Damascus College is a school in the Mercy Tradition, that is, in the line of communities that have evolved from the gospel faith and life values of Catherine McAuley (1778-1841), founder of the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland in 1831.
In Victoria this tradition has formed an association of Mercy schools under the banner of the Seeds of Justice program. The schools work together to plan conferences for representative students and staff to induct community members into the vision and work of the Mercy tradition. The conferences have used the corporal works of Mercy found in Matthew’s gospel as a scriptural underpinning of the conference process. A particular emphasis on homelessness has prompted Damascus College to develop Sleep Out to raise awareness and funds in support of those who are caught in the complex set of circumstances that leads to homelessness.
This Year 11 activity was run successfully for the fourth time on Thursday 10th November 2016. The students collected sponsorship to be a part of the experience. The Sleep Out ran from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am and students heard from Mike McCaw and Fr Constantine Osuchukwu of the new Ballarat Shower Bus. The Justice Action Group (JAG) had already packed toiletry bags for the Shower Bus that hopes to be operational in coming weeks.
The seventeen students supported by four staff members raised a sum in excess of $700 which is to be donated to The Shower Bus. Most importantly, they learned of the chronic difficulties that confront a largely hidden reality on the streets of Ballarat - human persons trying to survive without a place to call home.