In 2003, Sr Judith Redden and Sr Deirdre Jordan’s desire to reconnect with the Mercy congregation of Argentina saw a group of Music staff and students embark on a study tour to Argentina and to visit St Ethnea College in Buenos Aires, a school established by the Sisters of Mercy. Music teacher Craig Evans was so moved by his experiences in Argentina that he decided to return for six months in 2004, taking his son Joshua with him. He recorded his experiences, and these stories can be read on the website ‘Postcards from Argentina’.
On his return to St Aloysius College he established a children’s foundation, Mercy in Action, inspiring the St Aloysius Community to raise funds to support the poor communities on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Mercy in Action’s fundraising events and donations enabled the renovation of Comedor Angel, a community centre that provided children with a place for recreation and early childhood learning. It also supported the ‘Ava Tava Project’, set up by a Jesuit priest that offered about sixty adults workshops in music, dance, crafts, theatre and language as well as a project at Casa de Cultura. This was a centre that helped elderly people by providing a daily meal that could be shared amongst friends as well as a place of warmth and friendship. The San Cayetano parish/community centre was also built in Barrio Moreno, a poor and disadvantaged barrio built on a rubbish dump and home to thousands of recently arrived refugees from Bolivia and Paraguay.
St Aloysius College students’ enthusiastic support for Mercy in Action resulted in a group of students, old scholars and teachers participating in the first Argentinean Mission, which visited Buenos Aires in 2006. The purpose of the Mission was to continue to build on the relationship established with the St Ethnea community and with the inspiring work of the local Sisters of Mercy. It also sought to undertake hands-on work at the three community centres supported by Mercy in Action. Three further missions followed in 2007, 2009 and 2011 but the increased cost of living in Argentina made it too expensive to continue.
From article by Sue Holoubek, 2006 St Aloysius College Magazine, p. 98
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