Sr Margaret Guy: Ministering with Jesuit Refugee Service

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“I need foodbank.” “I would like to have English lessons.” “I am going to be homeless.” “Can you help me get a job?” “I need help with this form.”

These are the typical needs expressed by people seeking asylum who come to our Jesuit Refugee Service, writes Sr Margaret Guy rsc. This is her story:

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. Begun by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, JRS has been supporting refugees and people seeking asylum globally since 1980.

In Australia, JRS provides casework support, financial assistance, temporary accommodation, legal support [through RACS], foodbank, English classes and other social support activities through the Arrupe project.

Parramatta is my place of ministry – my role being Arrupe Place Volunteer Coordinator, collaborating with the other Volunteer Coordinator at the main office.

I coordinate the recruitment, training, supervision and support of volunteers. This includes responding to enquiries regarding volunteering, organising the volunteer induction, and ongoing training and volunteer events. I try to keep in touch with all the volunteers at Parramatta, responding to their skills, needs and availability re the monthly roster. As a team member, I share in many of the roles offering hospitality and accompaniment to our clients.

At Parramatta, caseworkers work tirelessly to respond to the typical needs expressed above, listening to people’s stories, making referrals and giving small amounts of financial assistance. However, we would not be able to do the work that we do without many committed volunteers who work alongside our Director, Manager and staff.

Volunteers offer invaluable assistance: Providing hospitality and reception at our two drop-in spaces in Parramatta, providing accompaniment support through home visits, cooking meals for house meetings at our men’s shelter in Kings Cross, teaching English, assisting with the playgroup and English program for mums and bubs, organising men’s nights and excursions, shopping for and distributing foodbank, helping with resume writing, job searching and contributing to other social programs.

To become a volunteer with JRS, click on this link.

This story first appeared on the Diocese of Broken Bay website and is reprinted with thanks.

THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
When we have so much to praise the Lord for, we must not complain.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
True affection is to rejoice in the happiness of our dear ones. Never allow a sentiment of resentment to enter into our hearts.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
May our dear Lord Jesus fill your hearts with His own love. Amen!
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We must have patience with others as He has patience with us.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Under every difficulty try to pray fervently.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We have much to thank Him for, even for those little drawbacks on our comforts and conveniences.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Go on now as steadily as you can, relying on the Divine assistance and fear not.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
What we do ought to be done well.

The Sisters of Charity acknowledge the First Peoples and traditional custodians of this land where we live. We respect, value and honour their history, culture and spirituality. We are committed to standing in solidarity and to actively working for justice, peace and harmony in this land.

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