March 08, 2014

Celebrating International Women's Day

On this International Womens Day we acknowledge the collective efforts of all Mercy women, past and present, to be mercy and thank the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation for sharing portraits from their recent exhibition honouring 125 years of Mercy. These faces represent us all in the 40+ countries where Mercy ministers.

Mercy is a woman of indeterminate age
and unremarkable appearance.
She is not fussy about the company she keeps,
and tends to be full of excuses for her friends,
having seen life from their angle.

Her heart, like her pockets is capacious.
She has a voice rich in tender understanding
But is at her best in silence
when she sits alongside
the grief-stricken and the guilty
and their sorrow seeps into her soul.

Curiously, she sees herself reflected
in the eyes of both murderer and victim,
so sits not injudgement but companionably.
She is a subtle teacher.

She makes strong cups of tea, cup after cup.
her hands are worn by work
but eagerly sought by the dying.
Her feet are calloused from long roads
trudged with refugee and beggar.
She is an endurer of all horrors.

Mercy has a face wrinklede by kindness
and worn by the cost of living,
but even in hovels she has been given to laughter
and awareness of simple pleasures.
She has a store of lore and wisdom
but is never heard to complain
that she's heard any story
a hundred times before,
believing each teller to be
entitled to a hearing as if to the one and only.

Mercy is a lady comfortable to be with -
the safest and soundest -
blessed in her being
with the indisputable reality
that she is true daughter,
in manner and in mind,
of the maker of the universe.


Mary Wickham rsm
Used with permission


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