Four Sisters of Mercy, all of them Tongan-born, work on the main island of Tongatapu, with houses in the villages of Lapaha, established from Christchurch in 1964, and Kolonga, opened in 1991.
The Congregation is committed to a range of social and educational initiatives, supporting projects aimed at increasing self-determination and reducing poverty.
One sister works in parish/village ministry and draws on her experience as a teacher and counsellor in responding to local needs. Another is co-ordinator of the Diocesan Office for Justice and Development and facilitates justice education. As Director of Caritas Tonga she encourages initiatives for parish-based development projects, ensuring that these meet funding criteria and are accountable to donor agencies.
Two sisters currently teach at Takuilau College, a co-educational secondary school in Lapaha; one is Deputy Principal and in charge of English, the other teaches Religious Education and English and has special interests in pastoral support of students and developing care of the earth projects. Education remains a priority in Tonga, helping young people to find their place in a global society.
Sisters continue to support women at parish level, especially through the Catholic Women’s League, in pursuit of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. They encourage women to save together for water tanks, vegetable gardens, improved nutrition and hygiene.
As in all societies, gender issues and poverty impact on family life in Tonga, and women often find support by cooperating to better their lives and to challenge long-held social and cultural assumptions.
The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy
Reaching out to touch lives
Mercy – the womb love of God
Ministry at Takuilau College
Caritas - community development in Tonga
Re-cycling at Takuilau College