JULY 2022


As we celebrate NAIDOC across the Country, it’s also a moment to reflect on this year’s theme of ‘Get up, Stand Up, Show Up!’.

There are small and significant ways to demonstrate alliance, support, and acknowledgment of our First Nations people. For practitioners in spiritual care this is your way of being in the world — you know how to walk alongside others and connect from the heart.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework (SEWB model) is a multidimensional model that includes a connection to land or Country, Culture, Spirituality, Ancestry, Family, and Community as a holistic premise of health for Aboriginal Communities. A concept I think you will agree we could all embrace.

Because spiritual care is everyone’s business.

And that reminds me! Please save the date for this year’s national forum. It will be held on Zoom on Thursday afternoon 29 September. We’ll have details for you soon.


  • Attended the 2022 Spiritual Care Australia Conference, Reclaiming Spirittruly a is a beacon of hope, building on the firm foundations of pastoral and spiritual care to offer practical pathways forward for practitioners supporting those who are struggling.

  • Caught up with the Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour, and met the new Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing & Carers and Child Protection & Family Services, Colin Brooks, at the launch of Ageing Well in Victoria: An action plan for strengthening wellbeing for senior Victorians 2022-2026

  • Sat down with Reuben Jacob, interim CEO of the Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research, and Rebecca Bilton, Senior Research Fellow, to chat about about the Innovator Training Program and Grants Program. As a founding partner, it is great to be part of these exploratory conversations with the Centre as it establishes itself in the landscape of the sector.

  • Sent letters of congratulations to the new Minister for Aged Care, The Hon. Anika Wells MP, and other members of parliament to raise the importance of the work you do.

  • Ongoing participation in NACA Strategic Working Groups. Between Rachael and Jacquie, Meaningful Ageing Australia is represented in the determination of the sector’s strategic objectives for Human Rights/the Act, First Nations, Aged Care Workforce and Consumer Voice.



Self: The Third Marriage

By David Whyte

David Whyte is a best selling Anglo-Irish author and poet. His writing explores the timeless relationship of human beings to their world, to creation, to others, and to the end of life itself.

The excerpt below is from The Three Marriages — Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship (New York: Riverhead Books, 2009), 31-36.

Perhaps the most difficult marriage of all — the third marriage beneath the two visible, all-too-public marriages of work and relationship — is the internal and often secret marriage to that tricky movable frontier called ourselves: the marriage to the one who keeps changing at the center of all the outer relationships while making promises it hopes to God it can keep.

If we are involved in the outer world in ways that betray our conscience or deeply held beliefs, then even simple internal questions can be very difficult to ask. . . . Not only can we become afraid of these internal questions but also we can become terrified of the spaces or silences in which these questions might arise.

The third marriage, then, especially in today’s world, where we have created societies and commercial environments that claw at us from morning to night, can be the most difficult marriage of all. To the outward striver — that is, most of us — it can seem as if this internal marriage is asking for a renunciation of the two outer marriages. Feeling this can come as almost a relief, a way out, for in the name of our many responsibilities and duties, we can use it as the perfect excuse not to look inside at all, feeling as if our outer world will fall apart if we spend any time looking for the person who exists at the intersection of all these outer commitments.

All our great contemplative traditions advocate the necessity for silence in an individual life: first, for gaining a sense of discernment among the noise and haste, second, as a basic building block of individual happiness, and third, to let this other all-seeing identity come to life and find its voice inside us. In the Buddhist tradition the ability to be happy is often translated into English as ‘equanimity’, roughly meaning to be equal to things, to be large enough for the drama in which we find ourselves.

Almost all of our traditions of instruction in prayer, meditation or silence, be they Catholic, Buddhist or Muslim, advocate seclusion or withdrawal as a first step in creating this equanimity. Small wonder we feel it goes against everything we need to do on the outside to keep our outer commitments together. Intimate relationships seem to demand endless talking and passing remarks; work calls for endless meetings, phone calls and exhortations. In the two outer marriages it seems as if everything real comes from initiating something new. In the inner world we intuit something different and more difficult.

It can be disconcerting or even distressing to find that this third marriage, this internal marriage, calls for a kind of cessation, a stopping, a fierce form of attention that attempts to look at where all this doing arises from. For the busy mind, for instance, it is almost impossible or even painful, to stop and read the following:

In the beginning of heaven and earth
There were no words,
Words came out of the womb of matter
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees to the core of life
Or passionately sees the surface
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them seem different
Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
From wonder to wonder
Existence opens.

(Tao Te Ching translation by Witter Bynner)

Existence opens. ‘Thank you,’ we say, ‘but I don’t have time. Please give it to me in three bullet points that I can look at later, when I get a moment, when I retire, when I’m on my deathbed or even when I’m actually dead, surely, then, there’ll be time enough to spare.’ Trying to be equal to Lao Tzu’s opening remarks in the Tao Te Ching when we have no practice with silence and the revelations that arise from that spacious sense of reality can be like a novice violinist trying to play the opening notes of a Bach concerto. We can be so overwhelmed by the grandeur of the piece that we give up on our beginning scales.

The third marriage to the internal self seems to be to someone or something that in many ways seems even less open to coercion or sheer willpower than an actual marriage or a real job. Not only does this internal marriage seem to operate under rules different from those of the other two outer contracts but it also seems to be connected to the big, we might even say unbearable, questions of existence that scare us half to death and for which we have no easy answer.


The 100 Project is a video keepsake project that celebrates the lives and stories of Australia's 100-year-olds — individuals who have survived pandemics, wars, drought and famine as well loss of loved ones.

According to one of the participants, contentment is letting life take you by the hand.

Leading The 100 Project are Australian filmmakers John Winter, whose extensive producing credits include feature films, Rabbit-Proof Fence and Paperback Hero, and Ros Walker, film lecturer and producer of upcoming documentaries, Into the Deep and Everybody’s Oma.

You can get involved or find out more here.

below L-R, Rachael Wass, CEO MAA; John Winter & Bronwyn Elliot, Filmmakers and Founders of the 100 Project


Baptcare is looking for two experienced, articulate, and competent Spiritual Care Professionals to supporting our Aged in Home Care clients.

One role is for work in the Southeast Region of Melbourne; the other role is in the Gippsland Region.

Please email Penny Davis at to request a position description.


“With the support of Meaningful Ageing Australia, there has been a greater sense of direction as to how to properly cater for residents’ spiritual needs as per national standards. This has led to greater staff confidence in their job and a renewed sense of hope and purpose for residents.”

Is your organisation ready to become a member?


Meaningful Ageing Australia is a registered charity and the national peak body for championing the spiritual care and emotional wellbeing of older people receiving care in residential and community aged care settings.

Spiritual care ensures that each older person’s spirituality is supported.

Spirituality is about how we create meaning, hope, purpose and connection in our lives.

For some, that might include religion and expressions of cultural faith. For others, it might be the peace and emotional wellbeing they experience through a connection with nature, or creativity, or through meditation or of being of service to others.

Meaningful Ageing Australia creates practical resources and education events to support aged care providers to build staff capability so that they can integrate emotional support and spiritual care into their day-to-day work.