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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 558  |  26 March 2014
Featured Story

Editor: Join the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea and millions of people across the world who will turn off their non-essential lights at 8.30pm (local timezone) for an hour this Saturday night, 29 March, to raise awareness for our planet and for the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, now under threat as a dumping ground.

To glimpse some of the extraordinary beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, view the carousel of images on the homepage of the mercyworld.org website.

Messages to:
Mary Tinney rsm
Pat Linnane rsm


Image: Earth Hour logo

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Vision in Action

Editor: Thank you to all our readers who have responded to the invitation to help identify all the places in the world named for Catherine McAuley. The list is now updated, with answers grouped by country so that as more places are identified they can be easily added. The list (2 pages) of 139 places is linked to this item.

Some readers sent in 'short stories' about their Catherine places which have been compiled on a page here.

While the topic is closed for now as a subject in E-news, the list remains open and further contributions - corrections or amendments - will always be welcome.

Image: Catherine McAuley Child Care Centre, Kiunga Diocese, Western Province, PNG. Ongoing assistance to the Centre is provided by Mercy Works

Messages to: the Editor

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Anne Reid writes: 'In 1997 I was a volunteer at Mercy International Centre. One day I received a letter from Kathleen Quinn rsm Brooklyn, the community that I am  associated  with. Kathleen asked me if there was any possibility of me having time to facilitate some Catherine experiences with a small group that were thinking of coming to Dublin. My immediate response was ‘Yes, Come’.

I had no idea what I might do but deep inside me somewhere I knew this felt right...'

Messages to: Anne Reid

Editor: The Come Home to Catherine 6 day programme is being offered twice in 2014: 6-12 July and again 17-23 August.

Download the flyer (pdf)
Book online to reserve your place (link)

Walking and Praying (2002) Anne Reid centre, red jacket

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'Welcome Home!'  With these words many thousands of pilgrims - Sisters, Associates, Partners-in-ministry, students and alumni of Mercy schools, and other friends of Mercy - have been welcomed to Catherine McAuley's first House of Mercy in the past twenty years.

With the decision to hand Baggot Street over to Mercy International Association, a definite choice was made to have Baggot Street be 'Home' to the entire Mercy world. Since the re-dedication of the Baggot Street house as Mercy International Centre, in 1994 literally thousands of members of the Mercy family have chosen to journey to Baggot Street to visit the source and wellspring of Mercy and take part in a programme on offer...

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

Editor: Have you participated in one of the programmes at MIC over the past 20 years? We invite you to share your experience, your learnings and the impact that the programme has had on you. Reflections to: the Editor

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The overarching theme of the 58th session at the United Nations in New York of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)—“Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”— calls for both courage and risk. 

Courage for those who dare to name the failure of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to name, let alone address, significant structural and root causes of gender inequality and exploitation.  Risk for the planners to open themselves to the exposure of that failure and the inadequacy of many Nation States to take responsibility for the targets they themselves set for the MDGs, far too many years ago!

Messages to:

Rita Parks rsm
Áine O’Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at UN
Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MGA

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During the month of March Mary Reynolds rsm, Executive Director MIA, is visiting Australia, a trip sponsored by Mercy Partners.

Sr Mary has been meeting and speaking with Sisters and Partners-in-ministry in Queensland (Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane), in Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney.

This week we hear from some of those present at: 'Mercy: our legacy and our challenge' and 'Catherine and the ministry of Health Care; Shapers of the Dream' in Queensland.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm

Image: l-r Mary Reynolds rsm and Beverley Strong rsm, Northern Community Leader, ISMAPNG and Board Director of Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland Limited

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Wellspring Programmes 2014 & 2016

Considering a renewal programme in 2014?
There are still some places available in the 2014 renewal programme for vowed Mercy women: 1-28 June, 2014 at MIC. 

This year's presenters are:
Helena O'Donoghue, Elizabeth Dowling rsm, Sheila Carney rsm, Avis Clendenen.
Facilitator is Clare Vaughan rsm (ANZ).

Download renewal programme flyer (PDF)
Book online to reserve your place (link)

View the 2012 & 2013 presentations

Read reflections from participants in previous years'  Wellsprings programmes:
2013 programme
2012 programme
2011 programme

Sisters please note: there will not be a renewal programme at MIC in 2015. The next renewal programme will be held from 3-30 July, 2016. Presenters' names and details will be published once these are confirmed.

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

Registrations are still open for 2014 pilgrimage for college students and young adults:  5-8 August, 2014. Group registrations are welcome up to Good Friday, 18 April 2014. Individuals can register through June 2014.

The following dates have been confirmed:

Pre-registrations being accepted for 2015 pilgrimage for secondary school students:14-17July, 2015.

Save the date for 2016 pilgrimage for college students & young adults: 9-12 August, 2016.

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

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There were 16 new subscribers to Mercy E-news last Wednesday, following publication of our World Water Day issue.

A reminder that Mercy E-news is available free of charge to any member of the global Mercy family and to anyone who is interested in the vision and mission of Mercy International Association (MIA).

Simply fill in the details on the attached form or contact the Editor.

Messages to: the Editor

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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

On Wednesday, 19 March Nessa Ní Chasaide, Co-ordinator Debt & Development Ireland, presented the third 2014 Soup & Substance Lunchtime talk, explaining the work of those involved in Debt activism and the challenges they face...

Nessa Ní Chasaide has been involved in the global justice sector for over 15 years, and since 2006 she has been the Co-ordinator of Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI), a coalition of organisations and individuals who share a deep concern about debt injustice and the injustice of the global financial system and who campaign for an end to the financial exploitation of countries, in the Global South and now in Europe too...

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

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MIA Members News

Editor: In an article by Liz Dossa in this week's Archdiocese of San Francisco's paper, Catholic San Francisco, Sr Mary Anita Iddings, a senior Sister of Mercy, shares her reflections on life and loss. That article is linked to this item.

'Only by learning how to recognize and process losses will the negative feelings associated with loss be converted to the positive realization that every loss is the offering of a gift … No amount of gold will take the place of doing one’s own interior work … ', says Sr Anita.

The life lessons Sr Anita has learned have come from multiple experiences over many years and inform the article 'A Special Call' which she wrote for the latest issue of The MAST Journal (21.3, pp. 3-4). That article deserves a broad audience beyond those in their senior years and we are grateful to the MAST Editorial Board for making 'A Special Call' available to our readers.

Download and read 'A Special Call' (PDF)

Messages to:
Sr Mary Anita Iddings
Liz Dossa -Communications Manager, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest

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Editor: Speaking at the blessing of the new Whitty wing at the Dublin Mater Hospital earlier this month, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, 'If I were asked why the Church should remain engaged in the public health sector and what are its credentials for doing so, I would answer with two words: "Catherine McCauley...”'

'If I were to be asked today how I would evaluate the success or failure of our healthcare system, I would answer probably with the same answers that Catherine McCauley and her friends would have answered with in their time: what is the level of access of the poorest in our society to adequate healthcare?'

The Whitty wing, named for M Vincent Whitty, builder of the Mater and foundress of the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation, is a new €284 million development housing 12 new operating theatres, 120 one-bed en suite rooms, new emergency and outpatients departments, a modern radiology department and a 444-space underground car park.

Messages to: Eugene Nolan rsm

Sr Eugene, author of the definitive history of the Mater Caring for the Nation writes, 'The history of the Mater goes back a long time to when Catherine McAuley suggested that the Sisters might consider building a hospital of their own, where the poor would have easy access ie the only criterion for admission being that they were sick and in need of care. At the time it was exceeding difficult for the poor to gain access to the Dublin hospitals. They had to get a “ticket” from a Protestant Minister or someone of influence, to gain access.'

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Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland Limited  has entered into a partnership with Chanel College, Gladstone launching a program aimed at getting young people into the health industry with an emphasis on completing structured work placements.

Mercy currently employs employs approximately 1,400 people working across a range of facilities: 5 Private Hospitals, 3 Residential Aged Care Facilities, 2 Retirement Villages, Day Therapy Centres, a Day Surgery Unit, Linen and Food Services, Corporate Office.

Messages to: Marie Duffy rsm - Executive Officer Mater Hospitals

Editor: Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland Limited is this week's featured Mercy website.

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'Mercy Health System experts in Carter County, Oklahoma, are taking steps to improve nutrition in school cafeterias and educate more than just the students along the way.

"We wanted the cafeteria staff to not feel like a 'lunch lady' but to feel like a partner in education," said the executive chef at Mercy Health in Ardmore, Charles Spencer...'

Source: KXII.com

Messages to: Rachel Wright - Mercy Health Media Relations Oklahoma

Editor: Read what other steps Mercy Health is taking to make Oklahoma healthier

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On 1 and 2 March, 2014 Sisters of Mercy in Perú gathered in Puerto Eten, Region of Chiclayo, with Sisters Sheila O'Dea and Elizabeth Marrie, members of the Leadership Team, to celebrate the renewal of vows of Alita Sanchez Sanchez and Rosalí Vargas Mendoza and the reception into the novitiate of María Galán Fiestas. The days were filled with ceremonies, prayer,  joyful music, wonderful meals and lots of conversation...

Messages to:
(l-r) Alita Sanchez Sanchez , María Galán Fiestas & Rosalí Vargas Mendoza c/- Diane Smyth rsm Leadership Team

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Just a month before Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck Tacloban City and nearby areas in Eastern Visayas of Central Philippines, Corazon Basadre rsm started her remote preparation for Final Profession of Vows at the Religious Sisters of Mercy Formation House in Tacloban City, Philippines. Sr. Cora happened to be commissioned as Principal/School Head of the Assumption Academy in Tanauan, Leyte. Due to her scheduled preparation for profession, she was temporarily replaced as Principal by Louis Marie Monfort rsm...

Messages to: Carmela N. Cabactulan rsm - Sister Superior Religious Sisters of Mercy Philippines

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Join us in this journey over the past three months as we share with you snippets from happenings in the Kenyan Province.

The first event saw us all in Dimesse from the 19th to the 22nd of December, 2013 for a Province Assembly with the “Theme Exploring Together and Birthing the Heart of who we are.” This was a real Birthing time for us as it culminated on the last Day with the Reception of our three postulants, Cynthia Sylvia Okusima, Mary Magadalen Njeri Kibugi, Rose Kerubo Maranga to the Novitiate in Nakuru...

Messages to: Brigid Marnane rsm - Kenyan Province 

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At the AGM held during the ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) Conference in Melbourne 27 February – 1 March,  Anne Tormey rsm was elected to the position of President of ACRATH, Carmel Hegarty rsm was elected National Secretary and Carole McDonald rsm is continuing as Victorian Co-ordinator. Sr Anne has been the Regional Coordinator of ACRATH in South Australia for the last three years.   She has had wide experience in administrative roles and has a passion for working against human trafficking. 

Image: ACRATH. l-r: Anne Tormey rsm & Maree Marsh csb (outgoing President)

Messages to: Anne Tormey rsm

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Mercy Statement to UN in Response to Violence Against Children in Nuba Mountains, Southern Kordophan State in Sudan (ISMAPNG)

On Friday, 14 March, a statement written by Cathy Solano rsm for the Diocese of El Obeid was delivered to the UN in Geneva under the umbrella of Caritas Internationalis. Deirdre Mullan rsm facilitated the meeting.
The statement was a response to the annual reports presented by the two Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General: 'Violence Against Children' and 'Children in Armed Conflict'. The Geneva Statement summarised the current situation being faced by children and their parents in the Nuba Mountains in Southern Kordophan state in Sudan, a conflict situation that is little known by the rest of the world.

Read the Statement (PDF)

Messages to:
Cathy Solano rsm
Deirdre Mullan rsm - Executive Director Partnership for Global Justice

Image: Sudan map. Wikipedia. Public doman

Editor: Prayers are asked for South Sudan. The country has again erupted in violence as forces loyal to South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and those allied behind former Vice President Riek Machar have recently come into conflict.

An International Seminar was convened by Dr. Carol Rittner rsm (The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey) and Dr. John K. Roth (Claremont McKenna College, California), 8-11 March, 2014 at Campion Hall, University of Oxford, UK.

The seminar focused on how one teaches about the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and genocide. The seminar was comprised of sixteen scholars from six countries, all of whom have written and taught about sexual violence in the context of mass atrocity crimes (e.g., the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the genocides in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, and the horrific violence in Guatemala, Congo, and elsewhere).

Messages to: Carol Rittner rsm - Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Richard Stockton College 

Image: Richard Stockton College. Seminar Participants at Oxford. Carol Rittner rsm is standing, far right

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Mercy Matters

This Guide offers practical information regarding general chapters of religious congregations. It will be of interest not only to facilitators but also to congregational leadership teams and to those responsible for the planning and preparation of chapters.

by Srs. Dairne Mc Henry RSCJ (Author), Mary Harrington SUSC (Contributor), Gabrielle Stuart RSM (Contributor).

In the interests of making the Guide available to as many readers as possible, particularly on the African continent, the co-authors have waived their right to royalties...

Paperback.   $5.29 from Amazon (linked to this item)

Download the flyer here (PDF)

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Author and academic danah boyd takes an "email sabbatical" once a year. But she doesn't just throw up her hands and set an out-of-office reply; getting to her annual inbox vacation takes preparation. Here's how she does it...

Source: FastCompany

Image: MacBook Pro at Pink Night. Viktor Hanacek. Picjumbo. Used with permission


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“Lord have mercy!” We say it all the time. People beg for mercy everywhere, in prison cells, at the gallows, in places of sickness, at the time of death. The cry is passionate with the intensity of a prayer when the human heart turns to mercy. The whole world knows that mercy opens locked doors and melts the frozen heart...

Anna Burke rsm
Sisters of Mercy Western Province
The Congregation

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We are a not-for-profit catholic organisation committed to delivering the highest quality of health and aged care to the community of Central Queensland.

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'An observant, practical woman, Catherine McAuley looked and saw what transpired around her in early nineteenth century Ireland. She listened and heard what reflected the joy and pain of life. Reflecting on what she experienced, she learned ways to be helpful to body, mind and spirit...'

Joanna Regan rsm and Isabelle Keiss rsm, Tender Courage, p77

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No event of particular significance is recorded in the Mercy Through the Years Calendar as having taken place on 26 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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Further Resources

Worth Reading:
The latest issue of New Theology Review (NTR), Vol 26, No 2 (2014), published by Catholic Theological Union (CTU) Chicago, is now online, available without charge. This latest issue includes a series of articles under the heading 'Climate, Creation, Common Good'. Read this issue of NTR

'It is reported that Pope Francis is preparing a text on the environment, and Donal Dorr expects that the resulting document will develop the links that Francis has already and repeatedly made between "concern for the exploited earth and concern for marginalised and exploited people". How does Pope Francis’ thinking about the environment compare with that of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI?'
See: ' "The fragile world": Church teaching on ecology before and by Pope Francis' by Donal Dorr. Read the article

'Spirited Spat: Pipeline Battle Rages on Kentucky's "Holy Land"'- tells how the Loretto Sisters and the Trappists from the Abbey of Gethsemane are challenging the Bluegrass Pipeline that would send natural gas liquids pulled from Pennsylvania fracking sites to a Gulf Coast export complex. Read the article

'Water is a critical but contentious resource for the fracking industry, which is booming in the US and poised to take off globally. Despite vast media coverage on the topic, many issues remain poorly understood by policymakers, the business community and other stakeholders who stand to be affected by the industry's widening presence.'  See: Fracking and water pollution: what we can learn from the US experience.' Read the article

Worth Knowing:
The next set of Reflections on the Sunday Gospels prepared by Veronica Lawson rsm has been posted on the mercyworld.org website. Read these here

Worth Being Reminded:
The Syrian conflict has now entered its fourth year. More than 146,000 people, at least a third of them civilians, are dead and as many as 2.5 million Syrians have now fled their country. The Atlantic online has gathered a series of images of events over the past few months in a visual story called 'In Syria: Three Years of War'. This presentation makes for very sobering viewing. See it here

Worth Hearing:
The performance by Sister Cristina Scuccia, member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family, singing Alicia Keys song 'No one' appears to have stunned the judges on the Italian version of The Voice and has since garnered enormous publicity and gone viral on YouTube. Watch Sr Cristina here if you haven't seen her yet.

But as CathNews reminded its Australian readers last month, Sr Janet Mead's (ISMAPNG) rendition of The Lord's Prayer was an international smash-hit in 1973, selling millions and pipped only by Elvis at the Grammy Awards. Watch that clip on YouTube 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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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 Margaret Casey (IRL), James Peppiatt-Combes (US) and Sister Denise Fox (ANZ)