Tea cup call out

Your scones can be light and fluffy, your tea the finest there is, but it’s the cup that makes the High Tea reach great heights. And that’s what the students and staff from Our Lady of Mercy College in Heidelberg are intending to provide at their Grand High Tea in August 2017.

The school is already in planning mode for McAuley Community Services for Women High Tea Appeal next year. They want their high tea to be the grandest high tea in Melbourne and have launched a ‘call out’ for china tea cups and saucers and tea sets. Already, the response has been overwhelming with 200 tea cup and saucer sets donated by past pupils and Sisters of Mercy.

OLMC will host its Grand High Tea in 2017 to raise awareness of women in crisis situations and how work undertaken by McAuley Community Services for Women supports these women. It will also raise money to support this work.They are hoping for300 to 400 people at the event.

Marie Jenkins, Community Development and Events Coordinator at OLMC, said the cup of tea has always been a symbol of the Mercy hospitality begun by Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Certainly, Sisters of Mercy have told stories over the decades of sitting with distressed women in the middle of the night as they sipped on a cuppa.

In an interview a couple of years ago Sr Mary Dennett said she remembers sitting around the kitchen table of the safe house where she worked, sipping tea at all hours of the night and well into the morning. “Many of the women who came to Mercy Care, the 24 hour safe house run by the Mercy Sisters in Melbourne, wanted comfort and a cuppa. They wanted someone to help settle their children and to listen to the trauma they had endured,” she said of her work almost 20 years ago at Mercy Care, now known as McAuley Care.

"When a woman arrived in the middle of the night, we would put the kids to bed, make a cuppa and sit with her and let her cry and talk until she didn’t want to talk anymore. Then we would settle her into a bed. The next day we would help get her to a refuge or to court,” Sr Mary said.

Marie said OLMC wanted to do their part to continue this tradition and offering hospitality was an important part of the OLMC culture.

The 2017 Grand High Tea will be sipped from some very lovely cups if people are willing to go through their cupboards and part with some long-forgotten China ware.

“It is well known that a cup of tea is better enjoyed when partaken from a beautiful fine China cup with matching saucer! With that in mind, we are establishing a set of classic teacup, saucer and plate sets for use at the high tea and for possible use by many other Mercy organisations at future fundraising and social functions,” Marie said.

“We are already lending them out to people for events and we are hoping that down the track we can formalise the arrangement so that the groups borrowing the vintage tea sets will receive information about McAuley and make a donations to the organisation.”

OLMC wants donations of cup, saucer and plate sets, and teapots. Many people have collections of these that are seldom used. They do not need to be ‘collectors’ items’ but sets that can be used for special events.

If you are willing to donate some lovely China please take it to OLMC, 52 Cape St Heidelberg, or Mercy Education Ltd, 720 Heidelberg Rd, Alphington.

Or you can contact Marie Jenkins, OLMC Heidelberg to make alternative arrangements. Her details are: phone 94557596 or email mjenkins@olmcheidelberg.catholic.edu.au.

18 October 2016