Archived News Item

Deep appreciation for the Mercy Sisters

The long tradition of collaboration between JRS and the Sisters of Mercy was renewed more than a year ago in an effort to provide pastoral care to asylum seekers on Christmas Island. Sr Maureen Lohrey arrived on Christmas Island in early December 2009, and since then, Srs Joan Kelleher, Lizzie Finnerty and Carmel Setford have served uninterruptedly for various periods of time.

The presence of the sisters (and priests accompanying them as part of our pastoral team) has been deeply appreciated and recognised not only by the asylum seekers, but also by the Department of Immigration and detention provider staff, as well as by the local community. Their presence and service, as we have been told, has been a source of great consolation and support not only in the most difficult of times (as with the recent boat tragedy), but also in the day-to-day ‘ordinary’ but also challenging life in the several detention facilities.

Since October 2010, Srs Jackie Ford and Anne McDonnell have provided pastoral care at Curtin Detention Centre in WA. The detention provider’s religious and community coordinatior recently wrote: ‘I cannot imagine being able to do my job well without the valuable assistance of the Sisters!’ A month ago, Sr Kathleen Moran joined JRS in Sydney to assist in supporting our work with unaccompanied minors in community detention, and Sr Meredith Evans is preparing to work with asylum seekers at Inverbrackie in Adelaide. Sr Maryanne Loughry continues to serve as Associate Director at JRS Australia, focusing on climate displacement in the Pacific and serving on the Minister of Immigration’s Advisory Council. Maryanne also spends some of her time as Research Professor at Boston College, and provides support to special projects of JRS International.

JRS would like to thank these sisters for their dedication, commitment and service. We look forward to continued collaboration in 2011.

Source: Link. A newsletter for friends of the Jesuit Refugee Service Australia. Vol X11 No 1 Autumn 2011