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Have we the capacity to let our broken hearts speak? Can we dare to be different, to humbly accept that our ways of seeing things, reacting to things, proclaiming things needs to change? … Have we stopped hearing the cries of the poor, the oppressed, the misunderstood and the strange ones?” Francis Sullivan, former CEO of the Truth, Justice & Healing Council posed these questions, and many more, in our new book, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion.

"Looking to how we might creatively respond to need, Mary Mackillop, a great pioneer of social services in Australia comes to mind as her canonisation clicked over ten years last week. Sr Joan Healy, life member of Catholic Social Services Victoria, in an oration at the first anniversary of Mary’s canonisation asked 'How can the spirit of Mary be earthed in this time?' She emphasised the need to embrace Mary’s attitude of 'not being fearful' and adopt a conviction of 'letting go' to bring about change. Sr Joan urged a consciousness of the precious tradition that is held by Catholic social services, since 'the Gospel is radical'. These are words for our time, too — we need a radical, creative and cooperative response if we want our agencies to adequately respond and bring about a fair and just society. Read more in the October eNewsletter, here.

As we face the devastating impact of COVID-19 in Australia and its compounding effects on the most vulnerable within our communities, Catholic social services are called more than ever to be bearers of hope, to serve with courage and compassion, and to draw strength from our collective and collaborative approach to advocating for a more just and equitable society. More than ever we are called to being living signs of the Gospel, wherever we are, in the services and care we provide. A new book, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion will be an invaluable tool to assist us in this mission.

We are in the midst of national Anti-Poverty Week, held in Australia from October 11-17. On October 17 we mark the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Why do we mark this week and day? Anti-Poverty Week supports the Australian community to have an increased understanding of poverty and to take action collectively to end it. Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. But we can all do something about it — so this is a message of hope, not despair!

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