In 2009, the Holy See, following a petition from the Sisters of Charity of Australia, established an incorporated entity, Mary Aikenhead Ministries (MAM), to oversee, carry on and expand the various health, aged care, education and social services ministries.
The new entity was created partially in response to changing realities for the Congregation (fewer and ageing sisters) and partially in response to the demands and increasing complexity within the ministry works. Above all was the desire to ensure that the works of the Sisters continue, grow and flourish through the enhancement of lay leadership.
MAM’s official commencement date of 1 July 2009 was chosen to commemorate the 151st anniversary of the death of Mary Aikenhead, the founder of the Sisters of Charity. This followed MAM being granted canonical status as a Public Juridic Person (PJP) of pontifical right by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on 25 April 2008.
A PJP is ‘the aggregate of persons or things with a purpose befitting the Church’s mission’. It is a Church body established to perform specific tasks entrusted to it in view of the common good, and to perform these tasks on behalf of the Church.
The Congregation is also a PJP. The Sisters’ task is to ensure their ministries continue to flourish. They contribute their presence, experience, involvement, wisdom and spirituality in the collective enterprises of MAM.
Under Mary Aikenhead Ministries, many of the works established and developed by the Sisters of Charity are governed by a group of Trustees, with the entity titled the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries (TMAM). The Trustees are:
- the canon law and civil stewards of the ministries (as such, the ministries report and are accountable to the Trustees).
- charged with ensuring that the heritage, tradition and charism of the Sisters of Charity are taken purposefully into the future.
MAM’s education ministry, consisting of the Colleges and wider educational initiatives, is titled Mary Aikenhead Education Australia (MAEA). The MAEA Office and Executive Officer are located in Brunswick, Victoria.