Our JAG (Josephite Action Group) volunteers began the year reuniting with some refugee Sudanese and Iraqi families at St Joseph’s Baulkham Hills, New South Wales (NSW) and the Sisters of Saint Joseph Convent at Croydon, NSW.
Thank you to those two venues for your hospitality. Hopefully we extended your sentiment and our guests were welcomed and entertained. Looking at the photos taken on the days, I would say that we had done the Sisters proud.
At our recent JAG gathering at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney NSW, we reflected on the pool parties by looking at the photos taken on the days. The JAG members participated in a reflection activity, where they were first asked to select a photo that they were drawn to. After selecting a photo, the JAG members were asked to write and share a reflection based on the photo. Below are some reflections with some photos in the gallery below…
During these two pool days with the refugee children I was glad to see that they were enjoying themselves. The parents were given a break while we volunteers swam with the children. These parents were able to take their minds off the unimaginable struggles they have faced in their birth nation as well as put on hold the difficulties they face as new citizens in a very different land.
This experience was extremely fulfilling, as I was able to give back, volunteering my time. I instantly saw the smiles plastered across the children’s faces. It made me realise that although people think they will never be able to give back; that different social justice issues such as refugee people’s isolation and poverty does not concern us; that these issues are too far removed from mainstream Australia; it is now truly evident that in many small ways we are able to help bring joy into other’s lives simply by being together.
The image shows a sense of community, unity and love. It shows that with love and a sense of equality, individuals are able to share valuable life experiences and thus promote an open and welcoming community. It is a reminder that we are one.
Seeing this photo makes me realise what is truly important in life – helping others and continuing to help them all throughout your life. Seeing the smiles on the faces of others brings me joy and enlivens both my soul and purpose in life. It also brings me closer to God and gives a glimpse of what I believe heaven will be like.
Even through all of the events that everyone in this image has suffered, we are able to relate in the spirit of coming together and sharing. There is a welcomed simplicity in this cross-cultural meeting, leaving material things as secondary and focusing on time together.
The experience tells us that all people have the capacity to give back and care for others, especially those who are less fortunate. It gives me hope and encouragement to continue my mission spreading God’s love.
This encapsulated why we do what we do. Sport is a universal language. Sport provides avenues for inclusion, connection and community.
This image has changed me in that I want to embrace others more, just like Sr Maria has done. Be brave and speak to new people and smile and laugh with each other. What makes these people so different to you and me? Nothing. We should welcome everyone with a warm embrace.
This picture strikes me because it shows me the compassion and kindness that human beings possess. For me it represents hope and possibilities for a brighter and kinder world. It also symbolises empathy and connectedness despite barriers such as language and culture.
We gathered tentatively. We explored, stepping out of our comfort zones. We shared and delighted in our new-found experiences and friends. I am touched by the way that this photo embodies all that is possible in our world when people come together in expectation, hope and good will and joy.
This image reminds me of my travels in the Philippines. It reinforces to me that while we may be from different places and walks of life, underneath we are all the same and hence have the same fundamental human needs, that is, to be cared for.
It is really nice to see that getting together never feels like a chore. It is a group of people who genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
If you would like to volunteer with JAG or to obtain a copy of our calendar events, please contact Karen Oxley: email@example.com