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www.mn.catholic.org.au Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
When Sister Helen-Anne Johnson RSJ was looking for a suitable
building to house her 'baby', Mums' Cottage, she could have
just combed the street directory and she would have been led
to the right place: St Helen's Street, Holmesville!
LIKE MOST JOSEPHITES, Sr Helen-
Anne originally ministered as a
teacher, with a particular interest
in preparing children to receive the
sacraments. Working as a pastoral carer at
both St Benedict's Primary Edgeworth and
Holy Cross Primary Glendale, she became
increasingly aware of the needs of the
young mothers she encountered. While her
role was primarily focused on pupils' needs,
she quickly realised that if the Mums'
concerns were addressed, the children
benefited enormously too. The hand that
rocks the cradle...
In earlier times, Helen-Anne reflects, many
young mothers had their own mothers
nearby with built-in support and advice.
They didn't feel such pressure to take on
paid work and there was a greater sense of
local community. As she extended her role
to offer support to the mothers, she began
to notice that the children became more
settled. Significantly, teachers reported
more positive outcomes in class, and
Helen-Anne knew she was on to something!
Slowly, the idea of Mums' Cottage was
born, and the dream became a reality
recently when parish priest Father
Peter Rees blessed "Mums' Cottage"
With the support of groups as diverse as
Wallsend Rotary Club, the St Vincent de
Paul Society, the Holmesville Hotel and
the Newcastle Permanent Building Society,
as well as many generous individuals, the
project came to fruition. A particularly
satisfying aspect for Helen-Anne was the
partnership that's developed with the
Uniting Church. That church's hall, surplus
to requirements, has now become Mums'
Cottage. The Cottage's mission statement
is "Mothers companioning mothers".
As Helen-Anne says, "There are so many
needs -- mothers need a place to come
and be accepted and helped." The Cottage
offers respite, mentoring, counselling and
advocacy; parenting, legal and financial
advice, and most of all, friendship. The
Cottage itself is humble but freshly painted,
furnished by generous donations and
embodying a welcoming atmosphere.
Helen-Anne always had the support of her
Lochinvar Sisters and leader Sr Lauretta
Baker addressed the gathering at the
opening ceremony: "Good on you Helen-
Anne! Good on the people who caught the
dream Helen-Anne had!"
A mother who has already been assisted
by Mums' Cottage speaks enthusiastically:
"No judgement is made and you are given
ideas on how to tackle some of life's
experiences. The Cottage provides an
outlet to help people realise that your family
is not the only one to experience issues on
To contact Mums' Cottage, please
P 0401 171 644 or visit 29 St Helen St
Newcastle City Farmers & Makers Market
(BROADMEADOW - Griffiths Rd entry please)
WHEN... Most Sundays
TIME...8.00am till 1.00pm
$2 parking fee applies on the Showground
Phone: 4930 5156
Mob: 0427 630 144
Newcastle City Farmers and Makers Market brings
together local farmers and producers just like markets of
days gone by. Our gourmet food producers have an
amazing tasty array of foods to sample and buy.
You get to chat to the farmer, find out where your food is
made, how to cook it and even taste-test while you shop in
the pavilions and around the village green atmosphere of
Along with food you will find artisan stalls selling the
Hunter's best range of quality goods, from clothing made
from vintage material to potters, jewellery makers and
painters. The Farmers Market also has a resident chef on
hand to demonstrate a range of different meals all made
with ingredients sourced from our own farmers and
Everything you need to feed, clothe or surprise your family
can be bought at the Newcastle City Farmers and Makers
Market and you know it's all been made with care.
• Hand-made craft artisans • Farmer direct produce • 140 Stalls per market • Organic Produce • Boutique Wineries • Bread, cheeses, meats
www.newcastlecityfarmersmarket.com.au - for information & Market dates
MARKET DATES 2012: April 1st - 8th - 15th - 22nd and 29th
By TRACEY EDSTEIN
Sr Helen-Anne Johnson checking the
mail at Mums Cottage, Holmesville.
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