Archived News Item

Maryanne Loughry Honoured with 2019 Mercy Day Award

Sr Maryanne Loughry with immigrants from Mexico


Each year, as part of the Mercy Day celebrations Mercedes College Adelaide selects a recipient worthy of their ‘Mercy Day Award’.  This award is for someone who has, through their actions and commitment demonstrated a special dedication to the Mercy values.  This year Sr Maryanne Loughry was the recipient of the Mercy Day Award.


In a speech given before guests and students, Paul Wadsworth, Interim Principal, outlined the achievements of Sr Maryanne throughout her academic career as well as the work carried out as a Sister of Mercy.  Unfortunately Sr Maryanne was not able to attend the ceremony due to her commitments overseas, however Sr Ruth Egar and Ms Bridie Connell (Maryanne’s niece) were able to accept the award on Sr Maryanne’s behalf.


The full speech by the Interim Principal is below.


“Each year at this Mass we acknowledge someone who has, through their actions and commitment demonstrated a special dedication to our Mercy values. Selecting one person each year is always difficult because there have been and will continue to be many people associated with our community who are utilising the Mercy Keys to make a difference in our world. But as is our tradition we can only acknowledge one person each year.


Our Mercy Award recipient this year is someone who you may not know. Her name is Sr Maryanne Loughry.


Maryanne was educated by the Sisters of Mercy, graduating from Mercedes College in 1972. So impressed was she with the Mercy Sisters’ dedication to their teaching, concern for families, commitment to justice and encouragement of students to understand their role in making a difference in the world, that she joined the Mercy Order in 1974. She is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG).


On joining the Mercy Sisters, she quickly gained experience and insight into Australia’s internally displaced people through working in Redfern with Fr Ted Kennedy and Mum Shirl with urban Aboriginal people. Her international experience began in the Philippines where she lived in a rural setting with a poor farming family and was introduced to the contributors to and consequences of poverty, both locally and globally.  This laid a strong foundation for her international work and in the mid-1980s, she had an opportunity to attend a Jesuit Refugee Service meeting in Thailand, at a time when large numbers of Indochinese refugees were located in camps on the Thai-Cambodia border.


She studied Psychology at university and went on to hold a position as a lecturer at Flinders University, but at every opportunity took leave to work overseas. This included working in a mental health agency in a refugee camp in Bataan in the Philippines, as a Counsellor in Vietnamese detention centres in Hong Kong, and leading a training and research unit working with the Vietnamese Government on child protection issues.


Her research on the effects of detention on children contributed to her Doctorate thesis. Through Flinders University, she taught courses in Gaza and the West Bank and from there moved to be the Pedro Arrupe Tutor in Refugee Studies at the University of Oxford in 1997.


For seven years, she lived in Oxford and taught a Master’s Degree in Forced Migration, while researching the psychosocial effects of conflict and displacement in countries including the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, East Timor and Afghanistan.


Her impressive credentials include being a registered Psychologist; a visiting research scholar at the Centre for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College; a Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford; a member of the Australian Government’s Minister of Immigration Advisory Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD); serving on the Governing Committee of the International Catholic Migration Committee (ICMC); and being Associate Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which was established a year before the Sisters founded the Mercy Refugee Service.In 2010, Maryanne was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her service to refugees through her therapeutic support, research work, teaching, and advocacy both nationally and internationally, at a time of ever-changing policies and rulings on immigration and asylum.


In our year of “Valuing Diversity in the Year of Integrity”, I ask you to join me in congratulating a person who embodies and lives the Mercy way in all that she does to make this world a better place, our very worthy recipient of the 2019 Mercy Award, Dr Sr Maryanne Loughry.


Sr Maryanne was, unfortunately, unable to be here with us today due to her continuing work overseas.


However, it is with great pleasure that I ask Sr Ruth Egar and Ms Bridie Connell (Maryanne’s niece and Old Scholar of Mercedes) to come forward to accept the 2019 Mercy Award on Maryanne’s behalf.”

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