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Leadership Formation

MISSION INSPIRED LEADERSHIP: Orientation for Leaders and Board Directors in Catholic social services

A Professional Development Program over four evenings - 5.30 for 6.00 – 8.30pm, on 16 March, 20 April, 23 May and 22 June 2017.

Building on the insights of Pope Francis, the Forums will provide a valuable opportunity to reflect deeply on the relationship leaders have with the Gospel and the mission of their own organisation, and its relationship to the broader social services sector.  Click here for details.
Continuing Formation for leaders of Catholic organisations is essential if the identity, mission and core values that underpin the operation of the organisations are to be sustained. It is the leaders of Catholic organisations above all, who will provide organisations with a clear sense of their identity and leaders themselves with new knowledge, inspiration and support to lead their organisations in uncertain times.

The criteria developed by Mary Aikenhead Ministries for sustainable senior leadership development in their Leadership Framework Document Formation of the Heart quoted below, provides valuable insights into the quality of the commitment required of all Catholic organisations in health care, education or community services to leadership formation:

‘Trustees: Strategic international and national opportunities will be identified by the Trustees for key leaders to broaden, strengthen and enrich their ministry formation in a way that will shape Catholic identity into the future.

Board Support: …Boards need to make ongoing formation of leaders a priority and strongly endorse and support quality and relevant formation and ensure that it occurs. Board members need ongoing formation so that they model what is expected of senior leaders and ultimately all in the organisation.

Organisational Commitment to Formation:  High quality formation is the core element in sustaining our ministries…Senior leaders formed in the dynamic traditions and legacy of the Catholic Church should understand, appreciate and promote the mission of education, health care, research or welfare respectively in their area of ministry. This is critical if ministries in the future are to be inspired and animated by the life of Jesus.

Now and into the future (following appropriate recruitment and employment practices) ministry formation of senior leaders must be seen as central to the sustainability of MAM (Mary Aikenhead Ministries). Senior leaders need to provide all employees and volunteers with opportunities for mission and ministry formation.

Funding: Funding for senior leader formation needs to be seen as an investment in the future…The need for high quality formation programs is essential for the sustainability of our ministries and funds for formation at all levels of the ministries need to be incorporated in annual operating budgets.

Ongoing Formation: Ongoing formation provides senior leaders with support and new insights as their leadership journey develops. Follow-up to initial formation is essential. The environment in each of education, health care, research and welfare is continually changing. Cultural and economic diversity, increased ambiguities related to ethical issues, and the need to deal creatively with tensions in the relevant system are all focal points where leaders need support, new knowledge, greater understandings and the courage to lead in uncertain times…’

(Mary Aikenhead Ministries Leadership Formation Framework: Formation of the Heart pp 14, 15)

  1. Mary Aikenhead Ministries Leadership Framework Formation of the Heart , a comprehensive framework for leadership development at every level of the organisation: www.maryaikenheadministries.com.au
  2. Edmund Rice Education Australia: Especially Break Every Yoke for Leaders in the Edmund Rice tradition and the ‘refresher’ for leaders, Mount Sinai.www.erea.edu.au/formation-identity
Accredited Courses:

The Australian Catholic University offers a Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Catholic Culture.  Click here for details. This program is for managers in Catholic community services, as well as health and education.  CSSV  has been closely involved in course reviews, etc. 

Course graduate Ian Grisold, CEO of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Melbourne, says:
“The course provided a wonderful foundation on which to base actions and decisions every day. For those more challenging decisions it also provided a framework using the mission, vision and values of my Catholic organisation. Fred Chaney challenged me – ‘There is no point in being a Catholic hospital without being truly Catholic’. I am a leader of a Catholic Hospital and proud of it.”


Sentir, a Jesuit-inspired ecumenical branch of the University of Divinity, offer a Graduate Certificate in Leadership, Spirituality, and Organisational Practice. This is for staff, volunteers etc who want to integrate spirituality, their personal leadership roles and organisational transformation. Click here for a flyer, and here for a comment on this program.

Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work.
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