Exploring Pope Francis’ integral ecology

Rahamim Ecology Centre, Bathurst NSW
Monday 30 September to Friday 4 October 2019

Exploring Pope Francis' Integral Ecology will be delivered in tribute to the late Professor Reverend Denis Edwards MA, STD. Like all those who knew him, we are deeply saddened by his untimely passing. While as a community we continue to mourn this loss, we also take the opportunity to celebrate his significant contributions to academia, and particularly in the area of ecological theology.

“For just such a time as this…” Esther 4:14

The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, in collaboration with the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, are delighted to announce details of a special program focused upon Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si and the 8th Work of Mercy, Care for our Common Home.

This five-day residential experience in the company of some of Australia’s most prominent theologians, educators and practitioners is set in the evocative grounds of Rahamim Ecology Centre in Bathurst, NSW. It offers you a unique opportunity to encounter, reflect on, and be moved to action by the Gospel of Creation announced by Pope Francis.

Animated by a praxis model of theological reflection and experiences of ecological spirituality, you are invited to:

  • bring new questions to biblical and theological understandings of creation
  • engage with and develop projects and practices that are aligned with contextual need
  • be nurtured by the simple beauty and deep joy of being “in place” in Bathurst
  • allow the natural world to foster experiences of communion and community through ritual, prayer, creative expression and imaginative action.

View the detailed program

Submit your expression of interest

Secure your place now

At the Rahamim Ecology Centre, you can appreciate a voluntary simplicity that finds its expression in basic but comfortable rooms. Inspired meals are prepared from fresh, seasonal, site-grown produce, or produce sourced from local, organic and ethical producers. You can relish the quiet of the countryside and views of the world-famous Blue Mountains, as well as take excursions to regional sites of beauty.

Watch a video about the Rahamin Ecology Centre

Program dates

Monday 30 September to Friday 4 October 2019


Rahamim Ecology Centre, 34 Busby Street, South Bathurst NSW


This experience is open to participants from across Australia.

Credit for study

Academic credit towards an award program is available*. This program constitutes 10 credit points (cp) towards the Master of Theological Studies and Master of Professional Studies in Theology at ACU.

Students in other ACU programs should consult their course rules and/or course coordinator for information regarding eligibility and credit points.

Other students enrolled at different institutions are also eligible to apply for credit towards their study.

If you are not currently enrolled in an award program, you may still undertake this program for academic credit. Credit may be applied to a relevant course in the next few years.

*Admission requirements and conditions will apply. If you elect to participate in this program for academic credit, you will required to complete the relevant assessment tasks.

Program costs

Participation only: $2,140 (incl. GST) Participation with academic credit: $2,330* (incl. GST; *This cost is inclusive of the normal 2019 unit fee.

Costs include daily vegetarian meals, excluding breakfast.


You can fully immerse yourself in this experience by choosing to live-in, which includes accommodation and breakfast at the Rahamim Ecology Centre.

Contact the centre directly to make your own accommodation arrangements. More details will be provided during the register your interest process.

Please note: Accommodation is limited, so you are encouraged to contact the centre as early as possible.

Alternatively, you may wish to arrange different accommodation in Bathurst.

Explore Bathurst Accommodation on the Visit NSW website

At this immersion, you’ll learn from some of Australia’s most prominent theologians, educators and practitioners.

Professor Elaine Wainwright RSM. PhD, MTh, BA (Hons).


Elaine Wainwright is Professor Emerita of the University of Auckland where she established and was Head of the School of Theology/Department of Theology from 2003-2014. She is a New Testament scholar of international renown, and has recently published Habitat, Human and Holy: An Eco-Rhetorical Reading of the Gospel of Matthew in the Earth Bible Series. Elaine is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.


TRP Facilitator: Sr Adele Howard RSM. MA Media Arts, MTheol, BTheol, Cert Teaching

Adele Howard is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. She is an adviser in communications and works in digital media and visual storytelling, particularly to support organisational change in the not-for-profit community sector.

Adele has become a regular presenter at national and international conferences. Her recent responsibilities have included coordination of the Mercy International Association’s theological reflection process on ‘The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor’ across the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Adele is a PhD Candidate at ACU. Her doctoral work is in the development of a Theology of the natural world in the light of Laudato Si’.

Academic Coordinator: Sr Ann-Maree O’Beirne RSM. M.Div, M.Ed RE, M.Ed PG, GradDip Spiritual Direction, Dip.T

Sr Ann Maree O'BeirneAnn-Maree is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. She lives in Bathurst and is currently enrolled in the PhD program at ACU through the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. Her thesis topic is ‘Graced Encounters of an Ecological Kind: Exploring an Ignatian Motif’, and she is being supervised by Professor Denis Edwards and Professor Dermot Nestor. Ann-Maree has a long association with the Rahamim Ecology Centre, with the community of Bathurst and with ACU.


Practitioner: Ms Sally Neaves MTheol, MAppLing, BA/BTheol, DipEd, GradDip RE

Ms Sally NeavesSally is the Eco-Education Coordinator at Rahamim Ecology Centre, where she integrates environmental education, spirituality and advocacy. Her ministry involves designing earth literacy programs and contemplative place-based practices for reconnection and imaginative action for our times. Her background includes studies in ecological theology, philosophy and spirituality.



Local Presenter: Sr Patricia Powell RSM, OAM. MDiv (Hons), BTheol (Hons) BA, Dip Ed

Patricia PowellSr Patricia Powell is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Her ministry background is in secondary education and adult faith education in the Bathurst Diocese, community development with Aboriginal communities in Central and Western NSW and formation and leadership of the Sisters of Mercy at local and national levels.

Patricia was a founding member of Rahamim Ecological Learning Community in Bathurst, and she has been involved in eco-education, advocacy and spirituality as director and consultant to the Centre. She tells the Universe Story to promote a mutually enhancing relationship between humans and Planet Earth – all its life forms and life support systems.

Local Session Presenter: Professor David Goldney AM PhD, BSc Dip Ed, Dsc (Honoris causa), MEIA, Fellow ISCAST

David GoldneyDavid Goldney AM is a wildlife ecologist and eco-historian who has lived in the Bathurst area for 47 years.  He has written extensively about the ecology of the Central Western Region of NSW in peer reviewed journals as well as communicating with the general public through a wide range of media outlets. He is semi-retired but still an active researcher and writer and is an Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University.

To apply for this program, follow our simple two-step process.

Step 1

If you’re interested in this program, complete an expression of interest. You will be asked whether you intend to apply for university credit, and also asked to pay a deposit of $340.

Step 2

Once we have received your expression of interest (including your deposit), we will contact you directly to confirm and finalise your place in the program, including processing any formal enrolment for academic credit.

We will also provide you with accommodation details to begin the process of securing accommodation, should you wish to choose the live-in option.

Submit your expression of interest and pay deposit

Our partners

Exploring Pope Francis’ Integral Ecology is delivered in partnership with:

rahamim ecology centre   ISMAPNG_horizontal_logo-200px


More information

Contact our staff to learn more about this program.

Sr Ann-Maree O’Beirne rsm
Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
Phone: +61 407 329 902
Email: Ann-Maree.O'

Professor Dermot Nestor
Executive Dean, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
Australian Catholic University

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