Majella Tracey RIP

In the morning of 25th October 2019 Sister Death wrapped her arms around our beloved aunt and carried her home to join her parents,brother and sisters in paradise.

Image of  older woman holding photo of herself as a younger girl.
Majella Tracey fmm 2018

Majella Tracey lived life to the full inspired by her faith,nurtured by her life long commitment to service for justice and peace and surrounded by the global community of women living together as Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

From the family home in Geelong West this young teenager in the post war years set out to live a dream that was fired with imagination,creativity and a spirituality grounded in an awareness of the sacred in the world around her.

She engaged with those who were left on the margins by socio-political and religious structures. Her smile, wisdom and insights were shared in formation of those who prepared and returned from cross-cultural encounters. Her theology of Mission was informed by academic study and a lived praxis.

Majella has left a legacy to her family and community that invites engagement with the signs of the times and a heart for justice and peace in the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth.

Funeral Notice

Scripture Texts

Micah 6:8


Letter of St John 3:1-3

John 12:17-25

Family Eulogy: Tony Robertson

Majella. you have gathered us together on this ancient land of the Darug People. We acknowledge their sovereignty and pay our respects to Elders, past,present and emerging.

As an elder of our family you have left us a legacy of deep respect and commitment to reconciliation with the First Peoples of this land. We acknowledge your personal and public witness in your Submission to 2003 Human Rights Commission

When assisting Majella with her online social media I discovered that her password was also based on the Aboriginal word for one of the language groups in one of the suburbs she lived in.

Majella, you have brought us together in this sacred place where you celebrated God’s walking with the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of all people, especially those who are poor or oppressed in any way. You invite us to this table where every human need is nourished by the bread of life and the cup of salvation.

Majella, we gather in gratitude for so much that you gave to our family. We remember your presence,your wisdom and your words in cards and emails. We hold close the memory of your spiritual direction as you stood with us in our grief and loss as parents and siblings passed away. We honour your close family connection and your journey with your sisters, Mary and Kath after the death of your brother Jack.

After a lifetime of good byes we now come to the final farewell. As your biological family we stand with your religious family to send you home.

We send you home to your parents, Annei Irene and William.

We send you home to your brother, Jack,your sister in law, Estelle and your nephew,Michael

We send you home to your sister, Mary, your brother in law, Jack and your niece, Geraldine.

We send you home to your sister, Kath and your brother in law, Alex.

We send you home to all the ancestors who carry the Tracey name and those who became part of our family. We will remember you and carry your story in a new generation that now includes great nieces and nephews.

May the saints of God provide an honour guard as you join them on this feast day.

May the choirs of angels sing you home to paradise.

God speed you on this final journey our loving aunt.

2018 Mary Fisher, Majella Tracey Tony Robertson

Music for Majella’s Mass of Christian Burial


Signature on No Faith in Coal Letter to PM

Partners in Mission Article (pages 12-13)

FMM Community in Sunshine West

Pacific Mission Institute Closure

Written by Majella Tracey, fmm   (Text translated online from Italian original)
AUSTRALIA   “Where do you lead me?” (Notes of the retreat of Maria della Passione 1884). The most beautiful writings of Mary of the Passion date from the year 1884-1885, to the time in which she was obliged to leave her post as general superior and spiritual guide of our young Institute, and its uncertain future. For her it was a time of suffering, but also of prolonged prayer; the time of a mystical look on the true and double power of truth and love.She gave herself to live only on the beauty of such power and to follow it wherever she wants to lead it. “Where do you lead me?” Today the Australian FMMs are confronted by this same request. Like our sisters in Europe, we live among an aged population, where very few choose religious life.
The majority of the members of our Institute arrive at the year of the Golden Jubilee, and this does not mean at all that they are in retreat, this means that it is no longer for them to foresee the future; this is for a small number of younger FMMs and for lay friends, animated by the spirit of Elena di Chappotin, who know how to practice in the institutions entrusted to them by the FMMs.

Member of the first generation of Australian FMMs, I have the great joy of being in close contact with two of these institutions in Melbourne: the primary school “ND de. the Nativité ”and the College“ Ave Maria ”, which are located close to each other in Essendon-east, Melbourne. As a young religious I was sent to the Ave Maria Retreat House in Essendon, and for eleven years I worked in the apostolic services required for the rapid demographic expansion of our immediate neighborhood. Among these services there was the construction and operation, year after year, of a Children’s Garden, then of a Parochial Primary School and a secondary College for girls. I was closely involved in the hesitant and poor beginnings of the Childhood Garden and Primary School. Hesitating, due to the novelty of the company for the FMM of Australia,

Indeed these two limits have become our true strength: we know that we need each other to realize the dream of a parish center, offering all progressive education. The parents have turned into diligent bees to plow the land, buy the managers and find the means to finance them. Those who know how to teach, do odd jobs or do sports have generously given their time to enrich the school program. Who had means of transportation willing to take advantage of others. A truly Franciscan tradition of joy, sharing and service has thus taken root without warning and in 1965: children’s garden, primary school and college functioned at full speed. In 1978 the FMMs left Essendon.

The convent and the retreat house became the administrative center of the college. I returned to Melbourne in 1994 and was delighted to receive an invitation quickly for a staff meeting at the Ave Maria to receive the College Mission card, ensuring that the foundation charism of the College of FMM was always alive, in the orientation taken from the college under the impulse of the new director, Mrs. Oliver Hortin. This contact has given rise to a continuous commitment to information in the life of the college and to many interesting experiences concerning the way in which the FMM charism has been completely appropriated. The most recent test was the year-end 2009 ceremony when they asked me to give the new Elena of Chappottin excellence award to the student who,

In his address, M. Heinz Wolf, director of religious education and the faith, describes this award as follows: “This award symbolizes the principle” towards the truth through love. “Whoever receives it understands what inspires it to to be faithful to our Catholic tradition; to persevere in spite of adversity, to respond creatively to the needs of those around her and to be confident and courageous as she walks in the presence of Jesus “The criteria for awarding the prize are: – Maintaining school effort. – Participate in activities concerning faith and social justice. – Try quality management. – Be part of the college’s activity group. – Investing in the charisma and spirit of Hélène de Chappotin, supporting her.

The award was given to Stéphanie Mulcahy. The applause and the joy on Stéphanie’s face were proof that this choice was good. The Notre Dame de la Nativité primary school exudes the same joyful Franciscan spirit. On 9 October 2009, students, professors and parents joined the parish church for the inauguration and presentation of the flags of four new houses. Each student is a member of one of the “houses” and is therefore in relationship with various activities and responsibilities with students who are not in his class. This gives the young people a much broader sense of community and belonging than they find in their peer group. Here is a summary of the return – account of the ceremony in the School Book, year 2000: The symbols present in their flags represent the foundation of our Franciscan Missionary School of Mary. The top of each flag the fmm cross reminds us of our origins and the love of God for each of us. Each flag still represents our Franciscan origins.
These same symbols are found in a mosaic at the entrance to the school.
The blue sister Water is a symbol of renewal, of healing, of inspiration
Gold sister Luna is a symbol of renewal in darkness, a symbol of peace, justice and creation.
The red brother Sole is a symbol of warmth, of hospitality, of relationship.
The green our mother Earth that is our home, a symbol of action, of radicalism.

What a surprise I had in seeing my name written on the Gold flag of her sister Luna. Having been the first director of the FMM, I was chosen as the patron saint, sharing this honor with St. Francis, Father James Wall, the first parish priest and Father John Spillame, a much loved pastor who stayed here for twenty years. Joy, gratitude and happiness have filled my heart seeing how God had faithfully taken care of the grains that we had sown in 1957, so that not only would they take root, but that they would grow and bear more fruits than we could have imagined. In gratitude for these cooperators so committed to the mission, professors and students of the ND de la Natività school and of the Ave Maria College, I would like to address to them the words of encouragement that Sr.Alma Dufault,

Majella Tracey, fmm
Pacific Mission Institute
Madge, Tony, Majella July 2019

John Doherty RIP

Portrait of Tony by John Doherty

Tonight my social media feed is carrying sad news of the death of John Doherty, artist, storyteller, smoker, Catholic and so much more.

I came to know John in my role as a community worker supporting people with disability and mental health issues to live with independence. John and I were the same age and shared a similar love of cinema, culture and religion.

We documented each other in the remarkable exchange of camera and paintbrush. On my bedroom wall I gaze with gratitude at a portrait John painted of me a few years ago. It captures my passion for Aboriginal politics with the colours that I wear around the brim of my hat.

Tonight as a tribute to John I publish for the first time an insight into my collection of portraits taken of John over the last ten or more years. This collection includes rare images of John in his home/studio where he playfully poses with the ciggie always close at hand.

Farewell John, I will miss our conversations about Audrey, Cary and those idols of the silver screen. I was always remember our last conversation in the hospital where you asked me for communion and a coffee.

Rest in peace from the struggles and the worry. May the Malboro Man and St Peter welcome you home and may the angels sing you gently as you join those heroes you brought to life on canvas.

NAIDOC Week 2019 Reflection


Another NAIDIC Week across the country has provided opportunities for sharing culture, community and the political reality of First Nations peoples in Australia.

I spent much of the week taking advantage of the many local events to immerse myself in relationships and awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Three moments stand out for me as highlights of the week:

On Monday of NAIDOC Week I attended the Brisbane Launch in City Hall. Later in the afternoon I dropped into a local city bar which is a favourite hangout. I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours around the brim. As I walked into the bar a women called out to me and admired the hat. She introduced herself as Jackie from the Torres Strait Islands and we chatted about some of the events scheduled for the week. Jackie insisted on a selfie with me in my hat and asking my name said she would tag me as “Uncle Tony Robertson” in her post. To be tagged and named as “Uncle” in such a way is an honour and a responsibility particularly as a white fella. This is the tag that some of the young Murris have also given me from our conversations and encounters on city streets.

The second moment happened on Friday of NAIDOC Week. I boarded a bus from my usual stop for the city and three young Murri boys sat a couple of seats in front of me. Again I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours which they noticed. After a few minutes one of the boys turned to me and asked where I got the hat. This was the beginning of a conversation that took us into the city over the next 25 minutes. We sat across two seats, a 66 year old white man and a young 18 year old holding the plastic bottle from which he inhaled as we spoke. It was a remarkable conversation about the reality of addiction, the alienation from culture and the families and people we knew in common. My phone camera with its collection of images of Aboriginal Elders is a great asset in these moments. The young man told me his name and proudly spoke of his tribal group for which he had a hand signal. He trusted me with. his personal details and I promised to look out for him if I was around the spaces he hangs out. We got off at the same stop but walked in different directions.

My third NAIDOC moment was on Friday evening at the launch of an art exhibition at the Francis Rush Cente for the Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group. I was honoured to do the Acknowledgement of Country. The place in which the exhibition was held also included works by well known Aboriginal artists. Judy Watson‘s Empire Stakes feature as part of Brisbane’s Heritage Trail and are installed just outside the Francis Rush Centre in the Cathedral Precinct.

The other Aboriginal artist whose work is currently displayed in the Francis Rush Centre but not mentioned in the online resource is Fiona Foley. A panel of the Cathedral art collection is a brief clue to the series that are mounted in what is now a foyer space:

The story of these beautiful works and their mistreatment is recorded strangely enough in the documentation published by those who agitated for the works removal from their original installation inside the Cathedral of St Stephen. Since their removal the works have suffered from neglect and abuse in unprofessional storage.

Telling the story of Fiona Foley’s was an important part of acknowledging that the voice and truth themes of NAIDOC 2019 will take all of us into uncomfortable places on the journey to reconciliation.

My images and captures of my support for events during NAIDOC 2019 are available here.

Week of Solidarity for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

How Open Are My Eyes?

Image of eyes with text: We Don't see thongs as they are, we see things as we are

Week of Solidarity for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

From 21 to 27 March is a week of solidarity for the elimination of Racial Discrimination

In Australia this usually begins with Harmony Day (which was yesterday)

This is the week when we consciously look at our own actions in regards to racial discrimination, our own attitudes, and then that of our country, our world…
• Are we discriminating against others on the basis of race and if so what can we do about it?
• How can we be compassionate to the victims of this discrimination, to those enabling this discrimination?
• How can we raise the powers of love upwards to the next stage of consciousness – consciousness that will lead to action?
Perhaps if, for one week, I lived in the shoes of someone suffering daily racial discrimination, my eyes would be opened
Read the whole reflection here

Singing My Way Through Catholicism

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 66th birthday and give thanks for those who sent good wishes. Today I mark another milestone with the 66th anniversary of my Baptism.

Yes, with names like Anthony Gerard it is pretty obvious that I was baptized Catholic an acknowledgement I make with some trepidation in the current climate.

However, there is a spectrum of Catholicism. At one end you will find George Pell and at the other, Andy Warhol You will find Mary Queen of Scots, but you will also discover St. Mary MacKillopTony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce carry membership cards as did Mum Shirl. and Fr Ted Kennedy of Redfern. Scoundrels, saints and sinners , have filled the pews,written our history and taken us on the highs and lows of human experience.

I grew up in a era of Catholicism that nurtured a love of music and singing. The popular Hymn, “How Can I keep From Singing” is rarely sung in Catholic Churches but it captures a sentiment that some of us will identify with as we scroll our social media and watch the reports of clergy abuse dominate our screens.:

Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

Each year I publish a list of hymns and music that I have sung in Catholic communities from childhood to my adult years. The list now runs to 66 pieces to commemorate this anniversary. If you are Catholic you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. If you have never sung with Catholics, you will probably be amazed at the clips you can find on youtube!!!

I hope the sharing of this post nurtures hope for all of us who live in these days of “tumult and strife”

Singing My Way Through Catholicism

Web of the Cross


This online meditation was launched in 2000, the Year of Great Jubilee. I have published it  each year since  with updates to the links and reflections  as some material goes offline and new resources become available.

The Stations in this collection  are those used in theMelbourne Way of the Cross, an ecumenical devotion which began on Good Friday  2000 and  has continued each year as pilgrims process to Churches around the city.

The image, Jesus of the People by Janet McKenzie is kindly allowed for use by the artist. Janet’s Stations of the Cross set has been published in a work featuring writings by Joan Chittister

The Web of the Cross

January Retrospective

A New Year

2018 is one of those significant years in my life. I celebrate my 65th birthday which still marks a watershed moment for many as the era of  “retirement”, grandchildren and far less clubbing. I am considering a change in my workload and a simpler lifestyle. The “grandchildren” are borrowed from friends and clubbing has been  added to the agenda thanks to sharing a house as well as lots of time and friendship with a much younger housemate.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a global campaign of awareness and solidarity.

The Calendar Storyboard

Despite the digital frontier I hold on to some  classic practices including  physical calendars. As a child I  learnt o check the days from the calendar my parents had in the living room. We grew up in a traditional Catholic Family where the Columban Calendar was the norm. As well as providing useful information on holidays and  saint days it served as a mini gallery of the European masters in our humble house.

In recent years I have attempted to be a little more frugal by recycling calendars where the year was a repeat. The 2007 calendar is a match for 2018 but I only had one in my set from the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters   Having space for 7 calendars can be a challenge but if you spread them between bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, study  and hallway you can create a pretty  colourful set of wall hangings.



During the month I managed to get along to two cinema events:

I am Not Your Negro A powerful documentary about race

Cherbourg Women  Trailer A moving public viewing with Cherbourg Elders at Bunyapa Park in West End



Public art is more than decor. It educates, challenges, inspires, and amazes us. One of my commitments for 2018 is to share the art works I see in my daily travel.  This piece is in the foyer of the Mater Mother’s Hospital South Brisbane.

Churches are  a great source of inspiration for photography. I celebrated Christmas  with the Byzantine Catholic Community on January 7th

Invasion Day is an annual pilgrimage of justice and solidarity with the First peoples of the land.



Some pretty  vigorous discussion happened on my Facebook wall when I posted the following comment:

This government is bereft of morality, undeserving of respect, and callous in its commitment to abandon integrity. Those who hold membership or support the Liberal and National parties should hang their heads in shame for their failure to stem a culture of cruelty, abuse of human rights and failure to work for the Common Good of Australia.
Malcolm Turnbull Liberal Party of Australia #tonyrobertson

PM spruiks jobs for local manufacturers but Tim Costello of World Vision has previously attacked policy as ‘exporting death and profiting from bloodshed’
 You can follow the discussion here.


Social Media

Although I have cancelled my Linkedin account I still get requests so if you sent a request please note this account is inactive.

Feature addition of the month was a new item to my Manhood Mates and Masculinity page.

There are a couple of clips from Invasion Day on my Youtube Channel and plenty of news on my Twitter account.

 January Odd Spot

Thanks to  Catholicism there is never a shortage of “odd spots” to lift the eyebrows.  This month the Catholic Leader takes the cake with a new year item, What Brisbane Catholics are reading this summer. Now you might wonder why not “What Brisbane Catholics are eating this summer” or “What Brisbane Catholics are drinking this summer”. However, the books won and 6 lucky contestants got a guernsey.  To their credit they gave four possies to women and only two to blokes. All  were “professional” Catholics and no one from an Indigenous or Non English speaking background.

The item itself was interesting with a broad range of texts and the usual suspects from the enclosed religious whose library probably doesn’t run beyond spiritual reading.   The story didn’t make the Twitter feed of the CL but it did make the Facebook feed.  The FB feed only attracted 9 likes and three shares. What is interesting is that not one of those interactions thought to add their reading selection to the conversation.

So, my summer reading in fact, part of my daily reading for the year: Classic Catholic with good wine.