News & Events

Congregation Celebrates 125 years

On that day in 1888, a small band of Sisters of Mercy newly arrived from Ireland, gathered around a simple altar and prayed for God’s blessing on their mission to Parramatta.Dr O'Haran celebrated this first Mass and blessed their Convent under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception.

125 years later about 400 people, including Sisters, past students, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate and to reflect on the theme of ‘Weaving the Threads of Mercy’.

The first thread woven was an i-movie that told of Catherine McAuley who began the Sisters of Mercy; it traced the Parramatta founding story through to today. This segment was introduced by students from OLMC Burraneer singing Sub Tuum Praesidium (Under Your Protection).

We heard from an Eritrean refugee woman about her life, with her focus on the hope she holds rather than the atrocities she has suffered. She told of the Mercy she had experienced in her life and the commitment she has made to share that Mercy with others.

A thread that was woven all through the day was the announcement of 125 Women and Men of Mercy.  These lay women and men, coming from a wide range of backgrounds, had been nominated for exemplifying the spirit of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, though their commitment to ‘Mercy in action’ and the living of Mercy values.

The thread of our young people was woven by students from OLMC Parramatta, Catherine McAuley Westmead, OLMC Burraneer and Our Lady of the Rosary School Kellyville. Through singing, chamber orchestra, dancing, works of art and sharing with the audience, they identified numerous examples of how Mercy is alive in their school communities. Their youthful enthusiasm and spirit of joy was inspirational.

Sisters Margaret Sheppard and Valda Dickinson shared their experiences of working with refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres. This justice thread led participants to reflect on the question: From what you have heard, how has your heart been stirred? 

Over the years, close bonds have been established among Sisters and lay women and men who are committed to Mercy and want to have a deeper involvement. The Mercy Futures group comprises of Sisters and lay women who have been reflecting on ‘Where to from here for mercy?’ Recognising that the Congregation is aging, the group is motivated to work towards the keeping the flame of the mercy charism alive for another 125 years.All present were invited to be involved in taking Mercy forward. They were asked: How can we continue Catherine's mercy vision in the future?

The concept of a Mercy Place was formed. Mercy Place will empower people reach out to the world in action for mercy and justice. It provide peer support for those in Mercy ministries, skills formation for young leaders and mentoring for women in leadership.

Woven into Mercy Place will be threads representing the dedication and commitment of every Sister both present and past; and all who have worked and still work for the many ministries of Mercy. Those present were invited to respond as to how they might be involved in a Mercy Place.

The day concluded with a presentation to the Sisters of Mercy, a time of Prayer focussed on Threads of Mercy, followed by a Devonshire afternoon tea.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery of the day.

National Day of Sorrow and Promise.

Members of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, our Staff and Partners in Ministry, gathered at our Congregation Centre on Sunday December 2nd, to participate in the National Day of Sorrow and Promise which has emerged through Catholic Religious Australia to acknowledge survivors of abuse within the Catholic Church and all those who have been hurt by that abuse. 

The liturgy, which included the testimony of survivors and their family members, acknowledged the tragedy of Institutional child sexual abuse, its devastating and life long effects on survivors and their family and friends, and was underpinned by a promise to ensure such crimes can never happen again, and that the safety of all children and vulnerable adults under the care of the Catholic Church, Catholic Religious Congregations and out ministries, is ensured.

The Liturgy concluded with the following Statement of Promise, made by all Sisters of Mercy who were present or who participated in smaller gatherings in local communities:

As Catholic Religious of Australia, we are stirred by sorrow for the failings of the past. We encounter the depth of pain endured within our midst.
WE promise to listen to and support those who have been harmed by abuse
WE promise to act to prevent abuse, respond with compassion and justice and put the protection of children and the vulnerable at the heart of all our ministries
WE promise to support all those walking courageously with the abused and those working fearlessly for the prevention of abuse
WE promise to work tirelessly and humbly to build a culture in our Church which is loving and answerable to the wider community
WE promise to partner with those who have been abused, with governments, civil agencies and society at large to continue to learn and work towards a safer, more respectful and accountable Church
WE promise to be people of action, to embed prevention and safeguarding practices and governance reforms throughout our Church
WE promise to remember and to be forever changed


2 December 2018

Statements by the Leaders of many Religious Congregations can be found here

Where art and eyes meet the heart and insight

‘ Nothing is in the mind that is not first in the senses’ - Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)

Theme: The significance of the environment in religious art and architecture
The eyes with which the artist sees
The eyes with which you see.



Presenter: Rosemary Crumlin, rsm, OAM

Rosemary Crumlin is an art curator, historian and consultant in contemporary art and spirituality and in its intersections with Liturgical Art in Paintings and Churches. Her life (art, writings, books, religious commitment) revolves around the intersections between her own questions and those mirrored in the changing faces of contemporary art. She has been a consistent advocate for artists, including indigenous artists and their art.

Some of her books and exhibitions include: Images of Religion in Australian Art (1988), Aboriginal Art and Spirituality (1991), Beyond Belief: Modern Art and the Religious Imagination (1998), and most recently, The Blake Book: Art, Religion and Spirituality in Australia (2011). She is currently the art consultant for Our Lady of Good Counsel Church at Deepdence in Victoria and feels passionately about this sacred place.

Approach

Rosemary’s way of entry is always through the ‘half-open door’ – the work of art itself, and, the experiences which participants bring, and their diverse ways of their seeing. She writes, “Images and seeing are at the heart of this shared experience. I hope to respect this. I shall bring some originals as well as a few images. I hope we meet some new works, some great artists and each other, and perhaps find new ways of understanding what brings us together about care for the whole of life".



Date: Saturday March 2, 2019
Time: 9.30am-12.30pm 
Place: Catherine McAuley Rooms, 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta. 
Parking: in grounds or church parking area opposite.

COP24 UN Climate Change Conference Now Underway

'Mindful that we are called by the world and the church at this particular time in history to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, we will continue to respond mercifully to both.' (Chapter Statement)

The UN Climate Change Conference 'COP 24' opened today, 3 December, in Katowice, Poland and will continue until 14 December.

This conference is widely regarded as the most significant climate change event since the Paris Agreement was achieved in 2015 at COP21, applicable to all countries, aiming to keep global warming below 2°C. According to Patricia Espinosa ,UNFCCC Executive Secretary, COP24 Will be Paris 2.0. "In Poland, as I call it Paris 2.0, we will put together the pieces, directions and guidelines in order to make the framework really operate"




Our Chapter Statement expresses clearly our personal and congregational commitment to " honour our duty to love and care" for Earth and to "protect the rights of the natural world"

During these two weeks we invite you to join us in Prayer for Our Earth, in following the conference and in contributing your voice to its outcomes.

"By addressing climate change, we can build a better, more resilient future, both for this generation and all generations to follow……a future that is both cleaner and greener, but one where poverty is reduced, and that all people can live, love, learn and prosper." (Espinosa)

Kids Off Nauru

'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...' (Chapter Statement)

The Sisters of Mercy and colleagues are appalled that children have been languishing in offshore detention on Nauru for five years.

To show our support for the young casualties of this cruel offshore detention policy, we joined the Kids Off Nauru campaign by going #Blue For Nauru at our morning tea table.

We also signed a petition that was sent to Prime Minister Morrison, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and our Parramatta Federal Member Julie Owens, asking them to free the remaining children and their families immediately.

Join the Call here