The Social Justice Program at Mercy College is based on a model of building awareness, being inspired through reflection and empowered to take action. In honouring the College history and vision and living out its mission, it is recognised that we should echo the tenderness and steadfastness of Jesus Christ and the courage of Catherine McAuley. In keeping with the College ethos, members of the school community are called to show passion for justice in the Church and society and be educated not only about justice but how to live justly. To do this we are guided by the Word in Sacred Scripture.
'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:35-6,40
Through the offerings at the College, both curricular and co-curricular, it is intended that members of the College community are provided with the chance to:
- Increase their awareness of social justice issues and prepare students in their understanding of human rights and live up to their responsibilities to themselves and others as Christians.
- Reflect on social justice issues in light of Gospel values, Catholic Social Justice teaching and the Mercy Charism and thereby develop their social conscience.
- Participate in action to help eliminate injustice and promote equality.
'Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.' 1 John 3:17-18
The values that underpin our social justice efforts at Mercy College are taken from the values of the Sisters of Mercy:
- Mercy - comes from the heart, offering steadfast love in relationship
- Compassion - caring or understanding about someone in need or trouble
- Justice - being fair in everything that one does and giving what is deserved
- Service - giving to others to make a positive difference in their lives
- Excellence - doing one's best to maximise their potential
It is recognised that, first and foremost, the individual can contribute to a just society through their personal interactions with others.
As a Catholic girls' secondary College committed to handing on the teachings of Christ and His Church and to living out those teachings, fundraising and the collection of goods to help achieve social justice is seen as a practical and positive response. Following the example of Catherine McAuley, the College community endeavours to live out the emphasis of discipleship inherent in the College motto: 'Goodness is Strength'.
Mercy College recognises the need to host fundraising events to support organisations working for justice in society and those affected by emergency situations; and to provide the College with the necessary resources to provide quality education. Fundraising initiatives, based on justice issues, offer material support for those who are in need and provide the opportunity to raise awareness of issues in our society. Such response is at the heart of the Mercy College vision.
There are a number of formal groups and programs that exist to assist students to be active participants in the achievement of social justice. Included amongst such groups and programs are:
Seeds of Justice Group
In tune with the College's strong focus on community and concern for disadvantaged members of our society, the Seeds of Justice team meet regularly to share in each others' personal quest to help the poor. It is hoped that the Seeds of Justice team will come to learn, reflect and act in a distinctive manner, with significant focus on the teaching of Jesus Christ and Mercy charism.
Members of the Seeds of Justice Team will be given opportunities to develop a greater understanding of those aspects of Catholic doctrine which relate to matters dealing with the collective aspect of humanity through:
- Exposure to contemporary and historical literature
- Reflection on local and global social justice issues
- Participation in several current social justice initiatives