Sr Maryanne Loughry RSM
From my first JRS meeting in 1987 I have continued to enjoy how much JRS has shifted and changed to accommodate the needs of displaced persons in our world. When I first started working with JRS we placed considerable focus on the needs of the Indochinese people in refugee camps throughout South East Asia. With the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) the situation in South East Asia evolved to include detention centres, the screening of asylum seekers and the return of those found not to be refugees. Today we are still working in detention centres and assisting returnees.  In addition we now have the amazing challenge of more than half of the world’s asylum seekers and refugees dwelling in urban settings. While JRS has continued its powerful presence in refugee camps we have now also taken up the challenge of how best to serve within these new settings. 

One of the great strengths of JRS has been our very clear mandate of accompanying, serving and pleading the cause of the displaced. In addition, we have such great support and strength from the Society of Jesus, the wider Ignatian family and the many who have come to know us through working with us and supporting our projects. As one who frequently crosses borders I know the immense hospitality that follows from saying that I work for JRS.

The people we serve resource us along the way, their stories impelling us to respond, to share their situation and concerns. Our advocacy at every level gives comfort in the knowing that we are endeavouring to address the structural cause of displacement in a manner consistent with what we have seen and heard and experienced. My own recent work in the Pacific has led me to new insights into what it means to anticipate displacement and what communities experience long before they must move.  In JRS there are always new insights to absorb and respond to.

Sr Maryanne Loughry RSM

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