Archived News Item

A Mask Making Mission

Young Mercy Links in South Australia. From L-R: Ada Snell, Violet Croall, Harper Robb, Isabel Salter, Bridie Squire, Georgina Toome, Clare Peterson.



Sisters at Melbourne’s Mercy Hub are coordinating the production of face masks for the people of Papua New Guinea.


Sr Margaret Ryan RSM, who is coordinating this important project with Mary Geason RSM, said there have been eight reported cases of COVID-19 virus identified in Papua New Guinea and it will most likely spread quickly through vulnerable populations, like it has done in other parts of the world.


“We know of the struggle that Australia has had to acquire adequate personal protective equipment, even for health workers, let alone provide masks for people who might be in the community with symptoms of the virus. There are sisters, relatives and friends of sisters around the Institute, who are assisting at their sewing machines and sewing up masks at a rapid rate.


“We have a team of 11 contributors in four states – Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, from our Mercy Sisters, who have already sent 500 masks to Papua New Guinea (presently we are negotiating their release from the Port Moresby GPO and hopefully will have them to the Sisters in Mt Hagen, Wewak and Goroka very soon). The ones for the Sisters in Kunjingini were sent by courier as Australia Post Express was overwhelmed.


“Our Mercy Sisters in Papua New Guinea have the priority, and control distribution, especially the Mercy nurses and those in the rural areas. When they have enough, there are some priests and bishops that may be helped as well.


“We aim for at least 1000-1500 masks if possible. Wherever the masks go, we need to ensure there is a soap supply as well. The washable masks must be washed in soapy water, cold or hot. And importantly, a mask does not replace the need for hand washing with soap. So we will work with our PNG Sisters on what is necessarily a “face masks and soap” project,”  Sr Margaret said.


In the past few weeks, our Young Mercy Links have also contributed to the effort with a mask making afternoon held recently in South Australia and the Victorian Young Mercy Links about to send a whole package of masks for inclusion in the next shipment to Papua New Guinea.


If you would like to assist, you can find a demonstration and face mask pattern at the following link:
or watch below.


Sr Margaret said that once you have made a few masks, please post them to: Sr Margaret Ryan, PO Box 504, Carlton North, 3054, She will then arrange for distribution to our Sisters in Papua New Guinea.


“Many thanks to the many helpers around the Institute so far, well done!  If you are unable to sew face masks, and would like to make a donation to help defray the costs of materials and postage of the masks, you could write a cheque payable to ISMAPNG-CTAL, with a note saying it is for face masks, (post to Sr Margaret Ryan, PO Box 504, Carlton North, 3054),” she said.


Sewing volunteers do not need to cover the costs of the materials etc but forward the receipts with the completed masks for reimbursement as some Sisters who are not able to be volunteers have kindly included themselves as donors.


Marie Masterson RSM from Cairns contributes to the effort.


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