Amanda Eades has an incredible faith story when joining the St Patrick’s Catholic Church & School community after moving from the UK in 2009. Since this time, Amanda has taught Biology at St Joseph’s Catholic College. We asked Amanda a few questions about her faith journey.
What does faith mean to you?
For me, faith is knowing that God is with us and trusting in God’s plan for me and the people I love. In my everyday life, it guides my interactions with family, students and colleagues and reminds me to also see the good in others and help wherever I can.
Have you had a pivotal faith experience in your journey?
I began working at St Joseph’s in January 2009 after moving to Australia from the UK. I had my daughter in 2011, where after a turbulent time at a non-catholic school, we moved her to St Patrick’s Catholic Primary, East Gosford. She starts high school at St Joseph’s in 2023. It was her influence that had us attending church on a Sunday, then sacrament classes and she also started altar serving. Not long after I realised that I was actually looking forward to Sundays and spending time with the St Pats community. I looked forward to the moment of calm that I felt during Mass, and it started to feel like I was coming home each week.
How has being a part of a Catholic community influenced your identity?
Being part of the St Patrick’s community at East Gosford has allowed me to explore my faith at my own pace and ask questions. I never felt pressure to convert, but during Covid, I felt a real pull towards the church. I enrolled in the RCIA course in 2021 after a long conversation with Fr Greg Skulski and was confirmed and did my first Eucharist at this year’s Easter Vigil with my daughter altar serving for Fr Greg. He has been a wonderful guiding hand throughout the process and has made us feel truly part of his community.
The community at St Pat’s is a vibrant and thriving one. The installation of the St John Paul II relics was an incredible day for the Parish. Seeing the whole parish pull together with months of work coming together demonstrated what an amazing community, full of wonderful people we are.
What is something that you learnt in your faith journey?
I learnt to trust in God, open my heart and listen. I have learnt to be more comfortable speaking about my faith which was always something that I found to be a real challenge throughout the RCIA process. The support from Chris Paget and Amanda Dillon who led us through the year process was so valuable and allowed me to gain confidence.
How has working in Catholic Schools Broken Bay impacted your faith story?
In so many ways really, I have felt very supported in the exploration of my faith by my colleagues at St Joseph’s. I even had multiple offers for sponsors when I was being confirmed. The amazing St Joseph’s Business Manager, Nicole, was my daughter’s sponsor as well as my own and was there for us both throughout the process being a supportive shoulder when we needed it.
I had the opportunity to attend the Josephite Colloquium just after my confirmation, meeting some of the Sister’s, and discovering the work they do. It helped me to form a deeper understanding and connection with Mary Mackillop who I had chosen as my confirmational saint due to working at St Joseph’s. I came back with a renewed understanding of the Josephite charism and the foundations that our school is built on.
How do you share your faith?
I have been very open with my students about becoming Catholic and have even talked about it in class one day after being spotted at Mass on Sunday by a student (a little off-topic for Biology class). I was surprised by how excited they were for me which I found helped to confirm that I was following the right path and made me more confident.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas for me is about connecting with family, we are still spread over the world with my parents still in the UK, but we make an effort to spend quality time with each other. My Mother and Father-in-law moved to Australia a few years ago with my husband’s grandfather, so making memories as a family is very important to us.
Spending time with our church family during Advent feels even more important this year.
How will you celebrate Christmas this year with your family?
My husband, daughter and I are heading to New Zealand on a cruise for Christmas and New Year. I was happy to find out that there is a Catholic Mass on board for Christmas, apparently, even Priests enjoy a cruise.