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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 556  |  12 March 2014
Featured Story

Editor: It is 10 years this year since Ethel Bignell rsm, then MIA Administrator, posed the challenge to readers of Mercy E-news to help identify all the places in the world named for Catherine McAuley. At that time Sr Ethel had a list of 7 places. Two weeks after the request was published, 86 places had been identified: schools, school buildings, convents, hospitals, aged care facilities, shelters, drives, avenues and parks...all were included in the list of places and spaces.That list was published here.

It's time now to update the list and once more we need your help. We know, for example, of the new Catherine McAuley Wing at Damascus College in Ballarat, Victoria, opened and blessed on 14 February this year. And we've a picture.

If your school, province, congregation or Mercy ministry has a wing, a facility, a building or any other feature (old or new) named for Catherine McAuley, we'd really like to hear about it and to show it to the Mercy world. Please send us the details and an image - preferably one that shows signage- and we'll gladly add your place to 'Catherine's list'.

Messages to: The Editor


Image: Patricia McDermott rsm (ISMAPNG). Women holding the banner from the Catalina McAuley Women's House,Tres de Mayo, Lima, Peru.

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Vision in Action

As the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations opens, Mercy International is co-sponsoring with Franciscans International and members of the Mining Working Group at the UN a delegation of women from Columbia, South Africa, Uganda, Peru, and Guyana to tell their stories about gendered impact of mining, especially as it relates to human trafficking.

Messages to: Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

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The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) – the annual gathering of States to address critical issues related to gender equality and women’s rights — is focusing on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”.

Taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 10-21 March 2014, Member States, UN entities and accredited NGOs from around the world will take stock of progress and remaining challenges towards meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Messages to: Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

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Previous Directors of MIC Share their Memories of those Significant Years

This week we gratefully acknowledge the wonderful leadership of MIC by Sisters Mary Hanrahan (ANZ), Rosie Carroll (Australia) and Caitlín Conneely (Ireland) and their teams who continued and developed the great work inaugurated by the first  Director and Team of MIC.

Srs Mary, Rosie and Caitlin share their memories and their pioneering work with us on the following linked pages:

Memories of MIC: Mary Hanrahan rsm
Memories of MIC: Rosie Carroll rsm
Memories of MIC: Caitlín Conneely rsm

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

The list of team members is testimony to the large number of Sisters from around the world who have generously contributed to enfleshing the outcomes of the seminal question, posed by Mary Trainer rsm almost a quarter of a century ago - Have you a dream for Baggot Street?

We have checked our records as carefully as we can and our hope is that we have recorded all past Team members. Should we have missed any name, please blame our records, not our hearts and do let us know!

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: MIC Team Members ready for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon 2009

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Our Special Consultative Status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) comes with the privilege of allowing the Sisters of Mercy at the UN to submit formal statements to the UN Commissions. This is one of our avenues to give voice to our members on the ground and present recommendations on our Mercy Global concerns: Human Trafficking and Mining Abuse, Poverty and Unsustainable Development.

Messages to: Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN

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Editor: On Saturday evening, 22 February, following Sr Mary Waskowiak’s presentation to the Sisters of Mercy gathered in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, a follow-up conversation took place in the Convent at Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, the first Mercy foundation in Victoria (1857) and where Sr Mary was staying while in Melbourne.

Our conversation began on the topic of leadership. I was keen to find out from Sr Mary after her many years in regional and Institute leadership just what is at the heart of leadership for her and what are the lessons of leadership she wants to pass on to younger members of the Sisters of Mercy.

‘Leadership development,’ says Sr Mary, ‘is preparing people for the future… a clear need.'

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

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

'Loving God, we seek you with our whole heart and soul. May our Lenten pilgrimage bring us to Easter joy, along the path of prayer and good works. We make our request in the name of Jesus who has gone before us in the way of salvation. Amen'

Morning Prayer for the First, Third and Fifth Wednesdays in Lent from Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy.
Download: Prayerbook app for iOS  Download: Prayerbook app for Android

Mercy E-news subscribers who read Mercy E-news on an iOS device (iphone or iPad) are reminded that to view the slideshows (image galleries) which often accompany stories, such as the MIC 20th Anniversary series, you need to use the Puffin Browser app.

Messages to: the Editor.

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This Saturday, 15 March, marks the third anniversary of the Syrian crisis, deemed to be the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. Throughout these past three years an end to the Syrian crisis has been a regular prayer intention in our MIA weekly invitations to prayer.

Now we have the opportunity to join with people everywhere at sunset on 13 March in a global vigil by shining a light in solidarity with the people of Syria, or by remembering the people of Syria in our individual or communal prayer.

#WithSyria is a coalition of organisations from around the world  calling on all parties to the conflict and all those with influence to:

1. Stop the bloodshed:
2. Ensure all those in need can access life-saving assistance
3. Commit to inclusive peace talks

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Last Wednesday, 5 March, the first of the 2014 Soup and Substance Lenten Lunchtime talks, an abridged version of the ‘Be the Change’ half-day workshop, was held in the Catherine McAuley Centre, Dublin.

The purpose of the ‘Be the Change’ symposium is to bring about an environmentally sustainable, spiritual and socially just human presence on this planet – all of which are inter-related concepts. To do this the audience were invited to examine four questions:
Where are we?
How did we get here?
Where do we go from here
What is possible for the future?

A report is linked to this item.

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

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MIA Members News

Writes Mary Ryan: 'It is now over ten years since I first undertook a short training course in Ruhama to become an Outreach Worker with women in street prostitution in the red light districts in Dublin. Much has changed since then. The outdoor population of women has decreased and the indoor business has increased so much that at any one time there is a minimum of 1,000 women in indoor prostitution and there are 51 nationalities of women available to men. The ICI survey 2009 (Globalisation, Sex Trafficking & Prostitution summary and recommendations) tells us that 90 percent are foreign women. Trafficking and prostitution are inextricably linked – women and children are trafficked into Ireland to supply the demand for the sex industry here which is alive and well...'

Messages to: Mary Ryan rsm

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Cresson, Pa. - Aaron Patrick, a senior wing guard and four-year member of Mount Aloysius College men's basketball team, has been named to the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Team, as announced this week by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

The NABC, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and Allstate Insurance Company announced 20 men's and women's college basketball student-athletes named to the 2014 Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams.  Now in its second year, this preeminent community service honor recognizes college basketball players who have made a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of others.

Messages to: Jack Coyle- Director of Communications Mount Aloysius College

Editor: Mt Aloysius is this week's featured website

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Six teams of Transition Year (year 10, secondary school) students from Árdscoil na Trionoide, Athy, Ireland have been working on creating high-end wearable fashion from everyday junk that would normally find its way to the bin.

A number of creations have now been submitted to the national “Junk Kouture” competition which has established itself as the premier fashion competition for teenagers throughout all of Ireland.

Messages to: Transition Year Junk Couture Competitors

Editor: We invite illustrated reports from Mercy school and college students on your notable projects for sustainability and the care of creation. We particularly seek contributions for the Earth Day (22 April) issue of Mercy E-news which will be published on 23 April. Contact the Editor for further details.

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On 10 January Kathy Kettle rsm set out from Perth, Western Australia, accompanied by teachers and students from Mater Dei College north of Perth who were about to embark on a mission experience in Kenya. The group spent 18 days living and working in various apostolates of the [Congregation of] Sisters of Mercy in and around Nairobi.

The group worked with students at Songa Mbele Centre and St Catherine’s, both Primary schools, at the Mukuru Promotion Centre and at St Marian’s Refuge Centre.  At each school they went into the classrooms and taught the students about Australia and helped them with the work they were currently doing.

Messages to:
Kathy Kettle rsm
Pauline Masters rsm
Mater Dei College

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Last month the Sisters of Mercy made a formal statement to the fifty-second session of the United Nations Commission on Social Development, expressing 'our deep concerns relative to the empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment for all'. (Refer to the article 'Sisters of Mercy Make Statement at CSocD on Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty', above)

The March 2014 issue of Imaging Mercy Today (linked to this item) in discussing this Statement, emphasises how it is a logical outcome of Catherine's pioneering work in the field of education of young women.

Messages to:
Katrina Fabish rsm- Congregation Leadership Team
Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

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His Holiness Dalai Lama and Lloyd H Dean, president/CEO of Dignity Health, one of the US health systems co-sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, held an engaging dialogue about compassion and ethics in business among 4,000 students, educators, and community members at Santa Clara University, in Santa Clara, California on 24 February. The dialogue was co-sponsored by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Watch the video of the dialogue which is linked to this item (1:35:41)

Read a report of the event in NCR online

Messages to: Lloyd H Dean - president/CEO Dignity Health

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Mercy Matters

'...We have often heard that part of our call to be Christian is to be counter-cultural. Perhaps one way we could be counter-cultural in our world today would be to stand against the frenzy and workaholism we see around us, and sometimes contribute to; to be in our hectic and clamorous world persons and places of deep peace; to bring to our service not the distraction of a hundred other things to do but to approach each person and each task with focus and reverence. This stance is, I have come to believe, a ministry in itself...'

Sheila Carney rsm,
Catherine McAuley – Integrated Spirituality

Download the article here (PDF)


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'Why are none of the New Testament books written by women? Why is Mary, mother of Jesus, so revered and yet mentioned so infrequently in the gospels?...

The questions within the book have been asked by graduate and undergraduate students as well as by audiences to whom Judith Schubert rsm has lectured. But they will inform anyone who has read the Bible and has interest in the role of women in the church.'

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'When there is a weighty mission, when there is a stubborn need,
God looks ‘round to find the people who will stand and take the lead.
These are men and women of faith, whose willing answer startles us,
shakes us from our apathy and helps us to be generous.

When the world is torn and broken, when the path of grace seems lost,
deep within the Church is heard the call to serve and not count cost.
Then from pews and from the altar come the willing, come the strong-
risking all to serve the God whose voice has led them all along...'

Cynthia Serjak rsm
New Membership Office
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

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Established in 1853, Mount Aloysius is a comprehensive, liberal arts and science-based institution with a commitment to career-directed study. Rooted in Catholic tradition,  Mount Aloysius College is one of 18 Mercy-sponsored colleges, and universities in the United States and is a member of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education.

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On This Day

1881: Foundation to Providence, Rhode Island from Pittsburgh - M Frances Warde
1910: Death of M Stanislaus Kenny, Foundress Singleton, New South Wales - from Ennis, Ireland

After 8 April, 2014, technical assistance from Microsoft for Windows XP, including automatic updates that help protect your PC, will no longer be available. If you or someone in your community or circle is still on Windows XP, then you/they need to read the attached page prepared by Microsoft to assist and decide how best to upgrade their technology.

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Further Resources

Worth Watching:
Catholic Theological Union's Joy of the Gospel Series
Between 13 February and 7 March, Members of CTU's faculty have explored online in videos and podcasts their chosen passage from Pope Francis' recent exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel).  Presenters:

Opening Video: Steve Bevans SVD (04:35)
Episode 1: Barbara Reid, OP (04:11)
Episode 2: Robert Schreiter, CPPS (08:21)
Episode 3: Rev. Richard Fragomeni (05:42)
Episode 4: Dianne Bergant, CSA (03:39)

Watch the series
Download the Podcasts

Worth Ordering:
Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times: Presidential Addresses from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Addresses given by Therese Kane rsm and Doris Goettemoeller rsm are two of the 10 former LCWR presidents whose words are reproduced in this forthcoming volume. The others are: Joan Chittister, OSB; Nadine Foley, OP;  Nancy Schreck, OSF; Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM; Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA; and Pat Farrell, OSF; as well as the late Margaret Cafferty, PBVM and Mary Whited, CPPS.

Details of how to place your order through the publisher Orbis Books can be accessed on the LCWR website, or order from Amazon

Worth Knowing:
Human Trafficking

The National Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil (Cnbb) on Ash Wednesday launched the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign, focusing this year on the theme Brotherhood and human trafficking. In his letter of participation and encouragement for the launch of the Campaign, Pope Francis writes 'It is impossible to remain indifferent when one learns that there are human beings who are bought and sold like merchandise! Think of the adoption of children destined to be sold for organ transplants, of women who are deceived and forced into prostitution, of workers without rights or a voice who exploited, etc. This is human trafficking...'
Read the text of the Pope's letter

On 6 March researchers in Arizona, where the Super Bowl will be held in 2015, released the first comprehensive research on sex trafficking at the Super Bowl.They analyzed and placed [located] online sex ads, identifying nearly 2,000 potential sex trafficking victims, including 84 children in New Jersey and Arizona, during the 10 days before and after this year’s Super Bowl... Read the interview transcript

At the 2014 King's College London conference on Organised Crime in Conflict Zones held on 6 March, Kevin B Bales, Co-Founder of Free the Slaves and consultant to the UN Global Trafficking Program on the Trafficking of Human Beings, stated that one of the reasons slavery still exists is because of the concept of 'dehumanisation', the 'creation of a sub-human species'. This concept, which is widespread in countries experiencing conflict, is largely driven by political and economic instability, he said. Read the report

“We cannot lose sight of the underlying reasons why human trafficking has become so pervasive,” Kai Nielsen, UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan, says. “Addressing human trafficking means we must also address issues such as the exploitation of migrants, gender discrimination, poverty and the legislative capacity of authorities across the region.' Read the report

Worth Checking Out:
The annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (March 13-16) is again being streamed live this year and will be available here

Presenters include Jim Wallis (Revolutionary Hope), Ronald Rolheiser (Fear and Her Many Children: As Dampening Our Hope and Our Fire), John Allen jr (The Francis Revolution: The Papacy at the One-Year Mark)

Archived presentations of previous Congress webcasts can be accessed here

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

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								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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