Our multidisciplinary group of researchers are committed to undertaking research to contribute to the body of evidence on the benefits of pastoral care to patients, staff and families. Recognising the importance of combining skills and knowledge across a range of disciplines to address research questions, the Pastoral Care Research Collaboration provides a platform for information sharing, collaboration and dissemination.


ACU Research Staff

Dr Joel Anderson - School of Psychology

Dr Catherine Bell - School of Arts

Dr Michelle Bennett - School of Allied Health

Dr Carina Chan - School of Psychology

Prof Patrick Crookes - School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

A/Prof Lindsay Farrell - School Arts

Prof Karen Francis - Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

Chloe Gordon - ACU Engagement

Prof Sandra Jones - ACU Engagement

Dr Cecilia Yeboah - School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine


Maria Carnovale, Villa Maria Catholic Homes

Maria completed her Diploma in Ageing and Pastoral Care in November 2015. While completing her diploma she had a placement with VMCH at North Sunshine under the guidance of Sr Lorraine Testa and Bridget O’Shannassy. In May 2015, Maria commenced work in Pastoral Care Services at Providence ACF, Bacchus Marsh.

Catherine Carr, Cabrini Health

Catherine Carr is the Senior Pastoral Practitioner at Cabrini Health, a private, Catholic, not for profit hospital founded by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She has a background in education in Catholic secondary schools and experience working with disadvantaged groups of jobseekers. She has a Masters Degree in Social Science (Pastoral Counselling), a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), a Bachelor of Arts and has completed Clinical Pastoral Education training.

Margaret Deerain, Catholic Health Australia (CHA)

Margaret is the Mission Manager at Catholic Health Australia (CHA), the organisation representing Catholic health and aged care providers in Australia. One of Margaret’s responsibilities is to support the needs of pastoral practitioners working in the Catholic health and aged care sector. This includes supporting research, professional education opportunities, formation opportunities and facilitating communication with pastoral practitioners.

Mary McInerney, Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH)

Mary holds a Doctorate in Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy, Theology Degree, Diploma of Community Services – Psychiatric Disability Support, One Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Mary has extensive experience in spirituality, pastoral care, liturgical celebrations and community engagement. She has a special interest in how the arts can be used as a method of reflection on lived experience. She has also worked with homeless women starting up MacAuley Community Services outreach. She has just recently been employed with VMCH as a Pastoral Care Outreach Worker for Affordable Housing.

Mary Ringstad, Calvary Mater Newcastle

Mary has 20 years of experience as a Pastoral Care Practitioner with 19 years as Manager. She has completed a research project to test the efficacy of Pastoral/Spiritual Care using a Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) across the Calvary network of hospitals.

Michael Taylor, Mercy Health

Michael has experience as a pastoral care practitioner and a manager of pastoral care teams in both acute hospital settings and aged care. During the past 4 years, he has been part of a Sponsorship Committee to help support the teaching of the Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Care by Holy Family Services RTO in Melbourne.

Jacqueline Taylor, Cabrini Health

Jacqueline hold a Masters of Counselling, Advanced Certificate of Gestalt Therapy, Two Units of Clinical Pastoral Education, Graduate Diploma of Theology, and Bachelor of Arts. Jacqueline has a special interest in the spirituality of ageing. She was the inaugural Manager of Aged Care and Community Service at Spiritual Health Victoria where she worked on a number of projects to raise the profile of spiritual and religious care for the aged and community sectors most notably the recently released National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care. Jacqueline has worked as a counsellor, pastoral carer and chaplain in palliative care and aged care organisations for many years. Most recently she established Cabrini Vale; a professional support program for older bereaved people living in the community on behalf of Cabrini Health.

Julia Trimboli, Mercy Health

Julia was appointed to the position of Executive Director Leadership & Mission in June 2015 and is responsible for guiding Mercy Health’s leadership team in supporting their mission. Julia holds a Master of Bioethics, Master of Arts (Theology), Graduate Certificate in Interfaith Relations, Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights & Social Justice, and Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education and Bachelor of Arts. Julia also brings extensive experience in mission leadership roles, which includes Catholic Health Australia and most recently, Cabrini Health. Julia has a deep commitment to, and sound knowledge of, Catholic health provision and what that means for mission from community, public and private health perspectives.

Paul Zammit, CatholicCare

Paul Zammit has a Master of Social Science, Certificate Trauma Counselling and Therapy, Bachelor of Theology, 3 Units Clinical Pastoral Education. Paul’s working life has been in Pastoral Care provision at a practitioner and leadership level, in contexts that are culturally and linguistically diverse, that have required comfortableness with varying expressions of faith and meaning making, and the capacity to connect and reconnect with his own faith tradition.


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