December 08, 2015
The following news articles are available via the various Sisters of Mercy websites from around the world. The links associated with each article will take you to their respective websites.
Meet Sister Virginia Frazee, who has ministered in education for decades. Her best teaching advice? “You might have lesson plans, but you don’t know whether those will be the lessons.”
In Parramatta, on December 12th, 150 Sisters of Mercy and co-workers, gathered in the Mother Mary Clare Memorial Chapel for a Eucharistic Celebration to mark the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mass was followed by lunch in the Edith Angel Hall in Our Lady of Mercy College, next door.
The music chosen for the Mass reflected the central themes of Mercy and the Care of Creation as articulated in Laudato Si. Musicians and singers, drawn from OLMC Parramatta current and former students, Sisters of Mercy, family and friends, themselves reflected the wonder of creation in their sharing of their gifts to enhance the liturgy with beautiful singing and music.
In his homily, Fr Peter Confeggi, reflected on the counter-cultural nature of Mercy - particularly in the present space in which the world community finds itself. He challenged us with both the Gospel imperative that is always before us, and the invitation this Year of Mercy offers to each of us, to be Mercy, to live Mercy, to give and receive Mercy, in a world which desperately needs Mercy.
Following lunch, all present joined in a ritual where our "Local Doors of Mercy" were opened, symbolic of our desire to open our hearts, homes and places of ministry to those seeking Mercy, and in so doing to receive the Mercy that we also need.
This celebration marks the beginning of a year of activities in which Sisters of Mercy, and our ministry and mission partners, will join with the Universal Church, in celebrating, reflecting on, and living Mercy.
One way in which the Sisters of Mercy and our ministry and mission partners, locally and Internationally, will focus on Mercy is through the Mercy International Reflection Process, which also began with the commencement of the Year of Mercy. Through this four Stage process, Sisters of Mercy and all those with whom we partner in ministry, will have the opportunity to engage in a process of theological reflection, which leads us to action grounded in, and in response to, the needs of our times and the demands of the Gospel.
The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, as with other Sisters of Mercy around the world, will encourage, support and participate in small reflection groups drawn from our various communities and ministries.
On 5 December, 92 Sisters from the Brisbane Congregation gathered at Mercy Place, Bardon for the annual Advent Ritual.
This year our ritual included 'Opening the Door' for the year of Mercy and accepting the invitation to participate in the Mercy International Reflection Process. The front cover of the ritual booklet featured many doors including the red door of Baggot Street and All Hallows Convent door – our foundation house.
“Children who are two or three have a natural relationship with God. They have no problem accepting a Divine presence that they cannot see or hear. They learn through the heart and then let their head come in,” Sister Frances said.
The ‘Mercy-ing’ app provides users a morning inspiration and an evening reflection to frame their day and to be attentive to the events, interactions, relationships and circumstances of each day within the context of ‘being Mercy’.
Thirty five years ago Pedro Arrupe sj, a man of great spiritual depth and committed to justice, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service as a response to boat people fleeing Vietnam and Cambodia. To mark the anniversary, JRS USA has chosen to have an award dinner and honour three JRS team members. Denise Coghlan, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane Congregation is one of those being recognized. In Denise’s own words, “amazingly I am one of them and will travel with Srun Sony, our wonderful social worker for 20 years, to New York for an award dinner on 1 December”. Sr. Denise has served the displaced in Cambodia for the past 25 years, being one of the founding members of JRS Cambodia. She serves asylum seekers and refugees who seek protection in Cambodia, including the Montagnard who are not yet registered for the refugee status determination procedure, and stateless Rohigya and ethnic Vietnamese people.
Mercy Associate Lori Williams reflects on the Jubilee Year of Mercy: “My call to a deeper understanding of Mercy started a long time ago. I can't really say there was a specific moment or experience. It was more like a constant tugging on my heart.”
It was standing room only at the Eucharistic celebration and lunch at St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish in Kenthurst, in which past and present parishioners gathered, to honour and farewell Sr Anna Conway, rsm, after 30 years service.
Former Parish Priest Fr Chris Dixon joined current Parish Priest Fr Vincent Savarimuthu, and other concelebrating priests, in giving thanks to God for the humble and dedicated service of Sr Anna, since before the parish officially began. 30 years ago, Sr Anna was charged with bringing together the small parishes of Kenthurst and Dural, with a section of Castle Hill Parish, to form the new Kenthurst Parish. Focusing on the building of a community, Sr Anna contributed to the laying of a firm foundation upon which the thriving parish of today is built.
It was fitting that the Eucharistic celebration was filled with beautiful music and song, with Sr Anna having played a key part in fostering and developing a music ministry in the parish.
At the conclusion of Mass, the community to whom Sr Anna had devoted some much of her life, gave Sr Anna a sustained standing ovation. This deeply moving tribute was repeated at the end of the celebration lunch which followed Mass.
Over 400 people enjoyed a beautiful two course meal in the parish and school hall, which was prepared and provided by the members of the parish. The beauty of the table and hall decorations, the abundance of delicious home made meals and desserts, and the warm and generous hospitality offered to all presence, was a great testament to the strength of the Kenthurst community.
Representatives of various groups within the Parish and school paid tribute to Sr Anna, acknowledging her dedication, hard work, faithfulness and generosity. Many made mention of Sr Anna's ability to "enlist volunteers" to various roles within the parish. It seemed unanimous that one "Didn't/Couldn't say 'No' to Sr Anna", while acknowledging that Anna would never ask others to do what she would not do herself.
It was evident that in her 30 years of service, Anna had not only been pivotal in building the parish community from its inception, but that she was indeed one of the solid foundations upon which the thriving parish community now stands.
In reflecting on Sr Anna's contribution to the parish, one of the Parishioners added to Pope Francis' words in saying:
When we meet someone in love they teach us something about God, and Sr Anna has been our Master Teacher.
Niamh Conway was announced as the Mercy Captain for 2015 at the conclusion of the Mercy Mass for St Mary’s College, Ipswich. This student leadership position recognizes a Year 12 student who has shown commitment to the Mercy Tradition and who has communicated its values in her life at the College during her Senior year. The position, nominated by staff members, is awarded annually by St Mary’s College community in recognition of the student’s qualities which have emerged throughout the year as she has responded to the challenges of Senior life at St Mary’s College. In announcing Niamh as the 2015 Mercy Captain, recognition was given of her outstanding contribution to her College community, and also to her home Parish, Sacred Heart, Booval.
Asociada de la Misericordia Lori Williams reflexiona sobre el Año Santo de la Misericordia. «Mi llamado a una comprensión más profunda de la Misericordia empezó para mí hace mucho tiempo. No puedo indicar un momento ni una experiencia específica, era más como un tirón constante en el corazón».