Nun says outback rain has boosted morale

Rockhampton Diocese pastoral worker, Sr Mary Kiely SJG, has said that last month's rain has had a huge impact on the morale of the families she works with in western Queensland, but there is still years of rebuilding ahead.

ABC Western Queensland reports that Sr Mary travels to remote sheep and cattle stations in an area stretching from Alpha to Bedourie, Birdsville, Quilpie and Longreach.

She told the radio station that there is a long way to go before families recover from years of drought.

"They're happy that they got a beginning, they're happy that they got water, some of the people I know had to leave their properties because they didn't have drinking water either for themselves or for their animals," she said.

"So in that sense that's a great delight to them and they have gone home, very few of the agistment cattle have come back because there's still not enough for them.

"In my more recent travels I'm discovering that while it was the first step on the bottom of the ladder to get a little rain, the...growth and the herbage has been slow in coming and it will take many many years before the people can restock."

Meanwhile rains have not broken the drought in many parts of Australia, and the National Council of Churches in Australia is promoting a "call for prayer in the face of drought" for this Sunday (24 July). The invitation was originally issued by the Australian Prayer Network and the Evangelical Alliance to all Churches. They have suggested that Sunday should mark the beginning of "a period of 40 days to 1st September, for church communities, groups and individuals to reflect and pray about issues raised by time of severe drought".

Rain goes some way to helping drought-hit towns (ABC Western Queensland 19/7/05)
A Call for Prayer in the Face of Drought (National Council of Churches in Australia)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Rockhampton - Diocesan Pastoral Services
Travels with God on wings and a prayer (Catholic Weekly 5/6/05)
An adventurer for God: Sister Mary Kiely (Madonna Magazine Contents May-June 2005)

Archbishop blames drought despair for suicide increase (CathNews 8/6/05)
Call for prayer as bush faces a 'winter of fear' (CathNews 2/6/05)
Bishops urge prayer for rain (CathNews 14/5/04)

Drought alert: the 2005 water crisis (London Independent 19/7/05)
A call for prayer in the face of drought (Insights 18/7/05)
Save our farmers, says S Korean Church (AsiaNews.it 19/7/05)
Living With Drought (Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology)
Great dividing rage (Sydney Morning Herald 2/7/05)
Ross Gittins: Why country people are more satisfied (Sydney Morning Herald 20/7/05)
Farmers says drought far from over (The Age/Australian Associated Press 1/7/05)
Churches to unite in prayer day for rain (Catholic Leader 17/7/05)
Drought despair blamed for suicide increase (ABC South-East NSW 7/6/05)

20 Jul 2005