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Our Great Work-Caring for Country

The theme for the gathering was “Our Great Work-Caring for Country”. A task that requires commitment and action from people in all walks of life e.g. science, politics, philosophy, ethics, religion, economics and education.
John Butcher President of the Cooks River Valley Association shared how the Cooks River People are caring for country in the Cooks River Valley and how they see their relationship to the river and its surrounds. His talk was entitled “Walking the Talk-Caring for an Endangered Ecological Community”.

In the presentation we were taken on a journey. In the course of this journey, we discovered how groups of people connected to the river have improved not only the water quality of the river but also the diversity of life along the river. The river has come alive with festivals celebrating times when people swam in the river and places where ‘Sorry Day’ and other celebrations have and still take place.

We watched a video of the children from the local public school being educated into the life of the river. The Cooks River Valley Association wrote a unit on the Cooks River for Primary and Secondary School. Through the connections they have made they will take pride in looking after it.

Our next speaker, D Michelle Maloney, an environmental lawyer and co-founder of Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) posed the question, “What have Law, Governance and Ethics got to do with the Great Work?”

She went on to tell us how a network of lawyers in Australia and abroad are contributing to the “Great Work” through efforts in the area of Earth Jurisprudence. They are working towards making the current Western legal system more earth-centred and less exploitive of the natural world.

Michelle shared some of the beliefs, ideology and ethics underlying the group’s approach to Earth Jurisprudence, including the belief of Thomas Berry that “Ecology is not part of Law rather Law is an extension of Ecology”.

She mentioned also the interconnection of the earth community and the view that the “Great Laws-“-laws of the natural world -are to be respected as basic and higher than human law.

Michelle shared how Members of AELA are critiquing current law, governance, and the overall worldview and practices of industrial society from the point of view of Earth. She told us ways in which AELA members are advocating alternative law and governance structures that support the rights of nature and ecological limits as well as human rights.
Click here for further information regarding AELA.

Many participants expressed appreciation of the input and sharing.

Our next gathering is Saturday Morning, August 29, 2015, when Professor Ray Norris and Cilla Norris will speak on “The World’s First Astronomers: Astronomy and navigation in Australian Aboriginal Traditions and Cultural heritage”. All are welcome.
Marie Butcher and Valda Dickinson 

World Day of Social Justice

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

20 February is World Day of Social Justice, a day specifically designated by the United Nations for member states and territories and their citizens as an occasion for awareness and action on issues requiring our attention and response. 

For Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation, there are many social justice issues requiring attention and action, but we have identified the needs of Earth, Indigenous communities, refugees and asylum seekers, homelessness, the impact of poverty on women and those affected by injustice within the Church as among the most urgent.

We have identified these needs and our commitment to addressing these 'at personal, local and systemic levels through friendship, direct assistance, advocacy and research and by joining networks or partnerships with groups that have similar values and goals' in our Chapter Statement and in our participation in the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP). Together with Sisters of Mercy globally we have committed  to action under two key themes that emerged from MIRP: (i) displacement of persons, and (ii) degradation of Earth.

'The Mercy world has heard “the cry of Earth and the cry of the Poor” in a new way. It will respond by seeing Mercy in a new way and by daring Mercy in a new way' (MIRP Report p19)

  • Read our Chapter Statement here
  • Read the MIRP Report here

First Sunday in Lent

Today’s gospel reading (Mark 1:12-15) invites us to reflect on Jesus’ forty-day experience in “the wilderness”.

The wilderness is a place of solitude. Jesus is “led by the Spirit” into the wilderness where he is tested.

For your Reflection this week

  •  What new insights and challenges await you in the wilderness of this Lent?
You might like to post a thought, reflection or prayer in our prayer space

The Lenten Journey: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday signals the start of Lent, the Season of the Year when we have the opportunity to change, to begin again, to renew ourselves.  We are all invited by Pope Francis in his message for Lent 2018 'to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm', sustained by the traditional practices of almsgiving, fasting and prayer.

During the Season of Lent (14 February-29 March 2018 ), the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation invite you to join with us and with the Mercy community globally in praying these intercessions:

  • In a world of violence and denial of basic human dignity, may we be lights in the darkness:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God
  • In a world of abundance which allows children to go hungry, may we work to banish famine and malnutrition:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God
  • In a world which places ambition and the quest for wealth and power above the values of family and faith, may we stand as witnesses that you are the source of all true happiness:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God
  • In a world where disagreements and longstanding enmities are resolved by war and civil disruption, may we be reconcilers and unifiers:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God
  • In a world created through your love and charged with your presence, may we teach others to see your face in all people and all creation:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God
  • In a world which hungers for meaning and searches for you, may we accompany those journeying to Baptism and support them through our prayer and witness:
  • Create in us new hearts, O God

You might also like to post a prayer, thought or reflection in our prayer space
Resources to aid your Lenten preparation can be found here

Source: Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy

Tenth Anniversary of the Australian Parliament's Apology to the Stolen Generations

"We will open our hearts to the cries of the poor using our energies, gifts and resources to address violence and discrimination especially for women and children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples..."
(Chapter Statement)

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Australian Parliament's Apology to the Stolen Generations of Australia's Indigenous Peoples for past laws, policies and practices that have impacted on Australia's Indigenous Peoples.

In the House of Representatives Canberra at 9.09 am on the morning of 13th February 2008, the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said "The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future." And he proceeded to do so.

The Apology was received with great emotion, with empathy, with solidarity, with applause by those who heard it, as shown in this clip. Many members of the Stolen Generations were present in the Chamber to hear the Apology and thousands more filled the Great Hall of Parliament House and flowed out onto the lawns to watch it on big screens. The Apology was broadcast across Australia.


The Bringing them home report, the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, tabled in Parliament almost 11 years before the Apology, pointed out that those who had suffered under these policies "endured gross violations of their human rights".

Key anniversaries such as this one are opportunities not to be wasted and a chance to reinvigorate momentum. The Sisters of Mercy of Parramatta Congregation welcome the interest this anniversary will evoke and the opportunity it provides  us all for reflection on how well we have written "this new chapter in our nation's story together". One means for that reflection can be found in reading the text of the Apology

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