News & Events

World Refugee Day, 20 June 2018

'We will open our hearts to the cries of the poor...' (Chapter Statement)

The theme for Refugee Week (17-23 June 2018) #WithRefugees emphasises the need for the safety and rights of all refugees to be protected.

The international campaign continues until a global compact on refugees is signed later this year. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is asking us all of us to help them send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility by signing the #With Refugees Petition.

Join Sisters of Mercy and people across the globe on World Refugee Day in praying this prayer 'A Moment for Grace' composed by Catholic Relief Services USA.

God of our Wandering Ancestors,
Long have we known
That your heart is with the refugee:
That you were born into time
In a family of refugees
Fleeing violence in their homeland,
Who then gathered up their hungry child
And fled into alien country.

Their cry, your cry, resounds through the ages: “Will you let me in?”
Give us hearts that break open

When our brothers and sisters turn to us
          with that same cry.
Then surely all these things will follow:
     Ears will no longer turn deaf to their voices.
     Eyes will see a moment for grace instead of a threat.
    Tongues will not be silenced but will instead advocate.
And hands will reach out—
working for peace in their homeland,
working for justice in the lands where they seek safe haven.
Lord, protect all refugees in their travels.
May they find a friend in me
And so make me worthy
Of the refuge I have found in you.


Download and share a print version of this prayer
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    Reconciliation Week, 27 May - 3 June

    National Reconciliation Week (NRW) in Australia (27 May - 3 June) is held to celebrate Indigenous history and culture and to celebrate and promote respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

    This year during National Reconciliation Week, Reconciliation Australia invites all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, to share that knowledge and help us grow as a nation. The theme chosen for this year is: Don’t Keep History A Mystery.

    We, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation, came to this area in 1888. For over 60,000 years, this area comprising present day Parramatta has been occupied by the Burramattagal people, a clan of the Darug, who first settled along the upper reaches of the Parramatta River. Burramattagal is thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word for 'place where the eels lie down' to breed (within the Parramatta River).

    As we prepare to move forward together, this week offers us and all non-Indigenous Australians a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture. More information about the traditional owners of this land, the Darug people, can be learned here

    Other sites to visit include:
    National Indigenous Television (NITV) and the ABC will screen special programs

    Mercy Futures - Responding in Mercy to the Cry of the Earth Program

    The Mercy Futures Group invites you to our second session for 2018 in our Responding in Mercy to the Cry of the Earth Program.

    Grace Borger and Claudia Connelly will be leading this gathering, speaking on the topic Climate we can Change.
    The Stewardship Portfolio was introduced in 2018 and reflects OLMC Parramatta’s commitment to promoting sustainability, both within and beyond the College. Grace and Claudia will be sharing their passion for responding to the challenge of sustainability from a Mercy perspective. They will discuss their experiences of leading the OLMC community in this area including through various campaigns and initiatives such as EcOLMC and also their involvement in wider community in raising awareness and taking action which has included working with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

    Wednesday June 6, 2018: 6.30pm - 8pm (Refreshments served from 6.30pm)
    Where: Catherine McAuley Rooms, 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta
    Parking: There is limited parking in the Convent car park. If you require parking close to the venue let us know and we will reserve a parking spot for you. There is street parking in Ross and Villiers streets.

    RSVP: By Monday, June 4, 2018. Email or call the Congregation Office on 9683 2555.

    Download the flyer:
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  • We do hope that you will be able to join us.
    Mercy Futures Team

    The Mission of the Laity: May Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

    'We will share with others, including people of different faiths and no religious faith, the joys and struggles of this spiritual journey.' (Chapter Statement)

    We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: The Mission of the Laity

    That the lay faithful may fulfil their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.

    Text of the May 2018 video:
    'Lay people are on the front line of the life of the Church.
    We need their testimony regarding the truth of the Gospel and their example of expressing their faith by practicing solidarity.
    Let us give thanks for the lay people who take risks, who are not afraid and who offer reasons for hope to the poorest, to the excluded, to the marginalized.
    Let us pray together this month that the lay faithful may fulfill their specific mission, the mission that they received in Baptism, putting their creativity at the service of the challenges of today's world.' 

    We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space

    Hope Found in Persistent Pain and Suffering

    One in five people live with chronic pain, that is, pain that can’t be cured. This figure rises to one in four people over the age of 65. Chronic pain is both a complex health issue, in part because it's invisible, and a costly one—socially and economically— for our society. In 2012, the cost to the Australian economy exceeded $55 billion. Yet, despite its prevalence and its economic impact, chronic pain management is one of the most neglected aspects of health care. “Our failure to adequately address chronic pain is a major driver of its economic and social cost,” says Rebecca McCabe rsm.

    Sr Rebecca is no stranger to pain. Ranked in the top ten swimmers in the world as a teenager, her promising swimming career, with the opportunity to represent Australia in the Olympics in 1984 ended as a result of injury. While training to become a physiotherapist she became intrigued by the area of persistent pain and suffering. "I began asking myself - what contribution could I make to this 'hidden epidemic' in our society?"

    Today Rebecca works in private practice and in pain research in the Department of Pain Management, HammondCare Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, NSW, as part of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, including medical specialists, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, nursing and administrative staff and researchers. Dedicated to improving the quality of life of her clients and to understanding how pain works, she has co-authored two books on persisting pain and presented her research at many world and national conferences.

    Her current area of research is the exploration of spiritual and existential factors in the assessment and treatment of chronic pain.

    There has been increasing interest in addressing spiritual and existential aspects as a component of health care. Despite widespread acceptance in related fields such as palliative care, these aspects receive comparatively little attention in the pain community. "Recent findings that we presented at the World Pain Conference in Milan in 2014 demonstrated that people with chronic pain have levels of spiritual distress that are equal to or higher than people with cancer or HIV/AIDS," said Rebecca.

    "We are now looking at the subject of post traumatic growth (PTG). There have been patients who make us sit back and ask 'why is it that some people are able to take on such extraordinary suffering yet able to grow subsequently?'

    It is not the opposite of post-traumatic stress. We are observing something different here.

    Current research is this area would suggest that PTG seems to be the result of reprioritising the important things in life after traumas such as retrenchment, injury, burns, cancer, domestic and personal abuse.

    We believe that some people living with chronic pain fit here too!

    I work with a team that wants to do something about it. We hope to develop other treatments to ease people’s suffering. We are designing a new program with four elements: exercise, medication, supportive relationships and connection with the spiritual. We are hoping to implement and research this program this year."

    Working with a team is critical says Rebecca. "The subject of pain is so complex that in order to treat it more effectively we need to see the problem through many different professional and personal lenses. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that less than 20% of people with chronic pain receive coordinated multidisciplinary care.

    For me post traumatic growth resonates with my faith framework. My faith acts like an undercurrent that carries me through the tough times; the possibility that through suffering our lives can be reshaped; that hope and love can emerge through despair and isolation - the Paschal Mystery in action."

    Download: Spiritual and existential factors predict pain relief in a pain management program with a meaning-based component (2018)

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