Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal,
Monday 16 September 2013
Dr Claudia Mollidor, 28, is originally from Cologne, Germany, but she now calls Melbourne home. She is based at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Pastoral Research Office, where she works as a research assistant for the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Fitzroy; she is working on the National Church Life Survey which takes place every five years. Having completed her doctoral studies in social psychology in London, she has been living in North Carlton since December 2010; All Saints in Fitzroy is her local parish, where she helped establish the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Here, Claudia shares some of her story.
Why did you move to Australia?
I definitely think it was providence. I was living in London doing my PhD. I came to Melbourne for a conference in 2009 and I fell completely in love with it. I loved the city, the campus of Melbourne University, the lifestyle, the coffee. My friends took me to all the best places and some of them are still my favourite places.
I went back to London and, once my data collection was finished, nothing was keeping me there. There was another conference being held in Sydney, in December 2010, so I just thought ‘Maybe I’ll go to Australia’.
Tell me about your doctoral studies.
I was looking at representations of teenage motherhood through different perspectives; from the perspective of teenage mothers themselves, from the perspective of specialised practitioners in health and social services who work with the mothers, and from the perspective of policymakers. The British Government had introduced a teenage pregnancy strategy aiming to reduce teenage pregnancies and to support teenage parents. I felt that the supporting teenage parents part was not looked at enough, that there wasn’t enough support out there. What was being revealed was that, as the rate of teenage pregnancy fell, the rate of abortion rose, and that’s an awful outcome. It would be better if there was better support for mothers to have their babies, so that’s what I concentrated on.
Who inspires you?
The teenage mums I worked with really inspired me. The hardship some of them were living in, the struggles they were facing, the decisions they made to keep the child, despite people around them telling them not to and being thrown out of their family homes because of their decisions. It’s really how they deal with things, or women in crisis pregnancies more generally, that I find really inspiring; it really puts things into perspective a lot, the sacrifices they make to bring up their children in the best way they can.
How did you come to be on the board of directors at the Caroline Chisholm Society in Melbourne?
I had just spent a weekend at Tarrawarra and afterwards, everything happened! I had the interview for my current role at ACU, and in the same week I was accepted to be on the board of directors; that was November last year. I had heard about the Society and I knew some of the directors, who realised I had a skill set that wasn’t present on the board at that point, so they put me forward. It’s nice to be involved in the field, and to be able to use the knowledge I have in that way.
What is your favourite prayer or piece of Scripture?
I particularly love these three lines in the Year of Faith Prayer: ‘That our Church will be transformed, our relationships be healed, and our nation grow in compassion and justice.’ I think those words are so powerful.
Who is your favourite saint?
St Joseph. When you pray to St Joseph, it just happens. I’m so excited that he is now mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer.
Photo: Dr Claudia Mollidor by Fiona Basile