Who We Are
The Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries are committed to excellence and innovation in the provision of Catholic education, health and social services in the tradition of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity. This commitment has seen a number of ministry reviews since the establishment of Mary Aikenhead Ministries in 2009 and major projects to refurbish, develop and extend the ministries.
Mary Aikenhead Education Australia
When the education ministry was transferred to the Mary Aikenhead Ministries in July 2009, Mary Aikenhead Education Ltd was established to succeed to the Sisters of Charity Education Services Council. Incorporation provided the vehicle into which the Colleges properties could be transferred; the Colleges themselves had been incorporated since the early 1990s. Informed by their period of stewardship, the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries determined in late 2011 that it would be timely to conduct a governance review of the education ministry. Questions had arisen as to whether the network of four colleges needed three levels of governance and, if not, what mechanism/s would ensure the necessary accountabilities while promoting development of the education ministry.
The Trustees commissioned consultant Mr Philip Pogson from the Leading Partnership to evaluate the existing arrangements and recommend to the Trustees actions to enhance governance of the education ministry. Following extensive consultation the final review report, delivered in May 2012, identified a preferred governance model and the need for a future vision and an implementation plan for the education ministry.
Following consideration of the review recommendations, the Trustees established the Mary Aikenhead Education Australia Advisory Council to support them in their stewardship of the education ministry. The Council provides strategic advice in relation to advancement of the ministry and fidelity to its Catholic identity and mission within a contemporary interpretation of the charism of Mary Aikenhead. The Council also ensures that the Trustees are kept abreast of developments in national and state education sectors. With the establishment of the Council, the Trustees assumed the additional role of Directors of Mary Aikenhead Education Ltd, to reduce reporting and other governance requirements for the Colleges. These outcomes have seen enhanced operation of Mary Aikenhead Education Australia and its Colleges as a national and collaborative education ministry.
Each of the Colleges has a master plan and has been systematically refurbishing and extending its facilities, with a particular focus on contemporary learning spaces. Major projects in the education ministry have included:
• the Una McAllister Sacred Space and Music Centre at Catholic Ladies’ College, named after former Principal Sr Una McAllister rsc (2012);
• the multi-purpose Ionian Centre and the Aquatic Centre (2011) and an Arts Precinct currently under construction at Mt St Michael’s College (2015);
• refurbishment of the library at St Columba’s College to deliver a fully flexible and contemporary research and library facility (2014);
• state-of-the-art boarding house facilities at St Vincent’s College (2013-2104) and a current project to connect College buildings into a cohesive and contemporary learning and teaching environment (2015).
St Vincent’s Health Australia
In 2009 the decision was taken to review the complex federated structure of St Vincent’s Health Australia. McKinsey and Company was engaged to undertake the review which looked at a national, strategic and implementable approach to strengthening mission, operations and sustainability. The outcome was the move to a single fiduciary national board, while concurrently establishing regional community advisory councils. Appointments to the new St Vincent’s Health Australia Board took effect on 1 October 2010. Other review recommendations were subsequently implemented and culminated in significant structural changes in 2013-2014 which transformed the regional-based towards a service-line structure with three divisions – public hospitals, private hospitals, and aged care and shared services, each with a dedicated Chief Executive Officer. This model was put in place to advance the mission and support the growth of the health service through working as a national group under one identity.
The Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries are now the stewards of health care facilities, established by the Sisters of Charity as ministries of the Church. To ‘take the mission temperature’ of St Vincent’s Health Australia, the Trustees engaged a group of eminent internationally respected reviewers to undertake a mission review in 2012-2013. The review assessed the impact of organisational change on the realisation of the core values and examined evidence of how strategic planning, decision-making and policy development within St Vincent’s Health Australia (SVHA) reflected its distinctive Catholic identity and mission. The review affirmed that the mission continues to be ‘palpable’ and demonstrable across the health ministry.
In the pursuit of excellence in Catholic health and aged care, St Vincent’s Health Australia (SVHA) has a strategic plan underpinning its growth and development. Major projects in the health ministry have included the following:
• acquisition of the Sisters of Mercy (Melbourne) interest in St Vincent’s and Mercy Private Hospital (2011), which subsequently became St Vincent’s Private Hospital with campuses in East Melbourne, Fitzroy and Kew;
• partnership with the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in conducting the Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital;
• acquisition, refurbishment and development of aged care facilities as a significant and strategic commitment to the Catholic aged care sector;
• capital developments and major refurbishments at each of the private and public hospitals, including construction of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at the Darlinghurst campus (2012), the Huntington’s Unit co-located with St Joseph’s Village Auburn in Sydney (2013) and Griffith Community Private Hospital (commenced 2015) as well as developments plans for a new private hospital and co-located aged care facility in Werribee in Melbourne;
• significant community engagement projects addressing drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues, the needs of the homeless, of Indigenous Australians, of refugees and of asylum seekers, and health care in developing countries as well as SVHA social advocacy initiatives to address such issues;
• major research projects undertaken in and across the SVHA hospitals and research institutes as well as with community partners;
• planning for the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, a collaborative approach to medical research planned for the SVHA Fitzroy campus.