OUTREACH AT ST. MARY'S CONVENT
One of the major projects to evolve from the renovation and reopening of St Mary’s in 2005 was a new form of pastoral outreach into the local community. This would be very different from the type of outreach carried out by the Sisters in the past, as recent years had witnessed a dramatic change in the social diversity of the area. Incoming communities had brought with them their own traditions, faiths and cultures – a situation with many strengths but which also could give rise to racial tensions. Very little work had been undertaken on social cohesion in the Handsworth, Lozells and Birchfield areas of the city, and it was in this context that the Sisters of Mercy launched their threefold ministry of Heritage, Spirituality and Outreach. Here we give a flavour of the our work and projects in which the Community of St Mary’s has been involved since the early 2000's as expressions of ‘Mercy in the 21st Century’.
On reopening, our aims included:
- providing a place for uplifting of hearts and mind
- extending a hand of friendship to all who visit St. Mary's.
CITIZENS UK Birmingham
Citizens UK organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good. Composed of diverse civil society alliances, CUK develops the leadership capacity of its members so they can hold politicians and other decision-makers to account on key issues. St Mary’s is a corporate member and now host the Headquarters of the Birmingham branch of Citizens UK.
Friends of St Mary's
Sr. Mary Horgan was involved in the development of the Conscious Cafe project , which aimed to bring together women of different cultures through shared experience of skills. learning and creativity. The group now meet every Wednesday at St Mary's Convent and is led by Sister Marie McGrogan. They are now known as Friends of St Mary's.
OTHER OUTREACH INVOLVEMENT
- Police Neighbourhood Liaison
- Diocesan Interfaith Commission
- St Vincent de Paul Outreach
- Provision of food parcels
- Work with Legacy West Midlands
The breadth and range of its activities shows the commitment of St Mary’s in the sphere of social justice.