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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 555  |  05 March 2014
Featured Story

'...May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are "as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (2 Cor 6:10), sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy.'

Lenten Message of Pope Francis 2014

Image: 'New Life'.Tyler Wanlass. Used under CCO

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Vision in Action
UN says: 'Equality for women is progress for all'

The theme of this year's International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March, 'Equality for women is progress for all' could have been  written by Catherine McAuley who wrote ‘The principal aim of this congregation is to educate poor girls, to lodge and keep poor young women until they can provide for themselves in some suitable way, and to visit the sick poor.’ [Letter late 1833-early 1834].

Touched by God’s mercy and compassion, and fired by the inspiration of the Gospel and Catherine McAuley, let us all - Sisters of Mercy, Associates, Co-workers and Friends - strengthen our resolve this International Womens Day to  give expression  to that same concern for women, helping ensure those we encounter enjoy a future that is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA




The First Mercy International Centre Team was commissioned by Mary Waskowiak rsm, Chairperson of Mercy International Association, on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy of the world, during the blessing and opening of the Centre on 23 July, 1994, and entrusted with 'the ministry of caring for Mercy International Centre'.

Srs Patricia Ryan (US), Elizabeth McCaver (Ireland/New Zealand), Josephine Grey (Ireland) Ursula Gilbert, (Australia) and Mercedes (Marion) McCarthy (Ireland/Great Britain) were invited 'to be tenders of the heritage, to receive pilgrims here in simple hospitality, and like Catherine, to be witnesses of the mercy of our God in this place.' Sr Mary concluded, 'Through you may we and all parts of our world be transformed by God’s tender mercy.’

This week the First Team members recall for us their precious memories; at times humorous, some deeply moving, all witnessing to Providence.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Editor: Two days before the official opening of Mercy International Centre, the sculpture of Catherine McAuley that graces the entrance to MIC arrived in style at Baggot Street. Ursula Gilbert rsm recalls the great excitement of Catherine's arrival: 'The traffic in Baggot Street was stopped and from the windows upstairs the South American Sisters sang “Catalina McAuley”'.

Michael Burke, then chairman of the Sculpture Society of Ireland, and who had earlier been chosen to sculpt the bust of Catherine, had completed his second piece - a magnificent life-size bronze...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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In Catherine McAuley’s own life, what began with two (Catherine and Mary Ann Doyle) quickly caught the attention and commitment of others. Supported by Archbishop Daniel Murray and Carmelite Father Redmond O’Hanlon, Catherine was joined by women of her day to respond to women and children in distress. Thankfully, we know the story and are continually renewed by its inspiration as we encounter the distress of others in our own time and place.

Similarly, MIA’s Office of Development-Fundraising began with two – Mary Waskowiak rsm and her assistant, Brittany Soracco. Almost simultaneously, members of the Great Britain Mercy family saw the need to organize their efforts to focus fundraising needs and goals. By September 2012 Sister Patricia Bell rsm (Leader at that time of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy Great Britain) and Mr. Peter Burnett (recently retired Solicitor with the firm IBB Law) had organized the MIA-GB Fundraising Committee, the first for MIA!

Messages to: Mary Waskowiak rsm - MIA Director Development-Fundraising

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

'Gracious God, in baptism we were made your daughters and sons. We were called to live lives worthy of our calling. Throughout this Lenten season, may we put aside all that keeps us from responding freely to your love. May our deeds and words give glory to you and draw others to your family of faith. Now is the acceptable time, O Lord. Give us the courage to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with you. This we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.'

Ash Wednesday, Morning Prayer from 'Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Building the Global Mercy Community Online

Did a particular news item in Mercy E-news teach you something new? Engage you deeply?  Encourage you? Surprise you? Move you? Remind you of an experience you'd had? Connect in a particular way with your ministry? Set you on a path of discovery?

The 'Messages to [name and email]' is provided at the end of each news item so that readers can communicate directly with writers, make a connection and engage in email conversation.

Next time a news item particularly interests you, consider contacting the writer to let her or him know that.

Messages to: the Editor

The first in the series of 'Soup and Substance' talks will be held today at Mercy International Centre, under the auspices of the Inter-congregational Religious on Eco-Justice in Ireland.

We look forward to sharing a summary of each of these sessions with Mercy E-news readers over these next 40 Lenten days.

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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Thank you to all those who responded to the request for assistance in naming each one of the individuals in this group photograph.

Everyone in the photo has been identified and the names of all those who took part in the First MIA Working Party are now recorded in the story of MIA, not to be forgotten.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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MIA Members News

Editor: In the poem 'Mercy' (linked to this item) Mary Wickham rsm captures Catherine's maxim 'the kind word, the gentle compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows' through the word pictures she paints of Mercy women present in experiences that make up daily life.

On this International Women's Day we acknowledge the collective efforts of all Mercy women, past and present, to be mercy and thank the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation for sharing portraits from their recent exhibition honouring 125 years of Mercy. These faces represent us all in the 40+ countries where Mercy ministers.

Messages to:

Mary Wickham rsm - Poet (ISMAPNG)
Anne Ferguson - Coordinator, Office of Mission Animation, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta

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'We are a society which has forgotten how to weep' Pope Francis

Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) has launched a “National Lament”, a campaign of prayer, penance and action for people seeking asylum in Australia, taking as its inspiration the words of Pope Francis when he visited Lampedusa on the lack of respect for humanity.

Join with the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane, Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney, Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta and the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, all members of CRA, as we seek to make a Christian response to Austalia's asylum seekers, rather than treating them as a “problem” to be solved.

Further details and the reflection are linked to this item

Messages to:
Suzette Clark rsc - Justice Co-ordinator CRA
Catherine Ryan rsm - Congregation Leader (Parramatta)
Catherine Reuter rsm - Congregation Leader (Brisbane)
Loreto Conroy rsm - Congregation Leader (North Sydney)
Berneice Loch rsm - Institute Leader (ISMAPNG)

Image: Papal wreath floats on the sea of Lampedusa. BBC

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Editor: With the Academy Awards announced this week and the unflinching portrayal of slavery, 12 Years a Slave, named 'Best Picture', certain now to gain even more attention, Sr Diane's thoughtful reflection is timely.

She writes: 'I greet the new dawn today with a heavy heart, an overwhelming sadness and intense anger. I saw the movie “12 Years a Slave” last night and the images will not let leave me and let me rest. The story is a true one about a free slave, Solomon Northup, who lived with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1841...'

Messages to: Sr Diane G c/- Institute Communications Office

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Sisters Sue and Judy’s ministry today with the Penobscot Nation continues a Mercy presence among the Penobscots that began with  Frances Warde, who arrived on Indian Island by canoe in 1878. The Penobscots, who first learned about Christianity from French Jesuits in the 16th century, had welcomed Sister Frances as “a great white Mother” because she had brought Sisters to Indian Island. In keeping with the Mercy charism to minister to “the poor, the sick and the uneducated,” these sisters soon established St. Ann’s School, which later became Indian Island School...

Messages to: Catherine Walsh- Communication Specialist, Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community

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Mercy Matters

'How inspiring and challenging it is to have a Pope whose words and actions make evident his pastoral priority.  How refreshing to hear more about mercy than obedience.  The word mercy appears thirty-one times in his Apostolic Exhortation, Joy of the Gospel.

The late Judy Cannato gifted many with her book, Field of Compassion.  The field to which she refers is no plot of land or slice of acreage.  The field she references is one as understood through the lens of quantum thinking.  Diarmuid O’Murchu describes this particular field as a “constellation of energy…that thrives on relationship, always pushing toward enlarged horizons”...'

Donna Vaillancourt rsm
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

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An Adaptation of Miriam Therese Winter's "Valiant Women" on the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas website is linked here

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No event of particular significance is recorded in the Mercy Through the Years Calendar as having taken place on 5 March. We know, however, that the Works of Mercy continued to be carried out and so we remember on this day Catherine and all our Sisters, Associates and Co-workers who have given their lives in service to others.

We invite contributions for this date to be be added to the mercyworld.org online calendar.

Submit your dates online here

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This article provides quick access to keyboard shortcuts for: Windows, Mac, Gmail, Skype, Twitter and Facebook.

Source: Mashable

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Well of Mercy offers spiritual companionship, emotional support, respectful hospitality and quiet sanctuary for adults in need of a temporary respite from daily demands, expectations and stresses or those who may simply wish to move apart for a time of prayer, rest and renewal.

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Confidence in God

'Catherine McAuley's virtue of confidence in God is a fundamental principle of her apostolic spirituality - her simple, unswerving trust in the abiding providence of God. If we do not recognize that characteristic in her we do not understand her.'

Carmel Bourke rsm
A Woman Sings of Mercy

Further Resources

Commemorating International Women's Day (IWD)
Worth Viewing:

This year, International Women's Day will be commemorated at UN headquarters in New York on 7 March, on the eve of the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women which begins on 10 March.

The event will be webcast at 12:00–13:00, Eastern Standard Time, on http://webtv.un.org/ where it will also be archived for later viewing


H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations
H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe President of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly
H.E. Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton Former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator
Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
Ms. Andrea Nunez Vice President of the World YWCA Board

Moderator: Ms. Isha Sesay, Anchor, CNN International

Interactive Timeline
Gender Equality, 2013 Year in Review
From the adoption of an historic agreement to end violence against women to a viral campaign exposing the scope of sexism online, this timeline captures select gender equality gains in 2013. Access the timeline here

Worth Reading:
'A safe and sustainable world demands women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality'
Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 'Promoting equality, including social equity, and gender equality and women’s empowerment' at the 8th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development, New York, 5 February 2014. Read the Statement

UN Women post-2015 position paper
UN Women calls for freedom from violence, equality in capabilities and resources and women’s voice to be the cornerstones of a transformative stand-alone gender equality goal. Read it here PDF (48pps)

The March edition of Update (Newsletter) is now online. Read it here

Worth Ordering:
There is a Girl Out There Who Needs You (new publication)
A timely resource for IWD, the 58th Commission and beyond, this latest publication from The Partnership for Global Justice deals with the situations that put girls at risk, including childhood marriage and lack of education. Cost is US$3 or €2 Download the flyer here (PDF)  Inquiries/purchases: Deirdre Mullan rsm

Worth Checking out:
'Ash Wednesday: The Hands that Hold the Ashes' Read it here and then take the opportunity to explore Jan Richardson's The Painted Prayerbook (website)

'Holding My Bowl of Rice and Glass of Water' by Maureen Wild, SC. Written some years ago but still relevant. Read article 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)