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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 553  |  19 February 2014
Featured Story

Editor: Tomorrow is World Day of Social Justice, inaugurated by the UN in 2007. To mark this day we invited senior students from some of our Mercy colleges to reflect on their understandings of social justice and share those insights with our readers. Rebecca, Leader of the Service Committee at St Teresa's High School, Johannesburg, has captured the hopes we have for all Mercy students. She writes, 'As a Mercy school, service to others is rooted deeply in our school's ethos. This, coupled with the knowledge that we have the potential to make a difference, motivates us in our actions...'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: Year 9 Catherine McAuley Westmead, NSW, students with children from Mamre House, a project of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, NSW, integrating social enterprise with program delivery. Photo supplied by College.

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Vision in Action
Come Home to Catherine

This six-day programme is an experience of being with Catherine at home in Baggot Street. The programme offers an opportunity to pray with Catherine in her places and spaces, and to walk in her footsteps through the city of Dublin reflecting on her life and ministry.

Since the Come Home to Catherine programme was first offered it has continued to attract enrolments and its popularity means it is usually offered twice in a year. In 2014 this programme will be offered from 6 July to 12 July and then from 17 August to 23 August.

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.

Download the flyer for Come Home to Catherine (PDF)

Book online to reserve your place.

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

Grow the Holdings of the Catherine McAuley Library

Four years ago this week (Issue 359) we shared the news with our readers and website visitors that MIA was developing a library of published works by and/or about Sisters of Mercy, Associates and our Mercy ministries.

Our Mercy authors, creators and publishers have responded generously with complimentary copies of books, journals, promotional materials, CDs, videos and DVDs they have written or produced. The most recent addition to the library was the book 'Caring for the Nation' presented in person by its author Eugene Nolan rsm on Foundation Day 2013.

As we continue to develop this library, we renew our invitation to Sisters, Associates, and partners-in-ministry to provide complimentary copies of recently published works that can be housed in this library.  These works can be mailed to:
Mercy International Centre, Library,
64a Lower Baggot Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

'A goal without a plan is just a wish.' Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dreaming about Mercy International Centre soon got translated into practical planning. Firstly there needed to be a thorough investigation of the possibilities of restoration. Then attention needed to be given to the appointment of a project director and task forces to flesh out programmes; estimate costs and consultation with the architect regarding space needs...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Kath Burke rsm (the President of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy, Australia (ISMA) during the establishment of Mercy International Centre and a member of the International Steering Committee), Mary Quinn rsm (ISMA, Project Manager of the MIC Development), Elizabeth McAver rsm (ANZ, on the Transition Staff as Steward over the refurbishment and Finances) and Canice Hanrahan rsm (Ireland, Assistant Project Manager) share their memories of the Baggot Street project.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Editor: Within ten minutes of E-news being sent out last Wednesday we had received the first name from a reader in Ireland. Throughout the day and the week since, responses have continued to come in. The answers have been received from the US, Philippines, Ireland, England, Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia - truly a global effort.

Thank you to all those who have put names to the faces of the members of the First Working group for MIA and so enabled us to acknowledge their contribution to the establishment of MIA.

We still have 7 Sisters to identify and would be grateful if you could have one more look to see if you can help us complete the puzzle.

Messages to: the Editor

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

' We pray for an increase in understanding of the needs of our sisters and brothers and for the courage to confront the social conditions that contribute to their suffering. May our faith be practical, measured by our deeds as well as by our words. May our ministries of health care, education and social and pastoral work further the well-being of our sisters and brothers...'

from "Compassionate Hearts, Willing Hands"
in Intercessions of Mercy
ed Joy Clough rsm

Mercy E-news is available without charge to any member of the global Mercy family - Sisters, Associates, Partners -in-ministry, Board Members, Staffs, Students...and to anyone who is interested in the vision and mission of Mercy International Association (MIA).

To subscribe to the Mercy E-news, simply fill in the form linked to this item.

To read past issues of Mercy E-news, visit the E-news archives

The current issue of Mercy issue can also be accessed from the homepage of the mercyworld.org website

Messages to: the Editor

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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: Canice Johnson rsm, Dotty Morton 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

At a special Mass on Friday, 7 February 2014, Stephen Walsh was commissioned by Congregation Leader Catherine Ryan as the new principal of OLMC Parramatta. Sr Catherine charged Stephen to ensure that the college continued to be 'a happy place where the dignity of each person and the pursuit of excellence are valued and where young women are educated to make a difference in Church and society,' while the Board Chair, Kerrie Walshaw, challenged him 'to inspire the OLMC community by your professionalism, your experience and your leadership so that the Gospel tradition and the Mercy Story are vibrant and alive.'

Messages to: Stephen Walsh - Principal

L-r: Kerrie Walshaw, Stephen Walsh, Catherine Ryan rsm
OLMC Parramatta is this week's featured website

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Editor: In Issue 549 we reported on the second MECPATH training day for the Mercy Sister Volunteers  to promote the campaign to raise awareness and to end child sexual exploitation in the travel and hospitality sectors in hotels in their provinces.

A report on the success of the first Training Session for Hoteliers held in Dublin on 28 January is linked to this item.

Messages to:
Mary Ryan rsm - MECPATH Campaign Co-ordinator
Denise Boyle fmdm - MECPATH Campaign Manager

L-r: Patricia O'Donovan rsm (CLT), Denise Boyle fmdm, Michael Vaughan (IHF), Mary Ryan rsm

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Mercy Sees Beyond Race (Americas)

Editor: February is Black History month in the US, an annual observance to learn about, honor and celebrate the achievements of black men and women.  Here are two stories that have come to light in Oklahoma this month.

'Nothing But Mercy' tells the story of integration of Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City in 1947.  The play is being presented at Metropolitan Library System libraries in central Oklahoma. In the video clip that accompanies the news article, DWe Williams, one of the co-founders of Rhythmically Speaking, the company performing the play, explains how the production company came to an understanding of mercy and grace, how this infuses the play and how we each need to appreciate what we human beings have in common. 'If we really love somebody,' concludes Ms Williams, 'we'll step outside of our comfort zone'.  Read the article and watch the video here (06:44)

Lois Faye May was in the first fully integrated class at Mercy Nursing School, Oklahoma City, from 1958-1961, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, "the only place around accepting African-American nursing students at the time....I remember Sister Mary Alvera. She was my supervisor in surgery. She was quiet and very caring — but she wouldn't stand for any nonsense,” May said. “She expected people to change with the times, and she let them know it.” Read the article here

Messages to: Rachel Wright - Mercy Media relations Specialist

Mercy Co-sponsoring Human Trafficking Conference (Americas)

The Sisters of Mercy are a major co-sponsor of the Ignite: Sparking Action Against Sex Trafficking conference on March 2-4, 2014, in St. Louis, Missouri.
All of the United States-based Sisters of Mercy Communities, the Institute and Mercy Investment Services contributed to this sponsorship. Mercy Healthcare System headquartered in St. Louis, is also a sponsor of the conference. Developed to educate and empower criminal justice professionals, first responders, corporate managers and travel planners, not-for-profit and faith-based organizations, and educators, this conference features a wide range of presentations, workshops and first-hand experiences to combat sex trafficking.

Download the conference information here (PDF)

Messages to:
Molly Hackett, Principal
Kimberly Ritter, Director – Development

Congratulations to Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon and Meán Scoil Mhuire, Longford whose students were among the 100 Transition Year students from Co Longford who contributed to a new publication, launched on 6 February at the Longford Gaelic Athletic Association club, which promotes positive mental health. The book is being sold to raise funds for Longford Mental Health Association.

Source: Longford Leader

Messages to:
Paul Costello - Principal Meán Scoil Mhuire, Longford
Josephine Donohue - Principal Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon

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Standing on Their Shoulders (Newfoundland)

Editor: Two weeks ago (Issue 551) we reported on the Launch of Standing on Their Shoulders  in which Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm tells the stories of 60 Irish women who crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland between 1842 and 1907, most aged between 16 and 20, 'thus bringing the vibrancy and energy of youth, as well as the wisdom and fruitfulness of their later years to the Mercy mission in Newfoundland' (p2).

The Newfoundland Sisters have generously made available a pdf of this book for the mercyworld.org website so that all might enjoy discovering the significance of these lives in the Newfoundland Mercy story.

Download the pdf here (165 pps)

Messages to: Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm - Author

The latest issue (Vol. 21, No. 3) of The MAST Journal was recently published.  Editor Eloise Rosenblatt rsm reports that the issue is focused on “The Spirituality of Aging,” paying attention to the original inspiration for building hospitals and creating systems. 

A list of contributors to this issue is attached to this item.

As usual the issue provides discussion questions for those who want to use the essays for communal reflection with Sisters, Associates or Partners-in-ministry.

The MAST Journal is published three times a year by the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology.

Messages to:
Julia Upton rsm - for subscriptions
Marie Michele Donnelly rsm - to obtain a back issue

Editor: MAST celebrated its silver jubilee in 2012. The story of those first twenty-five years is a 'good read'. Read it here if you haven't already done so.

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Editor: In this article the Sisters of Mercy of St Maries of the Isles, Cork, Ireland, from where the foundation was established in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines in 1954 and from where strong links have been forged with the Philippines, provide an update on actions taken to relieve suffering as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy, St Maries of the Isles

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Mercy Matters

'...To reveal the God of compassion, you have to be the compassion of God.  You cannot just preach the God of compassion from a pulpit.  You can only preach the God of compassion if you are immersed in the poverty and suffering, the homelessness and hopelessness of people around you.  It is that real poverty and suffering, homelessness and hopelessness that the God of compassion addresses...'

Peter McVerry, sj
Address to Cori NI Conference in Omagh (2013)

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'... Catherine McAuley, Ursula Frayne, Vincent Whitty, Baptist O'Donnell, were not the inventors of "mercy" nor of "the works of mercy". Each was, as we are, the recipient of a rich tradition of religious experience, a rich tradition of Christian experience, to which she contributed her invention. Each brought to that tradition a heart open to receive and a spirit willing to be instrumental in its expression in her life. That's the spirit in which a legacy has been given - and hopefully the spirit with which we celebrate that legacy...'

Helen-Marie Burns rsm
Mercy Alive Festival, Perth (1996)

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OLMC Parramatta is a Catholic independent girls school whose vision, mission, policies and procedures are underpinned by the following Mercy values:

Mercy, Compassion, Justice, Dignity, Excellence, Hospitality, Stewardship and Service.

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1851: Foundation to Ballinrobe from Westport, Co Mayo - M Gertrude O'Brien.
1889: Foundation to Broken Hill from Singleton - M Josephine Callen
1958: Mission from Grafton to Torembi, Papua New Guinea

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'...Focusing on how the Chicago Mercys formed a community, lived their spiritual lives, and served within the institutional Catholic Church, this three-part perspective addresses community, spirituality, and ministry, providing a means by which we can trace the evolution of these women of faith as the world around them changed...'

Note: Fordham Press, publishers of 'Women of Faith' is advertising 50% off all books as part of their winter sale. Worth checking out.

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'Despite [a] mammoth investment in a personal digital footprint, few [people] consider the fate of their digital assets when they die. And in the second decade of the 21st century, that footprint is huge and growing.'

What arrangements have you made?

Source: The Australian

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Further Resources

Worth Reading:

The next set of reflections on the Sunday Gospels by Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG) has been added to the mercyworld.org website. Click here to access these.

Worth Watching:

On Faith and Fracking
Faith leaders from across New York State talk about our role as guardians of the Creation, our responsibility to each other, and our obligation to future generations. Although made twelve months ago, the content remains current. Watch it here (09:44)

Worth Considering:

Through Mercy Global Action (MGA), MIA advocates for water justice, access to clean water and sanitation. I Thirst: A Lenten Journey from Desert to Garden by Terri MacKenzie SHCJ 'was created to help people heighten their appreciation of God's gift of water, God's living and acting within it, current water conditions on Earth, and how we can respond in faith'. Download the resource here PDF (14 pps)

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

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Mercy International Association Limited
Registered in Ireland.
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)