Maureen Waddington is the Director of Mission at St John of God Hospitals in Ballarat and Bendigo with responsibility for the social outreach community mental health programs, Pomegranate House, Bloomsbury House, Raphael House and International Health Twinning Program in Tonga.
Maureen was originally on the Board for Centacare, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat prior to being appointed to the CatholicCare Victoria Board in December 2020, where she brings significant knowledge and experience around mission formation and community mental health.
We recently interviewed Maureen to learn more about her experience, and the future she envisions for CatholicCare Victoria.
Photo: Maureen Waddington
How did you become involved with Centacare Ballarat prior to joining the CatholicCare Victoria Board?
`I was a board member of Centacare Ballarat for approximately eight years and honoured to be Chair for the latter part of that time. I followed on from my St John of God Chief Executive Officer at the time and his position on the Board was preceded by a much-loved Sister of St John of God. This represented a longstanding relationship between Centacare and St John of God Ballarat and I felt a special attachment in carrying on this legacy.
What changes have you seen since your time at Centacare?
I have seen many changes in the community with the growth of Ballarat and surrounds; the staffing structure of Centacare Ballarat and several changes of Board members as well as in the Chair roles. The most significant change would be the transition of CatholicCare Melbourne/Gippsland and CatholicCare Sandhurst into Centacare Ballarat, which then became CatholicCare Victoria. In the short time of this transition, I am delighted to see many wonderful opportunities have presented and been embraced by CatholicCare Victoria to provide more and improved services to our clients – our reason for being. These opportunities would not have occurred had we not come together, thereby significantly enhancing our capacity to apply for Government funding to provide services to our communities.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
I think the coming together, a process that involved people putting their self-interest aside and bringing their individual and collective skills and identities together for the greater good of the communities we serve. In that process, there was a strong recognition of the individual identities, but also an acknowledgement of how much we had in common and the complementarity possible in combining those skills. There was a great respect for each service and the gifts each brought to CatholicCare Victoria.
CatholicCare Victoria Commissioning Mass, March 2021
Photo from left to right: John Sheldon, Most Rev Shane Mackinlay, Agnes Sheehan, Most Rev Peter A. Comensoli, Maureen Waddington, Most Rev Paul Bird, Ross Castle, Most Rev Greg Bennet.
Photography by Fiona Basile | Melbourne Catholic
What drew you to become a board member at CatholicCare Victoria?
I believe together we are stronger, as individuals and a community. Sharing of resources and a commitment to equitable distribution of resources will strengthen the individual, the family and subsequently the community. Giving back is an integral part of being in a community, showing gratitude for life and a way of doing so was to become a Board Member.
What are your impressions of CatholicCare Victoria so far?
I am amazed at what has been achieved in a short amount of time – less than a year – and I am excited for what the future will bring as we bring our Catholic ethos into caring for our communities.
What opportunities does the formation of CatholicCare Victoria open up for social services across the state?
We have an opportunity to contribute to the building of thriving communities.
Our ethos calls us to respect and support the unique dignity of every person, offering a listening heart and a helping hand if requested. We provide services that build individuals and in doing so build communities, thriving communities, where we offer support to facilitate equitable social inclusion for those who may not have had the support or opportunity previously to live life to the full.
What do you see as the primary mission for CatholicCare Victoria in the next 12 months?
I think the primary mission will always be informed by the Gospel values. The ethos of all people having opportunity to live their life to the full and be embraced by the communities in which they choose to live. I think it is to honour the unique dignity of every person and to respect their choices. I think there is a mutual learning in that space which informs the growth of our mission and its pathway into the future. I think part of our primary mission is to be thinking in the now but also building communities for the future.
What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
I was able to go to the Victoria Market for the first time in a long time and it is definitely one of my very happy places. I love to cook and share with family and friends and the fresh produce and the diversity of the market and the stall holders brings such richness into my life and others.
Jenny Phillips | Communications Officer – External Communications Lead