Grassroots Ministry: Presence to Ministry
Ali Roach rsm (ISMAPNG)
Mercy is more than charity: it not only bestows benefits but receives us anew, and pardons again and again even the most ungrateful. —Catherine McAuley
In my ministry I remember these words of Catherine. With 200 people a day going through my workplace, a day centre for homeless persons where fights go on all around you, it can be easy to ignore the chaos when it goes on all day long.
Homelessness is cruel; it kills people, and rarely makes the news. Children are born into it and they can never know their mothers. The biggest cause of homelessness is sexual abuse from childhood, then drugs and alcohol, lack of housing, family violence and lack of education. Our Newstart allowance can barely pay the rent, let alone electricity and gas. If Catherine McAuley were here today I am sure another House of Mercy for homeless women and children would be opened – they were her people.
I am often thanked by my clients in the kindest of ways by flowers picked from the local park, a call out from the clients the parking inspector is on his way, a hug, a door held open, a joke, a compliment on my hair cut (even if I haven’t had a cut), but most importantly sharing the tears of happiness when housed.
All of this could not be possible if in my role I was not truly present and listening to my client’s story and needs. Each client has a story, needs, heartache and hope for the future. If I am not truly present in my role I would not truly listen and I would be placing my client on the revolving door of homelessness– not setting them free. It can take a long time, a lot of resources but we can get there!
All of my clients have carried the Cross of Christ...
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
Ali Roach rsm is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG)
Her ministry has been with homeless people in a day centre in Perth, Western Australia.
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