‘Angel of Sydney’s waterfront’ plays Santa

Christmas hamper organisers Bernie Farrell, Sr Mary Leahy, Michael Kelly and Myron Fernandes with the gifts (Daily Cargo News/Ian Ackerman)

A Sydney Josephite sister is working around the clock delivering a little bit of Christmas cheer to the thousands of exhausted international seafarers arriving at Port Botany throughout the festive season. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Around 90 per cent of goods imported into Australia arrive by ship – many of those to be given as gifts this Christmas – so Sr Mary Leahy is letting seafarers know they are not forgotten at traditionally one of the loneliest times of the year for those who earn a living on the sea.

Known as the “angel of Sydney’s waterfront”, Sr Mary has put together more than 2000 Christmas hampers filled with chocolate and practical items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant as well as a hand-written card by dock workers and their families.

Sr Mary said most seafarers are at sea for at least 12 months at a time, in confined spaces and away from families and loved ones, so it’s a way of acknowledging their vital and tireless work.

“Sydney is one of the very few ports in the world where the maritime industry recognises that without seafarers there wouldn’t be an industry, Sr Mary said.

“Chaplains like myself do the best we can but I believe the welfare of seafarers should be a concern for the industry to respond to more than just churches.”


Sister is Santa to mariners (By Debbie Cramsie, The Catholic Weekly

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