Close of the 20th Anniversary Year
As we come to the end of 2014, it is time to bring the 20th Anniversary celebrations to a close and more especially, it is a time to give thanks.
Mercy Day 2014. Mass at St Andrews. Singing of Final Hymn: The Circle of Mercy
Front row. L-r: Srs Aine Barrins (The Congregation), Scholastica Nganda (The Congregation),
Patricia Bell (GB Institute)
We thank the Members/Leaders and the Board for their visioning on how the celebrations might unfold. They wanted the focus to be a remembering of the story to date, a recognition of the current reality and a forward look at where the road may be leading. They saw this celebration as a year long process, offering the opportunity for education, participation and transformation of the members of the Mercy family. Most especially, they wanted the celebrations to be global, connecting Baggot Street to the Global Mercy world and connecting the Global Mercy world to Baggot Street.
And so in January 2014, it began. The homepage of the website and the e-News format were spruced up to mark the occasion. The seminal moment of Trocaire ’81 was recalled when visionary women dared to imagine a mercy global connection. That seed began to sprout in the dream of Mary Trainer rsm, in the generosity of Sabastian Cohen rsm and the Dublin Mercy community, in the brave decisions of the planning and steering groups and in the characteristic trust in Providence of the Mercy leaders of the day. July 23rd, 1994 continues to inspire people as they recall the waters of the world mingling in the rill in the garden in Baggot Street , the inspirational words of President Mary Robinson and the celebratory Mass in Westland Row church.
Throughout the Easter Season we recalled the early days and unfolding development of Mercy International Centre and as the year progressed we recalled the growth of Mercy Global Action and Mercy Communications, marvelling all the while at the journey we had made and the challenges and opportunities we now have the privilege to engage.
As the week of celebration drew nearer, preparations intensified. Central to the success of the preparations were the Point persons in each area. Thanks to their co-ordination, photographs of the current ‘face of mercy’ were produced, wonderful rituals were prepared and most especially, interest and goodwill were cultivated in regard to the September event. The first two aims of the year were being met in style – education and participation.
Finally, the September event arrived. What a week! The celebration, the joy, the interconnection, the sense of global family and belonging, the hope for the future were all elements of the week. So many people worked hard to ensure the success of the celebrations, especially the Team and Staff of MIA; Adele Howard rsm and Anne Walsh, who oversaw all aspects of display, and communications; the musicians who enhanced the celebrations; the presenters and participants in the many and varied events, and the many voluntary and hired services that contributed with enthusiasm, generosity and a palpable joy. Most especially the success of the occasion owes so much to all who joined in the celebrations, those who came to Baggot St, those who were present by means of the internet and those who accepted our invitation to be our special guests.
Views of the Face of Mercy Today Exhibition in the International Room at Baggot Street
The third aim of the Celebrations was transformation. Did that get realised? Yes, it did! As we reflect on the outcome of the celebrations, we have discovered:
- That powered by the communication means at our disposal we can communicate across forty five countries and six continents in a way that has never happened before in our history. In one week alone 103,313 unique visitors (individuals and groups) joined in the celebrations via the internet. Catherine’s tradition of letter- writing to create unity and support among her followers in her day has translated itself into a medium that can achieve the same outcome today on a global scale.
- That a real and vibrant link is possible between the global and the local. While each place prepared and celebrated in their own place, the week was lived together in all places. Together we saw mercy alive and active among us and among those with whom we share this mercy journey every day. Think of the untapped possibilities this offers for our ongoing shared life and mission!
- That we can draw inspiration from our story to date to energise the present and point the way to the future. As we drew from the well of the founding dream and vision and the multiple images of the Face of Mercy Today we were strengthened to renew our efforts to respond to the injustices and inequities and exclusion still so evident among us and to heighten our concern and efforts for our relationship with and the sustainable development of creation’s resources.
- That at the heart of our story is a spirit, a sense of interconnectedness that creates belonging and shared mission; that “we” now means sisters, associates, colleagues and partners in ministry. We have the surety that we can be global mercy because we have seen global mercy alive and we have the responsibility to use that privileged position to reach out to those that still need mercy’s voice and mercy’s presence. In the words of Elizabeth Davis rsm: 'May we go on now to make new foundations, not necessarily of place, but of vision and of commitment and of energy.' Let us continue our journey by sharing the Year of Consecrated Life together; by advancing recommendations made on ‘The Future of Mercy’ day, by welcoming opportunities for reflection together and by continuing to use our resources to respond to issues of global poverty, remembering that ‘we can do better together than any of us can do apart!'
Carriers of the light to the five Continents: L-r: Srs Cristina Mira (to the Americas), Philomena Bowers (to Europe), Scholastica Nganda (to Africa), Mary Reynolds, Raphael Amante (to Asia), Catherine Jambet
(to Australia and Oceania)
We ended our celebrations on the theme of ’For all there has been THANKS. This is a moment to thank everyone who made this celebration possible in a myriad of ways – the participation, encouragement, financial support, hard work, good wishes, expressions of gratitude and much more besides. It has given us the courage and enthusiasm to say that with all of us together, we can truly commit to saying: ‘For all that will be YES’.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA