News & Events

Dialogue and Reconciliation in the Middle East

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Dialogue and Reconciliation in the Middle East

Let us pray that a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East, where diverse religious communities share their lives together.



In the Middle East, concord and dialogue among the three monotheistic religions is based on spiritual and historic bonds.
The Good News of Jesus, risen out of love, came to us from these lands. Today, many Christian communities, together with Jewish and Muslim communities, work here for peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
Let us pray that a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East.

- Pope Francis, November 2019

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


Mercy "Troublemakers" Add Their Voice Over Heritage Concerns

A petition of more than 10,000 signatures was presented to NSW State Parliament a week earlier on behalf of the Parramatta Female Factory Friends and other local groups in the community who are fighting to save and protect the Heritage Precinct from extensive proposed development around the site.

Today's rally saw Jack Munday and members of the CFMEU join Federal MP Julie Owens and several community groups in the fight to save this significant site in the history of Parramatta and the Sydney Colony.

Julie Owens welcomed the Sisters of Mercy "Troublemakers" lending their support in fighting injustice wherever it occurs.

Wake Up The World To Mercy: Spring Series, 2015

Using Laudato Si, Valda led the group in reflection and discussion, outlining the influence of Pope Francis’ cosmological framework in writing this encyclical. There was time given for reflection on the Prayers that open and close the document, short video clips to ponder some of the key points made by Pope Francis and time for shared reflection. The presentation was thoroughly enjoyed by participants at the morning and evening sessions.


Each session is presented twice, once as an evening session and once during the morning. The two further sessions planned in this Spring series will be led by Sr Aine Barrins rsm (Ireland) and Mrs Ann O’Brien, Catholic Care, Parramatta Diocese. Aine will speak on Thursday 29th October, when both morning (10am-11.30am) and evening (6.00pm-7.30pm) sessions will be held on the same day.


RSVP for Sr Aine’s sessions: Monday, 26 October
Email: elizabethc@parrasom.org.au
Ph: 02 9683 2555

The Australian Aborigines - The World's First Astronomers

Professor Ray Norris in his presentation on Saturday August 29 at Parramatta Congregation Centre presented a picture of traditional Australian Aborigines, as people who did understand country from the point of both sky and earth and linked the two. From reading the sky, they knew what season it was and what food sources would be available on earth. Furthermore, they used the stars for purposes of navigation (songlines) and calendars.

Ray talked about the debt he owed to Aboriginal elders in Arnhem Land and South Eastern Australia. These elders taught him much about Aboriginal Astronomy. Most importantly that they found as much meaning in the dark patches in the sky as the Europeans found in the patterns of stars in the constellations.

From the Aboriginal stories he came to the conclusion that the traditional Aborigines had an extensive knowledge of the sky and its movements. Naturally, they explained what they observed according to their culture and myths. For example they used images such as the Emu in the Sky to explain a certain dark area and related the waning and waxing of the moon to the fate of the Moon Man who was attacked by his wives for his behavior, only to die and rise again and again. The early European astronomers, on the other hand, related what they observed using Greek mythology.

With wonderful images of rock paintings, sculptures and formations, Ray demonstrated how the Aborigines, used works of art to bring down to earth what they saw in the heavens. In this way, they depicted the eclipses of sun, moon and planets. To give an example, the People of North-West Arnhem land portrayed a solar eclipse, when the moon covers the sun, as a man covering a woman as he makes love to her. There is some evidence from rock formations at Wurdi Youang in Victoria, that early Aborigines measured the Equinox and Midwinter and Midsummer sunsets. Though the latter requires more research to be a proven fact.

From the point of view of land management, the Aborigines for thousand of years knew how to tend country. Using fire and the life cycle of native animals and plants, they were able to ensure plentiful wild life and plant food throughout the year and had successful healing remedies for many aliments. The early Europeans commented that the Australian landscape they encountered, looked like a park that evoked an English country estate, albeit it without fences, with the Aborigines walking around as landlords.

Throughout his presentation, Ray emphasised the intelligence, skill and inherited knowledge of Aboriginal Australians and highlighted the limited vision underlying myths of Aboriginal backwardness that obsessed the colonial mindset and the views of many academic anthropologists and ethnographers.

Being a scientist Ray hesitated to say beyond reasonable doubt that the Australian Aborigines were the World’s First Astronomers. He acknowledges it as a hypothesis, still in the process of being disproved or verified.

Participants at the gathering expressed appreciation of this scholarly and interesting presentation that opened us to the richness of Aboriginal astronomy and the depth of Aboriginal care for country. I think we all left with the sense that we still have much to learn from Aborigines about our country and have quite a distance to travel before we become truly Australian.

Professor Ray Norris is an astrophysicist at CSIRO Australia and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University Department of Indigenous Studies. Currently he is researching Australian Aboriginal Astronomy and the formation of the first galaxies in the universe.

Stella Maris Aged Care Cronulla Receives Perfect Score

As an approved provider of a Residential Aged Care Facility, Stella Maris is required to comply with Accreditation Standards which are articulated in the Quality of Care Principles 2014.

These Quality of Care Principles, are comprised of 4 Standards, 4 Principles and 44 expected outcomes. The 4 standards are:

  • Management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • Health and Personal Care
  • Care recipient lifestyle
  • Physical environment and safe systems

In assessing the compliance of Stella Maris with these Accreditation Standards, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency visited the Facility over a period of 2-3 days this week, inspecting the facility itself, as well as reviewing documentation, policies, procedures and practice. There are also opportunities for Staff, residents and their families to provide feedback to the Assessors.

For each of the 44 expected outcomes which flow from the 4 standards and 4 principles, Stella Maris was not only found to be fully compliant, but there were no recommendations for improvement.

Stella Maris has a long history of delivering compassionate, high quality, residential care to the frail, elderly members of Cronulla and surrounding areas. The Sisters of Mercy are delighted that this Accreditation outcome, again reflects the dedication and commitment of our the wonderful Stella Maris Staff, Board, and the management provided by St Vincent's Health Australia.

To learn more about Stella Maris Aged Care Facility, Cronulla, please click here