St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and St Vincent’s Private Melbourne joined together to celebrate Anzac day today with a ceremony held in the courtyard outside the public hospital. As one of our nation’s most important commemorations, the spirit of Anzac continues to have meaning and relevance to our identity and emboldens our dedication to serve something greater.

The qualities of mate-ship, courage and sacrifice are reflected in our own hospitals on a regular basis and the importance of pausing, reflecting and honouring tradition is something which has always held a special place in the story of the Sisters of Charity.

Mission Integration Manager Julie Wain and I also had the privilege of visiting veteran inpatients on behalf of our hospital community as a mark of respect for their service and contribution. One of those patients, 38-year-old inpatient Tiffany Ahuja, began her career in the defence force at just 18 years old, spending six years in Townsville in field core units, before being deployed to East Timor in 1999.

Tiffany spoke with us about the difficulties faced by ex-service women transitioning from war to home and in her own personal commitment to caring for those who are vulnerable, now mentors service and ex-service women adversely affected by their service. Tiffany is working with Women Veterans Network Australia to start a coffee group for past and present Women of Defence in Melbourne, which aims to provide support & information to ‘live an empowered & fulfilling life’.

As we pause this Anzac Day to remember those who have made great contributions to our nation, may we never forget to remember those who have gone before us.

And to those whose own lives have been touched by war, who have children and relatives currently serving on active deployments, our prayers and our thoughts are with you.