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Our Founding Story

00:08 [Colleen] Helen Delaney said to me,

00:10 "I found a name for the organization.", and I said

00:14 "Oh good!" And I said "What is it?" She said "MacKillop."

00:18 And I said "Well, you get no argument from me,"

00:22 and then she said to me, "You know she's not yours now...

00:27 She belongs to us all."

00:38 [Jenny] The story of the formation of

00:39 MacKillop Family Services, begins in the early 1990s

00:43 when seven leaders, of seven agencies

00:46 based in Melbourne and Geelong,

00:49 that were run by the Sisters of Mercy,

00:51 the Sisters of St Joseph, and the Christian Brothers

00:54 decided that there must be a better way to provide services

00:59 to children and families. At the same time,

01:02 the ladies of the three congregations were also trying

01:06 to discern a way for the future

01:08 to ensure that services were provided in the best way.

01:13 [Brian] It was something good that been growing

01:15 for sometime, a lot of people were talking the possibilities

01:19 but how was it going to happen. So any uncertainty

01:22 at that stage creates a lot of fear and anxiety,

01:27 so, that was one of the things we had to overcome.

01:31 [Colleen] But it was lots of fear.

01:33 It was very difficult for many of the sisters,

01:38 but in their hearts, they knew,

01:41 and they wanted the word to continue so they knew,

01:46 and they were large hearted people.

01:48 [Kath] That I suppose a fight within yourself,

01:51 are for the greater good you got to let go,

01:53 and in the letting go, you gotta trust.

01:55 And my whole life, as a Sister of Mercy

01:58 has been about trust.

02:00 [David] I believe the three major spirits at that time

02:03 didn't know how MacKillop would end up.

02:07 But they took a chance, they took a step, into the future.

02:11 [Colleen] I can remember the first meeting we went to

02:14 and the three groups were there, and how uneasy we all were

02:21 about laying our cards on the table, I suppose,

02:24 but it was the collaboration, and the generosity

02:29 and the openness of each of those congregations

02:34 that was just a wonderful, wonderful experience really,

02:38 and we trusted each other.

02:40 [Kath] And it was an extraordinary thing

02:43 because seven agencies coming together, normally would vie

02:46 for a bit of this and a bit of that

02:47 but the good will and the courage that was there

02:50 to say, 'I will handover, I will get out of the way

02:54 to make this happen', was leadership, at the very best.

03:00 [David] I think in the discussions between

03:02 a member of the Mercy order, a member of

03:04 the Christian Brothers, a member of the Josephites,

03:07 we discovered, there wasn't much difference.

03:12 It was all around empowering the disadvantaged

03:18 and helping them reach, especially children

03:21 reach their capabilities.

03:25 [Kath] A vision for success at that time, would be

03:30 that the children and the families,

03:33 had a better life than they had with us individually,

03:36 and when a say a better life... in every sense of the word.

03:40 [Colleen] The key focus would be always,

03:42 the children and their families. It was never about us,

03:47 it was always about the people we were serving.

03:51 [David] And I think that's why

03:53 MacKillop's been successful. People were clear about

03:57 why they were coming together.

04:00 [Jenny] Creating MacKillop Family Services

04:02 was extraordinary. For seven organizations,

04:05 and three religious congregations to come together

04:09 with a shared vision, required each person to have courage,

04:14 to have trust, to have hope and to have a vision

04:18 for the future. This was truly about creating something new

04:23 that could live on for generations.

04:26 [Brian] I think the founding story, is really a story

04:30 of courage and collaboration.

04:34 [David] MacKillop is an example of an organization

04:38 that arose out of a common understanding of a need.

04:44 [Kath] Over the years, I've stayed involved with MacKillop

04:47 and I'm immensely proud of what's happened,

04:50 and it’ far exceeded my expectations, by far.

04:54 And we can say the legacy, that we were handing over

04:58 at the time from the sisters, is alive and well and blooming

05:03 and it’s just wonderful.

05:05 [Colleen] MacKillop Family Services today, I believe,

05:08 is writing the next chapters of the story, and I hope

05:15 I know, that the spirit will live on.