A gift to be treasured and nurtured

One of the aspects of Online Catholics that frequently fascinates me is how you, the readers, react to the various articles as they are published.  Some of these comments are printed in letters; others are not.  My comments last week on Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala has staying power) is one such article.

Sometimes it is hard to know if a letter is meant for publication or for me.  Often I ask, but the Mary Magdalene responses I’ve decided, for various reasons, were for me.  However, I would like to share parts of several of them with you.

Helen has written:

As an artist I have discovered that I am drawn to painting the women of the Bible as I imagine them to be, and so I have sent you a portrait, which I did of Mary Magdalene as if the original artwork had been painted on a wall and then hidden for centuries until excavated in the 21st century.  My vision of Mary is that of a strong woman who knew she had seen the Risen Lord and was now going to acclaim it.  Your article put into words what I was tyring to put visually. 

Her artwork is reproduced, right.

Trish wrote:

I have always had a great love and tenderness for Mary Magdalene but it is hard to find a really good picture of her - how she really was.  Recently, at our St Vinnies meeting we discussed the depth of emotion and the true inspiration -- in many individual ways -- that can come from a depiction of some of the figures who surrounded Jesus, who walked with him and who saw him through his journey to the Father.

And from Francis:

I am very touched by your wonderful expression of devotion to Magdalene and of zeal for the rightful place that women have had in the Church, not only in its origins but throughout history. Knowing Jesus as I do … I cannot conceive of him limiting women in his work of awakening humanity to our divinity.

Such response from you is critical, for a fascinating aspect of working online is that there is very little sense of audience.  On a newspaper, magazine, or even in the broadcast media, the boundaries are much more readily defined and one develops a sense of the people for whom one is writing or editing. Over the months, I have been trying to build up a sense of “who” you are.  Even after six months you are still quite amorphous. It can be quite disconcerting.  I would like to know you better!

However, a real strength of Online Catholics – and a great joy for me - is that not only is the magazine able to give voice to the voiceless in the sense of being an independent medium, it is able to facilitate ongoing, public, main-stream conversation among a great diversity of people, allowing, celebrating and respecting differences in ideology, theology, spirituality, culture and even geography.

So, your interaction with each other through the articles that are submitted and the letters you write – and with me, either for publication, or not - is highly valued.  It is gift to each other and to the Church.  We are privileged to be part of the conversation.  Long may it continue!

Have a wonderful week.  Blessings.

Penny Edman




until July 28 United Nation’s 35th Session on the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

until August 31 A world without polio:  the story of the global polio eradication campaign, Mary MacKillop Place Museum, Mount Street, North Sydney; daily 10am-4pm

until August 3 Radioactive Exposure Tour  (information:  Michaela Stubbs, Melbourne, 03 9419 8700 or Michaela.stubbs@foe.org.au or Joel Catchlove, Adelaide, 0403 886 951 or joel.cathclove@foe.org.au

26 Australian Catholic University (ACU National) open day, Brisbane

28-30 Evangelisation and Culture in a Jesuit Light, hosted by the Jesuit Theological College, the Melbourne College of Divinity and ACU National, at ACU’s Melbourne Campus, Victoria Parade, Fitzroy.

Rachel’s Vineyard healing retreat (emotional and spiritual healing after abortion); Adelaide

29 Dr Sheila O’Dea visits the Dominican Sisters, Strathfield

A God who gifts - Ignatian reflection day; Emmanuel Pastoral and Spirituality Centre, Launceston, Tasmania; 10am-3pm

The Audacity to Hope: Women dreaming together, a workshop developed by the Gender Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia, presented by Rosemary Breen and Bernice Moore, Wesley Uniting Church, Hobart; 9.30am – 3.30pm

29-Aug 1 Edmund Rice Edgework conference: Facing the Challenges

30 Apostleship of the Sea

Christian and Jewish Poetry (readings) Rutherford Room, St John’s Anglican Church, 552 Burke Road, Camberwell; 3pm (Kosher afternoon tea from 2.30pm).  Information:  Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) telephone 9817 3848 or email ccjvic@bigpond.net.au

Workshop series: Our Response to the Environmental Crisis (week 1) – Our Environmental Impact/Ecological Footprint in Church Institutions, in Homes, with Anglican Bishop George Browning, Wesley Church, Forrest, ACT; 3-5pm  (further information:  Rev. P. Walker, telephone 02 6295 3680)

31 feast of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.  (He died on July 31, 1556)


1 The Great Bed Race (in support of cancer research), ACU National, Nudgee Road, Banyo, Brisbane; 11am-1.30pm

2 Uniya seminar series:  Good Neighbour. Bad Neighbour. What’s the difference? Australia’s Relations with Indonesia; Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne; 7.30-9.30pm

6 Workshop series: Our Response to the Environmental Crisis (week 2) – Revisiting Christianity’s Ecological Heritage, Prof. B. Leal, Wesley Church, Forrest, ACT; 3-5pm  (further information:  Rev. P. Walker, telephone 02 6295 3680)

Hiroshima Day rally and march, Queen’s Park, Brisbane; 2pm

Australian Catholic University (ACU National) open day, Ballarat

6-13 National Vocations Awareness Week

7-20 Pilgrimage to the Heart, from Sydney to Sydney, via Uluru, Kings Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef



The graphic design and web content management for this edition of OnLine Catholics has been prepared by Ian James, of JGD Graphic + Web Melbourne.


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