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Monday, 15 December 2014 09:36

JRS calls for volunteers

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Sr Margaret Guy rscJesuit Refugee Service Australia (JRS) is opening a Parramatta drop-in centre in 2015 to support asylum seekers on bridging visas. This project has become a reality through the help of the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, the Holy Spirit Sisters, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, and the efforts of Volunteer Coordinator Sister Margaret Guy rsc, writes Maeve Brown.

As we look forward to opening Arrupe Place in 2015, we are incredibly fortunate to have connected with passionate, committed, and well qualified people who have all put their hands up to help build a more accessible, supportive and welcoming space for asylum seekers.

We are grateful that the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta, who have offered JRS a property to use on their grounds. We are grateful to Our Lady of Mercy College, which is fundraising for Arrupe Place through its Mercy Tree Appeal, and the Sisters of Charity, Holy Spirit Sisters, and the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who have all offered support and personnel. We are also grateful for the growing list of volunteers who will be attending the first induction training at Arrupe Place in December.

All of this would not be possible without the support of Sr Margaret Guy, the Volunteer Coordinator for Arrupe Place. Sr Margaret has been a Sister of Charity for 50 years and in that time she has been a teacher, provided pastoral care, and spent over 20 years working with the Sisters of Charity Outreach program in South Western Sydney.

It is this work with outreach volunteers that Sr Margaret is most passionate about, noting that Australia has a wonderful history of volunteering, with 6.4 million volunteers, contributing 713 million work hours and $14.6 billion in unpaid work.

“I think I would use the terms ‘volunteering’ and ‘service’ interchangeably because both mean being there for the other, visiting, driving, shopping, listening, accompanying, teaching—helping in some way to show compassion and make a difference to another’s life without expecting payment,” Sr Margaret explains.

For Sr Margaret, working directly with people and working directly in service of the poor is also essential, as is the way we work to accompany and support others.

“It’s not what one does for another so much as the way one does it, valuing the dignity of the person, and it can be the smallest thing in giving one’s time to listen to another’s story.”

With the wisdom and guidance of Sr Margaret, we hope that Arrupe Place will become a place where asylum seekers feel valued, listened to and supported.

We are still looking for volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering with us at Arrupe Place, Parramatta, please contact Sr Margaret Guy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article was first published in the 2014 summer edition of Link, a publication of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia.

Find out how you can get involved or donate to the work of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia.