News & Events

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

Second World Day of the Poor

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

Sunday, 18 November is the second World Day of the Poor, instituted by Pope Francis during the Year of Mercy (2016).

This year's message focusses on the cries of persons who are poor.
Who are the poor? What cries must be heard? 

There are many different forms of poverty. This year the Pope highlights "those whose hearts are broken by sadness, loneliness and exclusion...those trampled in their dignity...those persecuted in the name of a false justice, oppressed by policies unworthy of the name, and terrified by violence...those poor, rejected and marginalized'.

May we each respond generously to the cries we hear.

In the Service of Peace: November Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: In the Service of Peace.

Text of this month's video:

'It is desired above all by those who suffer its absence.
We can speak with splendid words, but if there is no peace in our heart, there will be no peace in the world.
With zero violence and 100 percent tenderness, let us build the evangelical peace that excludes no one.
Let us pray together that the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.'
- Pope Francis, November 2018

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

The Wonderful World of Trees

At the most recent gathering of the Earthkin Group in Parramatta, the focus was on Trees. Kevin Mc Donnell led us in a reflection on the Science, Evolution and Spirit of Trees, while Patrick Shirvingham demonstrated how artists had evolved in their perception and artistic presentation of trees in the Australian landscape. A lively discussion followed both presentations.

Kevin had this to say-The story of trees, from the miracle of chlorophyll in ancestral blue-green algae to the wonderful diversity of eucalypts (more than 800 species of them) that cover Australia today, is one that spans 2.7 billion years or more. It is an immensely long story that includes constantly shifting continents, major changes in climate, and millions of generations of plants in interaction with their changing environments through time.

When the southern hemisphere continents were grouped together as Gondwanaland and the climate was much cooler and wetter than it is today, it was covered with rainforest. Remnants of that rainforest with its giant figs, Antarctic tree-ferns and vines, and its wonderful array of conifers (Bunya Pine, Hoop Pine, Kauri Pine, Wollemi Pine etc.) are still present all along the east coast of Australia, much of it thankfully now given national park protection.

When Gondwanaland fragmented and Australia began to move northwards about 95 million years ago, the climate became warmer and drier and fire became more common. The myrtles of the rainforest that were better suited to the new conditions evolved slowly into the trees we now call eucalypts or gum trees. They play a big role in giving our continent its distinctive character.

On another level, as John Feehan, Irish scientist and theologian, says, “Trees are at the root of our psyche. We – we as a species – were born in and of the forest, and grew up with it, and, as literally as makes no difference, carry its echo in our genes… No day should pass, whether we walk in the forest or on the street, or carried on thought through a window from our bed – no day should pass without our reaching for that thrilling thought, that the tree my vision enfolds, and all that is growing upon it, and all the other species that people this moment of Earth’s time with us, are in a sense beyond human comprehension, each in its unique way a living ex-plication of an aspect of divinity”. (The Garden God Walked In: Meditation on the Spirit of Trees (2011).

Pat began his talk on The Lure of Trees for the Artist by reflecting on the inherent connection artists have always had for the natural world, describing an artwork discovered at an archaeological site known as Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini, dating back 1600 years BC.

From there he introduced us to the unusual landscape confronting the early colonial artists, as the shape and textures of the Australian eucalypt and bushland was something they had never before seen. It didn’t take artists long to realise the colony and early development was impacting on the bushland, as they were the ones out there documenting the clearing. As a result there were artists describing the impact through their paintings. Artists like Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Hans Heysen, Fred Williams were discussed as early environmentalists and this tradition continues today with not only traditional art practice but also contemporary mediums.

Pat also showed us sketches and paintings of trees from his own art work, including the Banksia-Serrata (pictured). He introduced us to the two children’s books he illustrated, introducing young ones to the flora and fauna in which they will grow up and hopefully venerate.

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Monday, October 22nd, 2018.

Today marks a significant moment not only for the victims and survivors of Institutional child sexual abuse in Australia, but all Australians, with Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to deliver a national apology from Parliament in Canberra.

The apology, which follows the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, is another step in acknowledging the significant pain, suffering and enduring damage of children who experienced sexual abuse whilst in Institutions charged with their care and protection.

The courage and strength shown by all those who attended and participated in the Royal Commission hearings and private sessions, at great personal costs will also be honoured.

The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta welcome this national apology and again acknowledge with deep regret, there have been times in the history of some of our institutions, that some people under our care were not treated with care and respect.

As a Congregation, and as individual members, we commit to:
• continuing our efforts to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse within our Institutions and ministries;
• working fully and openly in responding to the recommendations of the Royal Commission;
• responding with mercy and compassion to survivors of all forms of abuse.

The Joint Statement by the leaders of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) can be read here.

Should you wish to contact the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta regarding a Professional Standards matter, please click here.