Highways and Byways – a Community of Service is governed by a dynamic team of women and men, committed to the vision and mission of the organisation and of the Missionary Sisters of Service.   We introduce each of them on here.


Bernadette Madden MSS, Acting Chair

Bernadette has worked as a social worker and teacher across Australia.   She has many years experience in indigenous communities. Bernadette has also worked with vulnerable families and communities. For Bernadette:  “The Highways and Byways Community of Service is an opportunity to continue the vision of our Founder, John Wallis, to reach out to those beyond.  It was this vision that inspired me some 30+ years ago to join the Missionary Sisters of Service. Today I see Highways and Byways as an on-going expression of the mission.”   Upon the retirement of Joan Donoghue as Chair, Bernadette has taken on the position of acting Chair until a new Chair is appointed.

Martin AllenMartin Allen Director

Martin  has a wealth of business experience, implementing solutions for national and global clients.   His experience includes senior client relationships, contract negotiation, business development and technology.   He says:   “Highways and Byways – a Community of Service  offers me an opening to contribute my time and energy to support and develop  the ongoing mission of the Missionary Sisters of Service.”

Jeff Byrne Director

Jeff is a Jeff Byrnequalified Company Director with extensive experience in government board roles  He has a background in public sector leadership, organisation governance, risk management as well as financial and economic management.

Brian Lennon, Director and Board Treasurer

Brian LennonBrian has more than 40 years operational and executive experience covering human resources management, organisation development, and superannuation administration in the mining and finance industries. His qualifications and interests also extend to investment, climate change, hydrology and ecosystems. Brian says:  “I find it very satisfying working through  Highways and Byways to build on the long tradition of innovative and compassionate initiatives taken by the Sisters in a variety of fields to assist those lacking support in regional and other areas. Inspiring people to be associated with!

Bernadette Wallis

Bernadette Wallis MSS, Director Bernadette is currently on the MSS Governing Body.   She has extensive experience in community engagement initiatives, leadership development, advocacy, pastoral care and counselling, as well as project management.  Bernadette describes her enthusiasm for Highways and Byways and its mission:   “When the idea of a Foundation first bubbled to the surface, I remember the creative juices flowing with energy and hope for the future.  While Highways and Byways is now established, I still feel that same energy and that same hope as we work together as a Board  to fulfil its mission.  One of the satisfying aspects for me is  working with Board members and people associated with us, who hold strong social values and bring an interest and joy from different walks of life. The work we do is not a chore;  it is a choice.

Corrie van den BoschCorrie van den Bosch MSS, Director Corrie has extensive experience in faith and leadership development in five Australian States, in outback and rural areas in her earlier years, and in urban areas in recent decades.   She has wide experience in counselling and counselling training and designing programmes for adult education and community leadership development.  She is passionate about the urgency to develop a spirituality which brings people to recognise their profound connection to all life and the cosmos itself, all as participants in the one great interdependent web of existence enlivened by the love and compassion of God.  “I am excited by the new life the Highways and Byways opens up for the mission of God entrusted to us, Missionary Sisters of Service. Membership of the Board gives me the opportunity to participate and contribute my gifts and energy to furthering this mission, reaching out to people on the margins, offering meaning, hope, friendship and support.

Stancea Vichie MSS Stancea is a member of the MSS Governing Body and is currently the Congregational Leader of the Missionary Sisters of Service. She has worked amongst people of many different cultures and backgrounds in urban, rural and outback regions of Australia, as well as periods in some overseas countries. Her work has included pastoral work, leadership formation, human rights advocacy, asylum seeker communities, and working towards the elimination of human trafficking. Stancea has been working enthusiastically in the growth of Highways and Byways since it was launched, initially as the John Wallis Foundation, recognising that “Highways and Byways continues the spirit of going out to be with people who can be forgotten on the margins of society, a spirit which began to develop from the 1930s as John Wallis and then the women of the Missionary Sisters of Service continued to follow this journey since 1944“.

Our Staff

The effectiveness of the Highways and Byways depends in large measure on how it translates its vision and mission into action.   Our staff does much of the practical work, attending to the thousand-and-one tasks involved, from running the Small Grants programme, building relationships with donors and potential partners for the work, to the practicalities of communications and keeping up with the financial administration. The key person in all this is the Executive Officer.

Liz McAloonLiz McAloon,  Executive Officer (part time, 4 days  a week)

Liz began her role as Executive Officer of the John Wallis Foundation in October 2013 and has worked as an educator, project manager and community facilitator across a diverse range of organisations.   As the Foundation grew to become Highways and Byways – a Community of Service Liz continued as Executive Officer.

Prior to this position, Liz worked at the Victorian Women’s Trust for 14 years. During this time she undertook a range of initiatives and projects, including state-wide community engagement and education projects, involving educational resources for schools, universities and communities. Liz has undertaken training and evaluation consultancies in both Australia and the UK, and worked directly with people with disabilities and indigenous communities.

“It’s great to be part of the team at Highways and Byways – a Community of Service.  I enjoy building on the considerable work already undertaken within the organisation. I’ve always gravitated towards work with a real focus on people and empowerment, and  I particularly enjoy working with communities in rural and regional areas. It’s challenging and exciting working towards creating a  sustainable foundation into the future.”

Amanda Freeman

Amanda Freeman, Project Officer (part time, 12 hours a week).

After many years on the Board of the John Wallis Foundation, Amanda has taken on the  role of Project Officer for Highways and Byways – a Community of Service.   She has worked across community engagement initiatives for a number of years and is highly experienced in community liaison and community building.   She has coordinated youth programmes in her local community and the Healing with Haircuts for homeless people.   The reason Amanda accepted a role on the H&B staff?   “As the result of World Youth Day in Sydney in 2009, I was encouraged to help young people hold an important place in our society with their faith and help lead them onto their faith journey. Now with my connection with Highways and Byways I hope I can inspire them with the charism of the Missionary Sisters of Service.”

The MSS shares its part-time administration staff with Highways and Byways in many of its daily operations and business.  The contribution of Finance Officer Jill Elliott (R) and Administration Officer Andrea Butler is invaluable.

Our Patrons

Highways and Byways – a Community of Service is honoured to have as patrons people who share the vision and spirit of the organisation and have expressed this in very varied ways in their local communities.

Clare McShane, Patron

Clare is a woman of vision and energy, who conceived and developed a successful business creating wool products from the family’s fine merino wool property. She is recognised widely for her business and community contributions. Clare was  born in Sydney and moved to Tasmania with her family when she was 17 years old. She attended Conservatory of Music High School in Sydney then St Michael’s Collegiate school in Hobart before obtaining her Diploma of Teaching and Tasmanian Teachers Certificate. Clare was posted to Oatlands as a young teacher,  where she met and married local grazier Allan McShane.  They settled at Casaveen, a property grazing 11,000 sheep at Lemont.  They had five sons.   When wool prices were down, Clare founded the Casaveen spinning and knitting factory in Oatlands, where the superfine wool from their property was made into beautiful garments.  Clare and Allan have recently retired and now live in Hobart.

Bishop Pat Power

Pat Power 2.jpgPeople, especially those on the margins, have always been at the heart of Pat’s life as priest and auxiliary bishop of Canberra-Goulburn.  In 2012 Pat “retired” from his work as bishop in order to be more available to people who are struggling in one way or another.   He is a strong spokesperson about concerns that are also close to the heart of Highways and Byways: social justice, the environment, ecumenism, inter-faith and inter-cultural relations, and the way these impact on people’s lives.

When asked to express why he accepted the invitation to become a patron of the Foundation, Pat wrote:

“I share the same great love for the priesthood as Fr John Wallis whom I was privileged to know. Even though I have not had a lot of first-hand experience of the Missionary Sisters of Service, I have greatly admired the way they are  so much part of the lives, the faith,  and the joys, hopes and struggles of the people they so generously serve.”

Mary Wagner

Mary Wagner is well known in the Toowoomba community and far beyond as a woman of compassion and integrity, who has influenced and led many initiatives across the business and community sectors of Toowoomba. Mary has received numerous accolades for her contributions in this regard. For Mary, family is the number one priority in her life and she credits many of her life achievements to her commitment to family.

Mary grew up on a dairy farm where her parents sacrificed much to send her to school in Warwick and then to boarding school in Brisbane. This commitment to education saw Mary undertake the same sacrifices when she and her husband raised their eight children. Mary returned to nursing when her youngest child was four years old and worked night duty for thirteen years.

In 1986 Mary and her husband Henry set up the Wagner Company. It has grown from a company of six employees to over 900 staff in Queensland and globally.

Mary continues to give much to the Toowoomba community and always encourages others to fulfil their potential. “Never take for granted the importance of your role in making the world a better place. Never stop asking how you can contribute meaningfully, to achieve a higher standard of excellence”.