Refugees & Asylum Seekers

“Catherine preferred to build bridges rather than erect barricades.”

Angela Bolster RSM

ISMAPNG is disturbed by the massive numbers of people in our world who are refugees or displaced and seeking asylum, believing that all people have a right to survive and thrive.

The Sisters of Mercy have a long tradition of working with asylum seekers and refugees. Individual Sisters of Mercy provide pastoral and practical support to asylum seekers in Australian detention centres and those living in the community. Many ministries of ISMAPNG also provide support to refugees and asylum seekers through a variety of means including providing health care, social services and educational support.

ISMAPNG remains committed to supporting asylum seekers and refugees and advocating for policies which are compassionate and just. Sisters and lay colleagues are found in significant positions of advocacy as members of both government and non-government organisations working in this area.



Featured Ministry

Mercy Works

Mercy Works is part of the relief and development work of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. It serves, without discrimination, the uprooted and displaced peoples of the world. More than giving material assistance Mercy Works accompanies refugees, listens to them, and enables them to have a voice.

Mercy Connect is a volunteer program that helps refugee school students adjust to life in Australia. For students learning a new language, different social rules and educational practices, school can be a daunting place.

The Mercy Connect program recruits, trains and supports volunteers to assist refugee students. Volunteers all have a background in school education. They may sit with a student during a class, explaining terms and requirements so they can more easily keep up with the class. The volunteers also help refugee students meet their homework requirements, making sure they understand what is being asked of them and generally supporting the students as they transition to life in Australia.


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Featured Program

Advocacy for Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Sr Carole McDonald RSMis currently Victorian Co-ordinator for ACRATH has also been a worker in refugee camps in Asia. She is a strong advocate for refugees and asylum seekers.

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  • “Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt”

    Matthew 2:14
  • Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. Their suffering pleads with individual states and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.

    Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2012.