Mercy AdvocacyMercy Advocacy

Mercy Advocacy - November 2015

'As Pontifex, Latin for 'bridge-builder', Pope Francis told the US Congress that it is his 'duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible to do the same.'  This is pope of encounter and dialogue reminds us: "Walls are never solutions...But bridges are, always, always."'

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Mercy Advocacy - November 2015

 

Mercy Advocacy - October 2015

'Peace I leave with you

My own peace I give you,

A peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.'

 

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Mercy Advocacy - October 2015

 

 

Mercy Advocacy - September 2015

'Solidarity

a word that frightens the developed world.  People try to avoid saying it.  Solidarity to them is almost a bad word.  But it is my word!  Serving means recognising and accepting request for justice and hope, and seeking roads together, real paths that lead to liberation.'

 

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Mercy Advocacy - September 2015

 

 

Mercy Advocacy - August 2015

Stand with us:

Asylum seekers and refugees

People who are homeless

The First Peoples

All who struggle for justice, freedom and peace - grandmothers, doctors, teachers, social workers...

 

For more information please download the PDF below

Mercy Advocacy - August 2015

Mercy Advocacy - July 2015

I was in prison and you visited me

On the 15 June we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta - all, even the King, are subject to the law.  In the 16th Century, Thomas More and John Fisher, whose feast day also occurs in June, experienced the conflict between the law of the state and the law of God.  Over time, our sense that the law is called to protect all in society, particularly the vulnerable, has deepened.  How protected today are the Indigenous Peoples, the homeless people and asylum seekers by our law?

 

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Mercy Advocacy - July 2015

Mercy Advocacy - June 2015

Homelessness can mean loss of home, los of traditional lands, loss of a welcome anywhere on earth.

 

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Mercy Advocacy - June 2015

Mercy Advocacy - May 2015

Author Tim Winton, gave this speech in Perth on Palm Sunday.  can we celebrate the full joy of the Resurrection when others are given only little joy and the stone of despair?

 

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Mercy Advocacy - May 2015

Mercy Advocacy - April 2015

Miriam-Rose Ungumerr-Baumann AO, elder from Nauiyu (Daly River), educator and artist.

"What I want to talk about is another special quality of my people.  I believe it is the most important.  It is our most unique gift.  It is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to our fellow Australians.  In our language this quality is called Dadirri.  It is inner, deep listening and queit, still awareness.  Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us.  We call on it and it calls to us.  This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for.  It is something like what you call 'contemplation'."

 

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Mercy Advocacy - April 2015

Mercy Advocacy - March 2015

 

Two disturbing reports - 'Closing the Gap' and 'The Forgotten Children' were delivered to the Federal Parliament in the same week in February.  These reports concern areas we have chosen for advocacy.  Underlying the horrors revealed in both is disregard for the yearnings of fellow human beings.  The surface response of political-blaming and point-scoring distorts the focus on the actual harm being done to those whom Jesus calls our brothers and sisters.  As the Indigenous senator, Nova Peris said:

 

"If we are fair dinkum about this we've got to stop playing policitical footbal with Aboriginal People."

 

Only a single word change and the same statement holds for asylum seekers

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Mercy Advocacy - March 2015

Mercy Advocacy - February 2015

 

To do some listening and to encourage ourselves to speak, this month we are sharing two intertwined stories taken from an article by Martin McKenzie-Murray in 'The Saturday Paper' (13-16 December 2014).  


The first tells of a young asylum seeker who took the hazardous journey to Christmas Island.  As with so many others, she has face grievous losses and spirit-sapping struggles with our bureaucracy.  The second speaks of an unnamed advocate who has long and preserveringly sought justice for those who ask for our protection.

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Mercy Advocacy - February 2015

Mercy Advocacy - She gave birth to her son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn

 

Christmas is a time for coming together in family - and especially for rejoicing in the youngest members.  As our Government proposes ever harsher policies for asylum seekers who are often separated from family both here or offshore, and as the efforts to impose secrecy continue, the voices of some of the detained still somehow manage to reach sections of our media.

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She gave birth to her son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn

Mercy Advocacy - Beware of discouragement: it is the death of the soul

On Mercy Day we reflected on the current face of slavery - human trafficking.  As always in addressing issues of justice our first task is to find the human face.

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Beware of discouragement it is the death of the soul

Mercy Advocacy - Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues.  I see the world is rotten because of silence.

Last month we spoke of listening to the voices of those whose dignity as persons are being trampled on, of 'embracing the mysterious wisdom of God wishes to share with us through them'.  Now, we know it is also time to add our voices to the increasing number who are speaking with and for those suffereing exclusions. 

For more information please download the PDF below

Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues.

 

Mercy Advocacy - To begin we listen to the voices of First Nations Persons

I am not the problem you know, I have a culture.  I am a cultured person. (Speaking Arrernty) I'm talking another language.  And my language is alive.  I am not something that feel out of the sky for the pleasure of somebody putting another culture into this cultured being.  John [Pilger in Utopia] shows what is an ongoing denial of me

For more information please download the PDF below.  

To begin we listen to the voices of First Nations Persons

Mercy Advocacy - The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head...

 

Pope Francis blessing a casting of the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture which will be installed near St Peter’s Square.
As Canadian sculptor, TIMOTHY SCHMALS, had hoped, replicas of the “Homeless Jesus” are now being placed on benches in towns and cities around the world. One such siting in the United States near an Episcopal church in Charlotte N.C. has provoked more conversation than a month of Sunday sermons with varied reaction from both church members and passersby:

Pope Francis blessing a casting of the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture which will be installed near St Peter’s Square.

As Canadian sculptor, TIMOTHY SCHMALS, had hoped, replicas of the “Homeless Jesus” are now being placed on benches in towns and cities around the world. One such siting in the United States near an Episcopal church in Charlotte N.C. has provoked more conversation than a month of Sunday sermons with varied reaction from both church members and passersby:

For more information please download the PDF below

The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head...

Mercy Advocacy - Recognizing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Australian Constitution

In 1986 Pope John Paul speaking in Alice Springs made us all aware of the absolute need for the inclusion of our indigenous brothers and sisters if the Church and Australia itself were to be fully what God wanted them to be. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long struggled for recognition as the First Peoples of this land. They are calling us now to amend the federal constitution to correct their exclusion and to remove discriminatory clauses from our founding document.

For more information please download the PDF below

Recognizing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australian Constitution

Mercy Advocacy - A few comments on early feedback re the Vision Statement

1. Service vs advocacy.

Is this a real division? Or is it the hand-in-hand approach we’ve always had. We come from 150 years where the main direction of our work as Sisters of Mercy was service. Yet we saw from the advocacy stories that individual sisters were moved to stand up for people they knew were suffering injustice, or sometimes just to stand in solidarity with them. Witness those writing to Diane Fingleton, former Queensland Chief Magistrate, when she was in prison.

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A few comments on early feedback re the Vision Statement

Mercy Advocacy - A Scary Place

Have you ever been reading, rather haphazardly, some theology when you suddenly recognize that a basic rock in your life may be far more unsteady than you thought. The book was The True Church and the Poor (Jon Sobrino sj) where Sobrino makes the point that God is limitless. Hence we cannot assume that religious life and the vows offer us an “automatic way of access to God.” It just ‘ain’t necessarily so.’ There are no pigeonholes for God. Central to religious life is not the vows but the challenge common to all vocations – the process of becoming christian. Our lives always have to be reviewed in the light of the Gospel and of history. Change may be demanded.

For more information please download the PDF below

A Scary Place

Mercy Advocacy - Changing Structures - Is it only writing letters?

When we are experiencing the joy of Easter, how do we bring it together with the harshness of the task of working for justice alongside people whose lives are consumed by cycles of violence, who are wrongly imprisoned or accused. The prophet Isaiah may help us to stand willingly with them and begin again:

 

God has anointed me

To proclaim liberty to captives,

Release to prisoners.

 

To announce a year of favour

To comfort those who mourn,

To give them the oil of gladness

And share a mantle of joy

God has anointed me.

 

For more information please download the PDF below

 

 Changing Structures - Is it only writing letters?

Mercy Advocacy - Struggle and Contemplation

Here is an offering of three readings where we can begin with a powerful look at working for justice from different perspectives.

In the first we listen to an Australian nurse living in Ethiopia who is directly in the midst of the pain of the struggle where the oppression of the people is very close. She explains why she is driven to strive for justice.

In the second, at a 1977 Assembly of Sisters of Mercy, Patrick O’Sullivan sj reflects on our own personal world, that of religious life. How do struggle and contemplation belong together? 

The third is a worldview from Pope Benedict XVI at the time of the global financial crisis in 2009 - “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth). He tells us straight why, as Christians, love demands of us this struggle and prayer.

 

For more information please download the PDF below

 

 Struggle and Contemplation

Mercy Advocacy: Thy Kingdon Come - 2013

The heart of advocacy for us as Sisters is to seek to help build the kingdom of God.  The following reflection on the petition ‘thy kingdom come’ is part of a book “The Lord’s Prayer” by the Franciscan, Leonardo Boff, meditating on the Our Father. Let us pray the Our Father this year in particular for the dispossessed, refugees, indigenous people and for the homeless. Pray, too, this year that the ‘engine room for advocacy that we are all seeking to create will be a support to our efforts to give witness to the kingdom of God.

 

For more information please download the PDF below

Thy Kingdom Come

Mercy Advocacy

 

Help put an end to the indefinite detention of refugees in Australia

 

Please sign the attached petition

 

Call to Action

 

 

In the case brought by David Manne in late May, the High Court has found (5/10/12) that the denial of a protection visa to a Sri Lankan man with an adverse security assessment from ASIO was not valid. Keep watch on this matter as though the Government warns each situation will be examined individually, this judgement should have implications for other such cases including that of Ranjini and children whose story we know.

MERCY ADVOCACY: Following up on earlier action

 

In previous months we have concentrated on children in immigration detention and, in particular, on the situation of those in indefinite detention because of their parent/s adverse ASIO assessment. Tamil refugee, Rangini, whose story we came to know, remains in detention with her children.

We are also still awaiting the judgement in the case of another such detainee brought before the High Court by the Melbourne lawyer, David Manne.

Meanwhile the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, numerous national and international experts in security and refugee law and the governments of many other democracies have demonstrated alternatives to Australia’s current management of security risks posed by refugees.

 

The attached article conveys the recommendations for reform of Catherine Branson, the recently retired Australian Human Rights Commissioner.

 

For more information please download the PDF below

 Following up on earlier action

Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on Australia's Detention  Network

 

In April of this year the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on Australia’s Detention Network recommended children only be held for minimum periods and in metropolitan locations.

Now our Government proposes to send families and unaccompanied minors to a 21 square kilometre island where previously the lack of adequate water, health facilities, counselling, educational opportunities, training, other activities and oversight were recognised concerns.

In a media release, 14 September 2012, Ms Hiles, founding member of Children out of Detention (ChilOut), an organization working since 2001 for humane treatment of children and families seeking asylum, stated: “This whole off-shoring policy is doomed to fail, but it is inexcusable that we should think damaging vulnerable children is acceptable fall-out while we wait for this political disaster to play out”.

The Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, supports this condemnation by ChilOut of the reintroduction of Nauru as a location for the assessment of asylum seekers claims for protection.

Rights Commission calls for an end to detention

 

The departing head of the Australian Human Rights Commission has called on the Government to abandon mandatory detention for asylum seekers.

Commissioner Catherine Branson also called for the implementation of a better system for dealing with genuine refugees who are still in detention because they have not been granted security clearances by ASIO.

She told the ABC the practice of indefinite detention of those who fail security checks was “inhumane’.

 

For more information please download the PDF below

Humane solution