Highways & Byways, December 2016 carries news of the Missionary Sisters of Service and the John Wallis Foundation.
This latest issue
- announces the opening of the Foundation's 2017 Small Grants Programme
- carries inspirational stories of projects funded in the 2016 Grants Programme
- looks at the focus of the evolution of mission of the Missionary Sisters of Service from its beginnings in Tasmania to the current outreach of the John Wallis Foundation
- features Bishop Pat Power, Patron of the Foundation, whose spirit of mission resonates so powerfully with that of the Missionary Sisters of Service and the John Wallis Foundation.
Click on the image to open this issue.
John Wallis Foundation 2015 - 2016 Annual Report
Yarck to Yea Ride-Run-Walk
The weekend of 26-27 August was a great community event in Yea (Vic). The evening of 26th around 80 people gathered around beautifully set tables to share a delicious ecumenical dinner. The great variety of dishes was provided by the guests. The hubbub of voices as people met new friends and old were an indication of the warm community spirit of the Yea community. The evening included a launch of The Silent Book, by Bernadette T. Wallis - see the story and photos below.
The following morning a similar number of people, aged from 4 to 84, gathered for the fifth annual John Wallis Foundation Yarck to Yea community and fundraising event. Many partook of the now traditional breakfast at the Giddy Goat Cafe at Yarck, some of the proceeds going to the Foundation. This year walkers far outnumbered the cyclists, and all enjoyed the beautiful green rolling hills along that section of the Great Victorian Rail Trail. On arrival participants were treated to a delicious lunch, provided by Yea's St Pat's Race Club. Click on the photo below to see the gallery.
the silent book:
A great achievement
by Bernadette T Wallis mss
Bernadette Wallis, Missionary Sister Of Service, is the author of a newly published book entitled The Silent Book: A Deaf Family and the Disappearing Australian Irish Sign Language, the engrossing story, both deeply personal and historical, of the disappearing Australian-Irish sign language told through the experience of Bernadette’s own Deaf family. The story is embedded in the Australian landscape and its Aboriginal past. In writing this multi-layered story, Bernadette invites the reader into the vibrantly alert and alive silent world of her Deaf parents.
Reviewing the book, Margaret Coffey, broadcaster and journalist writes:
The Silent Book will be revelatory for most of us, as we learn of the history of a ‘threatened’ language once so vital in Australia. It is a fascinating tale in diverse ways: in its closeness to the colonial and rural context of its protagonists, its respect for indigenous naming and knowledge of that same landscape, its careful induction of the reader into a chronology of thinking about deafness and ways of educating deaf children. It adds another rich element to the extraordinary story of those 19th century lay and religious builders of Catholic community in Victoria and NSW. With all this, at its heart The Silent Book is a moving account of family life and love and hopefulness.
2016 has seen a wonderful series of celebrations at launches of Bernadette Wallis mss' first book, The Silent Book: A Deaf Family and the Disappearing Australian Irish Sign Language. The first launch by Margaret Coffey and Fr Peter Robinson, former chaplain to the Deaf, took place on 11 July at Wheelers Hill Hotel. Since then launches have taken place in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia a number of these by specific request. Each event brought together a very different audience - an indication of Bernadette's wide network of friends and contacts. The gathering at Melbourne's John Pierce Centre for the Deaf was very special, as The Silent Book is the story of Bernadette's Deaf parents who were known to a number of Deaf and hearing people present that that event.
Click on the gallery above to see some of the photos taken on the occasion. The first image is of Bernadette signing a book for Therese Healy mss.
Click here for an order form for The Silent Book.
Proceeds of the book will go to The John Wallis Foundation.
2016 SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM draws 137 applications
They just kept coming: applications for funding for many creative initiatives to meet needs of people and communities in all States of Australia. The small team of the Grants Committee, with help from Judy Cain of the Melbourne Branch of the John Wallis Foundation, spent many hours sifting through the 137 applications. They were inspired by the creative ideas of the applicants who saw a need and had the courage to do something about it. The projects for which funding was sought were simple, practical and able to be done with a relatively small amount of money.
The range of needs covered in the applications also gave a snapshot of many ways in which people are disadvantaged in our lucky country. Social, economic, cultural and geographic factors all play a part in people's access to opportunities many of us take for granted. While the John Wallis Foundation does not have the resources to fund every need, with the help of our generous supporters, this year the Foundation is able to fund 50 of the applications. The recipients will be announced shortly.
We hope that those we are unable to fund are able to find other sources of funding for their projects.
The John Wallis Foundation supports projects that are small, local, and completed within twelve months. Projects accepted reflect the spirit of the work of the Missionary Sisters of Service, that is,
reaching out to people on the margins,
offering practical support
and developing leadership.
RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF MANY FAITHS COMBINE TO ADVOCATE FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS
Thursday 15 October over 50 Faith Leaders (including Stancea Vichie mss) from many Faith traditions met with representatives of the Federal Government and each of the major parties to express their concern for Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, particularly those on Nauru and Manus Island. Click here for full story.
The John Wallis Foundation is funding 19 projects in the 2015 Small Grants Programme. Details in the August edition of Highways & Byways. Click here to read.
2015 John Wallis Memorial Lectures
Sister Carol Zinn SSJ speaks in three States
The John Wallis Foundation organised an exciting series of lectures which took place in the middle of June. The speaker was Sister Carol Zinn SSJ, a leading social justice advocate and environmentalist.
Sister Carol is on the Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia and also a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the U. S.A.
Formerly, as NGO Representative to the United Nations, Carol represented 15,000 Sisters and thousands of associates serving in 57 countries. Her experience ‘around the table’ and ‘in the field’ has led Carol to view poverty as the most serious environmental issue on the planet. Carol is passionate and inspirational on how each of us can understand and play our part in countering this reality. In her encouraging way, she reminded her listeners that bringing about change starts "right where your feet are".
Carol gave the John Wallis Memorial Lectures in Melbourne, Port Lincoln and Whyalla in South Australia, in Launceston and Hobart in Tasmania. We are delighted that Sister Carol was able to speak in places where people would otherwise never have the opportunity to hear an international speaker. This is very much in the spirit of the Foundation and the Missionary Sisters of Service whose mission is to reach out to those beyond.
Wherever Carol spoke, she inspired and challenged her listeners. She speaks out of the conviction that RELATIONSHIP lies at the heart of both social justice and care for the Earth. Real relationships involve respect and reverence for the other - whether that other is a human person, a community or the Earth with all its living beings and the environment necessary to sustain our living planet. It involves openness to the other, the willingness to listen and try to see things from the other's perspective without losing one's own. This approach to the other was so evident in the way Carol related to her audience, responded to their questions, engaged people over a cuppa and tailored her lectures to the interests of her audience.
Two lectures Carol gave in Townsville for CRAqld are available on YouTube on the following links:
Click on the gallery below for photos of the Hobart Lecture night: 1: Carol Zinn ssj; 2: Carol with Carmel Hall mss; 3: Audience participation to illustrate a point; 4: Carol with Chris Smith JWF Board Member and Clare McShane, Patron of JWF; 5: Carol with Fr Denis Allen; 6: Carol with planet Earth.
Carol told her audience that we don't have to take on the whole world. Change happens one conversation at a time, a phone call at a time, an email, a note in the mail, a letter to a person in a position to influence communities at a broader level, and so on.
Thank you, Carol, for the gift of yourself
as you shared your wisdom and experience with us.
Click on the photo below to see a gallery of images from Carol Zinn's Whyalla sessions, beginning with Cheryle Thomson mss welcoming people and ending with the organising team: Liz McAloon (JWF executive), Cheryle Thomson mss, Father Jim Monaghan, Carol Zin ssj and Phillipa Rowland of Catholic Earth Care who responded to Carol's lecture.
Geraldine Doogue delivers the John Wallis Memorial Lecture
About 350 people attended Geraldine Doogue's John Wallis Memorial Lecture in Toowoomba on 31st March. Geraldine's chosen topic was
The Australian Spiritual Search - a Complex and Beautiful Thing
The John Wallis Foundation Toowoomba branch did a fantastic job preparing for and hosting the evening. On arrival, guests were greeted with a glass of wine or fruit juice, all donated for the occasion, together with a team of helpers to serve the drinks and clear away the glasses.
When Geraldine entered the hall, people broke into spontaneous applause. Comments on her talk included: "That was a magnificent lecture!" and "Geraldine was fantastic. I could listen to her all day."
The mission of the Foundation is to be a bearer of hope. Geraldine was certainly a bearer of hope in Toowoomba that night. Her audience left that night, uplifted and re-energised. Thank you, Geraldine.
A copy of Geraldine's lecture will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.
John Corcoran Wallis: a Man of Vision
Melbourne historian and writer, Dr Fay Woodhouse, has written a very brief biography on Father Wallis, Founder of the Missionary Sisters of Service. It is entitled John Corcoran Wallis: a Man of Vision. Click here to download. This remarkable man deserves to be more widely known. The Missionary Sisters of Service and the John Wallis Foundation are hoping that Fay will write a full authorised biography of Father John in the not too distant future.