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Religious orders don't fear change

Religious orders are not preoccupied with the 'setting of the sun', but instead act from a strong sense of life and purpose, a conference for leaders of religious institutes was told.

The Catholic Leader reports on the address of Professor Patrick Duigan of the Australian Catholic University to leaders of Catholic and Anglican religious congregations in Australia at their annual assembly in Sydney last month.

He and Dr Victoria Collins, both from the university's Strathfield campus in Sydney were reporting on three years of research on the challenges experienced by leaders in "frontline human service organisations".

"While falling numbers and ageing personnel do put strains on congregational leaders," Professor Duigan said, "religious respondents showed an unusually high level of energy in creating a vision, in collaboration and in commitment to mission."

Fear of change was tied up with fear of extinction, but "religious orders in the main showed no such fear," he said.

Catholic Leader