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International Women’s Day was marked on Sunday 8th March. Many of our member organisations marked the day with celebrations acknowledging the amazing role of women in their personal lives and in their professional work. The theme for this year’s IWD was Each for Equal, promoting the role each of us have to play in supporting gender equality in society. 
In a podcast interview with Melbourne Catholic at the recent national Catholic social services conference, national facilitator of the Plenary Council, Lana Turvey-Collins reflects on how the idea of taking time out to pray and discern is deeply counter-cultural—even for an institution as old as the Catholic Church. "It’s a courageous decision," she explains. "Since the Second Vatican Council this (Australian Plenary) Council is only the third to be held (in the world)."
“Now is the time for each of us to ask ourselves – do I have Mary McKillop’s courage and conviction to speak truth to power? What does speaking truth to power really mean, and why does it matter?” Ursula Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Social Services Australia posed these questions to around 180 guests last week at a national conference dinner for Catholic social services.
Debra Zanella provided the closing keynote at the national conference for Catholic social services, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion. She explored the role of modern-day prophets amidst the current milieu of Catholic social service provision. As CEO of Ruah Community Services and President of the Western Australian Council of Social Services, Debra was able to bring both her vast experience and learnings from key influential people to the table, as she implored those present to do the same.

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