The “Standards for Mercy Archives” have been drawn up and approved for the care of the Collection owned by MIA and deposited at Mercy Congregational Archives, Herbert Street, Dublin, Ireland.
They are also proposed by the MIA, on the advice of the MIA Archives Committee, as a set of helpful standards or best practices which could beneficially guide the functioning of all Mercy Archives worldwide.
As all Mercy Archivists and researchers are aware, the worldwide Mercy archives hold the rich treasures of much of the intellectual property of the Sisters of Mercy of the world. These archives are precious “places of memory,” preserving many important details in the history of the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Church. As such, they are, in a sense, irreplaceable storehouses of pastoral knowledge and even renewal, providing information on the evolution of liturgy and forms of prayer, the sanctity of holy lives, the development of works of the apostolate, events in social history, the evolving shapes of religious governance structures, ecclesial friendships and conflicts, the character and personality of ecclesiastical leaders, and countless other topics.
From this carefully preserved information researchers and others can glean insights not only into the past arrangements, but also into present understandings, and future renewal of the mission of the Church and of the Sisters of Mercy and their co-workers. The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church has beautifully articulated these possibilities in its document: The Pastoral Function of Church Archives (February 2, 1997).
Through these “Standards for Mercy Archives,” the Mercy International Association affirms these goals and ideals in the hope that they will be observed in Mercy Archives throughout the world. The Association further hopes that the respective Mercy Archivists will not only devote their efforts to the best practices described below, but will also understand that their archival labor is indeed an essential ministry in the Church, and one that is deeply appreciated by all Sisters of Mercy.