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Tuesday, 06 January 2015 11:45

Mamre - building a brighter future for all

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mamre-sistersA new chapter has begun in the life of historic Mamre House at Orchard Hills with the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta now integrated into CatholicCare Social Services Diocese of Parramatta.

Exciting plans for the future use and protection of Mamre House were announced at a celebration event on 18 November. The transition will enable Mamre to build upon the tremendous works of the sisters and strive to reach even greater heights.

Mamre’s ministry began nearly 30 years ago when youth unemployment was at a record high. The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta turned the nearly derelict former home of Rev Samuel Marsden into an essential part of the community, with training and support for disadvantaged young people.

At a special celebration event the ministry of Mamre was transferred from the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta to CatholicCare Social Services.

The driving force behind Mamre has been Sr Mary-Louise Petro RSM and Sr Joyce Vella RSM. The sisters have built Mamre into the thriving community resource it is today.

Sr Mary-Louise said the continued growth of Mamre was essential. “Mamre plays an important role in the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in Western Sydney and it is essential that its survival is assured.”

Mamre House will accommodate a range of CatholicCare services to benefit the community. The accompanying 200 acres of land is rich in biodiversity and will be a focal point for the Church’s commitment to protecting the environment and supporting sustainability.

There are plans to construct a multi-functional building which will accommodate classrooms, counselling rooms, a function centre with flexible spaces, a chapel, an Indigenous art space, a day support program for people with disability, and office accommodation for staff and volunteers.

This will enable CatholicCare to build on existing services and branch into new programs. A key facet will be the expansion of the RTO function of Mamre into Certificate 3 and 4 courses with a greater range of course selection. This will create more employment opportunities for both young and old.

(Photo by Franklin Konaraki Photography shows Congregational Leader Sr Catherine Ryan RSM presents Sr Mary-Louise Petro RSM (left) with a painting by local artist Jon Field.)

This story was first published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Catholic Outlook, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.