To mark the new stage in the work of the MSS, grant applications are now open for projects which can make a difference to the lives of isolated, and often forgotten, Australians.
The Sisters have set up Highways and Byways, which will expand its reach across Australia, taking over the works of the John Wallis Foundation, which the MSS established in 2010. In the coming year Highways and Byways will allocate more than $90,000 to small grants and community programs. It is hoped that this figure will increase each year.
“Seventy-five years ago the four founding Sisters entered risky territory having very meagre resources but a powerful commitment to begin a mission which would take them into the lives and homes of people beyond cities and towns,” said Stancea Vichie, MSS Congregational Leader.
“They have sat around the kitchen tables of people from all walks of life, supporting families and communities. Highways and Byways makes this possible for decades to come.”
Projects conducted in SA over the past two years include:
- Supporting Port Augusta’s 80-year-old Country Women’s Association by providing transport to meetings and activities for many of the older and maginalised younger CWA members.
- Helping put together bedding packs for homeless young people in South Australia, ensuring they have a clean sheet, towel, doona and pillow when couch surfing.
The MSS story began on Tasmania’s remote Bruny Island when a young Fr John Wallis was visiting the Hawkins family. He was challenged by the cries of the mother who asked him, “Why can’t we have Sisters to help us … Does no one care about us people of the bush?”
The MSS responded to that cry and the requests from other people in some of Australia’s most remote areas.
Highways and Byways executive officer Liz McAloon said the focus of grant allocations for the coming year would be in areas where the MSS have worked for many years in specific regions of western Queensland, southern and western NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.
“We have always gone out into the world, looked at the signs of the times and responded, and that’s what Highways and Byways is doing today,” Stancea said.
The new entity, Highways and Byways, means for the first time donations will have full tax-deductible status.
To donate or apply for grants, visit highwaysandbyways.org.au or phone 03 9873 5520.