News & Events

Mercy Formation Program for Staff Members Benefits Students

As students returned to schooling on site after their time doing remote learning they were all given a bookmark to remind them both of the Mercy value of ‘Hospitality’ and to follow in Venerable Catherine McAuley’s words to ‘Strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well”.

The bookmarks were designed by teachers Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul as part of their project for the Mercy Formation Program. This program sees two staff members from each of the six Mercy schools in Sydney (Catherine McAuley, Westmead; Mercy College, Chatswood; Monte Sant' Angelo, North Sydney; Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta; Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer and Emmaus College, Kemps Creek) participate after being nominated by their school principal. The staff involved chose a project to work on which will deepen staff understanding of the Mercy charism.

As part of the project undertaken by Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul, they also designed tea cups and postcards to be gifted to Year 12 students as a graduation gift and to new staff members.

Kenthurst Parish Farewells Community Builder Par Excelllence

It was standing room only at the Eucharistic celebration and lunch at St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish in Kenthurst, in which past and present parishioners gathered, to honour  and farewell Sr Anna Conway, rsm, after 30 years service.

Former Parish Priest Fr Chris Dixon joined current Parish Priest Fr Vincent Savarimuthu, and other concelebrating priests, in giving thanks to God for the humble and dedicated service of Sr Anna, since before the parish officially began. 30 years ago, Sr Anna was charged with bringing together the small parishes of Kenthurst and Dural, with a section of Castle Hill Parish, to form the new Kenthurst Parish. Focusing on the building of a community, Sr Anna contributed to the laying of a firm foundation upon which the thriving parish of today is built.

It was fitting that the Eucharistic celebration was filled with beautiful music and song, with Sr Anna having played a key part in fostering and developing a music ministry in the parish.

At the conclusion of Mass, the community to whom Sr Anna had devoted some much of her life, gave Sr Anna a sustained standing ovation. This deeply moving tribute was repeated at the end of the celebration lunch which followed Mass.

Over 400 people enjoyed a beautiful two course meal in the parish and school hall, which was prepared and provided by the members of the parish. The beauty of the table and hall decorations, the abundance of delicious home made meals and desserts, and the warm and generous hospitality offered to all presence, was a great testament to the strength of the Kenthurst community.

Representatives of various groups within the Parish and school paid tribute to Sr Anna, acknowledging her dedication, hard work, faithfulness and generosity. Many made mention of Sr Anna's ability to "enlist volunteers" to various roles within the parish. It seemed unanimous that one "Didn't/Couldn't say 'No' to Sr Anna", while acknowledging that Anna would never ask others to do what she would not do herself.

It was evident that in her 30 years of service, Anna had not only been pivotal in building the parish community from its inception, but that she was indeed one of the solid foundations upon which the thriving parish community now stands.

In reflecting on Sr Anna's contribution to the parish, one of the Parishioners added to Pope Francis' words in saying: 

When we meet someone in love they teach us something about God, and Sr Anna has been our Master Teacher.

Faith Leaders Take Cry for Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers To Canberra

A positive and somewhat unexpected outcome was the unanimous agreement to set up a taskforce comprising 5 parliamentarians and 5 from the faith group to propose to the leaders of the major parties an alternative to the current policy of ‘stop the boats’ and the cruel detention in Nauru and Manus Island. This will be set up in the coming weeks. The Leaders also made strong requests for the immediate release of children and their families from the detention centres.

Berneice Loch rsm (President of Catholic Religious Australia), welcomed participants; Anne Lane, pbvm, delivered the statement (see below) Rabbi Alon Meltzer (National Jewish Memorial Centre); and, Hafez Kassem (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) spoke and the meeting was moderated by Paul Bongiorno.

It was co-hosted by Anna Burke MP (ALP), Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal), Cathy McGowan MP (Independent) and Senator Sarah Hanson -Young (Australian Greens).

October 15 2015
Media Release
Faith leaders hold urgent meeting to call on politicians to restore the human dignity of refugees and asylum seekers.

Today more than 50 Leaders representing diverse faith groups met with Members and Senators at Parliament House, Canberra, calling on them to restore Australia’s standing as a compassionate nation by winding back policies negatively impacting on people escaping violence, persecution and death.

As a positive step, the faith leaders asked all political parties and independents to join with them in establishing a task force to work together to change the political and public narrative regarding asylum seekers and refugees.

It is hoped the task force can build on the recent goodwill arising from the 12,000 Syrian refugee announcement and develop new policies for the thousands of other refugees including ending off-shore and mandatory detention, removing children from detention and abolishing temporary protection visas.

Sr Anne Lane PBVM, representing Catholic Religious Australia, said the faith leaders have asked all sides of politics to value the dignity of every human person.

“There have been many reputable reports which show that immigration detention causes significant psychological harm, particularly to children.


“”It is never right to use people as a means to an end. It is morally wrong to punish one group of human beings by locking them up on off-shore islands in order to deter other people from coming to Australia.

“We cannot allow such cruel policies to continue,” she said.

Sr Lane said it is time honesty was brought into this issue, with the whole mantra of ‘stopping the boats’ being just that, a mantra.

“Due to the lack of transparency, we don’t know if or what boats have been turned back and what has resulted from those actions. “It may simply mean stopping the boats in Australian waters, so that we can hold our heads high as vulnerable people die in other countries and situations to which we’ve returned them.

“Our nation’s response is in stark contrast to the way the people of Europe have rescued and welcomed tens of thousands who arrived by boat on their shores,” Sr Lane said.

Sr Lane said economically the current policy is also destructive. “In so far as we can estimate, the taxes of the Australian people are being squandered to the tune of more than $5 billion in implementing the current border protection policies.
“This money would be better spent assisting refugees to make a meaningful contribution to society, as well as supporting the UNHCR and working with other countries in our region to develop a humane and effective regional solution,” she said.
Sr Lane said for many years religious groups have put their resources at the service of refugees and asylum seekers by providing housing support, employment, food and clothing, education and counselling.

“We say to our parliamentarians, stop mandatory detention and let more people into our country and we will work with you to ensure these people are looked after and are able to become part of the Australian community,” Sr Lane said.

Today’s Parliament House forum was the initiative of Catholic Religious Australia (the peak council of Catholic religious congregations) with the support of other Christian denominations and other faiths.
Other speakers included Sr Berneice Loch rsm (President of Catholic Religious Australia); Rabbi Alon Meltzer (National Jewish Memorial Centre); and, Hafez Kassem (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils).
It was co-hosted by Anna Burke MP (ALP), Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal), Cathy McGowan MP (Independent) and Senator Janet Rice (Australian Greens).
For further information – John Rochester 0417 627 904.

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
Ph: 02 9683 2555