SIS­TERS-IN-ARMS

NZ Life & Leisure - - That’s The Spirit -

Do­mini­cans world­wide are very much into women’s is­sues, Mary says. “Some years ago when it was a big topic, one of our sis­ters was very ac­tive in work­ing with Filipino brides, an­other was work­ing in women’s refuges. We are ac­tive in rais­ing aware­ness of, and pe­ti­tion­ing against, mod­ern slav­ery. We speak out about the con­di­tions of mi­grant work­ers here in New Zealand. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the Do­mini­can or­der of both sis­ters and fri­ars has a per­ma­nent so­cial jus­tice desk at the UN. Mary has taken a prin­ci­pled stance to her en­vi­ron­ment. “I was born in 1938 and moved five times be­fore age four; there­fore there was a sense of not know­ing where you be­long in the land. I have lived here at Teschemak­ers longer than I have lived any­where else. In re­li­gious life, we kept mov­ing. So, since the early 1990s, I have been able to claim the Waitaki River and Ao­raki (Mt Cook) as my river and my moun­tain, but be­fore then I didn’t have ei­ther. I didn’t have that sense of be­long­ing. “And be­cause I be­came at­tached to the Waitaki River, I helped or­ga­nize a protest ex­hi­bi­tion – Artists Against Aqua – at the For­rester Gallery in Oa­maru in 2003, and put in a sub­mis­sion to the En­vi­ron­ment Court op­pos­ing Project Aqua, the damming of the Waitaki. “There were sev­eral oth­ers with me in­clud­ing film-maker Bron­wyn Judge and Anne Te Mai­haroa-Dodds of Waitaha, and we made a sub­mis­sion to­gether on the spir­i­tu­al­ity of the river – the right of the river to be a river feed­ing the peo­ple around it.”

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