Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of Mercy International Centre
In 2019, we mark the Silver Jubilee of the opening of Mercy International Centre. Linah Mohohlo, a Botswanian business woman, says that a Silver Jubilee has a special significance in the life of any institution as it signifies a coming of age and maturity. 2019 is a time to pause and reflect on the good work done and to acknowledge a celebrative milestone in the journey of our vision.
When the Centre opened 25 years ago, the dream for the Centre was that it would:
- Preserve our Heritage
- Continue the rich tradition of Mercy hospitality
- Link all branches of Mercy worldwide and promote global identity
- Birth a future where we can be globally interconnected
- Create opportunities for multi- cultural forums in which action/reflection model is used.
- Connect Sisters in indigenous cultures with their roots in Catherine McAuley.
Even the most enthusiastic dreamers of 1994 could hardly imagine how abundantly that dream has been realized.
Mentioning just a few developments is cause for celebration and gratitude:
- Close to 10,000 people now visit Mercy International Centre annually for programmes, tours and visits.
- Over 6000 Sisters, 5000 Associates and nearly half a million partners- in- Ministry are interconnected as members of the Mercy global family.
- The Mercyworld website and the weekly Mercy eNews that develops and nourishes Mercy identity continue to attract growing numbers of visitors and subscribers.
- The recent Mercy International Reflection Process attracted groups from all around the world that engaged in action/reflection forums to listen contemplatively to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor today.
- The Under 60s Sisters, many from indigenous cultures, meet regularly via digital means to pray and share together on what being a daughter of Catherine McAuley means to them today.
Five years ago, in 2014 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the opening of MIC. That celebration particularly underlined for us the spirit of unity that had developed over the two previous decades among our Sisters, Associates and partners-in-Ministry. It especially emphasised for us that we had reached a level of technological communication that made interconnection of the Mercy family a very positive and enriching reality. Many of the events of that celebration can be accessed here.
The following year, 2015, we built on the energy of the previous year by making the theme of the Year of Consecrated Life i.e. Wake Up the World, our major focus. Each month had a particular emphasis and followed a 4 week cycle, Reading, Study, Sharing and Prayer. This series can still be accessed here.
Hardly had that year concluded when we had the great joy in 2016 of celebrating the Year of Mercy. We opened the door of Mercy in Baggot Street and Doors of Mercy opened around the world. We celebrated, through the Stations of Mercy, how the Mercy Family today gives expression to the Spiritual and Corporate works of Mercy and we made a pilgrimage as a Mercy family to Rome to join in the special Mercy celebrations there. We began the Mercy International Reflection Process, discerning together 'the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor' in our world . If you would like to renew some of these memories, you can link in here.
In 2017, we concluded the Mercy International Reflection Process and published the review of this worldwide reflection process by Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy. We identified Displacement of Peoples and Degradation of Earth as the major cries to which we felt called to respond. You can find the report, updates and several resources here.
Last year, 2018, Ireland was honoured to host the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, and to welcome Pope Francis. MIA saw this as a graced opportunity to reflect on and celebrate family, be that our family of origin, our Mercy family, our global family. A central part of the year’s focus was envisioning what a Mercy Global Presence might mean for us as a world-wide Mercy family. You can review the MIA marking of the Year of the Family here and you can find further information on Mercy Global Presence here
This Jubilee year, 2019, will be marked by several important events.
This Jubilee year, 2019, will be marked by several important events.
- A new MIA Vision, which has been worked on by the Members and Board throughout 2018 will be launched and will be presented in several languages, honouring Mercy’s presence in the 5 continents of the world - Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania. The Vision Statement will be available in the 13 February 2019 Mercy eNews (Issue #806) with an accompanying ritual, which you are encouraged to use personally and/or in groups.
- The Implementation of the MIA Strategic Plan (2018- 2023) will detail how the Strategic plan will implement the vision of Mercy Global Presence in all of MIA’s 2019 activities. This plan will be available on the web from mid-February for those who would like to consult it.
- Arising from the MIRP process, Mercy Global Presence has become a major focus of the MIA vision. During 2019, a resourced reflection process will be offered through Mercy eNews to all who wish to deepen their understanding of and participation in this evolving reality. This resource will commence in March and continue throughout the year.
- In March the new film ‘In God Alone’ will be made available on the Mercyworld website. This is a beautiful telling of Catherine’s story which has been receiving wonderfully positive reviews from audiences who have already viewed it. In advance of March, the film can be made available to anyone organising a fundraiser for MIA. A high tea experience, followed by a showing of the film is also on offer on Wednesdays between January 16th and February 27th at Mercy International Centre.
- A particular project of the Jubilee year is the upgrading of the Sacred Garden. The garden will feature a specially commissioned sculpture of Catherine, inviting people to ‘Come, sit awhile’ on a shared bench with her and take some time for quiet reflection. Other highlights will be a remembrance space where deceased loved ones can be remembered and a teaching space which will be used in the various pilgrimage and formation programmes offered at the centre . A fundraising project has been in place to enable this upgrade.
- A Mercy Global Action one year programme aimed at providing a transformational experience for women (lay and religious)’who are passionate for advancing Mercy & Justice will begin in August. It is a fellowship programme aimed at extending Mercy Women’s sphere of influence. It will provide opportunity for fellows to establish strong links and networking across the Mercy world through international encounters, webinars and modules, mentorship and more. The programme has been designed to stimulate creative and critical thinking, promote collaborative leadership and personal reflection, leading to a compassionate and communal response to current concerns in our world. The programme will be directed from our MIA Global Action Office in New York. Applications for this programme close on January 31st. 2019. For details see here
- In September, there will be a 3 day event of Jubilee Celebration. The events of these days will include the Mercy Day celebrations, the rededication of the upgraded Sacred Garden and a heritage display honouring the 25 years. In addition, there will be keynote talks, workshops, and rituals, some of which will be live-streamed.
All of our Jubilee activities will be greatly assisted and enabled by our on-line resources and communication. Our newly rebuilt website, incorporating our weekly Mercy e-News, will keep you fully updated and offer you many possibilities and opportunities for engagement.
If you plan to come on pilgrimage or join any of the advertised programmes during this Jubilee year, you will be very welcome. Programmes that are open are advertised here. Some are almost fully booked up so early booking for remaining places is advised. Should you wish to plan a pilgrimage, specifically designed for a ministry group, we are always happy to do this, be it a day’s programme, a few days or week long. Some dates for such programmes are still available.
As we enter this special year of Jubilee, I would like to honour all those who believed in the establishment and development of Mercy International Centre in the words of Rainer Maria Rilke.
You must give birth to your images.
You are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you…
Long before it happens
More than 25 years ago, a new dream emerged. Over the years more strands have been woven into that dream and the dream has been tended and nurtured. Today we are the keepers of the dream, privileged to discern with our Mercy family the dream for the future as we search new possibilities,in the firm belief that the God who worked such great things through the generosity of many over these years, will continue to bless with abundance the seeds we are planting today.
Ad multos annos.
Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA