Someone once wrote that we should not look back at the past because that would lead to depression. Nor to the future, for that will lead to anxiety! I cannot agree with this gloomy reflection. By reflecting on our Catholic health and aged care ministries in the past, we are inspired to look to the future by the lives of countless people who have served this ministry so faithfully and creatively.
My task is twofold: to reflect on what has been happening in the sector particularly since the early 1990s; and to risk identifying particular challenges in the present and future.
I wrote a short article for an American anthropological journal in 1993 under the title “Organizations Must Grieve Over Losses, Not Just Individuals”! Out of the blue came an urgent message from the Catholic Health Association USA: “Help, there is so much change in healthcare, so many challenges, that our services are in deep grief over what is being lost. We seem to be living in perpetual organizational chaos! Can you help? Would you do the annual conference keynote address?” I accepted and it radically and wonderfully changed my ministry. The title of the lecture was “It’s Time to Refound Health Care Ministry Out of Chaos”. I repeated the lecture here in Sydney at your annual 1996 conference. ...
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