Working Together for a more Humane, Just, and Sustainable World!
This Vision Statement from our Mary Ward desk at the United Nations invites each member of our network to unite with God’s desire for a more just and sustainable world. Through the decisions and actions of individuals, creative service, justice, and awareness-raising programs in our schools, and an increasingly engaged province and global network, our hearts, minds, and hands are continually stretched.
In our region, the province’s committee, the Loreto Justice Network, co-ordinates advocacy and action across a broad spectrum of priorities. This year’s membership includes:
Trish Franklin ibvm | Founder, Loreto Vietnam, IBVM Community Leader, Prison and hospital visitor
Michelle Gale | Fund-raising & Marketing Co-ordinator, MWIA
Michelle McCarty | Director of Mission and Leadership, Loreto Toorak, Director of Mission, Loreto Ministries
Anne Muirhead | Co-ordinator, Loreto Justice Network, Province UN rep and Mary Ward JPIC rep
Libby Rogerson ibvm | Province Council Member
Francesca Torcasio-Barberis | Past Pupil, former MWIA St Omer Scholarship recipient, former MWIA volunteer and former UN IBVM intern
Anna Turkington | Manager, Communications and Marketing, Loreto Ministries
In the first part of the year members of our wide network marched in support of refugees and asylum seekers and raised their voices protesting violence against women. Schools and IBVM communities marked UN and national days related to trafficking in humans, International Women’s Day, the Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations and Close the Gap Day. The province’s development agency, Mary Ward International Australia, has reviewed and refreshed its Strategic Plan, supporting 20+ projects (including Loreto Vietnam projects) with vision and vigor. In response to the IBVM Generalate’s invitation to develop an ecological project as part of the Bicentenary Jubilee Celebrations (200 years since Mary Ward’s Institute moved to Ireland under the leadership of M Teresa Ball in 1821), the Loreto Justice Network is exploring tree-planting initiatives across Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Timor Leste.
The Loreto Justice Network liaises closely with two Mary Ward enterprises in the global justice arena: our desk at the United Nations and our Mary Ward JPIC (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation) office in Rome. Both groups are led by CJ and IBVM Sisters and are animated by representatives from CJ and IBVM provinces around the world. An exciting development in the UN space has been the collaboration with a number of Australian Loreto past pupils who were involved in UN Commission on the Status of Women and Commission for Social Development online events. You can read Loreto Marryatville past pupil, Evangeline Polymeneas’ reflection on family homelessness and access to digital technology in the latest UN Update and find material related to Aislinn Healy’s (Loreto Normanhurst past pupil) Oral Statement on behalf of our network, exploring the role of digital technology and its impact on the education of children and youth, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The full March UN Update is a challenging and heartening read, with contributions from Sisters, Associates and Past Pupils in Peru, Canada, Spain, India and Australia.
An enriching recent meeting of Province UN representatives highlighted a range of broad endeavours being undertaken related to:
Climate Action: water audits and installation of solar panels in schools; petitioning government re climate policy; mass tree planting
Gender Equality: girls’ conversation circles within country and across our global network
Access to education: webinar on girls’ education for 500 Year 10 students across all Australian Loreto schools to mark International Women’s Day; involvement in International Day of Education UN activities
Access to digital technology: students, sisters and staff attended UN CSocD events
Violence against women and children, slavery, human trafficking: child safety training; awareness-raising campaigns, investigation into supply chains, awareness-raising re fast fashion
It was very clear during this meeting that Covid-19 continues to widen the gap between rich and poor across all areas of life, however, it has also opened up online opportunities for deeper collaboration that we could not have imagined just a few years ago. On a positive note, the experience of unity across both branches of Mary Ward’s Institute is more and more palpable as sisters, staff and school in various regions collaborate and connect.
As a member of our circle of friends, you are invited to continue to use the Sustainable Development Goals as tools for personal and communal discernment. They provide a framework for reflection on many of the issues we are facing in this region with intensity and concern. You may also like to connect with upcoming events at the United Nations:
6-15 July | High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
The next meeting of the Loreto Justice Network will be held on 7 May 2021. If you have issues you’d like to place before the Loreto Justice Network, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org