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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 551  |  05 February 2014
Featured Story

The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh had the gift of being able to invest the natural world with spiritual significance in a way that wonderfully reveals God’s hand at work in the ordinary, as is captured in the following lines from his poem The Great Hunger:

'For God is not all
In one place, complete and labelled like a case in a railway store
......  God is in the bits and pieces of Everyday' 

The ‘bits and pieces’ that converged to awaken the concept of Mercy International Association is probably what Catherine herself would call Divine Providence. It is truly an amazing convergence of co-incidences, or perhaps God incidences, that now as Kierkegaard says helps us to ‘understand life backwards’...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds - Executive Director MIA

Image: Wellspring programme 2011. Maureen McGuirk rsm (ISMAPNG) reads aloud poetry by Patrick Kavanagh at his seat erected in his memory by his friends in 1968 on the Dublin Grand Canal between Baggot Street Bridge and the upstream Eustace Bridge. Adele Howard rsm (ISMAPNG)

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Vision in Action
The Leader as Teacher, Healer, Reader and Poet

Elizabeth Davis rsm is well-known to the Mercy Family and beyond as a thinker, scholar and presenter. In the 2012 Wellspring programme she presented on the challenge for women religious who echo Catherine's charism in a new age to be 'mercy fire kindling'. This year, over five days (11-15 May), Sr Elizabeth will lead a group in exploring the ministry of leadership in society, in church and in community through unusual metaphors: those of beauty, poetry, teaching, healing and sacred word. An opportunity not to be missed.

Enrolments are open to Religious and Laity: Mercy Sisters, Associates and Co-workers who hold, have held or are interested in the ministry of leadership, as well as members of other Congregations and their partners in ministry.

Download the programme outline here (PDF)

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

MIA Intention for the Coming Week

Time magazine reports that while the Syrian peace talks were underway in Switzerland last week, an estimated 1900 people were killed- according to the the pro-opposition rights group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

We continue to pray for all the victims of this war, for those living and those deceased, for their family, friends and local community members.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Editor: Watch 'Syria's Lost Generation: The Plight of the Youngest Refugees' (15.01) to understand the plight of two teenage female refugees whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the Syrian civil war. A most moving portrait. Teachers of second (secondary) and third (tertiary) level students could review this programme for classroom screening.

Telling the Mercy Story

'All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget...' (John Berger). 'A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.' (Eudora Welty). 'Photography helps people to see'. (Berenice Abbott).

This year we are telling the story in words and pictures of the foundation and growth over the past twenty years of MIA and the projects of MIA. To help us in the telling, we welcome your contributions of images if you 'were there' for any of the events outlined in the Chronology, or other significant occasions. Alternatively, you might have suggestions as to whom we could contact about obtaining a digital copy of their images.

We also invite you to give voice in a few lines or a few paragraphs to your memories of these events. Your reflections will help enflesh and enliven the written record.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Messages to: the Editor

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Each week after the new edition is sent out there are 'bouncebacks' from subscribers' mailboxes where the enews can't be delivered. Bouncebacks occur because mailboxes are full, email addresses have changed or have been mistyped when the subscription form is filled in.

This is the third issue of Mercy E-news for 2014. If you or someone you know hasn't received their 3 issues of Mercy E-news this year, please contact the Editor.

Messages to: the Editor

'You must give birth to your images
They are the future waiting to be born
Fear not for the strangeness you feel.
The Future must enter into you long before it happens.'

   -Rainer Maria Rilke

It was a new moment. The leadership representatives of the world-wide community were discerning together a common initiative that would eventually link our Institutes/Congregations in co-sponsorship of Mercy International Centre. The vision emerging from the Sisters' dreams provided a moment of convergence and rebirth.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mary Trainer rsm

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As a Mercy community we pray with those in need of prayer. We pray this week with the intercession of Catherine McAuley especially for those whose names are newly added to our prayer list: Jean Marsden LCM, Gunnar Grymm, Mark, Maurice & Robin O'Carroll, Sara, Breda, Robyn & Sacha, Pat, Joseph Kelly Tran and his parents, Ivetta, Rosie O'Connell, Pat, Michael Wilson, Meredith Williams, Lisa B, Judy Hegarty, Blake and all whose have previously asked us for prayers.

Messages to:
Anne Hannon rsm - Vice postulator Europe and Africa
Sheila Carney rsm - Vice postulator Americas
Caroline Ryan rsm - Vice postulator Australia & PNG, Aotearoa New Zealand, Philippines

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MIA Members News

Patricia McDermott rsm, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, was among 14 faith leaders last Wednesday (29 January) who were invited by the Senate Democratic Outreach Committee to discuss advocacy priorities for addressing poverty in the United States.

Messages to: Pat McDermott rsm - ILT, Institute of the Americas

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Last Saturday over forty Sisters joined Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm in the release of her recently printed book, 'Standing on Their Shoulders: Stories of the "Irish" Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland'. It was a beautiful sunny day in the midst of winter in St. John's as the Sisters gathered at the former St. Bride's College, in the Kilbride area of St. John's and on the feast of Brigid, 1 February.

Messages to: Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm

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Misa Fakafeta `i `o e Katoanga `I Ta`u 50 Ngaue Fakamisiona `a e Kau Taupo`ou Manava`ofa `i Tonga.
The marking of 50 years of Sisters of Mercy presence in Tonga began with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Lapaha Parish Church.

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregational Leadership Team

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Virginia Farnan RIP (Americas)

Virginia Farnan rsm, a treasured member and leader of the former Brooklyn Community (1972-84) and former President of LCWR, died on 23 January. She was known for her vision, her creativity and her wonderful leadership, as her eulogy, prepared by Julia Upton rsm and included in this news item, attests so well.

Download the eulogy for Sr Virginia here (PDF)

Download the text of a presentation 'Spirituality for Leadership in a Changing Church' (PDF) given by Sr Virginia to Major Superiors on 20 September 1993 and published in MAST, vol 4, no 2, (1994).

Messages to: Julia Upton rsm

Mercy Health System was just named one of the 2014 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America, ranking No. 22 and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Baylor Health Care System, Vanderbilt University and Verizon Wireless...

Mercy got the nod in part thanks to its Walk to Dublin program, which challenged co-workers to collectively walk 6,183  miles (9,950 kms) in a month (the distance to Dublin, Ireland, where Mercy was born)...

Messages to: Nancy Corbett - Director of Newsmaking

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Editor: While the Superbowl might be over and the Seahawks fans still celebrating, the issue of human trafficking, highlighted by such a major event, remains with us and among us. The attached article highlights the work of Mercy Investment Services and others in educating businesses, such as the travel and trucking industries, on how to spot human trafficking and how to respond.

Messages to: Pat Zerega -Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy

Read: The UN Gift Box at New York City’s Union Square: Raising Awareness to Stop Human Trafficking. In this article MGA at the UN intern Devin Tellatin describes her experience volunteering at the Gift Box to raise awareness about human trafficking as visitors flocked to the City in the days prior to the Super Bowl.

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Love is an all-encompassing word. During this month of February, known as the month of love, our attention is focused on three ‘aspects of love’ – Commitment, Service, Sacrifice...

Messages to: Margaret Jones rsm c/- Kathleen Gooch rsm - Leadership Team

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Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking on 8 February (All)

8 February is the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) who, as a young woman, was kidnapped into slavery in Sudan before meeting and entering the Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1893. St Bakhita is the patron of trafficked persons.

Sisters of Mercy across the globe continue Catherine McAuley's ministry of outreach with distressed women today by opposing Human Trafficking. Women, Children and men are all victims of human trafficking.

We are invited to pray on this day in solidarity with the more than 27 million women, men and children who suffer each day from modern day slavery.

A Prayer Service from the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) for an End to Human Trafficking is available here (PDF). A second presentation of the prayer has been made available by ACRATH and is linked here (PDF). Representatives from the Sisters of Mercy belong to both these groups. 

A short video clip on St Bakhita's life can be found here (03:08).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA.

Mercy Matters

'Q. What do you think will be the next evolution for women religious?

Obviously, we’re going to be smaller in number. However, I believe we need to place more of an emphasis on engaging people in contemplation, from which action comes.

We need to be doing the things that are needed now that are not being done in the world...

We could be bolder in speaking out within the church. We could be witnesses to the roles of women in the church. We could speak out more in defense of the gay and lesbian community.

We need to try to evolve into a new understanding of how we live out the gospel today, so we can become a planetary community, with a greater sense of justice, peace, and right relationships.'

Nancy Sylvester IHM,  excerpted from article in the January 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 79, No. 1, pages 12-16).

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(Vatican Radio)
'Pope Francis on Sunday (2 February, World Day for Consecrated Life) highlighted the great value that nuns bring to the Church. “What would happen” – the Pope said – “if there were no nuns? No nuns in hospitals, in missions, in charitable institutions, in schools… Can you even imagine a Church without nuns…? No it is unthinkable!”.'

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Galilee Community is a sacred space, a place of prayer, reflection and sacred landscapes that draw the human spirit to find God present in all life experiences.

‘Galilee’ situated in the midst of lakes, woodlands and mountains commands a spectacular view of the picturesque countryside bordering Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon. It provides an ideal setting for a short break or a more extended stay.

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Mercy Spirituality Series (PDF)

This PDF is of the second printing (June 2012)
A helpful introduction series for those interested in Mercy life or as an opportunity to deepen one's own immersion in Mercy spirituality. Repeated use is recommended for 'refreshment and new insights into the themes'.

Download the PDF here (53 pps)

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet. Using any of these weak, easily guessable passwords puts your digital security at risk.

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1851: Foundation to Little Rock, Arkansas from Naas - M de Sales O'Keefe.
1906: M Magdalen Kirwin died, Golden Bridge (Superior at Baggot St 1864-70)
1960: Goulburn Sisters began Motor Mission - M Regina Thompson, M Eymard Cusack

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Further Resources

Worth Attending:

If in NY today
As advised in Mercy E-news last week (Issue 550), 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 today, 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. No charge

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

If in NY this Friday
Radical Grace is having a work-in-progress screening on 7 February at the Athena Film Festival. Tickets are free. Details can be found here No charge

If in Chicago this Friday and Saturday
De Paul University are hosting 'New World Pope: Pope Francis and the Future of the Church' on 7-8 February. Speakers include Barbara Reid op and Ann Astell. No charge. Details here.

If in Sydney in February
Lynn Levo csj is presenting a seminar for all religious 'Our Challenge to be Evolutionaries' on 21 February. Details here Her paper 'Insights for Living Authentically in “Middle Time”' from an earlier talk given at CORI can be accessed here

If in Sydney in March
Mary Waskowiak rsm is offering a seminar day for congregational members entitled 'Religious Life Unfolding: A Call to Courageous Membership, Partnership, Leadership' on 3 March. Details here

If in Indiana in March
Janet K. Ruffing rsm is giving a Spring lecture entitled 'Touched by the Love of God: Contemplative Prayer as the Heart of Our Life and Leadership' on 6 March at Saint Mary's College Notre Dame. No charge. Details here
Janet's presentations at Wellspring 2013 on the theme 'Touched by the Holy: Contemplation, Gratitude and Compassion' can be accessed here

Dianna Ortiz OSU is giving a Spring lecture entitled 'From Darkness to Hope: My Commitment to a World Free of Torture' on 27 March at Saint Mary's College Notre Dame. No charge. Details here

If in Indiana in April
Simone Campbell SSS is giving a Spring Lecture entitled 'The Contemplative Call to Do Justice' on 8 April at Saint Mary's College Notre Dame. No charge. Details here

If in Dublin in June
Ilia Delio OSF will explore a New Paradigm for Christian Living for Laity and Religious: An Evolutionary Approach. This interactive seminar, organised by the Presentation Sisters, will take place on 17 and 18 June  Details and booking arrangements here An interview with Sr Ilia 'Seeing Christianity as a Religion of Evolution & the Implications for Religious Life' published in the LCWR Occasional Papers in 2012 can be found here (PDF)

Worth Knowing:

The GRACE Communications Foundation wants people thinking more critically about the water in their food ('virtual water'), and has released a report that includes the average global water footprints for a number of foodstuffs: 119 gallons (450 litres) of water to produce 1 lb (.45 kg) of potatoes, 288  gallons (1090 litres) to produce 1 loaf of bread, 3,170 gallons (12,000 litres) to produce 1 lb (.45 kg) of chocolate and 42 gallons (159 litres) to make one slice of pizza. Read the 28 page report here (PDF)

Worth Reading:

The IPJC Hydraulic Fracturing 4 A4 page leaflet provides opportunities for education, analysis, reflection and action on the issue of hydraulic fracturing. Download the leaflet here (PDF)

Worth Considering:

 Lent eCourse: The Heart of the Rule with Joan Chittister. Details 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)