Patty Andrews OSU
When I think about my present ministry, the scene of a beautiful river flowing into the ocean comes to mind. For 40 years of my Ursuline life I have worked in education. While the work of schools is vast, it is all carried out basically in one community with a well – defined focus. This time in my life was like a young river full of energy, vitality and daily challenges.
In the past ten years the horizon has broadened as new doors have opened for me. The river is widening and its flow less rapid. The pace of my life is changing.
Much of my current work is with Principals, teachers and parishioners in both formal and informal programs. The main aim of this work is to assist those who participate to be more reflective in their own life and ministry. I present a short course each year at the Parramatta Diocesan Institute for Mission on aspects of spirituality, beginning with the fact that spirituality is a natural human disposition and as such we are ‘wired for God.’ Furthermore from a faith perspective, I believe that grace is secretly at work in the heart of every person. I hope that through this ongoing formative work, I participate in some small measure in the awakening of the treasure deep within each person.
I am also involved with the work of Catalyst for Renew, by facilitating retreat days and reflection mornings as part of their annual programme. I also present a course at the Aquinas Academy on several of the Christian mystics. My experience has shown me that many people are seeking for a meaningful expression of their spirituality which begins with the heart. I know that the spirituality of Angela Merici which is embedded deeply in our Ursuline tradition, has a beauty to inspire and a capacity to speak to the heart.
Several years ago I was invited to be part of the prison ministry known as Kairos Outside for Women. This involves reaching out and engaging with women who have been affected by a spouse, a son or daughter, a relative or close friend receiving a prison sentence. As this is an ecumenical movement I am involved with women of faith from other Christian denominations. Through working with these committed women I have witnessed extraordinary selflessness and generosity embodied in compassion. I am grateful that through this work I am coming to touch and experience something of the nature of our loving God who is pure Agape—the bountiful Love-energy that is existence.