We hope to provide you with the latest news and information relating to the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Read more on the pages listed below.
On Friday 22 April, the sod was turned for McAuley College, Beaudesert, the newest Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane blessed the new site assisted by Father Michael McKeaton, Parish Priest of St Mary’s Parish. Foundation Principal of McAuley College is Mrs Deidre Young, formerly Principal of St Marys College, Ipswich. Pam Betts, Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education acknowledged the presence of the Sisters of Mercy saying “Just a few years ago All Hallows' and then St Mary’s College Ipswich celebrated 150 years and today our newest secondary college carries the name of their founder.“
Last Thursday, a small group of All Hallows’ students and staff members attended the Schools Vigil outside the Lady Cilento Hospital in support of the action taken to advocate for baby Asha not to be sent back to Nauru. Many Religious Institute schools sent representatives which was chaired by students from Brigidine College and supported by the students themselves speaking about why they were there. The students joined hundreds of people who in some way participated in an eight day round the clock vigil advocating for better treatment for people who are refugees or who are seeking asylum in Australia. The very simple message conveyed, beyond advocating for baby Asha and her family, was that the detention centres on Nauru and Manus are not safe, and are not a humane response to a situation facing countries around the world, and should be shut down. There has to be a better way to stop an already traumatised people experiencing further physical and mental suffering.
Students, staff and families of St Mary’s College, Ipswich gathered in St Marys Church Ipswich on Friday 5 February to celebrate Eucharist and pray together for a blessing on this year ahead, to commission the Student Leaders and each Year 12 student to her leadership role within the community during 2016. Celebrant was college Chaplain, Fr. Chukwudi Chinaka. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy the College has taken as its Theme “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall receive mercy.” Below is the address given by Principal, Judith Finan.
On 5 December, 92 Sisters from the Brisbane Congregation gathered at Mercy Place, Bardon for the annual Advent Ritual.
This year our ritual included 'Opening the Door' for the year of Mercy and accepting the invitation to participate in the Mercy International Reflection Process. The front cover of the ritual booklet featured many doors including the red door of Baggot Street and All Hallows Convent door – our foundation house.
Thirty five years ago Pedro Arrupe sj, a man of great spiritual depth and committed to justice, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service as a response to boat people fleeing Vietnam and Cambodia. To mark the anniversary, JRS USA has chosen to have an award dinner and honour three JRS team members. Denise Coghlan, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane Congregation is one of those being recognized. In Denise’s own words, “amazingly I am one of them and will travel with Srun Sony, our wonderful social worker for 20 years, to New York for an award dinner on 1 December”. Sr. Denise has served the displaced in Cambodia for the past 25 years, being one of the founding members of JRS Cambodia. She serves asylum seekers and refugees who seek protection in Cambodia, including the Montagnard who are not yet registered for the refugee status determination procedure, and stateless Rohigya and ethnic Vietnamese people.
Niamh Conway was announced as the Mercy Captain for 2015 at the conclusion of the Mercy Mass for St Mary’s College, Ipswich. This student leadership position recognizes a Year 12 student who has shown commitment to the Mercy Tradition and who has communicated its values in her life at the College during her Senior year. The position, nominated by staff members, is awarded annually by St Mary’s College community in recognition of the student’s qualities which have emerged throughout the year as she has responded to the challenges of Senior life at St Mary’s College. In announcing Niamh as the 2015 Mercy Captain, recognition was given of her outstanding contribution to her College community, and also to her home Parish, Sacred Heart, Booval.
Mrs Judith Finian, Principal St Mary’s College, Ipswich extended an invitation to Sisters of Mercy who had lived or worked at St Marys, to return to the college to view the new building extensions. Seven Sisters enjoyed the tour of the new buildings and shared a comfortable cup of tea with the College Leadership Team. The extensions include facilities for music, art and home economics, as well as additional classrooms.
On the morning of Sunday 13 September I attended a Commemorative Mass which was held to celebrate 125 years of Catholic Education in the Lutwyche Parish. The Mass was held at the Holy Cross, Wooloowin and was followed by a ‘pilgrimage walk’ through the grounds of the Holy Cross Primary School established in 1890 by the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane.
On the afternoon of the 21 July, thirty-five of us met together with Sr. Brenda Dolphin, the Postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley. Brenda had been in Cairns last weekend for the Symposium and, after Brisbane, was continuing on to many centres in Australia, accompanied by Sr. Caroline Ryan, the Vice-Postulator for our region.
The world-wide interest, pre-publication, in the Encyclical Laudate Si was amazing, and the introductory passages of the actual encyclical are inspiring. However, the central messages of the encyclical stem from the grim situation today of our common home, the Earth, as grounded on the conclusions of the majority of contemporary scientists.
It is reassuring that the encyclical is more than pious or purely theological rhetoric in that Pope Francis has himself a scientific background. A recent cartoon here in Australia showed an Australian Senator declaring that the Pope should leave comments on climate change to the scientists, with a counter-declaration from Francis saying that he was a scientist – he had a Masters in Chemistry!