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

Changing Landscapes

A significant historical event in the history of St. Michael’s Baulkham Hills took place for our Congregation on Saturday, 16th June. A fresh ‘landscape’ was celebrated in the form of a moving ritual which marked the formation of a formal partnership between ourselves and Women’s Community Shelters (WCS), an organisation which provides Shelters for women and children escaping domestic violence.

The ritual, marking the formal ‘moment’ started with a photo story which captured in images the 116 years of St. Michael’s and showed how St. Michael’s Orphanage had creatively adapted and embraced the changing faces of social welfare.



Sr Mary-Louise Petro signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Transforming across the years, the Orphanage, founded in 1902, had become a Children’s Centre and finally a Family Centre which offered on site Family Day Care, Long Day care, Occasional Day Care and crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence on-site and in five houses off-site. Following its closure an initiative titled St. Michael’s Fund had been established in 2016, and continues to fund organisations which mirror the mission of St. Michael’s.

As part of the ritual, and flowing from the photo story, the lighting of four candles recognising each major step of St. Michael’s history, was followed by the reflective reading of a section from our Chapter Statement which highlighted a section: “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”.

Annabelle Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of WCS, then spoke touchingly about WCS’s deep connection with St. Michael’s and the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy, especially recognising the Congregation’s connection with one of WCS’s Shelters – The Sanctuary – which, together with some other similar organisations, have been filling a much-needed gap in services in the Hills Area following the formal closing of St. Michael’s. It was this connection and other networking that led the Congregation to formally welcome WCS as a partner – in spirit, in participation and in financial support.



L-R: Annabelle Daniel (CEO WCS), Kris Neil (Board Chair WCS)

To conclude the ritual, an exchange of symbols and words which recognised the establishment of the partnership took place between our Congregation Leader, Mary-Louise Petro, our Vicar, Maria Lawton, Annabelle (CEO WCS) and Kris Neill, Chair of the WCS Board. The formalisation of the partnership came with the gifting of a cheque to WCS, the signing of an MoU, and acceptance of Congregation members and/or their representative as members of the WCS Parent Board and Boards of several other Shelters, especially the Nepean, Blacktown and proposed Parramatta Shelters.
Hence June 16th, 2018, remains an unforgettable moment in St Michael’s long history of protection and care for women and children at risk.

The Treasure of Families: August Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We will nurture relations that are kind, just, respectful and inclusive among each other and those with whom we share our Mercy ministries. (Chapter Statement)


We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: The Treasure of Families

Together, let us ask Jesus that any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.

Text of the August prayer:
'When speaking of families, often the image of a treasure comes to my mind. Today's rhythm of life, stress, pressure at work, and also the little attention paid by institutions, could put them in danger. It's not enough to talk about their importance: it's necessary to promote concrete means and to develop their role in society with a good family policy. Together, let us ask Jesus that any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.'

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

2018 Women in Leadership Forum

Four inspirational forum speakers have been announced as panellists at the second annual OLMC Women in Leadership Forum on Wednesday August 29, 2018 in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta.


Marina Go, Chair of Wests Tigers NRL Club and New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Justice Julia Lonergan will be joined by the Captain of the AFL GWS Giants Amanda Farrugia and Restaurateur Carol Salloum on a panel which will explore perspectives on women in leadership and discuss how each of us can boldly expand beyond what we know we can be.

Mercy Girls and their families will be joined by alumnae of the College, current students, staff and the broader community for this special event which will see speakers each share their stories before joining the conversation through a Q&A session.

Principal (Acting) Marie Wood says she is looking forward to hearing the stories of such diverse women, and hearing how they have recognised opportunities and grown from them: “My hope is that, in sharing these stories, it will inspire our young women to be confident and positive in their engagement with the world.”

Panellist Amanda Farrugia, who is also an OLMC ex-student and current PDHPE teacher, is looking forward to sharing insights about her leadership journey: “I want to enable students and all attendees to gain an insight into the demands and expectations of leadership in the broader world, the challenges of leading a team in a new sporting venture (particularly in a traditionally male dominated sport) and the challenges women face in balancing sport, work and other commitments.”

Newly appointed Head Girl for 2018/2019 Sophie Brown says the Forum is a wonderful initiative that provides young women with lots of insightful information: “Hearing the stories of strong, confident women ignites in us the courage and belief that we can all be woman of leadership in our own way.”

Established in 1889, OLMC Parramatta is a leading independent Catholic girls school which provides contemporary and innovative learning excellence in the rich Mercy tradition. Our heritage inspires our young Mercy women to expand beyond what they know they can be, to lead with courage and act justly to make a difference in an ever-changing world.

Priests and their Pastoral Ministry: July Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

'We will share with others, including people of different faiths and no religious faith, the joys and struggles of this spiritual journey.' (Chapter Statement

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry

That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

Text of the July 2018 video:

'The tiredness of priests... Do you know how often I think about it? Priests, with their virtues and defects, work in many different areas. Working on so many active fronts, they cannot remain inactive after a disappointment. At such times, it's good for them to remember that the people love their priests, need them, and trust in them. Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.'

 

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