In a world of inequality and oppression we stand with those exploited in any way by unjust systems and structures. Of particular concern to us are injustices that prevent women and men from becoming fully and freely the human persons God created them to be.
– IBVM Constitutions Vol ii 2.8
The Loreto Sisters are active champions of justice and freedom for women and children, advocating for equality in access to health and education and promoting respect for our natural resources.
With Courage Let Us All Combine: Celebrating Refugee Week
Refugee Week is a celebration of the diversity, the richness of culture and the sheer broadening of our outlook on life which refugees bring. It is a reminder of the courage it takes to leave home with nothing, spend months and years in the debilitating boredom and anxiety of refugee camps and then come to a completely strange country without language or social supports.
The IBVM/Loreto non-government office at the United Nations provides a unique opportunity to view refugees from a global perspective. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts 26% of the world’s refugees – countries which, at their best, struggle with poverty, famine and unemployment. Turkey, a place of refuge for those fleeing violence and conflict in the Middle East, has the largest refugee population in the world, around 3.2 million. Such statistics can cause our eyes to glaze over but they do call into question Australia’s commitment, as a wealthy nation, to alleviating the dislocation and loss of people seeking asylum.
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The scriptural sense of justice goes well beyond fair play. God’s justice is always linked to compassion to bring about a more humane and caring world based on right relationships. This is the justice Mary Ward named as one of the three characteristics fundamental to her company. She knew God loved her, and her response was love. She saw that all good works would flow from a heart transformed by love. So she calls us to let the love of God, as revealed in Jesus’ life and actions, animate us and ensure our relationships are right, with God and neighbour and all of creation. This requires inner freedom, to bring our whole life before God and find God in all. And it requires integrity – great honesty with ourselves and with others. Then we will be “just persons” apt for all good works – or advocacy and assistance wherever these are needed, all flowing from love, not self-service.
– Christine Burke ibvm and Margaret C. Honner ibvm
Images from top:
Carol Mitchell, Marg Finlay ibvm, Margie O’Sullivan ibvm and Janet Palafox ibvm at the Welcome to Australia March.
Janet Palafox ibvm launching the 2016 Project Compassion Appeal in Perth.
Diaan Stuart ibvm teaching students at the Loreto interim Pre-Primary School in Gari-uai, Timor-Leste.