In it Together: Sister Meredith Evans Inspires Young Leaders

In it Together: Sister Meredith Evans Inspires Young Leaders


Sister of Mercy, Meredith Evans, was recently awarded the title of Senior South Australian of the Year for dedicating her life to helping the vulnerable and inspiring others to do the same. It was most Australians’ first introduction to the lively 75-year-old, but Sister Meredith is no stranger to the St Aloysius College community. For more than two decades, Sister Meredith has been guiding students, old scholars and staff in their Mercy journeys and inspiring them to follow in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley.

Although not herself an SAC Old Scholar, Sister Meredith’s decision to pursue a vocation as a Sister of Mercy more than 50 years ago links her intrinsically to our ethos. Sister Patricia Pak Boy, ANZAC Peace Prize winner and Principal of St Aloysius College from 1970-1976, was one of Meredith’s key influences. 

“Sr Patricia came to talk about spirituality and theology, of how to be your best self…she spoke in a language that I understood as a 20-year-old,” Meredith said.

“I was always thinking you only get one shot at this life and I wanted to give it my best to make a difference in the world we’re living in.”

In February, Sister Meredith spent time with Year 6 and Year 12 Justice And Mercy Leaders, encouraging them to reflect on the significance of their roles in the SAC community, and on how they may utilise their own unique personalities and talents to make a difference.

“Young people always inspire me, they give me hope, and a sense that we are all in this together,” Meredith shared. 

“The young are on the verge of a whole new world opening up for them and they are open to new possibilities in a way that much older people sometimes find challenging. I don’t see us as being separate – the older and the younger – I think we are on a journey together. That is what encourages me, and something in me is deeply touched about their contribution to the world we are living in.” 

Year 12 JAM Leaders, Caitlin and Grace, were grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Meredith. 

“Sister Meredith is a very warm, loving and wise person. She really embodies Mercy and lives out her morals and values in every way. Meredith has a great sense of fostering and nurturing of the Mercy spirit and is able to bring people together no matter who they are. We enjoyed the time we spent with Meredith and after meeting her we have a greater understanding of what Mercy is and how we can live it every day,” they said. 

Equally, Meredith was impressed by the conviction with which students expressed their passion for social justice and their roles as JAM Leaders.

“I think what struck me was their sense of wanting to live out of Mercy values, and they named it as that: Mercy values. A whole understanding of Mercy is significant for every one of those students. And I think that SAC is really amazing to keep that alive, that vision, of Catherine McAuley, alive for new generations all the time. And that’s not an easy feat. St Aloysius students are not known for sitting back and saying, “someone else can do it.” They say, “we can do it.”

Meredith’s work for the last 15 years has predominantly centred on advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers, and Meredith says, “SAC has actively and courageously made a commitment to families and individuals who are in need. It’s incredibly inspiring, and I’m inspired by a lot of young people who have come through SAC. I know many of them, and the new generation of Young Mercy Links SA participants come from this school. That is incredibly encouraging, to see how this vocation of Mercy is taking on a new life.”

Young Mercy Links SA was established with support from Meredith in 2017 to provide avenues for young adults to continue engaging with community service post-school. The group is actively engaged in grassroots advocacy, and, with Meredith, members have travelled to Cambodia to assist with building houses for survivors of land mine explosions. 

“There is something very precious about the way St Aloysius College has, over time, fostered a sense of Mercy for new generations. We’ve got to keep that alive, the possibility of new ways of ‘being Mercy’, to be discovered.”

Ms Maddie Kelly
JAM Coordinator / Marketing & Communications Team