• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 10:13

Speaking out and working for a compassionate response

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Sr Ruth Durick osu 150I was recently part of an experience with an international group of Ursulines in the Asia Pacific region and as I found myself sitting with recently arrived Iraqi refugee families. I was drawn into their stories and two things remained with me, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.

Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 18:1-8) provides us with an insight to persistence. The widow portrayed there would have had little power or influence in her society. However, she persisted within unjust structures to have her voice heard. The unjust judge gave in to her not necessarily because he was converted to the true goodness of her argument but in order to get some peace.

In recent weeks I was privileged to be part of an experience with an international group of Ursulines in the Asia Pacific region. The theme of the experience was “From Exclusion to Encounter” - hearing the cry of the earth and its people. During that time, I found myself sitting with recently arrived Iraqi refugee families. While being drawn into their stories, two things remained very vividly with me.

One was the impact of long term waiting on people’s whole being. Young and educated people who only wish to work wait in camps sometimes for years while their applications are processed. And all the time having nothing productive to do, but just wait. The second was the plea of a young man who spoke to us. “Tell your governments’ about this,” he said, describing this soul destroying process. He knew that he was speaking to people from at least six different countries. Current government policy has also given us the situation in Nauru and Manus where adults and children are not only living in poverty but also suffering trauma on a daily basis. Professionals are forbidden to speak about what they see and hear.

A recent report by ACOSS - Poverty in Australia 2016- gives an account of “persistent and entrenched poverty” over the decade. Alarmingly, it also shows a 2% increase in child poverty in Australia during the period 2004-2014. For a country such as Australia is this not alarming? Recent history is full of examples of how trickle-down economics does not work. The pursuit of growth in an economy is also not working if this is the outcome for our children. Can we seek more of the common good and think more of the common wealth rather than growth that promotes competition and rewards those who already have more than what they need?

The widow in the gospel can give us courage. If we draw from her example of persistence, we can keep trying. Like her we can keep on crying out, “I want justice from you” and keep reaching out in compassion.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.