June 19, 2019

A Lens on the Works of Mercy: Clare Agnew and her Legacy

'A Lens on the Works of Mercy: Clare Agnew and her Legacy' is the culmination of a research project undertaken during the three months from mid-January till mid-April, 2019, at Mercy International Centre, Dublin. The book has been written to increase our knowledge of Clare Agnew’s illustrations of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and to provide some background context to the scenarios they represent. Through her snapshots of the needs to which Sisters of Mercy were responding in Ireland during the late 1830s, Clare has given us a window into the world of these early women of mercy. In doing so, Clare sheds some light on how she may have viewed her world and creatively represented it.

Mary Reynolds rsm, in her Foreword to the book, says that “Annette has brought Clare Agnew to life in the fascinating retelling of her life’s quest and journey. As we immerse ourselves in the story, we accompany a woman, gifted, yet vulnerable, who for a number of years walked the Mercy journey.

To shape and make known the story, Annette has drawn on Clare’s correspondence, archival material held in various Mercy convents, public records accessed via Findmypast and previously published works which refer to Clare’s life and work.  A companion Learning and Teaching Guide has also been developed and is available for download. 

Teaching and Learning Guide

The 72 page book includes:

  • A brief account of Clare Agnew’s life;
  • Information about the illustrations and their publication;
  • Background context and contemporary material in relation to each work of mercy;
  • Suggestions for contemplation and action in relation to each work of mercy;
  • Consideration of the Works of Mercy and Clare Agnew’s legacy in our own time.
  • References and Acknowledgements.

Resources which enable us to understand and appreciate our Mercy heritage more deeply are a gift to be cherished and shared. Clare Agnew’s illustrations of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are one such gift. Her legacy can inspire us as women and men of mercy to do what we can to meet the needs of others in the areas where we live and work. Annette’s wish for each reader is expressed at the beginning of the resource as follows:

May you be enriched by your reflections on the material contained in the following pages and may you and those you meet on your ‘mercy journey’ be empowered through your merciful interactions with them.”

Personal Reflection on the project Download the flyer

How to Purchase

'A Lens on the Works of Mercy: Clare Agnew and her Legacy' is available from the MIC Gift Shop. Purchase in person for €14 or online for €14 plus postage (approx €6) .

The Works of Mercy illustrations feature on our website here. Contemporary accounts of each work have been provided by Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy who have shared from their ministry experiences. We welcome more contemporary accounts (approx. 100 words each). Messages to Anne Walsh, Website Administrator, if interested in sharing your story in this way.

The illustrations are now accompanied by some background context provide by Annette Schneider rsm under the link 'Behind the scene'.

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