MARY Mackillop once said “never see a need without doing something about it”.
To this day, sisters of the order she founded are continuing her legacy. Some were at a Warrnambool church on Sunday selling handicrafts to support some of the poorest women in the world.
Sister Chris Symonds set up stalls at Our Lady Help of Christians Church displaying an array of colourful bags, purses, socks, scarves and cushions — all made by women living in Peru.
Sister Symonds said nuns of the Josephite order in Peru had established workshops in poor areas that give women a skill that enables them to earn a fair income.
“We buy the goods off the women up-front and then sell them in Australia, under our Ethica Access-ories name,” Sister Symonds said.
“It’s a not-for-profit organisation and a member of fair trade.
“I have a little shop in Penola that sells the items and I travel around to different parishes setting up a stall after mass.
“The items are also sold at the Mary Mackillop Heritage Centre in Melbourne and in Sydney.”
Sister Symonds said she approached Our Lady Help of Christians parish priest Laurie O’Toole after visiting st Joseph’s in Warrnambool earlier in the year. She said there were now more than 200 women learning a skill in one of the workshops.
“In Lima, you see people coming down out of the mountains to settle,” Sister Symonds said.
“They start their houses with a few pieces of matting and a bit of tin, and then buy bricks one by one.
“Programs like this are having a direct impact on the lives of these women.”
Sister Symonds said items could also be found online at ethica.org.au