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A freedom of spirit

Thea Kurniawan  |  24 May 2017

I know many inspiring women who have faced the odds to succeed in their respective missions, but none have captivated me in the way Elena Reidy has.

Through strength and faith, she is on a remarkable journey of evangelisation, spreading hope across communities in WA, Melbourne and the Philippines. For over 30 years, Elena has been involved with people who at some point would call the streets their home. 

She began her journey with the Holy Spirit of Freedom Community (HSOF), a faithful collective founded by Rev Frank Feain in 1986. Within that group, Elena met other like-minded people, who also responded to the call to serve Jesus through living a prayerful life and outreach on streets to those marginalized, especially youth.

‘We lived, prayed and worked together, often with those from the streets’, she says. ‘We simply trusted God to provide for our needs including material ones.’

At 37, Elena married and began a family. Now blessed with three children, Elena’s love for God and her work with marginalised people still burns strongly in her heart. Her husband, Mark, who shares the same passion, has continued outreach work on the streets of Perth. The street community is now part of Mark and Elena’s extended family. As a family, they choose to live simply and trust God to continue providing. Most of their home furniture is either given or from road verge collections; their clothes are ‘hand me downs’ or from op-shops and the like. 

‘There is not a lot to show in my life terms of this world. But I do not belong to this world and it is not my home’, she says.

I’ve met Elena on several occasions and every time I see a beautiful, selfless human being, a loving mother and wife.


To find out more about HSOF:


Thea Kurniawan is a member of our young writers’ community.


Topic tags: catholicsocialteaching, socialjustice–australia, volunteeringandtakingaction, heroesandrolemodels

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