Growing Old

The Vocation and Practice of Ageing


  • Sarah Bachelard Australian Catholic University
  • Neil Millar University of Canberra



Ageing, fourth age, lament, spiritual practice, undergoing, vocation


This article arises out of our experience of working and reflecting theologically as chaplains in a residential aged care setting. In the first part of this article, we explore the vocation of ageing from the perspective of the Christian tradition, suggesting that this theology offers resources to engage the experience of ageing in ways that render it a journey of growth and self transcendence. In the light of this exploration, we turn to the question of the practices that support engagement with this vocation, particularly for those in the “fourth age”.

Author Biographies

Sarah Bachelard, Australian Catholic University

Rev. Dr Sarah Bachelard is the founder and director of Benedictus Contemplative Church, Canberra. She is a research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, and formerly lecturer in theology at Charles Sturt University. She is the author of Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis and Resurrection and Moral Imagination.

Neil Millar, University of Canberra

Rev. Neil Millar is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the University of Canberra. He is former chaplain in Aged Care and currently facilitates Pastoral Care communities of reflective practice with Uniting (NSW.ACT), Australia.


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How to Cite

Bachelard, S., & Millar, N. (2016). Growing Old: The Vocation and Practice of Ageing. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 4(2), 180–191.