At our first Congregation Gathering for the year, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta took the opportunity to show their support for the call to let the 267 Asylum Seekers remain in the community in Australia, instead of being transferred to Immigration Detention Centres of Manus Island or Nauru.
The featured photograph of the Sisters will be sent with a letter to Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, urging him and the Government to act with compassion in the treatment of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, ending the detention of children, and offshore processing of asylum seekers.
What follows is an excerpt from the Sisters' letter to the Prime Minister:
On Saturday, February 20 2016 45 Sisters of Mercy in Parramatta met to discuss how mercy and compassion are needed in our world today and where we feel called to respond in this Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.
One of many issues of concern to us is the situation facing the 267 vulnerable men, women and children, currently in Australia and being threatened with deportation back to Nauru or Manus Island.
You have said you wish to lead an Australia that is fair. It is not fair to condemn these people to a future of indefinite detention on tiny islands with no prospect of a decent life. They will be at serious risk of physical and sexual assault, mental and physical health issues and ongoing despair and loss of hope.
Please do not contribute any more to the trauma they have already suffered but let them stay......
This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched!.. it is the time to listen to the cry of innocent people who are deprived of their property, their dignity, their feelings, and even their very lives.
Pope Francis. Misericordiae Vultus 2015.