December 12, 2017

Celebrating Foundation Day 2017 at Baggot Street

On this day in 1831, Catherine McAuley, Mary Ann Doyle, and Mary Elizabeth Harley professed their vows as Sisters of Mercy, thus establishing the new Institute. Grateful for their generosity and inspired by their example, we pray for the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy.

Morning Prayer in the Baggot Street Chapel

Editor: Foundation Day celebrations at Baggot Street commenced with morning prayer (PDF) on our theme for the second week of Advent 'For those not at home', attended by all in the House. From 11.30 am, visitors began to arrive from the Dublin cold (2°) into a warm, welcoming and festive setting, ready for midday Mass (8pps, PDF) which was presided over by John O'Mara sm.

L-r: Srs Patricia O'Donovan, Frances Kennedy, Marie Cox

Marie Cox rsm, Patricia O'Donovan rsm and Frances Kennedy supplied the music and led the singing. Their sound, as always, was rich and uplifting and greatly appreciated by all in the congregation.

During the entrance song, 'Gather', which, in the words of the song, made present the members of the Mercy family 'from the East...the West...the highways...the North...the South', Srs Phil Murphy, Sarah O'Connor, Bernadette Knopek and Freda Kenny each brought forward an Advent candle, 'completing' the wreath which is a focus in the Chapel for the Advent Season. As we move through these weeks, the MIA prayer intentions are being added into the space in word and symbol.

Sisters from throughout our Mercy world had previously been invited to share the following Advent phrases in their various languages

  • Blessed is she who believed
  • Prepare the way of the Lord
  • Watch, wait, wonder
  • There is wonder in the waiting
  • The whole creation awaits with eager longing
  • Love in an unfinished universe

These phrases, encircling the Advent candles, are a visible reminder of our deep connection and unity on this celebration day and during this time of waiting.

  • Welcome from Mary Reynolds rsm

  • Focus space in the Chapel

  • Advent Focus close-up view

  • Advent Focus - close up of prayer intention

  • Phil Murphy rsm

  • Sarah O'Connor rsm

  • Bernadette Knopek rsm

  • Freda Kenny rsm

The Renewal of Vows on Foundation Day, led by Mary Reynolds rsm, is always very moving, as is the Renewal of Commitment for Associates, Circle of Mercy Members, partners in Mercy and friends of Mercy, led this year by Anne Walsh.

 L-r: Mary Reynolds rsm (Executive Director MIA), Therese Clarke rsm (Archivist Dundalk Convent) and Patricia O'Donovan (Congregation Leadership Team) at the signing of the transfer of the bell.

The highlight of this year's celebration, however, was the presentation to Mercy International Association of Catherine McAuley's refrectory bell for inclusion in the Heritage collection so that it might be 'seen and appreciated by the world -wide Mercy family and friends'.

  • Patricia O'Donovan rsm holds up the bell while Anna Nicholls rsm explains about Heritage acquisitions

  • Patricia O'Donovan rsm hands the bell to Mary Reynolds rsm

  • Bell received by Mary Reynolds rsm

  • Mary Reynolds rsm delightedly rings the bell

  • The signed paperwork

The story of this small wooden-handled brass bell, measuring only 8cm by 5cm, engraved with the words 'This Bell was used by our Venerated Foundress Mother McAuley', can be read in this account (5pps, PDF) by Therese Clarke rsm, Archivist of Dundalk Convent, Co. Louth, where the bell and all it symbolises has been treasured, cared for and shared since the foundation of the community in 1847.

  • Dining Room ready for guests

  • Close up of a table set for lunch

  • Lights here...

  • Lights there

  • Lights everywhere

  • Focus space in the Entrance Foyer

  • And a great day was had by all

A delicious lunch in the decorated dining room, served by the MIA Team and Staff, followed the Eucharist. Guests were then invited to view the icon display.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director 


Let us also pray:

May the people of the Americas, who were blessed by the appearance of Our Lady at Guadalupe on this day in 1531, be renewed in their hope and strengthened in their efforts to build a more just society.

Prayer source: Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy p. 853

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