The Southern Cross : June 2011
Page 8 June 2011 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | Living Catholic Three Adelaide housemates have been opening their "little home" to women wanting to share the joys and challenges of living Catholic in an increasingly secular world over a cup of morning tea. The initiative, called "Sisterhood Brunches", is one of several projects to receive grants from the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, with the support of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson and the Council for Ministry for Young People. Once a month young Catholic women Larissa Burke, Lauren Walker and Bernadette Toohey, who have been housemates for the past year, open the doors of their Fulham Gardens home to women wanting to discuss everyday issues in light of a common, accepted Christian faith. "We've had a year of establishing our own household and now hope to be able to extend the wonderful graces we've been given outward into the community, particularly to other women," says Ms Walker, 25. "We hope the Sisterhood Brunches...are a space where women can enrich and support each other in their faith and in their lives." Ms Toohey, 27, says the trio, all of who work part-time and study full-time, has lived at home or with flat-mates and has found living with women of a similar age and faith-background has many spiritual benefits. "It's great to be travelling along a similar road, and for there to be a common acceptance of faith and how this is reflected in how you live your life," she says. Ms Burke, 23, says the friends decided to share their experience with other women and have so far held three brunches in their lounge room this year, attracting up to 20 women at a time. The women gather around 9am on a Saturday for a mingle with some food and drink and by 10am one of the three hosts starts off discussion. "The aim is to create a sustainable network of support for women of faith," says Ms Burke. The next Sisterhood Brunch is being held on June 25, from 9-11am. For more information contact Larissa Burke at email@example.com Ben Anthony is a fighter. In fact, he's been fighting all his life after being born with a number of medical anomalies (known as Vacterl Association) which kept him in Flinders Intensive Care Unit for the first five months of his life. At nine months he underwent an Australian- first operation to create an oesophagus and his digestive problems continued during primary school when he was fed through a gastrostomy tube. But with what his mother Catherine describes as "wonderful support" from the staff and community at Christ the King School, Warradale, and then Sacred Heart College Middle School, he has progressed through to Year 10 at Sacred Heart College Senior with his twin brother Chris. On the last day of Term One when his mates were celebrating the beginning of the holidays, Ben suffered a blockage in his oesophagus and bowel. He underwent a seven-hour operation to save his life. Since then he has been on intravenous fluids and dialysis (he only has one kidney) while his medical team deal with complications as they constantly arise. "It's a day to day proposition," said his mother Catherine who has spent every day at his bedside in intensive care and then the Newland Ward at the Women's and Children's Hospital. "Every day throws up something different...but he's very resilient and he never lets it get him down." Catherine said when Ben wasn't in hospital he led an active life playing soccer and tennis but added that there had been "some pretty tough times". She has been overwhelmed by the support and prayers offered for Ben by his friends and their families at Sacred Heart and Christ the King, together with the Warradale Park Tennis Club. Some of these families have organised a fund-raiser for Ben to help him and his Mum with long-term care when he is finally allowed to leave hospital. "I am just shell-shocked," Catherine said. "I'm amazed at the courage, support and total commitment of all my family and friends who want to help." Above all, she is proud of Ben's fighting spirit, which helps her to keep going too. His courage was acknowledged by Adelaide Crows coach Neil Craig when he came to visit Ben in intensive care. "I can tell you're a fighter -- the same as our team, we will keep on fighting," Craig told the young Crows fan. Ben also received a boost when Captain Nathan Van Berlo visited him and chatted about football and his family back in Western Australia. The fundraising function for Ben and his family will be held at the Colonel Light Hotel on Sunday, June 12. Further information: Jeff Clarke 8211 9988 or firstname.lastname@example.org Brunch with a teaspoon of faith SOUL SISTERS: (L-R) Adelaide housemates Bernadette Toohey, Larissa Burke and Lauren Walker have been funded by the Adelaide Archdiocese for their innovative brunches inviting women of faith into their home. Photo: Stephen Gray The Adelaide Archdiocese is in the process of developing a positive and contemporary "identity" for the Catholic Church here in South Australia, based on the motto of Living Catholic which has already been introduced into some elements of our communications and marketing. As part of this initiative, The Southern Cross is introducing a new Living Catholic page which features articles and photographs highlighting the many good works that often go unnoticed but that make a big difference to people's lives and to the community in general. Parishes are invited to submit suggestions for stories that demonstrate in a practical sense Living Catholic. New feature Rallying for a young fighter Jenny Brinkworth HERO SUPPORT: Crows captain Nathan Van Berlo visits courageous Ben Anthony during his long stint in the Women's and Children's Hospital.