Friends of Mercy Works Gatherings in Melbourne
On Tuesday October 22 we all gathered – staff, board and friends of Mercy Works from various networks. There was a buzz of anticipation in the air. We were warmly welcomed with Mercy hospitality by Mary Moloney RSM, Principal, and her colleagues at The Academy of Mary Immaculate College in Fitzroy.
The theme of the evening was ‘To Welcome the Stranger’. After a short reflection on our theme, our Board Chair, Kathleen Donnellon, gave a brief overview of our overseas programs to those present. We were then introduced to the local Mercy Connect Program in Melbourne, coordinated by Mary Lewis RSM and Tat Singa. This program has extensive outreach to asylum seekers and refugees, with over 140 volunteers mentoring over 600 children and 24 adults.
A group of primary students, (some were refugees) called ‘Harmony Strings’ from nearby Sacred Heart School Fitzroy, provided moving entertainment with violins, cellos and a song. Stories from a representative of the Catholic Education Melbourne office and a volunteer gave other very positive perspectives.
Our second gathering was held the next day at the Mercy Hub in North Carlton. It was attended by sisters and lay staff. Again, it was a very moving afternoon. By the end of each gathering the supporters were chatting over a light supper or afternoon tea. Watching our supporters, staff and board interact with each other you could feel there was real sense of warmth and energy in the room. Catherine McAuley’s words “The poor need help today not next week” had come to life in the wonderful stories shared from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.
Sally Bradley RSM
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