August 28, 2007

Detroit Sisters of Mercy work for non-violence at annual Mercy Life Conference

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Regional Community of Detroit held their annual Mercy Life Conference the weekend of August 9-11 in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The conference theme was “Peace Through Non-Violence: Stories of Transformation,” and they welcomed many wonderful speakers and guests to share insights and reflections.

Immaculée Ilibagiza

Conference participants were inspired by internationally known speaker Immaculée Ilibagiza. In the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed almost one million lives, Immaculée lost most of her family. She survived by hiding with seven other women in a tiny three by four foot bathroom of a local pastor’s home for 91 days. Immaculée shared with Detroit sisters, associates and staff her struggles through fear and anger and how, through the grace of God, she was able to forgive those who had brought so much evil upon Rwanda. She chronicled this inspiring story in her book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.

Members of the dialogue group Zeitouna also spoke at the conference. This group of six Arab women and six Jewish women seeks to join together across the divide of their ancestral communities to promote a peaceful and just coexistence and sustainable future for Palestine and Israel. Their life stories and experiences of growth were encouraging to hear in this time of war.


Sarah Melici

One evening provided a special dinner theatre presentation by actor Sarah Melici. She performed, “Fool for Christ: The Story of Dorothy Day,” a one-woman play about the life of the Catholic Worker founder, and entertained the Mercy community with her engaging performance of an amazing woman.

Sisters Helen Marie Burns and Margaret Farley gave addresses inviting attendees to explore, understand and embrace the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Chapter commitment “to deepen and assimilate more consciously the practice of non-violence as an integral aspect of the charism of mercy.” Sisters Martha Larsen and Karen Donahue shared their experiences as part of the Michigan Peace Team delegation to Israel and Palestine earlier this year.

To close out the conference, Mercy sisters and associates took part in a local Women in Black peace march and vigil against violence and injustice. The conference provided many enlightening moments and helped sisters and associates to make a deeper commitment to non-violence.

Messages to Sharon Graganta Director of Communications

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