Stirrings of the Spirit

Just another site

How Can We Avoid ‘Slave’ Food?


634073-f6c09254-f2ec-11e4-9134-cf9443e7fd03 Workers at Covino Farm in Longford. Source: News Limited

Some of Australia’s biggest food suppliers and supermarkets are facing a national backlash after investigations into the exploitation of farm workers was revealed in an investigation by ABC’s Four Corners program.

The Four Corners report titled ‘Slaving Away’ looked into the slave-like conditions of foreigners employed on 417 working holiday visas across Australia, exposed the disturbing practices of suppliers linked to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Costco, IGA as well as KFC and Red Rooster.

The program revealed migrant workers employed on farms picking fruit and vegetables or processing chicken, were in some cases being paid wages as low as $3.95 an hour. They found some were working 22 hour shifts, being provided dog beds to sleep on and were asked to perform sexual favours to extend their visa or improve their working conditions.

Even more shocking, there was also fears of organised…

View original post 832 more words


May 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaking Report On Exploitation In Australian Fashion Industry


1429168446277 Clothing brands report card based on treatment of workers. Image via

A damning report on Australia’s fashion industry has just been released revealing that nine out of 10 companies supplying clothes to Australian consumers do not know where their cotton is sourced from, and most fail to pay overseas workers enough to meet their basic needs.

Next week marks the two-year anniversary since Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse in which more than 1100 workers died, yet this recent report card on the industry have revealed that many still continue to exploit their workers and provide them with poverty-level wages.

The second annual Australian Fashion Report, to be released on Friday by Baptist World Aid, points to the increased risk of child and forced labour in the garment industry because most local companies are unable to trace or fail to monitor their supply chains.

The report evaluated 59 clothing…

View original post 1,074 more words

April 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RIP Bishop Michael

At the end of March, the equivalent of my boss passed away. However, I work for the Catholic Church, so it doesn’t work the way a normal corporation would.

At the end of March, my bishop passed away. That would be a loss in itself. but working for him adds this whole other element of loss to it.

Its hard to describe how this loss feels. I don’t know what sort of relationship other people have with their boss or their bishop. But I know that my relationship with him was special, like it was with all of us in the office that worked for him.

My friend’s daughter said that she felt like her grandfather had died when she learned the news of his passing. I tried to find a relationship that can describe what it feels like I lost and I struggle. I lost a friend. I lost a mentor. I lost a role model. I lost a source of wisdom and knowledge.

Bishop Michael Putney was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2012. We were told he had months to live and we prayed for a miracle. It was another 15 months before died. It was a year longer than expected. And, as described by him, the happiest year of his life.

He confronted his own mortality with such grace. He took each day, one at a time. And with each day he inspired and loved us just that little bit more. He showed no fear to us because he knew at the end of it all, he would be enveloped in the love of God.

With stomach cancer, he found it difficult to eat. The last time I saw him was at the Annual Bishop’s dinner. All he could eat was a couple of spoonfuls of soup. Usually Bishop Michael loved a good meal and a few glasses of wine, and it was always so sad that he couldn’t enjoy these simple things anymore. When he passed away, I was sad, but also joyful. I imagined him being welcomed into heaven and a beautiful feast of food that he could finally eat, a good bottle of wine, some old friends and family. I imagine they’d have a great time. But then I’d feel even happier, because I know heaven is even better than that. Heaven is better than my human mind can even comprehend, and he was finally there.

I have moments where my eyes become spontaneously wet, despite my claims that I’m joyful. I will have some memory of him, of some moment we shared, but then I realise there are no more memories to be made with him. That makes me sad.

I remember going on pilgrimage with him in 2005 to WYD in Germany. We travelled through Turkey and Greece. I remember sitting on the floor of our cruise ship waiting for it to dock, and Bishop Michael telling us about the Greek Orthodox Church. It might not sound fascinating, but it was. I remember thinking that this was a man I could listen to for the rest of my life and I have tried to take every opportunity since then to do just that.

I remember one night after Mass, a young man telling us that he’d never seen the Sound of Music, and Bishop and I did a medley of the songs for him, leaving him with no more idea of the plot but us all laughing. I remember a couple of weeks before he died, and we were in the office kitchen. I had done something rather silly, and another colleague started singing “Its a jolly holiday with Mary” from Mary Poppins, and the bishop dancing along to her song.

I remember the times we laughed together. We laughed a lot.

I remember embarrassing him on those various time we encountered celebrities. He would usually ignore them, and I would turn into a bumbling idiot. He would joke he’d never let me back into the Qantas lounge.

I have too many memories to ever remember them all to share at one time.

I know that I was blessed to know him and even more blessed to work for him.



RIP Bishop Michael. We will always love you.


April 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A work of art

When I was younger, I had this great longer to be somebody’s muse, to inspire someone so much that they’d have to paint me, or write a story based on me, or write a song dedicated to me. There seemed to be a lack of artists, writers and musicians in my life, so as far as I know, i never inspired anyone to do any of those things.

The other day I was talking to someone who was an artist and she was telling me about an idea she had and how she made it come to reality and how it really was an act of love to bring this idea in her mind into something more tangible.

It made me think about God’s love for me, for each of us. The mere idea of us resulted in him creating us and this life we live. I don’t need to be an inspiration for some other piece of art, because in God’s eyes, I am a work of art. All the things that make me who I am, are something unique, and according to some, even beautiful.

Last year I watched a documentary called Waste Land. It shows artist Viz Muniz visiting a landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He meets the locals, takes photos of them, and transforms their images into magnificent art that ends up being sold for quite a bit of money. The looks on their faces when they see the finished product is amazing. After years of seeing themselves as nobodies in just work in the dump, they see themselves through a new set of eyes. The people whose stories we followed throughout the documentary make changes in their lives. With this new perspective, they have discovered a sense of empowerment, and are able to make changes in their life that they never dreamed possible previously.

My wish is that everyone can see themselves as art. Even if our essence is never captured by an artist or a musician or a writer in this lifetime, you are valued as one of God’s greatest works of art. He loved the idea of you, and created you. You are worth so much to him and he values you so much.

January 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anxiety Free Faithfulness

I recently had to undergo some surgery. it had the potential to become complicated, but it seemed to go well. Although the doctors’ bills seem to repeat the word complicated several times. I’m not feeling good and hopeful about what the future will hold without this health issue that could have been holding me back without my knowledge.

I asked for a lot of prayers prior to the surgery. I was feeling comfortable about the whole thing, but I know it doesn’t hurt to have people praying in the background. So I told more people than I probably usually would, just to get some extra prayers. 

I have bounced back pretty well, so I’ll give credit to all those prayers for helping with my speedy recovery and for blessing me with skilled surgeons.

A priest gave me Anointing of the Sick the evening before the surgery.  It was my first time receiving the sacrament and it felt very special.  I was grateful that it was offered to me as I don’t think I would have ever thought to have asked for it. It was comforting and hopefuly.  The priest said to me that the opposite of faith is anxiety.  I can’t say I felt anxious at all. I felt calm. I don’t know if my husband and the rest of my family felt that, but I was calm, so hopefully it was an indication of my faithfulness.

I wish that I could carry over that anxiety free faithfulness to other areas of my life. At work, i can whip myself into a fair panic of what I may have done wrong or forgotten to do, when really maybe all i need to do is take some time to pray and rediscover that faithfulness that I know is inside me.

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment