Archived News Item

North Sydney sister returns to Mercy Works Inc.

Sister Lorraine Phelan RSM (North Sydney) has returned in a part-time capacity to Mercy Works Incorporated, as the Mercy Refugee on-shore Co-ordinator. Lorraine was on sick leave and lighter duties last year but has come back with great enthusiasm for this role.

Over the years Lorraine has gained valuable experience working as the Archdiocesan Co-ordinator for Refugees in the Canberra-Goulburn archdiocese, as Refugee Officer for the New South Wales Ecumenical Council, and then with Mercy Refugee Service.


She has worked with asylum seekers in and out of detention, establishing the House of Welcome program for the New South Wales Ecumenical Council; training volunteers to work with refugees within the community; and settling refugees who have come through the IHSS (Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy) program when it was initiated.


In her current role, Lorraine hopes to:


§          raise the profile of Mercy Refugee Service amongst the sisters, across networks and within the wider community;

§          support Sisters of Mercy nationally working with asylum seekers and refugees;

§          manage the Sydney-based Community Links Program, which currently supports 62 refugee families in the Sydney and western Sydney area through a volunteers program. It will run another training weekend for 20 volunteers in early March and place them with refugee families who have a number of complex issues;

§          establish and mange a new Community Links Program in Wollongong.


Lorraine has advertised a two-day co-ordinator position for this service and has advertised for volunteers to work in this program. She has also begun interviewing applicants in preparation for a training weekend she will hold on March 10 and 11. Currently, this new program is taking most of Lorraine‘s time and energy.


When Lorraine worked at Mercy Works previously, her main focus was as the Schools Liaison Project Officer, which Sister Joan Smith, in Perth, has taken up. However, Lorraine continues to oversee this program.


With her focus now on Mercy Refugee Service, Lorraine would like to hear from any sister who has an interest in, or is working with asylum seekers and refugees. She would also like to receive information which could be included in our monthly section of Mercy M@tters. Lorraine can be contacted via email


From: Specific Issues Committee, Asylum Seekers and Refugees (Sisters Sally Bradley, Claudette Cusack, Lorraine Phelan and Mary Quinn)


Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator