The poor need help today

Australia: 'Like a fish out of water, dying every moment,' life in detention

All I knew at the time was that this was where God wanted me to be.

The plight of asylum seekers both across the world and particularly here in Australia has tugged at my heart-strings for a long time, writes Carmel Ruddick rsm. So much so, that I simply had to volunteer to go to one of the detention centres, to find out something of the truth of what is happening, and to try to make a small contribution to alleviate the situation. While the location of detention centres and the number of people being held in them is constantly changing there are at present about 10,000 people living in some form of detention both within Australia and off-shore and this figure includes 1,000 children. The Sisters of Mercy have long been associated with the Jesuit Refugee Service in this endeavour, and have willingly gone to many other countries as well as to various places in our own country, to try to live out these words of our foundress, Catherine McAuley: “The poor need help today, not next week”. When I made my decision and was accepted, I was very grateful for the support and advice of the Jesuit co-ordinator in Sydney and of two of our Queensland Sisters who had ministered in Curtin before me. They were simply a marvellous help. However, I still left Townsville in mid-February with some feelings of fear and certainly not knowing what to expect. All I knew at the time was that this was where God wanted me to be. Read Sr Ruddick’s full reflection here.


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