Home' The Southern Cross : June 2017 Contents LIVING CATHOLIC
THE SOUTHERN CROSS June 2017 | www.thesoutherncross.org.au
For the past 10 years a group of
women have been meeting at the
Nazareth Catholic Community to
‘knit and natter’ while also doing their
bit to help others.
The Wise Owls Knit and Natter
group have donated hundreds of rugs,
beanies, jumpers and scarfs to charities
both nationally and internationally.
In recent times, they have been
making teddy bears for the Red Cross,
which distributes them to children
affected by fire, floods or other
Last month more than 50 ‘trauma
teddies’ were presented by the group
to Emina Allegretti, Red Cross
preparedness coordinator emergency
services in South Australia.
“The teddies are used to comfort
mainly children in times of trauma
and distress,” said Emina.
“They will mostly go to the
ambulance service. It’s a comfort for
the children – if they are in hospital it
can be a distraction and it’s their own
to take home.”
Each school semester the women
knit for a purpose and choose a project
that will enrich and give back to the
Not only do they volunteer their
time, they purchase their own
materials and donate weekly to a
Gwen Lawrence, long time Knit
and Natter group member, came up
with the idea to donate and make the
teddies for the Red Cross.
“I knitted trauma teddies a few
years ago and I always believed it was
a wonderful initiative as everyone
deserves to be comforted at times of
struggle and trauma,” she said.
“When we were discussing what
purposeful knitting project we would
do this year, I thought this would be
appropriate. The women have really
gotten on board and supported the
Redi Teddy project.”
She said the group meets weekly
and there is “more nattering than
knitting” but any unfinished work was
done at home.
“I love helping other people, I don’t
like knitting if it’s not for a reason,”
Another member of the group,
Jane Agius, said knitting for a good
cause not only benefited the wider
community but also provided the
group with social interaction.
“We work together as a group to
help people in need, although it is also
a time where we gather, support one
another and lend a listening ear in a
loving and caring environment.”
The group began gathering at
the Albert Park church hall and
transferred to Nazareth Catholic
Community which is celebrating its
10th anniversary this year.
WISE OWLS: Members of the Knit and Natter group, from left, Joan
Good, Janet Lyons, Polly Power, Gwen Lawrence, Mary Cusack, Emina
Allegretti (Red Cross) and Mary Kelsey.
Save a life by donating at
or call 1800 024 413
Severe food crisis
in East Africa
23 million people are facing a
food crisis that could be worse
than the Ethiopian famine of
Please help prevent
Knitting with love
For the past two years Palms volunteer Philip Cranley
has literally been living in a church in East Timor
“I lived in a church, which really, for the local
community is where people congregate not just for
events and to attend Mass, but a lot of the local kids
use it as a place to hang out,” Philip told The Southern
Philip recently returned home to Adelaide after two
years on his immersive volunteer placement.
He said a highlight of the experience was being able
to live amongst the local community. Other volunteers
he met were working in the community but living in a
different area with expatriates.
“I think for me, living within the community made
the experience better and gave me a more realistic
understanding of the locals’ day-to-day lives,” he said.
“The biggest challenge was trying to understand a
culture that’s not your own.
“You can’t go in expecting to change their cultural
identity, you have to work within it. They place a
lot more emphasis on family and community which
is really great. But, then at times, these things are
prioritised over other things such as education.”
Philip lived and worked within the Dili Diocese,
using his background in workforce planning, finance,
human resources and project management to help
structure and develop a functional education system
with greater coordination between schools in the area.
He said he was motivated to get involved with
Palms after reading about the organisation in his parish
“I had wanted to volunteer for some time and had
been looking at a few different options,” he said.
“When I came upon Palms it was really clear to me
that their philosophy aligned very well with my own
reasons for wanting to volunteer,” he said.
“I’ve had a very fortunate life and wanted to be
able to give back to others who didn’t have the same
opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to have.
“I don’t come from a traditional volunteering
background – I’m not a teacher or a nurse, so after
some consultation with Palms they came up with a
couple of options for me where my skills would be
most beneficial, and that’s how I ended up in Dili.”
Philip worked with Fundaco Sao Paulo (DSP), which
was established by the Dili Diocese to administer
Catholic schools within the diocese.
“The organisation is essentially the equivalent of
Catholic Education here in Australia, but there were
significant difficulties with communication between
individual schools,” said Philip.
“I worked to help organise development and
coordination between the schools as well as boosting
the capabilities of the individuals working within.
“We focused on training and aligning an
organisational structure, which is where some changes
Palms Australia currently has 16 volunteers on
similar placements to Philip, in countries including
East Timor, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Kenya,
South Africa, Kiribati and Thailand and is currently in
discussions with bishops in Myanmar who also have
requests for teachers and community development
Last October, Palms signed a project agreement
with Catholic Mission and this new funding will be
put towards meeting more requests for volunteers in
Timor-Leste, Samoa and PNG.
Reflecting on his experience, Philip said his greatest
achievement was being able to watch others grow and
“That had the most impact on me, seeing this growth
and forming these relationships,” he said.
“These are people who I will continue to stay in
contact with no matter where I am and I think I played
an important part in their lives and they played an
important part in mine.
“I would say to anyone thinking about it – just do it.
You will get so much more out of it than you expect
and it will definitely change you.”
For more information on becoming a Palms
volunteer or donor visit www.palms.org.au or call
02 9560 5333.
POSITIVE EXPERIENCE: Philip Cranley at one of the Catholic schools within the Dili Diocese.
I’ve had a very fortunate life
and wanted to be able to give
back to others who didn’t have
the same opportunities I’ve
been lucky enough to have.
Links Archive May 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page