Wunan Biri - sharing our love, our friendship, our time, our talents, and our possessions.
BALGO HOUSE EXECUTIVES
Year 12 Balgo
History of Balgo
The Balgo House story begins with the three sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, Anna Maria Doyle and Elizabeth Harley. The Sisters of Mercy originated in Ireland in December 1831, and were the founders of the House of Mercy.
While based in Ireland the three sisters opened the House of Mercy. It was a place where people came for refuge. Catherine and her sisters dedicated their lives to help the sick and less-fortunate. They spent their whole lives caring for others, showing deep compassion for those in need, following their Catholic values with deep passion.
Five years after the death of Catherine McAuley, in 1846, the Sisters of Mercy migrated from Ireland, with Ursula Frayne as their leader and seven sisters. They were called by Bishop Brady of Perth to help educate and support the children of the community in Perth. Here, they started a foundation in response to the community’s needs, offering education, emotional support, shelter, clothing and healthcare. This vision has been carried on by the new generations of the Sisters of Mercy.
In the 1980’s, the Sisters of Mercy travelled to the indigenous remote community known as Balgo, in regional Western Australia. Balgo’s remoteness meant that access to education, health care, employment and recreational activities was difficult. The Sisters of Mercy helped to educate the youth and to provide welfare to the community.
Over time, the Sisters of Mercy extended throughout Australia, promoting the vision of Catherine McAuley.
The Sisters of Mercy followed the philosophy that no one is unworthy of God’s love, and that God does not judge or discriminate. As students of Balgo House, we strive to follow in the footsteps of the Sisters of Mercy, sharing out time and talents by helping others within our community, including the ACT Cancer Council, and other charities.
Through the journey of high school and college, we need look up to someone, just like the Sisters of Mercy did during difficult times. This guidance can be seen through the camaraderie of teachers, peers, family, friends and other members of the Balgo House community.
Our House Story
Sisters of Mercy throughout the world draw on the inspiration of Catherine McAuley, their foundress, who began her work with poor women in the first House of Mercy in Dublin in 1827. Today, the Sisters of Mercy, are committed to a life long journey of discovery of the Mercy of God, which is so often found in the lives and struggles of the suffering and the poor.
Balgo, or Wirrimanu as it is traditionally known, is a remote Indigenous community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Balgo’s remoteness means that access to secondary education, healthcare, employment and recreation services is difficult.
Mercy Works Inc. is supporting Balgo to implement its cultural healing pathway which aims to foster the spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of women, particularly at-risk young women and girls.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The scripture in Psalms 100:1-5 tells us that we should be grateful for all that the Lord gives us, as he has shared his love, goodness, and faithfulness with everyone, and will continue to do so forever. Catherine McAuley has also shared her gifts of her heart, her mind, and of the Spirit. As Balgo girls, we should listen to this Psalm and follow this message. To give thanks to the Lord for sharing his qualities and values with us, and then we, ourselves, need to share these newfound gifts with the people around us, who may not have accepted the Lord’s gifts at first. As Catherine McAuley says, “You must be cheerful and happy, animating all around you.” We must be grateful for our privileged lives, and give thanks to the Lord all the time by being ‘cheerful and happy’ toward everyone in our lives.
Call to Action
We must be grateful for our privileged lives, and give thanks to the Lord by being ‘cheerful and happy’ to everyone in our lives.
We will follow the word of the Lord as he shares his love, goodness, and faithfulness. Through our community, technology, friendships, school, pastoral care, our friendly atmosphere here at Merici College we will be grateful for the lives that we have been given.
‘The most acceptable return a benefactor can receive from those on whom he bestows favours, is a countenance testifying the gratitude of the heart. How acceptable it must be to God when we make Him this return, showing to all, by a cheerful, happy countenance, the gratitude with which our hearts overflow towards Him for His many favours in this life, and His great promises for the life to come.’ (Catherine McAuley)
Our Charity - Mercy Works
Mercy Works is an Australian run Catholic charity founded under the values of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy. This charity works with some of the most challenged people in communities all around Australia and the South-East Asia Pacific. They support long term development projects that engage in partnerships with the communities. The needs of people who are denied access to basic resources like education, health care and social welfare are at the forefront of their daily work, including allowing for the communities to develop with sustainable decision making. Mercy Works strives to be a driving force in the aid of these lives but only respond to the requests give rather that instil their ideologies on the areas in focus.
Balgo’s joint work with Mercy Works is helping to benefit the livelihood of some of the most disadvantaged people close to our own homes, by helping them chose where the funds for their own regional projects will be distributed. Currently, Balgo House has established a partnership with a preschool on Thursday Island, where educational resources are purchased for the students to benefit from.
Mercy works believes that “it is our duty to do something to help today and everyday – to make, as Catherine McAuley also said, some lasting efforts for relief of the poor and suffering ”
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Aboriginalartonline.com, (2014). Balgo Hills (Wirrimanu) Art and Community - Page 1 of 5 - Aboriginal Art Online. [online] Available at: http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/regions/balgo.php [Accessed 5 Aug. 2014].