Winds of Change in Australia

Sister Marianne Dacy’s latest book, Winds of Change, traces the pivotal role of the Catholic Sisters of Sion order of nuns in improving relations between Jews and Christians in Australia. Sr Shirley Sedawie and other Sisters of Sion established the Centre for Jewish/Christian dialogue in 1962 and were a major Christian influence in the founding of the first Council of Christians and Jews in Australia. The Sisters of Sion continues to be an important player in Jewish Christian relations in Australia. Winds of Change tells the story of the order in Australia since the first Sisters of Sion arrived in 1890. To read Winds of Change, please click here

About the cover picture of Winds of Change:  the sculpture “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” by Joshua Koffman presents Synagogue and Church as study partners, or in Jewish terms, as an interreligious ḥevruta. This Aramaic word for friendship describes the traditional rabbinic practice of the paired study of sacred texts by friends for the sake of heaven. The sculpture also illustrates the words of Pope Francis that: “There exists a rich complementarity between the Church and the Jewish people that allows us to help one another mine the riches of God’s word.” This statue’s depiction of the Christian and Jewish relationship repudiates medieval portrayals of a majestic Church triumphing over a blind and defeated Synagogue. The statue was commissioned by Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate and the 1967 founding of the university’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” was dedicated on the plaza outside the Saint Joseph’s University Chapel on Friday, 25 September 2015 with a keynote address by Rabbi Abraham Skorka. After he had blessed the sculpture, Pope Francis embraced his friend Rabbi Skorka, who pointed to the two bronze figures sharing their sacred texts and said, “They are you and I – Pope and Rabbi learning from one another.”  Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, said the statue is a demonstration of two sisters of the same dignity: the Church and the Synagogue.” This vision of Jews and Christians learning about God together is an inspiration for the next fifty years of the two communities’ recent “journey of friendship.”