Campion graduate behind new magazine ‘Mathilde’
Ellen McCumstie is one of five women behind the creation of Mathilde, a new magazine for women.
The Melbourne-based alumna graduated from Campion in 2015, where she embarked on her training as a registered nurse.
We recently got in touch with Ellen about her role in the creation of Mathilde, which launched in November 2021:
Tell us about how you got involved with Mathilde.
My involvement with Mathilde began as many good things do…after a conversation at the pub. Veronika (McLindon) and I were discussing how refreshing it felt each time we caught up. We felt we could speak freely and openly, sharing ideas without feeling boxed in, labelled or disingenuous.
We agreed we often felt that way when we spoke with women we admired, and how diverse and edifying those women’s experiences and opinions can be – especially in light of the harsh or reductive views on femininity we sometimes see in our culture. At one point, Veronika sneakily reached into her handbag and showed me the template for the first issue of Mathilde – a project she had been nurturing – and somehow I weaseled my way in.
Describe the philosophy behind Mathilde, and what makes Mathilde different?
In a nutshell, Mathilde seeks to explore cultural and political narratives from a fresh perspective, and to explore the relationship between the modern world and womanhood in light of the western tradition. While we aim not to be a strictly ‘women’s magazine’, we do want to place an emphasis on the unique predicament facing the modern woman and shed new light on somewhat worn-out issues.
We aim for ‘reclaimed feminism,’ a word and movement which we believe necessary – though perhaps not in its latest forms. In the spirit of St Paul, we celebrate the goal of “testing everything and holding fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). This is particularly relevant in our upcoming issue 2, which explores the theme of openness and the importance of an open mind and open heart, without sacrificing a spirit of discernment and a respect for truth.
How has your liberal arts degree influenced this project for you (and others)?
Campion has proved invaluable in my involvement in Mathilde and in how I try to approach life in general. We’ve heard it a million times before – Campion promotes critical thinking. I believe that tool alone made my entire Campion experience worthwhile (though it certainly wasn’t the only gift Campion gave me).
The ability to resist complacency and challenge one’s own ways of thinking, and continually strive to discover the transcendentals – Truth, Beauty and Goodness – and the ways they manifest in the world are values that Mathilde upholds, and values that Campion nurtured in me.
My love of literature is also a gift I carry with me from my Campion days. Reading and seeking to understand good literature has helped me in so many surprising ways. Even in my line of work, nursing, I have found reading fiction has helped me develop empathy, and approach people in their suffering with genuine interest and compassion. And when all else fails, nothing provides consolation and inspiration quite like a good book after a long day.
…reading fiction has helped me develop empathy, and approach people in their suffering with genuine interest and compassion.
I also believe the friendships I formed at Campion to be some of the greatest blessings in my life thus far and will always cherish the precious time we had at Campion to be headstrong, passionate students debating on the deck, reading poetry as if we knew what it meant and growing in faith and knowledge together.