Sr Myree Harris rsj is in a unique position to speak out for the homeless. For twenty years she has lived in Gethsemane community with people suffering from mental illness many of whom are homeless .During this same period she has been researching and writing about many of the issues related to homelessness, and actively participating in formal discussions on the topic. She is regularly called on to speak on behalf of people in boarding houses whose positions are too insecure for them to be able to speak for themselves.
Myree represented the Australian Bishops’ Conference at the first meeting in Rome for the Pastoral Care of the Homeless, which took place in 2007. She was subsequently invited to give a keynote address (link to the pdf of this address) at the Regional meeting, which focussed on Australasia, Oceania and Asia. The first of these meetings involved addressing research into the Australian situation and the second extended this to Oceania and Asia, with a focus on Pastoral Care Responses to the needs of the homeless in the region. Myree was a voice, in this international setting, for the Australian homeless, especially those with mental illness. In reporting to the Bishops and many other groups Myree has continued to speak of the challenging situation in Australia.
Myree’s is a voice in the local church, writing in magazines like the Madonna, speaking at Churches and schools where she introduces people to the reality of homelessness. She is a regular voice in the political and social field writing to Members of Parliament and others who have the capacity to respond to the critical issues facing the homeless. Myree’s is a typical Josephite voice, strong and respectful for those suffering from mental illness yet clearly stating the real issues being faced in the field.