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‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’. Luke 23:46
Issue 1, April 2011, Highlights:
To Live in Peace
To Live in Peace
By Sr Jackie Ford RSJ
I have been asked to share with you something of my experience of bringing pastoral care to the asylum seekers in Curtin. Having returned to Sydney last year after working with economically poor women and families in Chile and Peru, South America, I was looking for somewhere I could serve those in need. An invitation came from Father Sacha of the Jesuit Refugee Service to work at Curtin Detention Centre. When my Congregational leader mentioned helping asylum seekers or refugees, I thought I would probably be working with families on Christmas Island.
My experience with the Afghanistan asylum seekers has taught me that we human beings are all searching for the same thing, a chance to live our lives in peace and look after our families without the constant threat of death and war. They have left their wives and children behind believing that they would be able to bring them to Australia once they obtained visas here.
Recently I came across this reminder: “For Christians the source and example of love of God and neighbour is the love of Christ for His Father, for humanity and for each person” reads the first of the 15 points of the declaration. “Love of neighbour cannot be separated from love of God, because it is an expression of our love of God . . . Grounded in Christ’s sacrificial love, Christian love is forgiving and excludes no-one; it therefore also includes one’s enemies.” A Common Word Declaration, Vatican November 2008
The United Nations has condemned the detention of asylum seekers as is practiced in Australia as a violation of their Human Rights. The response from the Australian Prime Minister is that this is the way it is done in Australia and it will continue to be done in this way.
Bottom: Sr Jackie Ford RSJ (L) has provided pastoral care at the Centre on two occasions now and Sr Anne McDonald RSM has also spent a number of weeks there.