Ozcare’s Spiritual Adviser meets Pope Francis

Sr Mel Dwyer Pope Francis

Ozcare’s Spiritual Adviser, Sister Melissa Dwyer, recently had the immense privilege of meeting Pope Francis during a private audience in Rome.

Sr Mel, who was in Rome attending the Canossian Institute’s General Chapter held in August, is the youngest in the General Chapter.  Elected as a councillor, she will soon be taking up a position with the Canossian Institute General Chapter’s congregational leadership team.

The leadership team includes a Superior General and four councillors and oversees more than 2100 Sisters in 32 countries across the world.  Sr Mel has been heartened by the vote of confidence from her sisters.

“Without intentionally voting in this way, for the first time in the Institute the five members of the congregational leadership team represent the five continents where we serve” Sr Mel said. “It’s also the first time there has been Sisters born in Africa, South America and Australia serving on this Council. This diversity, in ages and experiences, brings with it a wonderful richness.”

“The Sisters of the Institute have asked us as the General Council to be women of relationships, so as a team we really want to honour that mandate and support our sisters across the world as much as we can” she said.

While in Rome for the General Chapter, each of the sisters had the honour of meeting Pope Francis during a private audience.  Sr Mel, in her characteristic humility, said she had not thought of anything to say to him. “I didn’t know what to say to him, because what do you say to the pope?” she said with a laugh.

“I told him, ‘Hi I’m Melissa from Australia… please pray for me and pray for the people of Australia’.

“He said, ‘I will and I do’.”

Sr Dwyer said it was amazing to be in the presence of Pope Francis.  “I know he’s a human and I know at the same time he’s an amazing spiritual servant leader of our Church, so to have that encounter and to meet him and to shake his hand – wow.  I’m in the presence of greatness, in the presence of holiness.”

Pictured: Ozcare Spiritual Adviser, Sister Melissa Dwyer, with Pope Francis in Rome, August 2022.