Travelling Sisters roll up their sleeves for Aussie flood victims


The spirit of Australia’s first Saint Mary MacKillop lives on, as two Sisters prepare to travel Australia as part of a unique initiative that will see grants of up to $10,000 being given to community projects that are helping those most devastated by the nation’s recent floods.

From March to October 2011, the Mary MacKillop Foundation's 'Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery' will see two Sisters from the Sisters of St Joseph drive to towns all across Australia in a Travelling Sisters tour van.

The Sisters will be raising funds to give grants of up to $10,000 to community projects that are helping those affected by the 2011 floods.

Every year the Mary MacKillop Foundation invites community-based self-help projects to apply for a 12-month grant of up to $10,000, with 40 successful applications chosen at the end of each year.

In addition, the Foundation will provide up to 40 extra grants that will be reserved for projects that focus on disaster recovery across Australia, in addition to 40 grants for all other small life changing projects. The Roadshow will be raising money to help meet the extra grants. Applications open today, Tuesday 25 January, six months earlier than usual.

"Our nation has seen what is probably its most devastating series of natural disasters, resulting in a loss of lives, homes, businesses, farms, schools and much more," Mary MacKillop Foundation CEO Sam Hardjono said.

“If we were to ask what St Mary MacKillop would be doing if she were alive today, we know she would be helping rebuild communities and the lives of the victims affected by these disasters.”

Never see a need without trying to do something about it

The Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery will visit schools and town centres in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, encouraging them to help others in need in any way they can, including to roll up their sleeves to help their own communities, and to also donate money to the small-life changing projects that are directly helping the flood relief.

Sister Julianne, one of the Travelling Sisters commented: “In the same way that Australia’s first Saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop responded to the needs of her time, the Mary MacKillop Foundation responds to the needs of our time to relieve suffering and give hope. This is in keeping with Mary MacKillop’s philosophy to 'never see a need without trying to do something about it'.”

Every dollar that is donated during the Roadshow will go directly to small life changing projects with a particular regard to disaster recovery. None of the money raised will go to the costs of administering grants or the Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery. Instead, every cost will be covered by the Foundation so that the greatest needs are met.

“We are calling on all community-based self-help projects to visit our website and apply for funding that will help them meet even more needs in a greater way," Mr Hardjono said.

"The Mary MacKillop Foundation is looking for small life changing projects that help people to overcome destitution, isolation, and the effects of misfortune. Most importantly, a project must assist people in achieving an increased measure of self-reliance and human dignity."

Mr Hardjono said grants will not be based on the amount of donations received during the Roadshow. Rather the Foundation will meet its commitment to provide grants of up to $10,000 to 40 small life changing projects as well as up to 40 equal grants to disaster recovery projects by the end of 2011.

“The effects of these disasters will be felt for a long time and we are committed for the long-haul. We are providing funding that will see these projects through 2012 to help continue meeting the needs,” Mr Hardjono said.

How to apply for grants

Small life changing projects can apply for grants by filling out the application form at the Mary MacKillop Foundation website.

Go to ‘Receive Support’ à ‘Projects’ at

Applications open on Tuesday 25 January.

How to donate to projects

To donate to small life changing projects, including disaster recovery projects, go to and click ‘Donate’.


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