Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 with the intention of attending to the poor of Dublin, Ireland. Catherine once wrote to another Sister of Mercy, “the poor need help today, not next week”.
This approach of seeing need and acting upon it now, not next week is the focus of Mercy Catholic College’s Social Justice Programme.
We encourage students to not only articulate our Catholic values, but to become involved in working with those who have not had the same opportunities in life as they have.
A balance of awareness raising, fundraising and direct involvement ensures that students are provided with a good model of outreach rather than remaining detached from the issues which face our community.
The Mercy Action Prefect and Representatives, in conjunction with the Religious Education Co-ordinator, the Youth Minister and the Mercy Action Support Teachers lead this important area of College life.
The following opportunities are offered:
- An overseas immersion programme where senior students work in local school and orphanages in Vietnam.
- Visitation to nursing homes
- Music performances for community organisations, such as Legacy and the Mater Hospital.
- Fundraising for recognised organisations, such as Caritas, Catholic Mission, St Vincent de Paul, Mercy Works and the Mercy Foundation.
- Mercy Week activities which involve awareness raising and fundraising for a chosen cause.
- Mercy Action Group is a student Social Justice group which is open to students from all years interested in direct involvement in Social Justice issues
- College Assemblies and liturgies often embrace a social justice theme such as homelessness, the environment, refugees and asylum seekers, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and children’s rights
- Mercy Day outreach activities
Mercy Week is celebrated during the first week of September.
It draws together the educational, pastoral and religious dimensions of College life in a spirit of celebration and outreach.
Preparation for Mercy Week which is organised by the Student Leadership Team and Year 12 in conjunction with Year Co-ordinators progresses through Term 3 as connections are made with social justice agencies throughout Sydney and various groups participate in organising the Mercy Week Eucharist. The week commences with a celebration of the Eucharist and the Year 12 College Leaders are inaugurated at the Mass.
Features of the week are:
- Throughout Mercy Week Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 sponsor theme days and organise whole College activities during lunch times and Year 11 holds a multicultural lunch.
- Junior students remain at College for a range of activities, including guest speakers and workshops. The culmination of Mercy Week is the Outreach Day, where all students in the College engage in outreach activities with various charitable agencies and organisations, nursing homes and primary schools throughout Sydney.
- Mercy Week has added significance, in that it is the final community event for Year 12
Mercy Action Group (MAG)
The Mercy Action Group (MAG) provides opportunities for students who are passionate about Mercy and Justice in the World. MAG girls are invited to meet every week to learn about and take action on an issue or topic of importance. Students who attend develop their confidence and skills in leadership and communication, advocating for areas of interest, working together towards enacting social change.
Opportunities for students within MAG include:
- Preparing and running social justice initiatives, either to raise awareness or fundraising to support charitable causes, within our school and broader community.
- Learning in depth about a current or developing world issue.
- Gaining leadership skills through leading or facilitating activities such as group discussion or information sessions.
- Using creative talents and strengths
Some topics covered in MAG include:
- Poverty and homelessness
- Abuse and domestic Violence
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Care for the elderly and disabled
- Political Justice
- Addiction and substance abuse
- Environmental issues
- and many more