Testimony of Aunty Togiab McRose Elu (known as Aunty Rose)
Aunty Rose is a Torres Strait Islander, and works for Anglicare in Brisbane as a family support counsellor. She lives very simply, for example, mostly uses public transport. Aunty Rose is also an advocate for government policies which would have Australia shift away from our dependence on coal to renewable energy.
1. How does your faith describe the relationship with earth/ creation/ all beings?
As a seafaring person, my faith revolves around the earth, sea and what is in it, and my spiritual link to them.
2. Which sacred text inspires you to act for change?
My upbringing in my strong culture, heritage and traditions inspire me to act for change.
3. How does your faith and/or your community with others provide you with a guide to life?
Sharing stories with one another and upholding the integrity of our beliefs; and at the same time respecting others’ values.
4. Is there a time of the year or a tradition in your faith when your community looks at how we live and consider how we could change it and live with less?
When we celebrate the coming of the Gospel to our shores on the Torres Strait Islands, an event we call the “Coming of the Light”. The London Missionary Society brought the Gospel across to our part of the world.
5. What does your faith tradition teach about simplicity? What are the attitudes to material consumption in your faith?
The air that I breathe in daily, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation surrounding me, this gives me energy to live and accept others in my life.
6. Can you share a story of a change you have tried to make in your own life when it comes to diet (moving towards a plant-based diet and reducing food waste), mobility (decreasing use of car and plane) or renewable energy use?
When I left my home island and came into contact with the western world, everything was changed from diet to everyday living. This was foreign to me and I was trying to adjust, but later on I realised how the modern life I was exposed to was affecting the whole way of my culture. I now remain focused on not losing my culture and heritage and beliefs, which energize my everyday living.
7. What was it like to work to make these changes? What was difficult? What was rewarding? How have you persevered?
I want to remain who I am and what I believe in, and stay focused at all times on sharing my knowledge with others and educating those who are not aware of my culture and heritage.
8. How does your faith help you in times of struggles, changes and new beginnings?
My motivation and strong vision to overcome obstacles and, above all, my prayerful reflection each day.