Jwan Kada (left) & Rachel McLoughlin ibvm (right), participating in a March for Action on Climate Change
Loreto Sisters Act Justly
Earlier this year the Province Council commissioned a survey snapshot to be taken of the Sisters’ involvement in actions and activities which advocate for changes to structures of injustice and provide outreach to people or groups suffering injustice. Although a detailed overview of the scope of responses is beyond the realm of this article, the breadth and nature of involvement in the promotion of justice was both humbling and inspiring.
When we think about justice we usually think of taking action. Sisters work for organisations such as Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans, promote equitable access to health on the Board of St Vincent’s Health Australia and liaise with government agencies to ensure educational opportunity for children in a remote region of Timor-Leste.
Responses from Sisters across a diverse range of ages, interests and skills highlighted the amazing fidelity to mission of Mary Ward women when full-time employment is no longer an option. Commitment to environmental justice, human rights and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers features largely in responses. This commitment takes varying forms: letter-writing, protest marches, volunteering at agencies with limited resources, information sharing, signing petitions and lobbying. Engagement with groups such as Pax Christi, International Women’s Development Agency, and the Climate Council provide Sisters with a wide network within which to act justly. The IBVM/CJ desk at the United Nations and the Justice Committee of Catholic Religious Australia provide signposts and prompts for urgent action and a context for Mary Ward responses within the framework of the Towards 2030/Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Many Sisters are encouraged and challenged by listening to podcasts, subscribing to publications, such as Global Sisters Report, The Conversation, Eureka Street, UN Women and involvement in parish and community justice networks.
Heartfelt thanks to Trish Franklin ibvm, Anne Kelly ibvm, Michelle McCarty, Rob Robinson ibvm, and Libby Rogerson ibvm for their investigation into Province justice activities. A reflection on their findings around outreach activities of the Sisters will be included in a future edition of the Loreto Networker. 2018 has been the Loreto Schools’ Year of Justice, 70th anniversary of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and a Federation year encouraging us to ‘be the change’. May our deeds and words unite with IBVM/CJ Sisters across our land and globe, as we take steps toward the goal of justice “requiring sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals.” (Martin Luther King Jr)
Director of Mission Loreto Ministries