Our annual Ignatian Professional Development Day for staff this year focussed on the various ministries of the Jesuits in Australia. One of these is the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and as this week is Refugee Week it is timely to share information about their mission.
The JRS was founded in 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, largely in response to the humanitarian concerns of those fleeing Cambodia and Vietnam. The service accompanies, serves and advocates for refugees and people seeking asylum. “We offer dignity and hope through emergency assistance, temporary shelter, a foodbank, professional casework, community activities, employment support, school engagement, legal advice, targeted advocacy, and a project to empower women seeking asylum.”
Maeve Brown, Manager of the Arrupe Project (a shelter project developed in 2007) spoke to staff about the need for JRS and the work it does in the community. It is based in Sydney but a number of staff were able to speak with Maeve and discuss ways we may be able to support and connect with their work. If you would like to find out more this is the link to their website.
A service such as JRS is at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality as it is a real example of preferential option for the poor and finding God in all things.
Maeve shared a short clip titled Ali and the Long Journey to Australia about a young boy’s journey to Australia. This moving story was written by children from refugee backgrounds at Noble Park Primary School in Melbourne. Please click on the link below to watch the clip (3:47mins).
Ali and the Long Journey to Australia
Mrs Jacquie McCabe
Head of Ignatian Ethos