Sr Clare Conaglen spoke with us about Mary MacKillop Today’s partnership with the Sisters of St Joseph, and the important role of our generous supporters.
I believe the partnership between the Sisters of St Joseph and Mary MacKillop Today is successful because it grew out of the Sisters living with and working ‘on the ground’ with the people — listening to, responding and sharing their hopes, vision, sufferings and struggles. MMT continues this through the many passionate people engaged in projects and relating to each person with dignity and respect. No one is insignificant in a world that can be so fast moving — a world that can easily exploit the poor and uneducated, overlook the elderly, and cause division.
In 1899, Saint Mary wrote, “God wants us by every means possible to lead others to life.”
People who donate to MMT respond to Mary’s desire to lead others to life, through the assurance that their donation leads to greater quality of life and dignity for an extremely wide range of people, whether within Australia or internationally. All the programmes are very hands-on and practical.
Through the generosity of donors, the Sisters’ works have been able to continue through MMT and go far beyond the initial vision of our founders, Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods. There is the continual invitation to respond to the needs of today, just as Mary and Julian responded to the educational needs of the children in the bush during the 1860s.
I worked in Peru for 16 years where I saw and used your ‘donations in action’ every day. We were able to respond to the invitation to support children with disabilities and their families in a fast-growing area on the edge of Lima, offering physiotherapy, language therapy, psychology and occupational therapy for the children, and skills for the parents. We were able to offer friendship groups for older people, export handcrafts, and upskill women in sewing and gardening. I saw in other parts of Peru, schools were promoting nutrition, gardening, and cultivating a culture of peace and engagement of parents in children’s education. And since being in Sydney, I have also seen the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) program in action helping people in Bathurst to achieve financial freedom.
I want to thank you for your generous donations. Be assured that your support makes a difference to others’ lives. I have seen that difference each time a child came from therapy with a smile on their face, each time an older person enjoyed friendship and a cuppa, each time a woman received her personal income from the crafts she had made, each time I have listened the stories of the NILS workers and their passion for their work and their people. Thank you! It really makes a difference!