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Thursday, 04 August 2011 03:29

In solidarity with suffering

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It has been a turbulent start to 2011 with tragic natural disasters, political uprisings and most recently, the devastating tsunami in Japan. Most of us have watched these tragedies from afar but some of our members have been in the midst of them - in Australia and Christchurch, and now in Warmun in the Kimberley - standing with the people in their grief and loss.

Our Congregations respond generously at times like this as do Australians in general. We are blessed to have resources - personnel, programs and finance - to share with those in need.  Our responses include:

  • The co-ordination of flood relief volunteers through the Jesuit Parish of St Ignatius in Toowong, Brisbane. Greg Jacobs SJ, the assistant priest in the parish, spoke of the great sense of people coming together and the cycle of generosity moving from place to place.
  • The programs being offered by Good Grief to support children recovering from the effects of cyclone Yasi and the floods in Queensland and Victoria.  This resilience-developing program called Stormbirds was developed two years ago in response to the Victorian bushfires.
  • The Travelling Sisters project of the Mary MacKillop Foundation which is beginning to travel around Australia this week to raise funds for disaster recovery projects across the country.
  • All Congregations could add to this list and I invite our members to do by sending in articles to our pathways editor, Therese Spruhan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our congregations continue daily to support, not only those recently affected by tragedy but those who live with ongoing trauma  as they seek refuge and asylum in our vast land;  and our own Aboriginal sisters and brothers as they seek the justice that is their right.

Only last Sunday the Warmun community in the Kimberley lost everything when their creek turned into a roaring ocean within a few hours. The whole town has been evacuated to Kununurra yet we have heard little on the news on the east coast of Australia. Perhaps if the community had been white we would have heard.

At this time we are conscious of our Australian Congregations with special commitment to the people of Japan and join in the MSC prayer.

"We pray in solidarity with the suffering Japanese in the aftermath of earthquake and tsunami, for those who have died, for those injured, for those who mourn and for all who have the daunting task of rebuilding and ensuring people have means of livelihood."

Anne Derwin RSJ
CRA President