Expanding the Network

The Cardoner Network, the young adult arm of the Australian Jesuits, made
its first interstate appointment in a step towards a wider Ignatian community.

 JOURNEYING WITH YOUTH 

By Stuart Salier, CEO of The Cardoner Network

A recent appointment announced by Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide reflected the first significant step beyond the boundaries of New South Wales for The Cardoner Network, the Jesuit Province’s Young Adult Ministry. While we have been operating for more than a decade, until recent times we have been a Sydney-centric organisation.

The College announcement to staff began: “The Cardoner Network is delighted to announce Jane McCaffrey’s appointment to help grow and facilitate an Ignatian community of young adults in Adelaide.”

That simple sentence says so much about our plans for the future. We’re thrilled to have appointed Jane. By growing our presence in Adelaide, we’re going to build a greater network of schools and relationships. This in turn will mean more opportunities for young adults to engage in service, both locally and abroad. Jane’s enthusiasm, coupled with her past experience in serving overseas, means she is ideally placed to forge that new growth.

In her role, Jane will develop and coordinate faith and spirituality programmes, service activities and community-building events, with the aim of helping young adults grow in faith, a commitment to service, and in Christian leadership. She will continue the good work of Wolves in Action (WIA), an Adelaide-based group for young adults, based on self-reflection, team bonding and leadership with the aim of serving the wider community in a manner that is guided by Ignatian and Catholic traditions. WIA, which began in 2020, comprises a number of old scholars of Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide and has been wonderfully supported by the parish of St Ignatius’ Church in Norwood.

Jane is no stranger to the St Ignatius’ College community as two of her sons are students there, one in Year 12 and another in Year 9. She also has strong faith and community connections, and her background includes stints as a volunteer in many overseas locations, including Thailand, in the past two decades. She comes to the role already steeped in Ignatian spirituality, especially through her time living and working at Newman College in Melbourne.

In the post-pandemic era, this is a significant step for Cardoner. After we emerged from the harsh impacts of COVID lockdowns, young adults began to show an increased desire to take on volunteering opportunities. It has become vital for Cardoner to expand its formation and service opportunities into Adelaide and then Melbourne, where there are Jesuit schools and other schools that similarly identify with Ignatian spirituality.

Adelaide is a perfectly logical progression for Cardoner, because 2023 marked the first time that we had graduates of Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide participating in our overseas service programs. Based on pre-existing faith-based programs at the College, we sense a strong desire among many students to engage with faith- and spirituality-based programs, and overseas service opportunities, when they leave the College.

We thank the staff and young adults of St Ignatius’ Church, Norwood, and Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide for their support over the years and for getting us to this important milestone. Together with Jane, may we continue to walk alongside South Australia’s young adults in creating a hope-filled future for all.

Banner image of the front of St Ignatius’ College, Adelaide and (above) the striking design above the entrance to the College chapel. Images: David McMahon

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