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Journeying with people in hope, love and support...

The John Wallis Foundation continues the work of the Missionary Sisters of Service supporting people and communities experiencing hardship and disadvantage. 

We are inspired by a world which demonstrates compassion, justice and love in equal measure to all.

The Foundation runs an annual Small Grants Program, a series of inspiring speakers events, and other activities to strengthen community relationships. 

The Foundation is named in honour of Father John Wallis, founder of the Missionary Sisters of Service.

Ride, Run or Walk from Yarck to Yea

30th August 2014

A misty late winter morning developed into a perfect pre-spring day for the third annual John Wallis Foundation Ride-Run-Walk, a community and fundraising event, held August 30th this year.  About 40 cyclists and 15 walkers of all ages and abilities gathered in Yarck for their registration.

Formalities over, cyclists set off on their 26 km section of the Great Victorian Rail Trail.  The route took them on a gradual ascent to the historic Cheviot Tunnel with its beautiful entrances, followed by a gentle descent into Yea.  The walkers meanwhile were taken to their respective starting points to embark on a stroll of either 9 or 5 km along the same trail, ending at the old railway station in Yea.

On arrival, riders, walkers, marshalls and supporters were greeted by aromas of sausages and hamburgers sizzling on the barbecue,  organised by the Yea community and funded by the St Patrick’s Race Club.  

The Yea community nurtured the life and faith of young John Wallis, founder of Missionary Sisters of Service.  Its friendship and hospitality has become proverbial among the Sisters, the John Wallis Foundation and participants of this annual event, something which we appreciate with gratitude.


Frank Brennan SJ delivers the 2013 John Wallis Memorial Lectures

“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound.”   - Pope Francis

“What a Jesuit; what a Pope; what a man!”

   Frank Brennan   ,   a Jesuit priest, is one of the Australian Catholic Church's most prominent and influential public figures and a robust advocate for a range of social justice issues.

Frank Brennana Jesuit priest, is one of the Australian Catholic Church's most prominent and influential public figures and a robust advocate for a range of social justice issues.

Erudite, thought-provoking and a robust advocate for justice in Australia, Fr Frank Brennan SJ, delivered the 2013 John Wallis Memorial Lecture, Pope Francis and Australia’s Social Justice Agenda, in Tasmania in October. The John Wallis Foundation in association with Guilford Young College, in Hobart, and the Emmanuel Spirituality and Pastoral Centre, in Launceston, presented the lecture on October 24 and 25, respectively to almost 200 people.

Fr Brennan skilfully wove the diverse strands of the Missionary Sisters of Service, the John Wallis Foundation, justice, the Australian context, Pope Francis and the Jesuits into a masterful address of inclusiveness and universality that left the audience uplifted and enthused, strengthened and supported. 

“It’s still early days in Pope Francis’ pontificate, but I think he has opened up a vast new panacea and not just for Catholics,” Fr Brennan said. 

“Francis is theologically orthodox, politically conservative, comfortable in his own skin, infectiously pastoral, and truly committed to the poor (but)before we canonise Francis too quickly, let’s concede that he was a divisive figure in his home province of Argentina when was made Jesuit Provincial at the age of only 36. …He is a man who has learnt much by his mistakes; he is a sinner who has grown and thrived through his experience of the Lord’s mercy.”

Fr Brennan predicted, “We are in for an exciting ride with this Pope.”

He concluded: “Our credibility as Church has been enhanced with this new pope.  We see in him many of the finest aspects of our presently battered and ageing Church.  In the end we will only be as credible in the public square as we are credible with each other – pilgrims on the way who take radically seriously Jesus and his call, together with our varied life experiences and authentic reflections on those experiences. 

“We will only be credible as an institution if we and especially our leaders are seen to be attentive and respectful to the competencies and insights of others.  

“Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with a hierarchy and clergy even more male dominated than an Abbott Cabinet.  But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia.  

“Thank God for Francis who is showing us the way, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.  

“In the tradition of the Missionary Sisters of Service, let’s commit ourselves afresh to serving the poor and proclaiming with joy the presence of the Risen Lord in our midst.”

The first of the lectures took place in Hobart on  - Thursday October 24th  at Guilford Young College, and a lunch-time gathering the Emmanual Centre, Launceston on Friday, 25th October. - Penny Edman

Click here to read Frank Brennan's lecture.

John Wallis Bushwalk

March 2013

 A group setting off on their walk on Mount Wellington  

A group setting off on their walk on Mount Wellington  

 "Is this going to be an annual event?"   Such a question is a ringing endorsement of the community and fundraising event that was the John Wallis Bushwalk.   Some fifty people gathered for the walk on Mount Wellington, Hobart.   They divided into two groups for a shorter or longer walk, according to the walkers' choice or energy level.   Each group had a leader who knew the Mountain and its stories.   Click the link for the full story.

John Wallis Memorial Lectures Puts New Heart into Audiences    

 Fr Max Vodola   

Fr Max Vodola


November 26, 2012 

A spirit of celebration pervaded the venues as people gathered for the John Wallis Memorial Lecture at the Emmanuel Centre in Launceston October 22 and the following night at Guilford Young College in Hobart.   The Lectures were given by Dr Max Vodola, parish priest of Flemington (Vic), who specialises in the history of Vatican Council II. Click the links for the full text of the lectures.

Max Vodola In the Vanguard…..

Max Vodola The Council that Changed our Lives

The Foundation’s First Two Years – a great achievement

  Faces of people at JWF Community Events

Faces of people at JWF Community Events

November 23, 2012 

At its first AGM, Chris Smith, Chair of the John Wallis Foundation Board, presented a report, sketching the Foundation’s work from its beginning two years ago. To read an illustrated version of the report, click here

JWF Annual Report 2012


John Wallis Foundation Sponsors its First Project

December 24, 2011 

"The books of the Bible have come to life for me…”   This was the response of one of the participants in a series of three evenings on “Understanding the Bible”, presented by Father Peter Schultz of Toowoomba.   The series was held in the communities of Miles, Wandoan and Taroom.  It was the first project sponsored by the John Wallis Foundation.  Click here for the Full Story 

John Wallis Foundation sponsors Larry Edwards events in Queensland

July 19, 2012 

Q. How long does it take to grow a tree, a kangaroo or a child? 

  Larry Edward  s

Larry Edwards

A. 13.75 billion years!  As long as it takes to grow the Universe.

This was the theme of several events sponsored by the John Wallis Foundation in partnership with other bodies. The evening of 5 June 2012, Larry Edwards presented the John Wallis Memorial Lecture in Toowoomba (Q).  The morning of that day, he presented a workshop.   On 6 June Larry presented a twilight workshop in Brisbane.  See Full Story


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Spirituality in a Secular Society


On June 11 2013, Martin Flanagan delivered the Melbourne John Wallis Memorial Lecture 2013.  


 Martin Flanagan delivering the John Wallis Memorial Lecture

Martin Flanagan delivering the John Wallis Memorial Lecture

As people gathered in the Madeleine Centre, Genezzano FCJ College in Kew, Melbourne, there was a happy hubbub of anticipation.    Martin Flanagan is well known in Melbourne.   Journalist and author with a wide range of experience, he writes regularly for The Age on sport, Australian culture and the relationship between black and white Australia.   Martin is a born story-teller.   In his address he shared stories from his own life, and through them reflected on the Australian story and culture. Click here for the full story. 

Download Martin's full talk here:  Spirituality in a Secular Society

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