Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2014 Contents 7
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Words feature prominently on the walls
of Mums' Cottage at Holmesville : words
like welcome, comfort, nurture, empathy,
under standing and companionship. When
you spend an hour with Sr Helen-Anne
Johnson r sj, founder and driving force
behind Mums' Cottage, you realise that
the words on the wall have real meaning
here. Sr Helen-Anne and her team of
volunteer s walk the talk and improve the
lives of all who enter.
Mums' Cottage has been oper ating from
the Uniting Church Hall in Holmesville
since March 2012. Sr Helen-Anne's
dream of having a place "where I could
help Mums" has grown and developed
and now includes respite, mentoring,
counselling, advocacy, disability support,
wellbeing strategies, education classes and
The key to its success is the companionship
and suppor t offered to Mums. Sr Helen-
Anne, who realised through her counselling
that suppor ted Mums mean happier
children, sums up Mums' Cottage : "We
empower women to recognise their own
dreams so that they can follow them."
As Lor raine Doolan wrote on the Mums'
Cottage Facebook page, "Sr Helen-Anne
reminds us that we all have value and a
lot to offer. Mums' Cottage is a place to
soothe the soul."
The Sister s of St Joseph, Sugarloaf Catholic
Parish and Sugarloaf Uniting Church
have been instrumental in supporting
Mums' Cottage and recently, af ter Sr
Helen-Anne was invited to speak to their
congregations , the Edgewor th Community
Baptist Church and the Belmont Anglican
Church have both committed to assisting
Sr Helen-Anne's work. Both congregations
have donated funds and goods to assist
in the Cottage's oper ations and qualified
speaker s have offered their ser vices to
assist Mums. A member of the Baptist
Church is now a member of the Board.
Mums' Cottage is a wonder ful example of
ecumenism at work for the benefit of all
God's people, or as Sr Helen-Anne puts it,
"We're Kingdom, not Church."
In addition to the suppor t of these
churches, businesses, clubs, associations
and State and Feder al politicians have
r allied behind Mums' Cottage because
they can see the positive effect it's having
in the local community. Mums who once
sought help have stayed on to become
mentor s for other Mums and a team
of volunteers helps with administr ation,
counselling, education, casework, advocacy
in cour t, pampering days, child minding
and grounds maintenance.
Mums' Cottage relies on the generosity of
its suppor ter s and volunteer s to provide
these free ser vices. Like any community
organisation, it would be gr ateful for any
donations or suppor t to keep this "great
community asset" going.
"We always need children's shoes, clothes,
books and toys and we would love to have
more mums and gr andmothers come
along to provide encour agement and
suppor t to Mums who are doing it tough,"
said Sr Helen-Anne.
"We also need an Office Administr ator or
two; someone who could come in for a
few hour s a couple of days a week would
be just terrific."
The Adamstown/Broadmeadow Rotary
Club has organised a movie night
fundr aiser to help Mums' Cottage raise
funds to finish its kitchen. This will be
held at Event Cinemas Glendale on
Thursday 30 October, 6pm for 7pm. The
s The Best of Me and tickets are $15
per person. You can book by calling Mums'
Cottage on 4953 4105. All are welcome!
To learn more about the many ser vices
offered by Mums' Cottage visit w w w.
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(l-r) Joan Cantwell, Belinda Allen with her son Rhys Spicer, Sr Helen-Anne
Johnson and Larissa Toneguzzi enjoying companionship at Mums' Cottage.
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