Our Lady of Mercy College | Catholic Independent Girls School Parramatta

OLMC to stand with refugees & people seeking asylum through Mercy Tree


As part of Mercy Day celebrations in September at OLMC, it was announced that the 2017/2018 beneficiary of Mercy Tree donations would be the House of Welcome, a Sydney-based organisation run by St Francis Social Services which provides assistance to refugees and people seeking asylum.

The Mercy Tree is a social justice initiative of the College. Standing as a burst of green in the Brigid Shelley Courtyard, the Chinese Elm tree has grown to approximately 3.5 metres tall since it was first blessed and planted in 2012. Part of the donations to the Mercy Tree Gift Fund are given to charitable causes nominated by the fund’s Trustee, while the remainder is invested to provide a secure and ongoing revenue stream to support social justice programs.

The House of Welcome was founded in 2001 and provides holistic support to refugees and asylum seekers who are living in the community with minimal support options. Their services include housing, community living and family support, a drop-in centre, a weekly foodbank, skills development courses and a host of community connection programs such as a catering social enterprise, social activities, a weekly community kitchen, school holiday programs, a women’s craft hub and a men’s group.
 
Principal Stephen Walsh says that founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, was motivated by responding to the needs of those at the margins of society: “This is a real, practical way that we can respond to the challenges facing refugees and people seeking asylum right here and now, especially in light of current policy changes. By donating to the Mercy Tree, we are making Mercy a verb!”

Ina Mullin from St Francis Social Services says the House receives no government funding: “This means we can speak out against injustice and assist people who are denied the care they need to survive. But it also means we are wholly reliant on the community for support. At times like now, the ability to speak up and provide practical assistance is more important than ever. The OLMC Mercy Tree Appeal is especially welcomed at this time as we struggle to respond to the latest government Visa changes affecting people seeking asylum. The Visa change has stripped 100 people of a living allowance and safe housing and given them six months before they must return to detention on Manus Island or Nauru or go back to the country from which they fled persecution. In NSW, not-for-profit service providers are struggling to ensure basic human needs are met. We are urgently seeking support from the community to ensure we can provide accommodation, case work, legal referrals, food and some medical expenses to all people affected,” said Ina Mullin.

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Mercy

"Mercy …not only bestows benefits, but receives and pardons again and again…"

Catherine McAuley

Mercy is defined as empathy or love that manifests itself in action that is practical and thoughtful, warm and open, respectful and enabling.

Compassion

"Let charity then be our badge of honour…so that it may truly be said, there is in us but one heart and one soul in God."

Catherine McAuley

Compassion is a non-judgmental understanding of another’s need, which results in unselfish giving to meet that need.

Justice

"Never speak with contempt of any nation, profession, or class of people…"

Catherine McAuley

Justice is the treatment of each person with fairness in relation to the equality of all, and the maintenance of a balanced and fair relationship with self and all members of the community.

Dignity

"Now and again bestow some praise."

Catherine McAuley

Dignity is the treatment of each person with respect and the recognition of their inherent value and worth.

Excellence

"There is nothing of greater importance than the perfect discharge of our ordinary duties."

Catherine McAuley

Excellence is the state of achievement of the highest possible standards.

Hospitality

"The proof of love is deed."

Catherine McAuley

Hospitality is the creation of a welcoming, open, inclusive and respectful environment for all individuals, through word and deed.

Stewardship

"We can never say 'It is enough'."

Catherine McAuley

Stewardship is the grateful and responsible celebration of the sacred gifts God has given us to do the work he is calling us to do.

Service

"If we are humble and sincere God will finish in us the work he has begun."

Catherine McAuley

Service is the exercising and ministry of leadership in order to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and communities.