Mary Ward urged her early companions to pursue their mission and respond to the needs of the people and communities around them, primarily through education but also other “means congruous to the times”. In the ‘unprecedented’ times experienced by not just our Loreto Ministries network across the Province, but our whole global Loreto family in the first half of this year, we explored all of the means at our disposal to continue our essential work in the promotion of our mission.
The role of the Directors of Mission at LML is to animate, promote and lead mission across our network, in collaboration with Principals, Directors of Mission, Boards and many other collaborators. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the dramatic impact it has had on the way we all live and work, particularly in schools, the traditional ways of working in the mission space have not been possible. Leading mission ‘online’ has therefore been a means available in our times upon which we could draw and about which we had much to learn!
Over recent months we have shared a large number of resources with our colleagues online. There have been regular office newsletters keeping in touch with those working from home and providing encouragement and good humour. We have created compilations of prayers and other resources for the Directors of Mission in our schools. Many of these related to the particular challenges this Corona time has raised for the expressions of our faith and the opportunities for reflection and connection it has provided. We marked Holy Week and Easter with specific prayers and reflections shared with our network and focused on important topics of justice such as Earth Day, the rights of asylum seekers and National Reconciliation Week.
As well as regular email communications, effective use of social media and chats on the old fashioned (now) telephone we have connected with our group of fellow school Mission Directors via Zoom. Zoom also helped facilitate several formation sessions with the staff of Loreto Vietnam in recent months, bringing that element of our network from Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne and Sydney. Student leaders in our schools took part in our inaugural webinar on World Environment Day bringing together participants from Australia and India as part of our work with the IBVM/CJ UN Office keeping us linked to the bigger global picture and the needs of our time.
Michelle McCarty & Anne Muirhead
Directors of Mission, Loreto Ministries
Images: Loreto Ministries Director of Mission, Anne Muirhead distributing letters and cards to Sisters who are particularly isolated at this time | Student Leaders Emily and Kathy from Loreto Coorparoo watch Sr Janet Palafox ibvm on screen during the World Environment Day meeting | Sr Seraphina, a Korean Sister with the Congregation of Jesus, participates in a meeting of friends of Mary Ward from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Timor Leste and The Philippines to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.