From the art of the circus to the art of mercy

Along the paths of a privileged and colourful life journey, I have been called by God's mercy to join a group of consecrated women in the Catholic Church.

My story began on a farm in South Australia, near St Mary MacKillop's first school. Although my family was actively involved in the Uniting Church, my siblings and I attended this school and received Catholic sacraments along with my mother. Both the ministers in our family's church and the priests in my new church were instrumental in my faith journey, and I aspired to follow in their footsteps and commit myself to God and Jesus' gospel.

Towards the end of school my solid, narrow faith began to break up. I questioned my vocation call and Christianity's relevance. Over the next few years I worked in a nursing home, organised local and international interfaith events and completed a Bachelor of Circus Arts in Melbourne. In the circus course I worked with amazing people who challenged the status quo, saw the potential in the world and sought to bring it colour and life. It therefore seemed an easy transition to vows as a Sister of Mercy!

Through interfaith involvement I learned to rediscover and value my own religious tradition, seeing it with new, more open-minded eyes. The call to a committed public life of faith continued and led me to women who found strength from prayer and community to participate in God's reign in the world through the works of mercy. So at 22, I joined the Sisters in Adelaide and at 25 I took my first vows. Since then I have been privileged to work with people in homeless shelters, youth ministry, detention centres, prisons and parish − and to study theology. For all of these gifts, I am truly grateful!    

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Elizabeth Young Image
Elizabeth Young

Elizabeth is a Sister of Mercy.

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