HON MICHAEL LEE, CHAIR | Calvary Ministries Trustee Board

headshot of man with grey hair in collared shirt in front of blue backgroun

 “The most important test of our authenticity and integrity, however, is the experience of the people we serve.  If the mission is real, people will experience it. They will tell us whether our love has “unconsciously showed itself, it could not be kept in” 

Venerable Mary Potter


The past year has been one of hope and challenge for Calvary. However, when I think of the resilience and spirit of Calvary’s people I am reminded of the quiet courage and persistence of our Founder, the Venerable Mary Potter. In particular, her determination to forge ahead on new paths to achieve the mission of being for others.

The unprecedented compulsory acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce and Clare Holland House specialist palliative care service by the ACT Government was among the biggest challenges. Despite the sadness and uncertainty, our people continued to provide compassionate and holistic care and supported each other.

The unwarranted end of Calvary’s proud history of public service through that hospital is not the end of Calvary’s service for the people of Canberra. Our private hospitals, Calvary Bruce Private and Calvary John James, continue the mantle of exceptional care. In addition, the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the University of Canberra brings opportunities for education, innovation and research at our hospitals and Calvary Haydon aged care home.

Reflecting on Calvary’s 138 years of care, the founders and the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary who came after always went where they saw need and extended their mission and their compassionate care accordingly.

In 1926, this same mission took them to Wagga Wagga. Last December, the enduring legacy and stewardship of the Sisters was celebrated with a Heritage NSW Blue Plaque. It recognises the establishment of what is now Calvary Riverina Hospital, as well as the work of the Sisters and their colleagues throughout the decades to hold a continuing place in the fabric of the regional community.

In 1941, need took the Sisters to Melbourne where they established Calvary Bethlehem hospital. Those pioneering Sisters would have had little knowledge of the healthcare legacy they would create in that community. The hospital with humble beginnings is now part of our landmark Calvary Kooyong Precinct, bringing together quality aged care and retirement living with the hospital’s specialist sub-acute services for patients needing palliative care or living with progressive neurological conditions. Officially opened in April, the Sisters would have been both humbled and proud.

They would also have been proud of the inclusiveness of the precinct’s Chapel and Reflective Space where everyone is welcome, irrespective of their faith tradition, to pray, connect, or seek quiet reflection and spiritual solace.

Calvary Mater Newcastle also had much cause for celebration when it began its centenary celebrations earlier this year. A much beloved institution in the Hunter region and beyond established by the Sisters of Mercy in March 1922, it came under Calvary’s stewardship in 2006 and continues its strong legacy in the region.

Calvary’s true legacy lies in its people and the compassionate care provided across all the services. Each year, Mary Potter Awards are given locally and nationally to acknowledge and celebrate staff and volunteers who exemplify the Spirit of Calvary in their roles. This year’s national awards winners reflect the depth of the Spirit of Calvary. The highly regarded Palliative Care in the Home service at Calvary North Adelaide was named Calvary Health Care’s team of the year and Assistant in Nursing at Calvary Bruce Private Hospital in Canberra, Godfrey Loremia, whose ‘can do’ attitude and dedication to quality patient care made him a great role model among his peers, was named the individual winner.

Indeed, among the hurdles created by a challenged world, there is much to celebrate as Calvary continues the work of the Venerable Mary Potter and Sisters of the Little Company of Mary in serving the community, with particular attention to caring for the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of each individual who comes into contact with our services.

Calvary is blessed to have many thousands of dedicated workers and volunteers across services in almost every state and mainland territory in Australia. On behalf of all of the Trustees, I thank each and every one for your resilience, dedication and the care you give each day to those we serve.


Hon Michael Lee


Calvary Ministries Trustee Board


Calvary Ministries exercises a stewardship role over the health, aged and home care services delivered by Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd. Learn more about Calvary Ministries on our Heritage page.