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Sisters future-proof support for isolated Australians

The Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) have launched an initiative that will see their work in remote and regional Australia continue beyond the life of the religious community. The Sisters have set up Highways and Byways: A Community of Service, which will expand its reach across Australia, and take over the works of the John Wallis Foundation, which the MSS established in 2010 and named after the founder of the MSS, Fr John Wallis.

“Seventy-five years ago the four founding Sisters entered risky territory having very meagre resources but a powerful commitment to begin a mission which would take them into the lives and homes of people beyond cities and towns,” said Sr Stancea Vichie, MSS Congregational Leader.

The Sisters have worked in the most remote parts of Australia as well as in urban areas. They have sat around the kitchen tables of people from all walks of life, supporting families and communities. Highways and Byways will continue the work begun by the MSS.
 
Highways and Byways is inviting grant applicants for projects that can make a difference in the lives of isolated, and often forgotten, Australians.
More than $90,000 will be allocated in small grants to community programs in 2019. It is hoped that this figure will increase each year.
 
Highways and Byways continues the work begun by the MSS. In the last two years, this work has included supporting a number of projects including helping to compile bedding packs for homeless young people in South Australia and facilitating wreath and cross making workshops at a prison in Western Australia. The wreaths and cross were sent to families of prisoners, particularly Indigenous prisoners, who could not attend funerals and were affected by grief.

One small project that has had a big impact was helping to fund a coffee machine in Tatura Community House in Victoria. The aim was to provide unemployed community members with a practical skill, but the Coffee Hub Club has seen participants share their life’s challenges, solutions and develop friendships.

“Though improving social connectedness and reducing isolation were not the primary intentions of the space, we thought training would be, it has probably been the best value spent here in Tatura on mental health wellbeing ever,” the community house co-ordinator said.
 
Highways and Byways Executive Officer Liz McAloon said the focus of grant allocations for the coming year would be in areas where the Missionary Sisters of Service have worked for many years – western Queensland, southern and western NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.
 
Grants close on 14 March 2019. Find out more, here.
 
The Missionary Sisters of Service, along with some friends of the congregation, recently embarked on a pilgrimage through Tasmania to kick off their 75-year anniversary celebrations. Read the full story and view the photo gallery here.
 
 




 
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