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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 552  |  12 February 2014
Featured Story

“I believe this is the time for mercy”, words spoken by Pope Francis in his ninety minute interchange with journalists on the plane journey back to Rome from the World Youth Gathering in Brazil last summer...

For Francis, it would seem that mercy is the prism through which he communicates and gives expression to the love of God that flows through him. Quoting Thomas Aquinas in Evangelii Gaudium (39,40) he says “as far as external works are concerned mercy is the greatest of all the virtues since all the others revolve around it and more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies”. 

Francis’ emphasis on mercy is a challenge to look anew at Catherine McAuley and how she lived the charism of mercy, so that we might bring out of our treasured legacy something old, something new!...

Messages to: Brenda Dolphin rsm - Postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley



Photo: Brenda Dolphin rsm in Piazza San Pietro, Rome. Adele Howard rsm (ISMAPNG)

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Vision in Action

During the summer of 1992 the community of over twenty Sisters living in Baggot Street began to downsize. Little by little, the Sisters moved to different communities in various locations in the dioceses, in preparation for the imminent transformation of the convent into what was to be called ‘Mercy International’.

By September 1992 only five Sisters remained, to form a transitional presence as the architects and builders began their initial preparations for the work of refurbishment and restoration. These final six months were historic in that they brought to a close the unbroken continuity of over 161 years in which this first foundation of Catherine McAuley was home to a Dublin community.

Messages to: Carmel McCarthy rsm

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Mercy - the Wildness of Divine Love

From Sunday, 20 July to Saturday, 26 July, Mary Trainer rsm (Americas) will lead participants in a retreat at MIC which takes its theme from Ilia Delio's words, 'Belief in God incarnate is belief in the wildness of divine love to seize us from within and turn us upside down and move us in a new direction.'(The Emergent Christ)

Enrolments are open to Religious and Laity: Mercy Sisters, Associates and Co-workers, as well as members of other Congregations and their partners in ministry. Retreatants have the opportunity to live in or to be non-residential.

Book online to reserve your place

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

Reflect and Share on the MIA Story

'Stories build and preserve a group's sense of identity' (Roche & Sadowsky)

We are now in the fourth week of telling the story of the foundation, growth and development of MIA. We invite you to reflect on the stories you are reading and to share with others through the E-news:

-What, so far, in your reading of our story has inspired or challenged you?

-What has surprised you?

-What has helped your understanding of MIA?

-What would you like to learn more about?

Messages to: the Editor

In verse Rosaleen Hogan rsm, one of the members of the last community at Baggot Street and in text Magdalena Frisby rsm (RIP), member of the transitional community, captured and share here their emotions around their leave-taking from 'Old Baggot Street'.

Messagers to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Rosaleen Hogan rsm

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This photo is of the members of the International Task Force, taken in August 1990. The group had assembled at Baggot Street in the Community Room (now the International Room) to review the proposals put forward for the use of the property in response to the question: 'If Catherine looked at Baggot Street today, how would she have us use this space?’

We invite your help in identifying who is who. If you see your (unidentified) self in this image, please let us know.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Messages to: the Editor

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

Mindful that yesterday,11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, was the World Day of the Sick, MIA invites us all to pray with those who are ill and suffering.

Let us keep in our prayers the needs of those with whom we are in ministry; those whose names are on our prayer list; those who today will find themselves in need of prayers and those who have no one to pray with them at this time of need for comfort and consolation, that they might all, through prayer, find 'hope and courage: hope, because in the plan of God’s love even the night of pain yields to the light of Easter, and courage, which enables us to confront every hardship in [God's] company, in union with [God].' (Message on World Day of the Sick 2014)

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


MIA Members News

Editor: The Special Event on 5 February, co-organised by the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the United Religions Initiative, the Partnership for Global Justice and the Department of Public Information, at which Carol Rittner rsm spoke, was filmed and screened on UN Web TV and is linked to this item.

Viewers will find the entire programme worthwhile (1:34:35).

Sr Carol is introduced at 45:20. Her excellent and challenging presentation which is illustrated with moving imagery, commences at 46:00 and runs till 57:35 and includes the vote of thanks from the Moderator, Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, Senior Advisor, Office of the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations.

Messages to:
Deirdre Mullan rsm - Director Partnership for Global Justice
Carol Rittner rsm - Distinguished Professor of Holocaust Studies Richard Stockton College, Presenter

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Editor: On February 6, 2006, Sisters Mary, Breda and Martha were missioned to Addo, South Africa in a ceremony at Handsworth Convent. In her reflection at the Missioning Ceremony, Philomena Bowers rsm, then Congregational Leader said:

With Catherine and our ancestors in Mercy we share in the dance of life. We have our own part, our own steps - sometimes alone, sometimes in partnership. But we do not own the dance. We have not designed it. The God of the Dance has been there before us and will be there after us. So we need not be anxious about its continuance. This is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to join the dance.

Over the past 8 years we have reported on a number of developments from the Mercy foundation in Addo including Indawo Yencebe ‘Place of Mercy’, constructed in 2012 alongside the Crèche ‘Place of Hope’ which was opened in July 2011.

In an article newly posted on the Union website and linked to this item, we read of the recent opening in a 40 foot container of a clinic  - another dream that is now a reality.

Messages to: Sisters Mary Horgan, Breda Ryan and Martha O'Connor

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The recent Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in December 2013, reportedly claiming more than 6,000 lives, caused each one of us to dig deep in our pockets and focus on a reality of places and people which before that was not part of our horizon...

Messages to: Ella Noonan rsm

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In this article Bonaventure Higgins rsm provides an overview of her soon to be published doctoral study, the inspiration for which arose from the Gospel call to community, the teaching of Vatican II and the study of Canon Law.

Messages to: Bonaventure Higgins rsm

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Mercy Health has formed a partnership with Mother of Mercy High School Cincinnati aimed at promoting the health and wellness of the school's student athletes.

“We are proud to be partnering with our friends at Mercy Health and providing our students with additional learning opportunities and access to state-of-the-art wellness,” Mother of Mercy President Kirsten MacDougal said....

Source: Cincinnati.com

Messages to: Kirsten MacDougal - Mother of Mercy President

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As a result of the immigration to Australia of Catherine's nephew William ('Wild' Willie) McAuley, Australia is one of the parts of the Mercy world with a direct connection to the McAuley family. Willie's daughter, Mother Catherine's grand niece, Frances McAuley, became a Sister of Mercy when she was received into the Sisters of Mercy in 1892. Her profile is linked to this item.

A report on a visit late last year by Sisters of Mercy to Willie's graveside can be found here

Messages to: Jane McGee - Group Manager, Archives and Heritage ISMAPNG

Editor: We invite contributions for E-news of general interest from our Mercy archivists.

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Mercy Matters

Mercy be the name;
Mercy be the path;
Mercy at the heart.
Ever, ever. Amen

Mary Wickham rsm

We are a Catholic girls' college, for Years 7 to 13, situated on the shores of Lake Pupuke, in Milford, on Auckland's North Shore.

The Carmel learning community is committed to educating and developing young, Catholic women who will always strive for excellence in all their academic, sporting and cultural endeavours.

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1957: Carmel College opens on Auckland's North Shore - M Justine Gillies
2004: Te Waipuna Puawai Ellerslie Centre is officially opened - Cheryl Connelly rsm

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This volume is part of a series of English translations of the Syriac Peshitta along with the Syriac text carried out by an international team of scholars. Carmel McCarthy rsm (The Congregation) has translated the text, while Kiraz has prepared the Syriac text in the west Syriac script, fully vocalized and pointed.

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24 hours can seem like forever when one focuses on all the events, issues, decisions and challenges to be faced in a single day. In this interactive one day is placed in the context of all other days. You begin at today (click 'Okay') and as you move forward the days before today appear, until today is reduced to a one-pixel sliver on the screen and doesn't seem like much at all...

It’s one creative attempt at putting today into perspective.

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'...May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts. May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful “neighbours” to those wounded and left on the side of the road. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world... in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ. ... may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.'

 – Excerpted from the Message of Pope Francis for 1 June 2014
48th World Communications Day Communication

Commentary on the Message by Mary Ann Walsh rsm, Director Media Relations USCCB

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Further Resources

Worth Knowing:

New releases

Amy Hereford CSJ works as an attorney and canonist, consulting with many religious institutes on a wide variety of legal matters. Religious Life at the Crossroads: A School for Mystics and Prophets, is her recently released book from Orbis Books. Read about it here. Purchase from Amazon here

-Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, is distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University. Her latest book, published 16 January by Bloomsbury, is Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love. Read about it here. Purchase from Amazon here

Last July Sr Elizabeth delivered the Evelyn Underhill Lecture in Christian Spirituality at Boston College on the subject of her new book. Watch the lecture here (1.25). Her essay entitled 'At Our Mercy: The Tree of Life Now Depends on One Twig', adapted from the book, was published online two weeks ago in Commonweal. Read the essay here

Forthcoming publications

-Annmarie Sanders IHM, Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times: Presidential Addresses from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Available 10 April

-Simone Campbell SSS, A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community. Available 15 April

Worth Reading:

'The Bible is an agrarian classic in the whole body of literature [...] a way of living and ordering our lives – care of the land and all its creatures. Food and water is pervasive in every human endeavour, and part of the Bible account.' From the talk given by Edward Echlin at Christian Ecology Link’s 'Just Food' day held in London on 18 January. Read the individual addresses and session reports here

Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war
'From California to the Middle East, huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. US intelligence is warning of the dangers of shrinking resources and experts say the world is ''standing on a precipice' ' Read the article in the Guardian here

Worth Viewing:
Women of Syria: An appeal for peace

A number of Syrian women civilians with diverse backgrounds and perspectives from throughout Syria met in Geneva in January to unite their positions and issue a document that affirms their shared vision regarding the peace process for their country. Watch this affecting clip here (2:47). Read the full Outcome Statement of the Syrian Women's Conference here

Worth a Listen:

Vanessa Quai from Vanuatu, the 'new Pacific superstar' has a mission to spread the inspiring message of peace, love and unity that the lyrics of her song True Harmony carry. The song has its origin in a prayer popularised in the churches of Fiji. Listen to and watch Vanessa perform here.

Worth Considering:

The makers of Radical Grace have launched a a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds (US$20,000) they need to finish the film. Details and online contribution access here

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

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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)