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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 550  |  29 January 2014
Featured Story
Sounds Like Mercy

'...And then the person serving in the cafe put on a cassette: Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, the middle movement, the Adagio.(07:00)

If you don’t know it, it is a very patient piece of music. It too goes round and round, in its way, essentially playing the same tune again and again, on the clarinet alone and then with the orchestra, clarinet and then orchestra, lifting up the same unhurried lilt of solitary sound, and then backing it with a kind of messageless tenderness in deep waves, when the strings join in. It is not strained in any way. It does not sound as if Mozart is doing something he can only just manage, and it does not sound as if the music is struggling to lift a weight it can only just manage. Yet at the same time, it is not music that denies anything. It offers a strong, absolutely calm rejoicing, but it does not pretend there is no sorrow. On the contrary, it sounds as if it comes from a world where sorrow is perfectly ordinary, but still there is more to be said. I had heard it lots of times, but this time it felt to me like news. It said: everything you fear is true. And yet. And yet. Everything you have done wrong, you have really done wrong. And yet. And yet. The world is wider than you fear it is, wider than the repeating rigmaroles in your mind, and it has this in it, as truly as it contains your unhappiness...

The novelist Richard Powers has written that the Clarinet Concerto sounds the way mercy would sound, and that’s exactly how I experienced it in 1997...'

Excerpted from Francis Spufford Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Still Makes Surprising Emotional Sense, Harper Collins, 2012, pp 15-16

Image: iStock

Vision in Action

When we tell the story of Mercy International Association, we see Trocaire ’81, the first international gathering of Sisters of Mercy, as a seminal moment. Trocaire ’81 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Mercy Congregation, but in hindsight we can see that it planted a seed that would shoot up over a decade later as Mercy International Association.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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In this 20th celebration year, we are reminded of the key events in date order of Mercy International Association Outreach. This week we look over the second decade (2004-14).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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The calendar of programmes for 2014 is online (linked to this item) and a PDF of the programmes prepared for circulating by email, posting on noticeboards and including in mailouts, is attached here

We appreciate your assistance in promoting the 2014 programmes among your community members, associate groups, staffs, boards, friends...anyone you think may be interested in spending time at Mercy International Centre in 2014, the twentieth anniversary year.

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality

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Volunteers for 2014 have been arranged. Anyone interested in being a volunteer in 2015, or wanting more information about becoming a volunteer at MIC, is invited to contact Sylvia Williams rsm.

Messages to: Sylvia Williams rsm- Assistant Director Finance & Administration

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

As we unfold the story of Mercy International Association, MIA gives thanks for all members of our Mercy family, living and deceased, who inspire us and teach us by their word and example, in story, song, music and image: our prophets and preachers, our speakers and thinkers, our poets and writers, our artists and musicians, our dreamers and do-ers...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

We invite all our readers to participate in the mission of the Sisters of Mercy. The power of a single gift is proven in the inheritance William Callaghan left for Catherine McAuley. Everything we know today as Mercy was born from that one gift.

Messages to: Mary Waskowiak rsm - Director Fundraising-Development

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M Carmela Cabactulan rsm, Superior of The Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines), has written to those in the Mercy community involved with opposing human trafficking about her intentions in tackling this major social issue.  'Please God, I can get our young people with us in school involved in protecting displaced families from Human Trafficking,' writes Sr Carmela. 'It is an enormous job but I will try to get Sisters and others with me to do it'. Sr Carmela also asks for the prayers of the Mercy community at this time, 'for courage and strength'.

With armed conflict flaring just days after a landmark peace deal was concluded in Mindinao, your prayers are asked for peace.

Messages to: M Carmela Cabactulan rsm

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Mercy Sisters in the United States and in Ireland are involved in various high-profile campaigns to raise their concerns about and to prohibit hydrofracking.

Messages to: Mary Purcell - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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MIA Members News

Editor: 'Colón is an island. An island made from poverty and misery, hopelessness and decay.' So begins this article by recent visitors to Colón who, upon visiting the Mercy ministry MUCEC (Mujeres Colonenses en Camino, ‘Women of Colón Walking Together’) which helps some of the poorest of Colón’s impoverished inhabitants—abused women and children who have little or no income— are able to say, 'There’s a ray of hope in the spiral of misery: the Sisters of Mercy...'

Messages to: Barbara Ozelski rsm and Dina Altamiranda rsm

Editor: MUCEC  is this week's featured site

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A day of celebration was declared on 8 December 2013 to mark the 125th anniversary of a significant occasion in the history of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.  On that day in 1888, a small band of Sisters of Mercy newly arrived from Ireland, gathered around a simple altar and prayed for God’s blessing on their mission to Parramatta...

Messages to: Anne Ferguson - Coordinator, Office of Mission Animation

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After 27 outstanding years leading Mercy Housing, Lillian Murphy rsm will retire from her position as Chief Executive Officer of the organization in June 2014. Mercy Housing’s National Board of Trustees has selected current Mercy Housing President Jane Graf as the new CEO effective on July 1, 2014.

Messages to: Lillian Murphy rsm - CEO Mercy Housing

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Marcellin Wilson rsm has been named Wellingtonian of the Year for her work alongside others in setting up a homeless women's shelter. In this interview she recounts how the shelter came about and shares her views on other social issues.

Messages to: Marcellin Wilson rsm

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Addressing Religion and Genocide (Americas)

Deirdre Mullan rsm has pulled together an amazing panel of experts to look at religion and genocide. The event Engaging Religions in the Prevention of Atrocities will take place at UN headquarters on 5 February 2014. This is a timely event given the continuing violence in CAR, South Sudan and Nigeria. Carol Rittner rsm who is a distinguished Professor of Genocide is among those who will speak at the event.

Anyone in the New York area is welcome to attend.

Download the programme here

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm - Executive Director Partnership for Global Justice

Editor: As United Nations officials welcome the signing of an agreement to end the fighting in South Sudan, and humanitarian agencies continue their efforts, the account by Marilyn Lacey rsm of her initial and ongoing involvement with the people of South Sudan concluding as it does 'Please join me in praying for the whole country, especially its women and children, so dear to the heart of our God',  is particularly timely.

Messages to: Marilyn Lacey rsm - Mercy Beyond Borders

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Mercy Matters

'...we come to the realization that this issue of climate change is not just one more on a list of justice actions we need to take. It is, rather, the over-arching justice issue. The consequences of climate change are at this moment exacerbating access to fresh water and food supplies, migration, trafficking, armed conflict, the health and welfare of women and children, and the integrity and viability of the whole of creation...'

LCWR Global Concerns Committee
Resolutions to Action
vol 22, no 4

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This video summarises and visualizes several of the most significant statements in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report (04:05)

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The origin of this very moving and poignant collection of personal stories, Stories of Hope, was a Mercy Justice Conference, with the theme 'Embrace the Other and Welcome Difference'. The conference was sponsored by the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia (ISMA) and held in Queanbeyan, near Canberra in November 2009.

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Mercy Words

'Mother Catherine was... a channel of God's Mercy and her doing of Mercy was in very fact her effort at "making the world more human." '

Angela Bolster rsm
Trocaire '81.



1923: Opening of Mercy Hospital, Young, New South Wales
1923: Convent opened in Parkes, New South Wales
1957: Foundation to Kunjingini, Papua New Guinea, from Brisbane

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MUCEC (Women of Colón Walking Together, in English) is a project for poor women who wish to transform their lives and live in hope with their children.
MUCEC is a non-profit charity. Donations are tax deductible in Panama and the United States.

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Further Resources

Worth Reading:

The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) has posted their Winter newsletter online (PDF). Writers in this issue include Miriam McGillis,OP; Alexandra Kovats, CSJP; Gail Worcelo, SGM and Carol Lee Flinders, PhD.  Download or read this quarterly here; back issues are also available.


LCWR has posted their February newsletter online. Download it here (PDF)

In their foundation’s just-released annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates challenge three pervasive myths in development economics: 'Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.' 'Foreign aid is a big waste.' 'Saving lives leads to overpopulation.'

They conclude: 'We all have the chance to create a world where extreme poverty is the exception rather than the rule, and where all children have the same chance to thrive, no matter where they’re born. For those of us who believe in the value of every human life, there isn’t any more inspiring work under way in the world today.' Read their letter

Worth Watching:

Video of The Shriver Report Live event, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, presented by The Atlantic in Washington, D.C last week, is now available online. A Reflection by Joan Chittister OSB introduces the second clip 'Voices Zooming In'. Watch the event here

Worth Knowing:

In the US the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its global temperature figures for 2013. The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This marks the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Read the report

The Girl Rising Educator’s Edition, including Teacher’s Guide and exclusive video extras, is now available for purchase. Details can be found here

Send your contributions for the "Worth..." section to: the Editor

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Today, Sisters of Mercy, through Mercy International Association, use their resources to respond to issues of global
								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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Certificate Number 194263. Public Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Office: Mercy International Association, 11 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. Registered Charity no CHY 10078
Directors: Sister Denise Fox (ANZ), Sister Patricia McDermott (US), Ron Ashworth (US), Peter Burnett (GB), Sister Colette Cronin (GB), Mary Moorhead (IRL), Kevin Hoy (IRL), Sister Margaret Casey (IRL), Sister Scholasticah Nganda (IRL)