Sisters and friends gathered last week at the Mercy Hub in Carlton North to celebrate the recent opening of three cookhouses in Papua New Guinea and to hear about plans for more in the future. Cookhouse n Tanks a Lot (CTAL) Leader, Margaret Ryan RSM painted the picture about how these wonderful projects came about.
“My story is that I was up in Papua New Guinea in my younger years, nursing on the north coast. I hoped to go back but it never happened. Then in 2014, I returned with ICS industries team who were constructing a teacher’s house in the Hela province. While we were there, the local women showed us what they were cooking on – a rusty 1940s wood stove covered with a tarp. Together they were trying to cook shared food in it – about 20 of them!. They asked us if we could give them a new wood stove. They needed more than stoves- at least a roof over the stoves as well. We realised that what was required was a proper cookhouse.
Sr Margaret said that when she got back to Melbourne, by the most extraordinary act of providence, then Community Leader Faye Kelly RSM was instigating a reflective process setting up a ministry centre in Melbourne, which eventually led to the establishment of the Mercy Hub in Carlton North.
“After locating my ministry work in the Hub, I walked around the streets looking for an architect who might help us with adjusting the original plan to accommodate the timber lengths available in Papua New Guinea. Again by divine providence, the first door I knocked on was a practice two blocks away and the principal who answered the door was Enza Angelucci, M.Arch., an outstanding former Mercy student of the Academy of Mary Immaculate, with parents living in Mercy Place Parkville. Enza also lectures in architecture at RMIT. “I asked Enza if she could help and she said indeed, ‘I can help you, I would love to do it!’.
“So Enza helped us with the architectural plans and also went up to Papua New Guinea with us. She built a team around her of an environmental engineer and structural engineer to assist with the project. So we have been doing very well! The fundraising program is supported by some of the committee members who worked with me in managing the volunteer resource program for the city of Banyule. Their expertise is invaluable.
In the intervening five years, three cookhouses have been fully funded and constructed.
“The primary purpose of the cookhouses is to enable the mothers to vary and improve family nutrition, especially for themselves in their reproductive years. In discussion with them, it seems they will be used as a social centre for the women and , with help, they intend to manage short community education courses in areas of interest to them,” Sr Margaret said.
In September, Sr Margaret, Enza and the team joined in the celebrations for the blessing and official opening of the cookhouse in Ouamug village in the Western Highlands, and Goglme in the Chimbu. The Pumakos cookhouse opening is awaiting the opening of the new Sister’s house. The next cookhouse is planned for Posulim village in the Southern highlands province.
In addition to Sr Margaret, presentations were delivered by Enza, Sandra Young and Weston Lewis. Enza reviewed her own design in relation to the traditional architecture of the Highlands villages. Sandra ‘s interest is the regional and international networks of support for the development of rural women and their local organizations. Weston spoke on sustainability and alternative energies.
On Friday 4th October 2019, Young Mercy Links held a Sustainable Fashion Event in the Mercy Hub exhibition space. The highlight of the night was a fantastic presentation from eco-stylist Nina Gbor who educated guests on ethical fashion and how to achieve great outfit looks that don't hurt the planet or your wallet. The evening also involved a skills share, clothes swap and plenty of yummy food.
In their letter for this year’s Season of Creation, Christian faith leaders write that ‘we are part of a single, wondrously complex web of life that is woven by God. … During the Season of Creation, we unite as one family in Christ, celebrating the bonds we share with each other and with “every living creature on earth” (Genesis 9:10)’. In this spirit of unity with all creation, every Wednesday during September sisters and staff came together at the Mercy Hub in Melbourne for a series of reflective gatherings led by Anne Pate, Mercy Hub Program & Activities Facilitator. The conclusion of the worldwide Season of Creation was celebrated at the Mercy Hub on Wednesday October 2nd, when guest speaker Veronica Lawson rsm challenged those present to reflect on how we are called to respond to the cry of earth throughout the year. The sisters and staff who participated in the Season of Creation 2019 at the Mercy Hub greatly appreciated the opportunities to reflect, to learn and to be challenged.
The Mercy Action and Spirituality Hub celebrated Mercy Week by hosting a celebratory BBQ lunch on Thursday 26th September 2019. It was a great day attended by various members of the Mercy Hub community. The value, commitment and service of the many people who make up the Mercy Hub was recognised and celebrated together.
On Wednesday July 31, Mercy sisters and sisters from other religious congregations gathered at the Mercy Hub in Carlton North for the first of three sessions reflecting on the experience of searching for home.
Dr. Elizabeth Dowling RSM led a reflective and enriching journey through the scriptures and invited those present to consider issues raised today which find their parallels in the biblical text: Who are the vulnerable who fall through the cracks today? Who or what are crying out in pain in our world today? How do our leaders use power – as shepherds or as tyrants? Elizabeth also reminded us that the cry of earth and the cry of the poor are interconnected. Like Jesus (Matt 8:19-20), the earth’s creatures today do not always have a home. The environmental crisis is felt by people, by creatures, and by the land, and disproportionately affects the poorest.
The remaining gatherings in the Winter Season explored three different practical expressions of mercy in our world today. We heard first from Anne Mitchell, Manager of Steps Outreach Service in Melbourne, which supports young people who are homeless by first spending time getting to know them on the steps of Flinders Street station. In the final gathering, Judith Jackson (Aunty Jacko) shared the story of the Wominjeka BBQ in St. Kilda, which has reached out to indigenous people experiencing homelessness since 2005, and has helped many on the road to stable housing. Teash Taylor, a volunteer resident at the Indigenous Hospitality House in Carlton North, also spoke about their experience of offering hospitality to indigenous people, and the paradox of doing so while living on stolen land.
For full article: https://institute.mercy.org.au/mercy-hub-offers-a-winter-season-on-searching-for-home/
"The Mercy Mission, Spirituality and Action Hub in North Carlton, Victoria, was the perfect setting on Saturday, 18 May, for an exhibition attended by a large number of Sisters and guests, of the work of four Australian iconographers: Margaret Broadbent rsm, Margaret McHugh rsm, Pauline Pervan lcm and Mrs Alice Vaughan.
Adding to the atmosphere, the afternoon's programme featured the Melbourne Capella Choir, an ensemble of professional choral and operatic singers performing works sung in English, Greek, Georgian and Russian, conducted by Nicholas Cowell." - Margaret Broadbent rsm
For full article: www.mercyworld.org/newsroom/a-celebration-of-living-light/
On Sunday March 3, the Young Mercy Links 2019 Orientation was held at the Mercy Mission Spirituality and Action Hub in Carlton North. A few new faces joined in with their deeply committed stalwarts who’ve been around for between 1 and 7 years.
Coordinator, Christie Tran, drew upon the members for their assistance in presenting to everyone the activities that Young Mercy Links are involved with and to speak of the opportunities that members have to deepen their commitment to Mercy and to build their strengths in leadership and action.
The new cohort are passionate about a range of issues, topmost among them equality and justice for women, the poor, refugees and indigenous people, as well as care for our common home. In the coming weeks we will be starting to plan our activities and events for the year but one event will likely relate to indigenous spirituality and increasing our understanding of local indigenous knowledge and lore and another event might relate to women’s equality and issues such as the efficacy and justice of certain types of female incarceration. The group will be meeting regularly throughout the year to organise events and to discuss their growing awareness and understandings of the issues society faces.
“It is an exciting and energising start to the year and I look forward to the gifts each of the members bring with them to our group and the work we will achieve together," says Christie.
For full article: https://institute.mercy.org.au/new-youth-commit-to-mercy/