ALLORA native Sr Monica Cavanagh, as the new president of Catholic Religious Australia, will lead religious men and women to be “a prophetic voice”.
The Josephite Sister originally from Queensland was elected CRA president during the national body’s 42nd National Assembly on June 20.
“It is a great honour to be elected by my peers to the role of president,” Sr Cavanagh (pictured) said.
“I believe the voice of religious men and women is very important at this time in the life of the Church and the community.
“We are called to be the prophetic voice – we must be courageous and respond as ecclesial women and men.”
Sr Cavanagh replaced outgoing CRA president Ursuline Sister Ruth Durick.
“Catholic religious women and men are a voice for those who are marginalised by society and by the Church,” Sr Durick said.
“I am proud to have served as president for the past two years and will keep Sr Monica and the new council in prayer as they lead us into an emerging future.”
Sr Cavanagh will lead a council of 13 religious men and women from across Australia under CRA’s new structure, which will no longer include state entities.
“I have a vision about the Church becoming a community of disciples rather than a hierarchy,” Sr Cavanagh said.
“As president, I will be guided by God, and trust that the Holy Spirit can accomplish great things through our work together.”
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge congratulated Sr Cavanagh on her new role.
“The members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference know and respect Sr Monica as a woman of deep faith and strong leadership skills, both of which will be important in her new role,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
He said religious women and men had made a unique contribution to the Church in Australia and to the nation.
Through a time of great change, he said, they continued, in ways both old and new, to be prime witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Catholic Religious Australia is our partner organisation in so many areas of Church life, not least in the critical areas of professional standards, safeguarding and child protection,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“Throughout Australia, dioceses and religious orders work seamlessly to ensure that the Church can flourish in its service of society as a whole.
“At the national level, too, the bishops’ conference and CRA will work together closely to meet the great challenges we now face.”