May 15, 2013
Watering the Roots at the Wellspring of Mercy –a month long renewal programme for Sisters of Mercy—commenced on 1st July. Throughout this month of July, 25 Sisters of Mercy from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Peru, Samoa and the United States have gathered at Mercy International Centre to seek refreshment and renewal and to discern more clearly the invitation of the Spirit in how to live out the mission of Mercy in our church and world.
In the fourth and final week of Watering the Roots at the Wellspring of Mercy, Ray Maria McNamara rsm engaged the group on the topic: “For the Love of God: Mercy Spirituality in the Context of Ecological Urgency”.
Participants explored links between a love of nature and a response to ecological concerns that is rooted in Mercy spirituality. They worked to develop a shared understanding of ‘Mercy spirituality’, and discussed ecological issues and concerns. Time was structured to allow for input from Ray Maria, group sharing and conversation, personal prayer/reflection, and direct experiences of nature.
Ray Maria, who led this week, currently serves as the director of Mission Advancement for the South Central Community of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She is a theologian whose area of expertise is Christian Spirituality, and her published books include: Interdependence and the God Quest: A Christian Ecological Spirituality and Spirit and Nature: The Study of Christian Spirituality in a Time of Ecological Urgency.
Watch this video to hear Ray Maria speak of her time with this renewal group (00:10:33)
In the third week of Watering the Roots at the Wellspring of Mercy renewal programme for Sisters of Mercy, participants from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Peru, Samoa and the United States were accompanied by Mary C Sullivan rsm.
Mary is a historian, teacher, and noted author on Catherine McAuley and other early Mercy women, and her published works include among other sources Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy (1995, reprinted 2000); The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley, 1818-1841 (2004); and the recently published biography of Catherine, The Path of Mercy: The Life of Catherine McAuley (2012).
In this week, Mary led the group through the life and words of Catherine, as discovered in her letters, the original Rule and Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine’s ‘Suscipe’, the early biographies of Catherine written by those who knew her personally, and other primary sources.
As the group discovered, Catherine McAuley still has very much to say to Sisters of Mercy, especially today, as we commit ourselves to the renewal of our personal and communal lives and ministry. Catherine took Jesus' invitation, ‘Follow me,’ very seriously. What she tried to be and do as she strove to ‘resemble Jesus Christ in some one thing at least’ speaks to the heart of our Mercy renewal. Her example, values, instructions, actions, and sufferings offer us encouragement and motivation for conversion.
Mary summarizes some of the themes of this week in these three video clips. The first video addresses Catherine’s unfailing confidence in the providence of God; themes emerging from the original Rule and Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy, and scriptural influences on Catherine’s spirituality are addressed in the second clip. In the third video, Mary speaks about Catherine’s ‘Suscipe.’
In the second week, Elaine Wainwright rsm (Brisbane, Australia) built upon the foundations created by Elizabeth and deepened the exploration of what it means to embody mercy in today’s world.
Elaine is a biblical scholar with a particular expertise in the study of the gospels. One of her passions is to explore the gospels with others as we bring our lives and the Word together. Throughout the week, she led the renewal group in engaging the theme of embodied mercy in the Gospel of Matthew. The group brought their own reflections on embodied mercy into dialogue with the beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew. They focused in particular on the ways in which different Gospel characters together with Jesus embody mercy and the ways Earth and all its constituents are likewise embodied in this gospel story of mercy.
Watch this video to hear a summary of Elaine's presentations and interactions with the group (00:13:07)
In the first week, Elizabeth Davis rsm (Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy, Newfoundland) led the group in exploration of the context in which vowed religious life finds itself today. The group focused upon the mosaic of realities of our Earth, society, church and Mercy community and rejoiced in the emerging signs of transformation among us.
Participants gathered in the Doyle Room at Mercy International Centre
Watch this video to hear a summary of Elizabeth's presentations and interactions with the group (00:10:55)
In an effort to share more broadly the excellent scholarship and input of these four Mercy theologians and scripture scholars who are accompanying the renewal group, Mercy International Association has asked Adele Howard rsm (Institute of Australia and Papua New Guinea) to produce additional more in-depth videos of some of the presentations throughout the month. These videos will begin to be available to E-news readers the week of Mercy Day 2012.
For those who would like to participate in the 2013 renewal program to be held at Mercy International Centre, the dates of the 2013 Watering the Roots at the Wellspring of Mercy programme are from 2nd – 29th June 2013. (Please note the change from the month of July to the month of June.)
Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm – Assistant Director, Spirituality and Heritage
Elizabeth Davis rsm - Sisters of Mercy, Newfoundland
Elaine Wainwright rsm - Brisbane Congregation
Mary C Sullivan rsm - Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Ray Maria McNamara rsm - Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Adele Howard rsm - ISMAPNG