Community Development

“Catherine’s compassionate response was always immediate, practical, enabling the poor to help themselves and find new dignity.”

Carmel Bourke RSM

Community development involves long term  projects that engage in partnerships with communities. For sustainable change it’s important that communities are involved in making informed decisions about their future and play a driving role in determining the support they receive.

For that reason the community development projects undertaken are always in response to requests for help – and never impose what we think people may need. This is the only way to foster meaningful and enduring changes in the lives of people and their communities.

The community development programs seek to promote justice, self reliance and to support displaced people and communities who are denied access to basic resources such as education, health care and social welfare. The programs endorse the principles of freedom, mutual respect, environmental sustainability, participation and protection of the rights and responsibilities of all. Community development programs are primarily conducted through Mercy Works in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste; however this ministry area also includes smaller local projects conducted across Australia and overseas.




Featured Ministry

Mercy Works

Mercy Works supports the local and overseas relief and development activities that are part of the vision and mission of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Mercy Works programs strongly endorse the principals of freedom, mutual respect, environmental sustainability, participation and protection of the rights and responsibilities of all.

Mercy Works drop in centres in Goroka and Mt Hagen give information, referrals, community support and skills development to help people to earn a living. They provide human rights awareness training sessions to help prevent domestic violence and programs in health and anger management. Programs are also offered to street children aimed at developing skills and raising self esteem.

The Mercy Works Kiunga Program assists individuals and communities to be active and energetic participants in their own development. Skills training and low cost child care is offered to women to support them to run their own businesses. Education programs addressing gender based violence are also offered. The Village Health Program enables the people to access clean water and to develop hygienic living practices as well as supporting the volunteer birth attendants. Funding the Eaglewood Plantation will enable the Diocese to become self sustaining by selling the timber.


For more information please visit:


  • “Meanwhile the gospel tell us constantly to run the risk of face to face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pains and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction”


    Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, p 88