A passion for helping others has seen Sr. Lorraine Phelan spend her life helping others less fortunate.
Before entering the Sisters of Mercy, Lorraine was a trained teacher and held a degree in Education, Educational Administration and Religious Education.
She was principal of three primary schools during her time in education. Two of the schools were in geographical low areas of socio-economic poverty. This brought many challenges but as Lorraine said “I love a challenge and enjoyed my career in education.”
Sr. Lorraine’s deep connection with the Sisters of Mercy then supported her to establish the Mercy Foundation. “The Mercy Foundation was established to support the marginalised in the community in various ways, including financially and educationally by looking closely at the needs of the members of the various community organisations the foundation was supporting.”
She spent five years as the Executive Director of the Mercy Foundation before moving to Canberra to train parishes and the community in supporting Refugees who were settling in the capital city.
This began a twenty plus year career working with Asylum Seekers and Refugees and setting up various projects to assist them. Highlights include setting up the first House of Welcome at Canley Vale, Detention Centre work, the Community Links domestic programme with the Mercy Refugee Services and setting up projects through Mercy Works nationally to assist refugee children to transition into the Australian school system.
“It became evident that it was difficult for children who had come from a third world country with no education, into a first world country with a very structured educational system.”
“In 2017, I retired from my work with asylum seekers and refugees. I felt I had contributed as much as I could and was looking for a different challenge.”
Sr. Lorraine has always had a strong commitment to the work of Catherine McAuley. Her extensive involvement with Sisters of Mercy and passion to work with those who are most margnialised has led her to join the Board of Mercy Connect.
“Ensuring Mercy Connect values are operating in supporting the most marginalised with dignity and respect is critical in our role as Board,” she said.