July 2024 reflection – Caitlin Edmondson – Canberra Affiliate
July 9, 2024

As we move into the middle of winter and the cooler shorter days of the year, I always enjoy the smell of the wood fires that burn around Canberra. Having lived in Canberra with its minus degree mornings for the majority of my life, winter to me is a crisp frost and the smell of wood fires of an evening when coming home. It makes me think of the families that are warm and dry, and enjoying their time together after work and school.

July also marks the commencement of NAIDOC week, where Australians come together to appreciate and celebrate the cultural contributions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to our country. The theme for NAIDOC week is ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’. The NAIDOC website further elaborates – “The fire represents the enduring strength and vitality of Indigenous cultures, passed down through generations despite the challenges faced. It is a symbol of connection to the land, to each other, and to the rich tapestry of traditions that define Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As we honour this flame, we kindle the sparks of pride and unity, igniting a renewed commitment to acknowledging, preserving, and sharing the cultural heritage that enriches our nation”. (

The theme of NAIDOC week, particularly “the sparks of pride and unity” really speaks to me and ties in with the week I’ve had with the Little Company of Mary. This week I have been blessed to be at the LCM Administration Centre in Mascot, Sydney, welcoming our new Health and Wellbeing coordinator Emma to the team. We have managed to catch up with all the Health and Wellbeing team, both in person and online. This week I have spent time remembering my first week with LCM and the handing over of the flame from our previous Health and Wellbeing coordinator. The days I had in Mascot gave me the feeling of being gifted a spark, and protecting a legacy, and that feeling has come full circle this week with being able to gift Emma that spark and tell her about the wonderful Sisters who are certainly the keepers of the fire in the Little Company of Mary.

In the bible, to me, fire represents the presence of God, and his presence in our hearts. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). And the spreading of the word of God. “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). Fire is symbolic of cleansing and purity, of warmth and of presence. My time with both Calvary Private Hospital Canberra and now as a staff member of the Little Company of Mary, has allowed me to experience the warmth and presence of our Lord. I’ve felt the Spirit of Calvary in the corridors of our hospitals, and the mission and values of Calvary, as lived and instilled by our sisters.

It is amazing to me that the spark of one woman, Venerable Mary Potter, has evolved into an Order that spans the globe, and a hospital system that touches so many in our community. This evolution is not unlike a spark evolving into an inferno, and the inferno is the vision of Venerable Mary Potter. It is the millions of babies that have taken their first breaths under the love and care of the sisters and Calvary Healthcare, and the patients who have been loved and cared for in their last moments and every admission in between. It is amazing to me to see the legacy that this has left for our communities.

Fire is also beautiful. It is mesmerising to watch an open fire and watch the flames dance, and that is symbolic of the teaching of Venerable Mary Potter. “Thank God always for the happiness and beauty of life – it is beautiful” – (Venerable Mary Potter’s Last Words).

I hope that July brings fire for each of you, whether it be happy, warm nights, NAIDOC appreciation and celebrations, a new spark or the continuation of the passion and work of Venerable Mary Potter through “Being for others”.