Time to listen

Update from the Chair NSWBA Board

Photo: Time to Listen

There are four women and numerous children in the House being case managed by our two part time case managers and our new Executive Officer, Maggy Farago.

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Update to OLW parish, June 2017

Mary’s House has been working hard these past few weeks to bed down our internal procedures. We have a very experienced temporary person to oversee and advise our three case workers in their assessment of the many applicants recently seeking accommodation in Mary’s House. We are also currently seeking an experienced person as Executive Officer. Ten applicants for accommodation have been assessed in the last 2-3 weeks. Bearing in mind that our mission is to provide emergency accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence, if a woman is homeless or needing drug and alcohol services, we work to refer her into a suitable situation other than Mary’s House. We have beds free at the moment and are accepting referrals from all over NSW. Two women and their children are due to come into Mary’s House this week. Our number to call for referrals is (02)8937209       

As we approach the end of the financial year, remember that any donation you make to Mary’s House is fully tax-deductible. 

Update to OLW parish, 19th Jan 2017

 Mary’s House, a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, is open and full.
 An  initiative of  this parish, Mary’s House currently has five women and numerous children  resident.
 The  plan is that the  women will seek refuge in Mary’s House for up to three months while they  are  empowered and supported with  various specialist services such as legal, health and  transitional  housing.The big challenge is supporting the women when they leave Mary’s  House.  We are  considering how we can best help.

There are so many people and organisations to thank, many of them among you, our friends and parishioners. Our website, has articles on most of these services. We invite you to have a look, and subscribe to our e-bulletins. We’re also very active on social media, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (both @MarysHouseSyd). We’d love to converse with you! If you are interested in donating to Mary’s House, our preference is for gift cards where women can buy items they need, or money (through our secure online payment, or cheque or credit card).
Due to the amazing and enthusiastic response from our community we are not seeking more volunteers. This situation may change over time but for now we have reached capacity.
Now that we are open, the best way to refer clients to us is through the Domestic Violence Line, Toll free:
1 800 RESPECT or 1800 65 64 63. Thank you.
Emma Rossi, Marys House

Update to OLW parish, 16th Sept 2016

Mary’s House Appeal – This Weekend
Mary’s House, a refuge for women and children escaping domestic violence, will open its doors in October thanks to the generosity of parishioners and the community. The refuge has been refitted to accommodate up to 19 women and children in a safe and loving environment. Professionally qualified staff have been employed and many members of the parish and community have enlisted as volunteers. At the Masses this weekend, members of the Mary’s House team will speak about this important ministry and be again seeking your support for its ongoing operation.
What is our financial situation?
Mary’s House relies on community support for its operation. We have also received pledges of future support, including from the Mater Hospital. We are however still in need of your support to enable Mary’s House to be a sustainable ministry and also to expand the scope of assistance it can offer to its residents.
How you can help
We invite you to consider a 100% tax deductible financial donation, no matter how large or small:
$50 buys essential school kit for children in the refuge
$100 pays for counselling support session to women and children who've experienced trauma
$150 allows Mary's House to purchase childcare for one day so a mother in the House can organise her affairs or attend court
$500 support a positive self-esteem course for women and their children
$500 support a woman to access employment services and coaching support
$1500 pays for a woman and her children to stay in the House for a week
Who can you contact for more information?
 Emails to:
Facebook: @maryshousesydney, Twitter: @MarysHouseSyd, Instagram: @MarysHouseSyd
Sign up for our e-newsletter or to volunteer at:            

Update to OLW parish, Sept 2016

In many ways it’s hard to believe that Mary’s House was first discussed just 16 months ago. So much has been achieved in such a short time.
So much hard work, enthusiasm and generosity. So much encouragement from the Parish and support from our communities.
Reports in recent Bulletins have you up to date with where we are; about to open!!! About to provide help for women and children in desperate need.
Our funding appeals and activities over the past year or so have covered the cost of renovations and the operation expenses for the first year. Next weekend we will be seeking your support for the ongoing operation of Mary’s House. Presentations will be made by our volunteers at each Mass.
We know you are asked to contribute to many needs, all of them worthy. This appeal gives us a new opportunity to heed the words of Pope Francis, to walk with the poor and disadvantaged, to go to the peripheries, to recognise the smell of the sheep and experience the presence of Christ because that is where he is to found.

Progress Report to the parish of Our Lady of the Way, North Sydney, August 2016.

Exciting times for Mary’s House! Over 15 months of work by a truly dedicated team are at last coming to fruition. We are now on track to open Mary’s House by mid-Sept. We expect our builders to be out of the building by the end of August. That leaves us around two weeks to complete the fit out in readiness for our guests. We welcome Jacqueline Leonard as our Mary’s House Manager. She has already hit the ground running. We are progressively engaging and training many of those who have volunteered to help. A further appeal for still-needed funds will be held at Parish Masses on 17-18 Sept. Please also continue to help us with your prayers for the success of this wonderful project. More information:

Update to OLW parish, July 2016

We have some great news to share with you about our refuge for women and their children fleeing domestic violence: A milestone was reached last week when we signed a contract with our builder to carry out the Mary’s House renovations starting the same day and going for 9 weeks allowing us to hopefully open Mary’s House by mid-September.

Further, thanks to the generosity of donors, including our parishioners, we can now complete the renovations and operate Mary’s House for at least the first year. We continue to be astounded by the generosity of donors - individual, other faith groups, clubs and corporates - in our community, including donations of goods and professional & other services.

Finally, on the 8th June, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mater Hospital as a major community sponsor, to provide on-going financial assistance for the annual operating costs of Mary’s House. We are truly grateful to our friends at the Mater for this very significant support. 

We are currently recruiting for our Refuge Manager, applications at Volunteer information nights are this month with the second one to be held from 6:30-7:30 Friday 8 July in the Ron Dyer Centre. All welcome. Please pray that the Holy Spirit whose help for Mary’s House already apparent, will continue to watch over and guide us in this great project.

Progress Report to the parish of Our Lady of the Way, North Sydney, May 2016.

Great progress has been made toward the establishment of Mary’s House, a refuge on the lower North Shore for women and children escaping domestic violence. A contract for works to modify a property for this purpose is currently being negotiated and the recruitment process for a centre manager is underway. It is expected that Mary’s House will be open in September (slightly behind plan due to planning approvals and fundraising). In addition to the very generous support of parishioners and others, a Crowd Funding platform ( has been established and is helping create broad based community support. Thank you to all those who have offered their time, treasure and talents to this important ministry.

Progress Report to the parish of Our Lady of the Way, North Sydney, March 2016.

This exciting community project is now moving into a stage of very high activity. We have recently obtained Development Application consent from North Sydney Council and are close to signing a contract with our chosen builder for the necessary renovations. Our builder has indicated it should be able to complete the renovations by the end of June with a view to open Mary’s House in July. The Steering Committee continues to be amazed by the offers of pro bono help as well as on-going donations still coming from the wider lower North Shore community.  Please pray that God will continue to bless this wonderful project which has grown from an idea which originated in our Parish. Including OLW Parish donations and pledges, we have to date raised approximately $230,000, which will go towards the renovation, fit out and some of the first year’s operating costs. Naturally, we need to raise further funds to secure the ongoing operating costs of Mary’s House. Most women entering a refuge are not only without financial security, they are traumatised and this requires professional centre and case management, all of which translates into significant ongoing operating costs. A variety of fund-raising projects are planned, including a Walk for Mary’s House to Watson’s Bay on Sunday 17th April (details to follow later), crowd funding and dinners for prospective, significant donors.

A big ‘thank you’ to all parishioners who have helped us to date.
Roger Williams Chair, Mary’s House Steering Committee

Progress report

Progress Report to the parish of Our Lady of the Way, North Sydney, 30th January 2016.

We have obtained vacant possession of our property. Largely because of end-of-year holidays, there have been delays in the engagement of a builder to start work on refurbishing the property. However, this appointment has now been made and we expect that renovations will commence shortly.

We have raised just under $200,000 to date, mainly through the extraordinary generosity and support of you – our Parishioners. We sincerely thank all donors for your generosity to date. Outside the Parish, we have also received significant offers of pro bono community support from providers of food, furnishings and professional and other services. It appears that very little government funding may be possible in the near future.

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