Jesus was a refugee! Mary Ward was a refugee! The plight of dispossessed people is at the heart of our biblical spirituality. In the nineteenth century Irish Loreto Sisters left their homeland to establish ministries in many countries throughout the world. Migration and forced displacement are issues challenging the world with increasing intensity. These themes have received detailed attention in Catholic Social Teachingand the plight of refugees captured the heart of Pope Francisfrom the earliest days of his papacy. Loreto Sisters have been involved in direct support of refugees across many continents for decades and we are proud to count refugees to our land among our own Sisters. Here in Australia Sisters continue to advocate for asylum seekers, support refugee tutoring programs, petition for more compassionate policies, serve in a medical hub geared towards the needs of refugees, work in parishes with large migrant populations and even open up their homes to recently-arrived Australians. MWIA has long supported the House of Welcomein Sydney. Many of our schools support Empowered to Work Programs, assisting people seeking asylum in Australia overcome barriers to employment. Our schools and communities focus on this justice issue particularly on June 20 – UN’s World Refugee Day – and the Australian Catholic Church’s Migrant and Refugee Sundayheld in late August each year. Members of the Loreto network, especially past pupils and parents, contribute pro bono services in areas of immigration law, tutoring, finance and welfare.
By addressing issues of racist language, assumptions and behaviours and developing cultural awareness programs in our workplaces and communities, each one of us can take a valuable step towards re-establishing a sense of hope, dignity and belonging in those who have ‘come across the seas’.