Mercy Global Concern

Field Visit to Newfoundland by Denise Boyle fmdm, Director Mercy Global Action

Reports: October 31, 2016

Denise Boyle fmdm visited the Mercy family in Newfoundland during the week of 10-18 October, 2016 where she engaged with Sisters, Associates, groups and individuals in a mutual learning process. As Director of Mercy Global Action she met with strategic groups like the Sisters of Mercy Leadership Team - Srs. Elizabeth Davis, Sheila O’Dea, Diane Smyth and Elizabeth Marrie and many others.

L-r (clockwise): Denise Boyle fmdm,
Elizabeth Marrie rsm, Elizabeth Davis rsm,
Sheila O'Dea rsm

A “field visit” from Mercy Global Action? Sr. Denise explained why spending time with the Mercy family in different countries is an important element of the Mercy Global Action (MGA) programme. The purpose of a field visit is threefold. One is to meet the Sisters and Members of the Mercy family who are engaged in work for justice, especially those who are linked into the Global Action conference calls. The second purpose is to see some of the work for justice firsthand, which is always informative and inspiring, plus a means of sharing best practice; and the third is to share the Global Action Programme, especially its work on behalf of Mercy at the United Nations. She noted that sharing the global programme provides the opportunity to receive comments and suggestions as to how MGA could best support members of the Mercyworld, engaged in work for justice. The MGA Team represents the Mercy family more effectively when addressing systemic justice at regional and international levels.

Denise Boyle fmdm addressing MIRP groups

Denise facilitated an afternoon with 84 members of the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) groups. She was the keynote speaker at the Speaker’s Forum, organised annually by the Mercy and Presentation Sisters, that was held on the evening of Friday, October 14 and all day Saturday October 15 with 92 participants. During the lunch break a group from this conference joined a public demonstration opposing provincial government funding cuts. Later that day Denise had a brief meeting with Ms. Maude Barlow of the ‘Council of Canadians’ since she was in St. John’s at the time.

Sr. Margie Taylor introduced Denise to and described the work of Stella’s Circle (a social action, housing and vocational training enterprise of the United Church of Canada) and of the prison in St. John’s. Margie arranged for Denise to speak during a meeting of the ‘Coalition Against Human trafficking’, which included members of two police forces, the Salvation Army, Border security, sexual assault nursing personnel, Status of Women’s Group and Margie herself. Denise and Margie met with Laura Winters of S.H.O.P. (Safe Harbour Outreach Project) of the local women’s centre, a group engaged in harm reduction for those involved in the sex trade.

Forum Coordinating Committee
L-r: Denise Boyle fmdm, Ms. Kim Kelly,
Bride Power pbvm,
Ms. Marilyn Stack, Betty Morrissey rsm

Denise enjoyed a festive harvest meal with “New Canadians”, the farmers of the organic garden at the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, where Sr. Mary Tee is Director assisted by Sr. Marcella Grant. Just after that she spent time touring ‘The Gathering Place’ with the Administrator, Joanne Thompson, who described the comprehensive program there for the homeless and vulnerable, referred to as ‘guests’. Because the place was a beehive of activity Denise was able to experience the full scope of ministry there and meet many of the guests and volunteers. The Gathering Place is housed in a recently renovated former Mercy school, located in the heart of St. John’s. The project was founded and is operated by both the Presentation and Mercy Congregations.

On October 16 Denise flew to Stephenville on the west coast of Newfoundland, accompanied by Sr. Mary Tee where members of the West Coast Fracking Committee were awaiting their arrival. There the group shared information about recent events in Newfoundland where, thanks to their efforts and the efforts of others including the Roman Catholic religious leaders, planned fracking was put on hold. Denise had a separate meeting with Raymond Cussons, a representative of the Northern Peninsula Fracking Group, and with the Board of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice in St. John’s.

Denise also met with individual sisters from east and west of Newfoundland, to hear of their various ministries and engagement in ecology and justice issues. She was warmly welcomed into the community of St. Bride’s Convent for meals and conversation when she was not on the road!

We express sincere gratitude to Denise for taking this time among us and to Mercy International Association for supporting her field visit. She covered a great deal in a short time with little time for sight-seeing!

We express a special thanks to Denise for sharing her knowledge, her expertise and for her gentle and sensitive presence among us. We hope that she learned much about the wonderful energy and action among so many in this part of the world in the cause of ecology and justice. We thank her for widening our horizons regarding serious world issues and helping us to understand how closely we are connected.

Diane Smyth rsm - Newfoundland Leadership Team
Denise Boyle fmdm - Director Mercy Global Action

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