will look at the life of Australian lay apostolate pioneer, Caroline Chisholm, known for her work with immigrant women and on family welfare.

Born in 1808, she arrived in Australia with her husband, Archibald, in 1838. They soon became aware of the difficult conditions that faced newly arrived immigrants, particularly young women who came without any money, friends, or family, or jobs to go to. Many turned to prostitution to survive.

Chisholm found placement for these young women in shelters, such as her own, and helped find them permanent places to stay. She started an organisation with the help of the governess for an immigrant women’s shelter. During the seven years she lived in Australia, she placed over 11,000 people in homes and jobs.


Caroline Chisholm’s Lay Apostolate, Thursday 21 April 2022, 7pm AEST


Caroline Chisholm's Lay Apostolate (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Bernie Docherty, YCW extension worker in India
Bernie Docherty
Bernie Docherty, a former YCW leader from Melbourne, who went to work as a YCW extension worker in India, died on 26 January 2022. While in India, he met his future wife, Philomena Dubier, also a YCW leader from Madras (now Chennai).

Their daughter, Ambika, delivered a eulogy for Bernie at his requiem mass at St Cecilia’s Church, Glen Iris, on 10 February 2022.

Former Indian YCW leader, Joseph Arokyasamy, who worked closely with Bernie and was best man at his wedding, has also shared his memories.


Bernie Docherty, YCW extension worker in India (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Remembering Bernie Docherty, extension worker in India (
Vale Fr Kevin Mogg AM and Don Burnard
Fr Kevin Mogg AM
Legendary former YCW chaplain, Fr Kevin Mogg AM died on Saturday 26 February, aged 89 (just two months shy of his 90th birthday), Catholic Social Services Victoria reports.

He was born on 23 April 1932. Fr Kevin had spent over five decades as a leader in Catholic social services. He was an inspiring parish leader for over six decades, an educator, and a prison and youth justice chaplain.

For 24 years he also served on the Board of CatholicCare where he continued to serve as Emeritus Board member.

Don Burnard, a well-known marriage counsellor and former YCW chaplain, also died recently.


Vale Fr Kevin Mogg AM (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Video: Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II
Alphonse Gratry
We are pleased now to share the video from our March webinar "Signs of the Times: Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II" with Madonna Clare Adams and Stefan Gigacz.

Stefan's slides and Clare's text are also available on the Alphonse Gratry website.


"Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II" (ACI/YouTube)

Alphonse Gratry Website
Events: Lenten Gospel Reflection program
If today you hear his voice
There's still time to join the final two weeks of our online Lenten program.


Gospel Enquiry Resources (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Blazer logo from the YCW World Pilgrimage to Rome in 1957
Courtesy: The family of Bernie Docherty
Editorial Note: The purpose of the ACI Newsletter is to share information and promote discussion. Citing or linking to articles does not imply any endorsement by ACI of the authors' views.
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