Approximately 130 people crammed Ulladulla’s Catholic Curch Hall last Wednesday for the local Catholic Women’s League’s annual spring morning tea.
If the food wasn’t enought to leave attendees satisfied, the entertainment certainly did the trick with the Catholic Church Choir and local performers Noel Butler and Trish Roberts both receiving resounding applause.
An abundance of lucky door prizes ensured no-one left disappointed while two parishioners were lucky enough to win the major raffles on the day – two quilts made by Milton’s Dara Ivkovic.
The winners were Marie Cottam and Billie Leake with all proceeds from the raffle going to East Timor.
Performers Noel butler and Trish Roberts were a big hit with the crowd, with Noel recounting stories from their recent trip, which included a healing ceremony at the former Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz.
Noel said he had been invited to Poland by an Auschwitz survivor who had tried, unsuccessfully, to forget the horrors of what she experienced and who had “kept it hidden away”. She had contacted Noel because he was part of another race that had faced annihilation and who was someone that still held his cultural values close to his heart.
Noel said that while it took “quite a while” to organise the trip he had been committed to helping a total of four Auschwitz survivors with the healing process and promised he would get there. As word spread that he would be travelling overseas he received a number of other invitations to perform at locations in the UK and Ireland.
Noel said he had particularly vivid memories of sitting down with 12 kids in Northern Ireland-six Catholics and six Protestantsa- “who absolutely hated one another”. But after a night with Noel and Trish they were all doing artwork together. “In the end they didn’t want to go,” Noel told the audience. They wanted to come to Australia. That was very, very rewarding for us to see the change in people by talking, sharing and listening to one another.
Noel said the trip to Auschwitz was “very hard” for both Trissh and himself. They were escorted to a location two or three kilometers from the main Auschwitz building (which is now a museum). It gave us a very horrible feeling the moment we got there,” Noel said. “To go in there with the survivors was very,very hard. Noel said he had felt he was not alone and that he was joined by his family’s spirit. “That was an experience I will never, ever forget,” he said.
Since returning home Noel and trish have been contacted by the BBC who are keen to do a documentary on what they have been doing. They have also received numerous requests to return to the UK and other countries, including Palestine.
Noel and Trish help promote the message that reconciliation is about understanding and sharing and a willingness to accept on another “because we are different on equal terms”.
Story : Stuart Carless: Ulladulla Times
Noel Butler $ Trish Roberts Ulladulla Catholic Church Choir
Photos: D. Lyon. Milton/Ulladulla CWLA