February 05, 2014

Birthing the Dream

You must give birth to your images
They are the future waiting to be born
Fear not for the strangeness you feel.
The Future must enter into you long before it happens.

Rainer Maria Rilke

l-r: Srs Mary Trainer, Canice Hanrahan

Mary Trainer rsm whose inspiration and dedication were so crucial to the development of Mercy International Association reflects on the coming together and work of the International Steering Committee.

‘When the day of Pentecost came it found them gathered in one place ... Tongues as of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit'. (Acts 2:1,30)

On Pentecost, May 1989 the newly formed International Steering Committee gathered in Dublin to explore the possibility of Baggot Street becoming a World Mercy Centre. The national representatives of Australia, America, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand brought to the table the dreams of their sisters,. While unable to come in person, the leadership of Newfoundland, the Philippines and South African congregations sent their dreams and expressed interest in participating and discernment.

It was a new moment. The leadership representatives of the world-wide community were discerning together a common initiative that would eventually link our Institutes/Congregations in co-sponsorship of Mercy International Centre. The vision emerging from the sisters dreams provided a moment of convergence and rebirth.

Snippets of the dreams give us a inkling of ‘the future waiting to be born’

  • ‘Catherine would mightily resist “enshrinement”. Rather it seems more in keeping with her spirit that Baggot Street become a place of “active pilgrimage" '.
  • ‘The hope was expressed that those who come might hear and respond anew to the cries of the poor both in Dublin and around the world’.
  • ‘Mercy Centre as a place for Renewal, Reflection, Research and Formative experiences in the charism of Mercy was highly affirmed’.
  • ‘A strong call was echoed by many Sisters to present our heritage both in its historic roots and concept, as well as in its ongoing dynamic expression in the contemporary global context wherever Mercy is in mission.’
  • ‘Several asked that sisters from different countries be invited to participate simultaneously in a charism experience. The cross - cultural dimension of the sharing would foster global awareness and bonding. From the springboard of immersion in our roots the group would be encouraged to create future –oriented expressions of Mercy in a world context.’
  • ‘Excitement was expressed over the possibility of gathering our high-schools, world-wide to come together at Baggot St. to learn more about their tradition at its source and form bonds with one another world-wide’.
  • ‘Programmes for lay colleagues, associates, etc. were likewise envisioned.
  • ‘Mercy Centre could become a place fostering international solidarity for Justice, a source of resourcing, networking and communication among those working for systemic change and for providing training.’
  • ‘Mercy Centre could become a place where women would come together for support, encouragement, learning and networking.’

While shared dreams sent spirits soaring, the realities of the Baggot Street plant- (damp, cold and structurally challenging) kept feet very much on the ground. At times the chorus of voices who called the erection of the first House of Mercy "Kitty’s folly" haunted those who dared to envision a restoration. Yet they were aware that "Kitty’s folly" was of a gospel-kind and they wanted to be open to the same Spirit should it be moving anew.

Reflecting on the dream Mary writes:
So often we speak of ‘having a dream’. In the instance of Baggot Street, it feels truer to say the dream has us.

And she beautifully unfolds the dream:

A dream
which gathers us into the womb of mercy a second time,
forming our inmost being,
mysteriously knitting us together,
clothing us in the multicultural garment of mercy.

A garment woven from the seeds of the charism
which have taken root in diverse peoples
to the ends of the earth.

Oh, Catherine you have gathered us home,
given us a glimpse of the rest
of our mercy family
Let us know again the animating power of your legacy.
Let us experience the energy released
as we join hands in the ever widening circle of mercy.

Once more our hearts have been kindled
in the fire of mercy’s flame.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mary Trainer rsm

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