About Us

When and how did Hearts in Action begin?

Hearts in Action (HIA) was founded in 1999 by Sr Sue Shannon of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.  Sr Sue sought to share heart spirituality, the special charism of her order, with young Catholics in Melbourne.  The group continued under lay leadership when ill health forced Sr Sue to step down in August 2007. 

Sr Sue, who is now a diocesan sister reporting directly to the Archbishop, has returned to lead the group in 2018.  She will be assisted by a committee including Br Tony Cummins of the De La Salle Brothers.  Our chaplain will be Fr Justel Callos, a young diocesan priest who ministers across the Mordialloc and Aspendale parishes.

Who can join?

While most people in the group are single, we welcome anyone in the late 20s to 40s age group who wants to extend their network of Catholic friends.  This broadens the group, and also takes the pressure off those who might feel uncomfortable in a more dating-focused environment.

Why "Hearts in Action" as a name?

The name reflects the OLSH Sisters’ special way of understanding the gospel message, inherited from their founder, Fr Jules Chevalier msc.  In the words of the Sisters’ website, heart spirituality means seeing “that in Jesus, God loves people with a human heart, and that he is the answer to their hopes, their questionings, their every need….Our heart spirituality calls us to imitate Jesus, so that everyone we encounter will discover through us, the strength of his love to support them in their fragility, and the gentleness of his love to bring them the compassion and understanding for which they long. We are the hands and feet, and especially the heart of Jesus in our world.”  (Source:  http://www.olshaustralia.org/our_spirituality/index.html)

What are the strengths of the group?

We believe we meet our goal of nurturing people in their faith and providing friendship opportunities, by connecting them with other Catholics in their age group.

The group attracts members with a wide variety of interests, backgrounds and professions.  There is a tendency for everyone to mix with family and friends who are quite similar – HIA really broadens people’s horizons. 

The group draws together people from different parishes across Melbourne, and provides opportunities which are not available at the parish level, given that each parish typically only has a small number of people in their 30s and 40s.

We make newcomers feel welcome, while also giving them the space they need to observe the group and figure out if it’s right for them.

While it’s a great endorsement when people join the group via “word of mouth”, we are very keen to reach people who don’t belong to any group and may feel quite isolated from other Catholics.

The group has a long history – we will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, and many founding and longtime members are still involved or in touch.  This creates a sense of depth and continuity which new members can also enjoy.


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