'G whiz

Patricia Faulkner AO, the outgoing Chair of Jesuit Social Services,
spoke straight from the heart at their recent Annual Dinner at the MCG. 


Patricia Faulkner AO, outgoing chair of Jesuit Social Services, delivering the Frank Costigan QC Address at the Annual Dinner at the MCG. She received a memorable ovation from guests at the Jim Stynes Room. Photo: Lelien Hang, JSS

While applause is nothing new to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it was definitely a standout feature after the Frank Costigan QC Address delivered at the Jesuit Social Services Annual Dinner on 1 March in the Jim Stynes room.  

Outgoing JSS Chair Patricia Faulkner AO, in her last official engagement after 17 years with the organisation, 16 of them as Chair, struck a chord as she referenced the challenges of her own early years, particularly when she cited one of the corrosive comments she once heard in reference to her own life path. 

She spoke about her background working for the Department of Human Services and as Chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board, as well as the way in which she brought to JSS her long-standing interest in lifting people and communities from the margins. 

“Working at the Department of Social Services and the Australian Social Inclusion Board gave me a helicopter view of deep disadvantage. Jesuit Social Services gave me a view of it up close,” she said. 

“It is the unwavering courage, commitment and energy Jesuit Social Services has always had for working with people who are deeply disadvantaged, and working on unpopular causes, that has kept me here for 17 years.” 

She made special mention of the fact that JSS supporters play critical roles within their respective circles of influence to redefine the trajectory of people whom the organisation supports. 

“You are the electorate, you are the people who can give courage to governments of the day not to give up,” she said, highlighting the Victorian Government’s commitment to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years as an example of how research, wisdom, practical experience and public lobbying can play a role in creating positive change. 

Later in the evening, JSS CEO Julie Edwards told the 200 guests that they actually serve as ambassadors when they talk with their family and friends about challenging issues and about how best to respond in an empathetic way to people in need. 

“We want to turn our hearts and minds to greater love and justice,” she said, “and you help us do that by sticking with us over the long haul. We often say we never give up on people, and I want to thank you for not giving up on us.” 

Donate to Jesuit Social Services.

Read this story on the JSS website for more coverage of the Annual Dinner. 

JSS CEO Julie Edwards told the guests that they actually serve as ambassadors when they talk with their family and friends about challenging issues. Photo: Lelien Hang, JSS

Four Jesuit guests in the Jim Stynes Rom, with the floodlit surface of the MCG behind them. From left to right, Fr John Martis SJ, Fr Michael Ryan SJ, Fr Paul Mullins SJ and Fr Chris Middleton SJ. Photo: Janark Gray

Banner image by Rattanakun, Canva.