Grassroots Ministry: New Foundations in Mercy
Anne Maria O'Carroll rsm (The Congregation)
Our foundress Catherine McAuley once said ‘Hurrah for foundations they make the young happy and the old young’. I’m sure this quote from Catherine in the early 1830s was understood very differently then compared to now. Those were the early days of new convents and many young and eager sisters.
I teach in an all girls secondary school of 720 in Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland. I will probably be the last Sister of Mercy to teach in this school which was founded in 1932. I teach many classes of Religious Education and Catherine and her charism are part of the conversations throughout the year. The idea of Catherine inheriting a fortune and using it for the poor of Dublin is always a positive point of engagement with our students.
Last September prior to Mercy day before we ever heard of Covid 19 I asked two senior classes the following question:
- If Catherine were alive in today’s Dublin what would she spend her fortune on in order to help those most in need?
Given the ongoing problem of homelessness in Ireland, the vast majority answered that this would be a priority for Catherine. However, one of the responses I received is worth focussing on in the context of this article:
Invest in non-denominational spiritual centres to connect communities through interfaith. This could be effective in a society that increasingly moves away from conventional religion and often forgets the importance of spirituality in a capitalist culture.
Perhaps this might give us pause for thought in light of the oneness we have experienced throughout the world these last months.
Much will be written about and spoken of the Covid 19 pandemic in the months and years ahead…….an experience which united countries and continents, rich and poor, old and young. We will be changed forever. Since the first case was diagnosed in December our world has changed...
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
I work in St. Mary's Secondary School in Mallow, Ireland. I teach Religious Education and coordinate a programme for students who find the academic curriculum challenging. This is very much a pastoral care role dealing with girls whose needs and backgrounds are very varied and complex. Praying, reflecting and meditating with my students is one of the joys of teaching. I am passionate about the role of educator as an instrument of real change. It is a privilege to be part of honing minds and hearts for good. I love music and am director of the Parish Choir in Blarney where I live when not looking after my dad.
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