St Mary’s College Ipswich Hosts Sr Denise Coghlan

Mercy leads to justice – St Mary’s College, Ipswich

On Friday 2 November students, staff and families of St Mary’s College Ipswich had the privilege of welcoming and hosting Sr Denise Coghlan. Since 2013, St Mary’s College has developed a partnership with Sr Denise and Metta Karuna, sending students on immersion experiences. In the morning Sr Denise participated in the College assembly which began with a multi-lingual prayer, led by bi-lingual students and staff, encouraging each of us to reflect on how we are called to be saints in the world today. Three year nine students then overcame their fears and interviewed Sr Denise about her journey to becoming a Sister of Mercy, her work of accompanying the displaced in Cambodia, and what mercy really means for her. The 650 students and staff gathered were inspired by Sr Denise’s humble sharing of her faith and life journey so far. They were also challenged by two important messages Sr Denise shared. Firstly, the Cambodian notion of Mudita, meaning – to rejoice in the other’s good/success; the opposite of jealousy, a concept far beyond the cultural norms today. And secondly, the idea that mercy leads to justice. Being a College community proud of our Mercy Heritage, this second point really challenged all present to consider how we go beyond simply donating to help those in need, to be a voice which challenges the causes of injustice in our local, national and global community.

In the evening, ninety-four guests from a variety of sectors – State Members of Parliament, various schools, Zonta Ipswich, parishioners etc gathered at the Ipswich Club to share a delicious meal with Sr Denise, while being inspired by her sharing of how she came to be working with Jesuit Refugee Services Cambodia and running the Metta Karuna Reflection Centre. Those gathered were also challenged by her sharing about refugees, the need for the global community to share the load and Pope Francis’ call for ‘a common commitment, one focussed on offering them a dignified welcome.’  Again the audience was left with the reminder that mercy leads to justice and each of us have a role to play in bringing about justice.

Finally, as a College community proud of our Mercy heritage, we were very honoured to host Sr Denise Coghlan. All who had the opportunity to hear her speak were inspired by her humility, authenticity and her faith. She is truly a woman of Mercy.


Messages to Margareta Lemon – Campus Minister, St Mary’s College Ipswich:


Jim Madden (member for Ipswich West), Sr Mary Lawson, Sr Denise Coghlan

and Mrs Judith Finan (St. Mary's College Principal)

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