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Sisters of Life farewelled at sell-out Fidelis event

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It was a festival of faith at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield as 350 Catholics attended the young adult Fidelis event to farewell the visiting Sisters of Life.

Music, fraternity and fast food filled the faithful youth of Sydney on 24 April as they waited to hear from the sisters on the final night of their hugely successful Sydney tour.

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Mingling with the energised crowd, Sr Mary Grace SV was elated at the reception she and her fellow sisters had received from an archdiocese she believes is “on fire”.

“Sydney is so hungry for truth. Especially the young Catholics we have met,” she said.

“It’s been a gift for us to come here and to see just how open Sydneysiders are to learning more. Jesus is alive in Sydney! The Archdiocese of Sydney is truly on fire and we have been so blessed.”

Twenty-two-year old University of Notre Dame student Emily Cousins was one of the many faithful young adults who were excited about hearing the sisters speak for the first time.

Sr Rose Patrick with participants at the Fidelis young adult event held at ACU Sydney. Photo credit: Alphonsus Fok

“Australians can be so chill and ‘on the fence’, but the Sisters of Life know what they believe and profess what they believe,” she said.

“We as young Aussie Catholics need that fire to be bold and profess the truth, particularly around the culture of life.”

“Sr Mary Grace is a Tangara old-girls’ student and so am I,” said 26-year-old Jennifer Milostic of Liverpool, who now teaches at the same Cherrybrook school.

“It’s exciting to see her as a face for vocation for women and I’m also interested to see if her Australian accent has become more American over the years,” she joked.

As the crowd made their way to the auditorium to hear the sisters talk, organised by Sydney Catholic Youth from the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation and University Catholics, it was clear Sr Mary Grace’s accent is still very much Australian.

As is her celebrated sense of humour, which she quickly swung into action with some humorous anecdotes about their adventures on their Sydney tour, including being stalked by a herd of kangaroos on a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park.

She also horrified the audience by revealing her fellow Sr Veritas’ growing fondness for Vegemite and mayonnaise sandwiches.

Young people are hungry for Christ, said Sr Mary Grace as the Sisters of Life tour concludes. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

After engaging them all to join in singing the song, “This will be nothing else but a House of God,” Sr Mary began her talk on the topic ‘Let Love Set you Free’ telling the hushed crowd how “Jesus is alive and wants to work through you.”

She challenged her listeners to make a choice, “to either seek stability in our senses, in what I can see and touch or stake stability in my soul.”

She explained that while a lot of us may strive to seek stability through our actions such as, “losing weight, ‘acing’ the exam and proving our worth through circumstance”, we may miss out on the “true goal of letting Jesus into our heart and soul” and that “Jesus’ love is the ultimate gift, in every moment of our life.”

She related a story of driving with her mother in Sydney, confessing that she had been a classic “back seat driver” and urged the young people to allow Jesus to truly take the driver’s seat in their lives.

Sr Mary Grace speaks with one of the hundreds of young adults who attended the events on their Sydney tour. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“He doesn’t want to just tag along, he wants to lead. Give him that permission,” she said. “Let Jesus into our life in a raw and honest way and everything changes.

“He wants to be a part of every single detail and your heart has been created for constant communion with Jesus. This is your calling. He wants you to see how much he wants to lead your life.

“The battle within is in our hearts—have a heart that is at peace and thousands will be saved. Let him who reigns into your heart.”

Jared Elbaghd was among those who were blown away by the sister’s heartfelt witness.

“That was incredible, amazing! One thing I took away is the Lord desires to love us and that we’re called to trust in him,” he said.

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