Posted by Kerry Martin
on 23 July 2020
When it comes to MOFS, (Mothers of Former Students), Marie Grafen is well qualified. She has been attending MOFS functions for more than 45 years. Her four sons, Paul (1980) Christopher (1981), Damien (Dec) (1983) and Kieran (1984) are Old Collegians of De La Salle Malvern. Her daughter, Marita, married Old Collegian, Alan Mercer (1989), and her grandson Giles Mercer is currently in Year 8. Giles' younger brothers, Finian and Isaac will join him in the near future. During this time Marie, through her involvement in a social justice group, called the Mission Awareness Group, has raised more than $250,000 towards Lasallian mission projects around the world. In her own words, Marie has shared the work of the Group with our Roll Call readers. I'm sure, like me, you will be impressed by their efforts.
"In 1982, Br Hillary appealed to the Mother's Auxiliary, as it was known then, for bandages to send to the Brother's mission in Papua New Guinea. Mrs Philomena Docherty was the President of the Auxiliary at the time and she rallied some of the mothers together to meet the need. A group of us volunteered and we would meet regularly, initially at the Brother's residence and later at my home.
We would meet and swap stories and share many laughs as we busily converted old sheets into hundreds if not thousands of bandages over the years. When Br Hillary retired, we no longer had access to affordable freight and suddenly were confronted with mounting shipping costs, so we found ourselves evolving into a fund raising group to pay for the bandages to be sent to those in need. Our fund raising efforts centred mostly on film luncheons, which attracted many De La Salle mothers and other supportive folk. Over the years as the practicality of making and shipping bandages diminished we refocused our efforts on general fund raising for the Brother's Missions around the world. The Luncheons proved enormously successful and over the years the Mission Action Group has been privileged to hear about the efforts of the Brothers outreach work caring for the most marginalised within Australia and in the developing world. These efforts have strengthened our sense of being part of the wider De La Salle family as well as our bonds of friendship with each other. During this time we have watched our sons and now our grandsons sharing the same Lasallian tradition. The Group, though now slightly less in numbers, still continues to meet monthly and we welcome new members who may like to join us. Everyone is welcome. Recently we were delighted to hear from Br Paul Toohey (1969) in PNG that our funds ($1,000) went towards installing bubble drinking taps at the school in Bomana. We are grateful to all the Brothers who have worked with us over the years. They have enriched our lives forever."