"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: 'Give them something to eat' (Mk 6:37)." (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (November 2013), #49)


Course: Unmasking Violence - Reimagining the Gospel with René Girard

JSusan Connelly rsj
Susan Connelly rsj, PhD
Starts 10am Wednesday June 12

René Girard has been called "the new Darwin of the human sciences". His insights into the origins of violence are sheer gift to our modern world.

This course will be an exploration of some of his thought, with personal and global application. It will investigate aspects of human imitation which show how we are all interdependent.

The consequent realities of rivalry, scapegoating, sacrifice and violence will be explored using Girard's work in various disciplines, including literature.

Particular attention will be given to the Gospels, the discovery of which changed Girard's life. The course will offer opportunities to apply his insights to various parts of the scriptures, particularly to the passion and resurrection of Christ. As a result of the Christ event, there is underway an evolution of human consciousness, which involves a slow but relentless growth in understanding the nonviolence of God. Girard recognised in this the call to humanity to imitate God, as seen in Jesus.

Case studies in interpreting current events in the light of Girard's insights will provide practical features to the course. Susan draws on her life’s work in areas of Social Justice.

Nobody will be turned away simply because they cannot afford to pay. Offer a donation if you cannot pay the full registration fee.

Presenter: Susan Connelly rsj, PhD
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington St, The Rocks, Sydney
When: 4 Wednesday mornings, 10am – 12noon, June 12, 19, 26, July 3
Cost: $150/person 

For further information please telephone 02 9247 4651 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please register before the course starts so that notes will be available.

Susan Connelly is a Sister of St Joseph, who taught catechetics in State school first, and was then involved in Catholic schools. She served the East Timorese people though the Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies, supporting the Timorese people’s identity through literacy education and music.

Mindful of the implications of the Australian presence in Timor in 1942, the lack of Australian support when Timor was occupied for 24 years, and the injustices concerning the resources of the Timor Sea, she continues to advocate for the Timorese people. She is also concerned about the treatment of asylum seekers and the people of West Papua.

Susan gained a PhD studying the relationship between Australia and East Timor, using the theories of René Girard on violence, scapegoating, and the Christian imperative of forgiveness and non-retaliation.



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