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Retired Bishop returns to his pastoral roots at St Vincent’s Hospital

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Bishop Terry Brady leads prayers for the homeless at a gathering in Elizabeth Bay. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Bishop Terry Brady leads prayers for the homeless at a gathering in Elizabeth Bay. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Retirement is not a concept Bishop Terry Brady recognises.

After more than 50 years of service to Sydney Catholics and beyond, he could be forgiven for putting up his feet and having a well-earned rest.

He can think of nothing worse and plans on getting those feet firmly planted under a desk at Sydney’s iconic St Vincent’s Hospital, helping anyone who needs it.

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The retired auxiliary bishop plans on spending “as many days a week as they’ll have him” sitting in the foyer at the busy Sydney hospital serving with the hospital’s dedicated pastoral care team assisting staff, patients and their families.

With a life-long affection for the disadvantaged and the poor, and a deep devotion to the spirituality of the heart and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Brady’s new “role” brings him full circle to where his ministry began and just as importantly where he is sure the Lord wants him to be.

Bishop Brady worked as a wardsman while he was studying at seminary, an experience that gave a real insight into where God truly does his work.

“I always said that if I live long enough and after I retired, I’d work in a pastoral setting like St Vincent’s and I’m so blessed to be here.”

He has always regarded the hospital as “sacred ground” and Catholic down to its foundations.

“I always said that if I live long enough and after I retired, I’d work in a pastoral setting like St Vincent’s and I’m so blessed to be here,” he said.

“I’ve always had a connection with this place for as long as I can remember.

“My grandfather was here in the Sacred Heart Hospice and even as a kid of about 8 or 9, I can still remember being so touched by the care and kindness shown by the nuns, not only to him but also my grandmother and our whole family.

“That really touched me. It left such a mark that I knew from a very early age I would take St Vincent as my confirmation name, and I’m so glad I did, he’s been beside me through it all.

“And then when I was at the seminary, I used to work as a wardsmen here which gave me the chance to be with the people, the things I would see in accident and emergency I’ll never forget.

As busy as ever: together with chaplain Fr Darryl Mackie, Bishop Terry Brady,above, at right, plans to serve with the pastoral care team at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
As busy as ever: together with chaplain Fr Darryl Mackie, Bishop Terry Brady,above, at right, plans to serve with the pastoral care team at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“People affected by drugs, the homeless, people dying suddenly after being in accidents, I saw it all and I always felt the hand of the Lord in it.

“I have always had a sense of belonging here, even when I’ve come here over the years through my ministry, or even as a patient, I’ve always felt at and like I’m home.

“The Sisters of Charity who started this place ensured it was known as a Catholic hospital but open to everybody. All the people who could never afford it, they made sure they could get looked after here.

“The Catholic spirit today still permeates the place and I am very keen to get my feet under the table and see where I can be most useful.

“I want to belong and be where I’m accountable and I can’t think of a better place to do that than here.”

“To choose to return to his love of healthcare in his retirement is a blessing for us.”

St Vincent’s Private Hospital CEO Heidi Bayliss said Bishop Terry will be a Godsend for the whole hospital community.

“To have Bishop Terry join our healthcare team is a blessing for our hospital and campus,” she said.

“He is no stranger here, having been a wardsman when he was a theological student and then as bishop, the Vicar for Health.

“To choose to return to his love of healthcare in his retirement is a blessing for us.

“Already Bishop Terry has made himself known to our staff and attended meetings to understand the day to day running of a hospital.

“He is loved by both patients, visitors and staff and complements our compassionate care in our leading Catholic hospital in Sydney.”

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