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Thursday, 04 August 2011 04:51

Sister support for flood-affected

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In response to the floods in Queensland, Victoria and NSW, Sister Julianne Murphy will be travelling across Australia raising funds for community projects to help people affected by the floods.

In each state she visits the South Australian Sister of St Joseph will be joined by a local Sister of St Joseph. Together to the two brown joeys will visit schools and town centres to raise funds for the Mary MacKillop Foundation to give grants of up to $10,000 to community projects that directly help the flood relief.

Beginning in March and continuing until October, the Travelling Sisters Roadshow - Australian Disaster Recovery will stop in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.

Travelling Sister, Sister Julianne says: "In the same way that Australia's first saint, St Mary MacKillop responded to the needs of her time, the Mary MacKillop Foundation responds to the needs of our time to relieve the suffering and give hope.

"This is in keeping with Mary MacKillop's  philosophy to "never see a need without trying to do something about it."

Sister Julianne said the foundation was calling on all community-based self-help projects to visit the website and apply for funding that will help them meet even more needs in a greater way.

"The Mary MacKillop Foundation is looking for small life-changing projects that help people to overcome destitution, isolation and the effects of misfortune. Most importantly, a project must assist people in achieving an increased measure of self-reliance and human dignity."

Another Sisters of St Joseph ministry, Good Grief, is also responding to the recent natural disasters. Dedicated to meeting the needs of people experiencing significant change or loss, Good Grief will offer its services to support children recovering from the effects of cyclone Yasi and the floods in Queensland and Victoria.

Two years ago, in response to the Victorian bushfires, Good Grief developed a resilience-building program called 'Stormbirds: Growing through natural disaster?' for children traumatised by such events.

The program works on the premise that children need to give voice to their experience and hear from similarly affected peers. They need to be supported to process their feelings and to engender hope for the future. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, those who would normally offer support to children can be overwhelmed with the challenges of daily living, with just accessing the simple necessities of life. Stormbirds offers an opportunity for children to be asked, heard and nurtured to become more resilient and hopeful.

Good Grief plans to offer Stormbirds and a 1-day seminar for adults working with or caring for children, entitled "Kids, Resilience and Natural Disasters" free of charge. So if you are able to assist by donating to this cause you can be assured that all monies will be used in direct service delivery and in the provision of the Stormbirds journals or resources. Any support you are able to offer is deeply appreciated.

The Sisters of St Joseph Good Grief website contains more information about Stormbirds or the work of Good Grief.