A Pathway to Mercy’s Mission Future
Announcing the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis proclaimed: Mercy is the force that reawakens us for new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope.
Helen Nolen rsm (ISMAPNG) with children from the Early Childhood Learning Centre in Fohorem, Timor-Leste.
Sr Helen has been working as a teacher trainer in Timor-Leste, Asia's youngest and poorest nation, since 2005.
Mercy Works has established Early Childhood Learning Centres in remote villages in the Cova Lima District in south west Timor-Leste. Read more here. Source: Mercy Works. Used with permission
Back in the early 1800s Catherine McAuley understood this and the people to whom she ministered experienced it. Thanks to the magnanimous generosity of her donor William Callaghan, Catherine was able to open the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland on 24 September, 1827. She had intended to continue this work with the support of her co-workers as a lay woman but in 1831, she with two other companions, took their vows and became the first Sisters of Mercy. They did this because Catherine realised the need to establish a religious structure that would ensure the extended existence of what she was establishing at the House of Mercy.
Mercy continued to be the awakener of new life as Catherine, between 1831 and her death in 1841, extended her vision by establishing other Foundations or Houses of Mercy in eleven locations throughout Ireland and in England and laying plans to go to North America.
That new life grew abundantly and today, Mercy is serving the poor in more than forty countries of the world. A further reawakening to new life occurred in 1994, when Mercy International Association (MIA) was established as a global, collaborative, interconnected and humanitarian response to the needs of the poor and most vulnerable throughout the world.
As expressed in its Vision Statement: Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, used her inheritance in service of the needs of her time. Today, Sisters of Mercy, through Mercy International Association, use their resources to respond to issues of Global Poverty.
MIA is deeply committed to two core objectives:
- Furthering Mercy’s outreach to the poor throughout Mercy’s ministries worldwide
- Inspiring Sisters of Mercy, our lay Associates and our many partners-in-Ministry to continue the works of Catherine in ways which are creative and appropriate to the needs of the world today’
In advancing its first core objective ‘Furthering Mercy’s outreach to the poor throughout Mercy’s ministries worldwide’, MIA is engaged in significant Global Action Programmes designed to help people respond to issues of global poverty. As the chart below shows, these responses are current day creative ways of addressing issues similar to those of Catherine’s day.
Formation in the heritage of Catherine McAuley and the values of Mercy is fundamental to MIA’s second core objective. ‘Inspiring Sisters of Mercy, our lay Associates and our many Partners in Ministry to continue the works of Catherine in ways which are creative and appropriate to the needs of the world today’. To develop understanding of the Mercy charism and to promote global interconnectedness, MIA offers extensive leadership training programmes at Mercy International Centre.
- In 2015 MIA provided leadership training at Mercy International Centre to almost 600 of the 400,000 partners-in-Ministry, (lay women and men who are ministering in Mercy sponsored initiatives) from countries including Ireland, Great Britain, United States, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya
- MIA also conducts a Young Mercy Leaders Programme every year and delivers Mercy Leadership Programmes for secondary and college students on request. In 2015, about 500 students from around the world participated in Leadership Programmes and school tours to Mercy International.
Advancing Mercy's Mission
In 2012 to secure the future of MIA, a decision was made to conduct a major fundraising campaign, named Advancing Mercy’s Mission. We at MIA are convinced that fundraising is a way of announcing our vision and of inviting other people into the Mercy mission, in which we passionately believe. The story of the Mercy Congregation began with the meeting of a magnanimous donor and a woman imbued with a vision and a desire to reach out to those in need. Neither could have foreseen the world wide effect of their collaboration that for almost two centuries has touched the lives of millions of people who were poor or sick or excluded...