News & Events

Mercy Works: Sharing Screens & Stories

Monday mornings can be the most mundane part of the new week but sometimes there is a feeling of excitement about something new. On Monday the 14th of September, this particular feeling was swirling around the Mercy Works’ offices as we prepared for a first: delivering a presentation to primary school students via Zoom.

The month of September is an important month in the world of Mercy. This month is where we celebrate the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, and the reason why Mercy is still at the forefront of schools and organisations around the world.

Mercy Day is celebrated on the 24th of September and the Mercy community comes together to celebrate the beginnings of what we know Mercy to be today. This year, it will look vastly different. With Mercy Day around the corner and restrictions on gatherings still in place, schools have had to become even more creative as they celebrate this important day.

The clock ticked over 9:30am and sure enough, right on time, a room full of cheery year 6 students from St. Anthony’s Girraween, appeared on the screen inside the Board Room. One click of a button and the sharing started. Our pre-recorded video began to play and told the story of Mercy Works.

After a short video, the students jumped right in question mode. What started out as a planned fifteen minute zoom meeting turned into half an hour of many great questions. Our hardest decision wasn't choosing the next question but choosing which would be our last one.

Each year, the year 6 students at St. Anthony’s host a ‘Mercy Market’ day where the students come up with different ideas for stalls to raise money for Mercy Works. Ranging from sideshow games all the way to bake sales, the students come up with the most creative and engaging ways to raise awareness about Mercy Works whilst also have a tonne of fun.

Technology has bridged many gaps in its existence but for the better part of this year it has been keeping all of us connected when we couldn’t physically see each other.

This meeting would not have been possible without the incredible support of the teaching staff at St. Anthony’s and for that, we thank them very much. The community at St. Anthony’s has been supporting Mercy Works for many years and we are incredibly grateful for all the fundraising they do.

Their efforts have helped Mercy Works support and fund projects focused on education and health both here in Australia and overseas in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos!

Mercy Sisters Provide a Home for Jesuit Refugee Service Shelter Project in Parramatta

The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta are delighted to be able to provide a cottage to Jesuit Refugee Service for use as a Drop In Centre for Refugees and Asylum Seekers who live in the Western Suburbs.

The work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is to accompany, serve and advocate for Refugees and Asylum Seekers and persons who have been forcibly displaced in over 50 countries.

The Shelter Project, was established in 2007, by Jesuit Refugee Service in partnership with the Sisters of Charity and the Good Samaritan Sisters, to assist Asylum seekers and refugees who were at risk of  financial destitution and homelessness while living in the community. The service continues to provide temporary accommodation, financial support and casework services to  refugees and asylum seekers.

Recognising that many refugees and asylum seekers in the community are located in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, and that access to and the costs of, transport can impact on their ability to access services, JRS with the assistance of the Sisters of Charity, the Good Samaritan Sisters and the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta have established a new Shelter Project Drop in Centre - Arrupe Place - at 4 Victoria Rd, Parramatta.

The Centre will be open Monday to Thursday from 10am - 4.00pm. Fridays will be reserved for free legal services provided by RACS.

For full information on the services available through the centre, please click here.

Staff and students farewell a teacher and friend

Parramatta Sister of Mercy, Carmelita Cassar's 20 years of service at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Wentworthville, represents less than half of her 55 years of dedicated service in Catholic Education in Sydney, yet she is somewhat of an institution with OLMC staff and students alike.

Sr Carmelita's ministry in Catholic Infants and Primary Education has come full circle, having served as a teacher, Principal, and finally Reading Recovery Teacher, during her many years in the classroom and playground.

At the 2014 Year 6 Graduation and End of Year Mass for Our Lady Of Mt Carmel Wentworthville, Sr Carmelita was honoured by Principal Steven Jones for her many years of service, not only at Wentworthville, but across many schools, and her contribution to the reading development of so many children under her care.

Following Mass, Sr Carmelita was the guest of honour at an afternoon tea provided by all the staff. Many memories and humorous stories were shared, with Sr Carmelita honoured as a gifted teacher, mentor, friend, and "One of their favourite  things". Several young teachers shared memories of how they had marvelled at her ability to subdue exuberant young students with ease.

Sr Carmelita may no longer be ensconced in the school, unravelling the mysteries of reading to those finding it difficult, but she will forever remain in the hearts of those with whom she shared her long ministry in education.

45 Years Teaching and Still Passionate About Learning

In a teaching ministry that has spanned 45 years as a Sister of Mercy, Sr Marie has dedicated her life and ministry to the education of infants and primary school children in numerous schools across metropolitan Sydney. From St Anne's in Bondi Beach to Blacktown, North Parramatta and Quakers Hill, and many places in between, Sr Marie's commitment and enthusiasm have never waned.

Sr Marie has ministered at all levels within the school system as a classroom teacher, Principal and in more intensive work with students who need extra support.

An innovative educator, Sr Marie is always keen to embrace new and emerging approaches to teaching and learning, including technological innovations such as web based learning programs and tablet computers. In her various appointments, Sr Marie has championed innovation and change wherever this will assist students to learn.

Sr Marie's passion for education is not limited to the traditional areas of reading, writing and mathematics, but is holistic in raising student's awareness of issues of social justice, where Mercy and compassion are most needed.

Despite have been in the field of education for over 45 years, Sr Marie is showing no signs of losing her passion or commitment
 to the education of children, particularly those who benefit from extra support.

Promise, Fulfilment and Future Possibilities....

In a joint media statement, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta and the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta have said:

The legacy of the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy at the historic Mamre House, built during Australia’s colonial era, will house a range of CatholicCare services to benefit the people of St Marys and Western Sydney. The accompanying 200 acres of land is rich in biodiversity and will be a focal point for the Church’s commitment to protecting our environment and supporting sustainability.

Exciting plans for the future use and protection of the property will be announced at a special Celebration event on November 18th.

We have great hope that Mamre will continue to serve the people of Western Sydney under the umbrella of CatholicCare Social Services Parramatta for many years to come

Sister Mary-Louise said.

The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta are pleased to announce a new chapter in the life of historic Mamre House, with Mamre now being integrated into CatholicCare Social Services.

The Mamre ministry began nearly 30 years ago when youth unemployment was at an all- time high. The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta turned the nearly derelict former home of Samuel Marsden into an essential part of the community, with training and support for disadvantaged young people in the Western Suburbs.

The driving force behind Mamre has been Sister Mary Louise Petro and Sister Joyce Vella. The Sisters have built Mamre into the thriving community resource it is today.
Sister Mary Louise says the continued growth of Mamre is essential: ‘Mamre plays such an important role in the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in Western Sydney and it’s essential that its survival is assured,’ Sister Mary Louise said.

‘Recent social and political changes have meant that smaller organisations can struggle to keep afloat and so the Board of Mamre Plains Ltd and the Sisters of Mercy have decided to integrate with a bigger organisation to ensure Mamre’s future,’ Sister Mary Louise continued. ‘We have determined that CatholicCare Social Services Parramatta is closely aligned with the values of Mamre and are now proud to announce that talks have reached a positive conclusion.’

Mamre will keep its name, and will now be fully integrated into CatholicCare Social Services.

Sister Mary Louise says she is grateful to have been part of Mamre’s past and also of protecting its future.

Event: Tuesday November 18th, 2014 Time: 10.00am Venue: Mamre House - 181 Mamre Road, Orchard Hills Enquiries: (02) 9683 2555