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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 560  |  09 April 2014
Featured Story
Catherine McAuley - Venerable for Mercy

On 9 April 2015 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary (silver jubilee) of the declaration by Pope John Paul II of Catherine McAuley as Venerable. On this date 24 years ago today the decree was issued by the Pope declaring publicly that Catherine was indeed a holy woman. With this declaration came the fulfilment of the belief in her holiness by the Sisters of her Congregation and many others who knew her and who were responsible for setting her Cause in motion in 1903.

As we commence this time of celebration will you share an insight about Catherine’s life with somebody else and pray together for her beatification or for a particular intention through her intercession?

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

Editor: The Prayer for Beatification of Catherine McAuley and the Prayer for a Sick Person are online here. Those wishing to add their names or have names added to the list of prayers requested should contact the Vice postulator of their region, details here. Readers of Mercy E-News are invited to join in prayer for the intentions of all those who have requested prayers - see list here.

Vision in Action

Editor: In preparation for the 25th year of Catherine's pronouncement as Venerable, we invited Sheila Carney rsm, Vice postulator Americas,  to reflect on the meaning of our waiting...

Twenty five years. In a marriage, in religious life, in commitment to a ministry, this is a length of time to which we attach particular meaning. It signifies fidelity, forbearance, compromise, commitment, love that endures. We look back over the span of those years and focus on moments that were turning points, people who were influential, graces asked for and received. On the strength of those years we dare to re-commit, trusting ourselves and our God....

Messages to: Sheila Carney rsm - Vice postulator Americas

Image: Aleksandra Boguslawska. Used with permission

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Josephine Mary Agnew rsm (RIP) in North Sydney, Australia, was inspired to have a rose named in honour of Catherine McAuley in celebration of Catherine being declared Venerable.

An unnamed rose initially bred in the United States and subsequently introduced in Australia was chosen by Sisters of Mercy in North Sydney from among many unnamed roses at Swane's Nursery in Narromine NSW. The Plants Variety Rights was applied for and granted to the Sisters of Mercy for this rose, and it was officially launched as the Catherine McAuley Rose in a ceremony held on 12 November 1992, in the L'Estrange Room of the Mater Hospital in Sydney...

Messages to:
Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality
Sisters of Mercy North Sydney Congregation

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This story begins in September 2004 when John Amery, then CEO of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Townsville, Queensland (now Mater Health Services North Queensland Limited) was part of a pilgrimage of leaders from Mercy Institutions across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to Baggot Street...

Editor: Have you a Catherine McAuley rose growing in your home place or community garden or place of Mercy ministry? We'd be very pleased to receive a picture of it (whether in bloom or not) and a few lines describing the location and how the rose came to be planted there. We'll publish these just as we have the short stories of places named for Catherine. Email: 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

During various research projects on Catherine McAuley, it became clear that we did not have completely accurate, up-to-date genealogies for either Catherine’s nephew William Armstrong McAuley, who settled in Australia, or for her brother James William McAuley who lived in Ireland. Each of these had many children whose descendants are still living.

This situation has now been marvelously remedied by Mary Dennett rsm (ISMAPNG). She has now produced accurate, up-to-date genealogies for both William and James, and copies of these genealogies can now be available in every Mercy congregational office and Mercy Archives.

Messages to: Mary Sullivan rsm

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Editor: This week we publish another of the Australian presentations given by Mary Reynolds rsm. In this presentation Sr Mary looks at 3 challenges facing Mercy today:

'...The first is to live lives centered in God. What challenges do we face in our contemporary culture in attempting to do that?

The second area is that of responding in Mercy to contemporary need. How do we do that in a world that has become a global village and in a society where the negative aspects of globalization subordinate the common wellbeing of people and communities to the economic needs and interests of powerful corporations?

The third area is the challenge of keeping hope alive in the midst of the realities of our time...'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm

Image: Forward on Climate Rally, Washington 2013. Ben Schumin. Flicker

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Sisters of Mercy and our Partners-in-ministry working on Human Trafficking are asking that we choose Fair Trade chocolate this Easter and all year round.

It is estimated that there are at least 800,000 children working in the cocoa industry at present: 5-10% of these children have been trafficked.

Messages to: MIA Working Group on Human Trafficking c/- Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MGA

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The penultimate Soup & Substance 2014 Lenten lunchtime talk took place at the Catherine McCauley Centre on Herbert Street, Dublin on Wednesday 2 April. Andrew Jackson, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, presented ‘Ireland and the Environment – Where Are We Going?' (EU Environmental Law & Policy in Ireland).

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

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MIA Members News

In the wake of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a number of Sisters of Mercy from Ireland responded immediately to the call of different agencies to work in the Refugee Camps there, to assist people in whatever way was needed.

At the first congregational chapter in July 1994, two decisions were made which paved the way for the involvement of Sisters of Mercy with Rwanda over the next few years.

The decisions were as follows:

  • That a message be sent to the Government in support of its action in providing finance and personnel, and urging that it continued to bring pressure to bear on the U.N.
  • That a message be sent to Sisters around the country indicating support for those who felt called to answer the request of GOAL (an international humanitarian agency) for personnel – after entering into the usual consultation with Congregational Leaders.

The Provincial Team members of the Western Province were asked by Chapter to take responsibility for the mission to Rwanda, and they readily agreed.  Subsequently, six Sisters from the Congregation volunteered to go on mission to Rwanda.  They were Srs. Goretti Rule (South Africa), Stephanie Murphy (South Central Province), Mary Walshe and Teresita Mitchell (Western Province), Martina Fox (U.S. Province) and Maria Hayes (Southern Province).  They worked in collaboration with the priests of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society and the Medical Missionaries of Mary.

The mission in Rwanda was difficult as the political situation was volatile, relationships between Church and State were fragile and the language was a huge challenge.  The Sisters gave heroic service to the people of Rwanda from 1996 to late 1999, when it was decided that they return home. 

Messages to: Ailish O'Brien rsm - Communications Co-ordinator

Image: (taken from the) Panorama of Photos of Genocide Victims - Genocide Memorial Center - Kigali - Rwanda. Adam Jones, Ph.D. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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On two occasions recently, Mercy people in Brisbane were privileged to hear Mary Reynolds rsm who is visiting Australia at the invitation of ISMAPNG and Mercy Partners.  On Saturday, 15 March, Mary spoke to about a hundred Sisters and then on 17 March, forty personnel from Mercy ministries in Brisbane were privileged to hear her.

After a presentation on how Catherine responded to the signs of her times, Mary challenged both groups to think about how, while our historical circumstances are different from those of Catherine’s day, the big issues we are dealing with today, are very similar.  How can we make the same compassionate and courageous response that Catherine did? 

Some impressions recorded by those present on one or other occasion are linked to this item.

Messages to: Anne Hetherington rsm (ISMAPNG)

Image: l-r: Srs Mary Reynolds, Bernadette Ahearn, Anne Hetherington, Mary Lowcock

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Thanks to tremendous support from the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy,  the Trustees of Rainbows Bereavement Support Great Britain held their first meeting in their new National Centre in Oldham, Greater Manchester, last month.

The Rt Rev John Rawsthorne, Bishop of Hallam and trustee of Rainbows for twenty years led the Trustees in prayer and paid tribute to the Sisters for their tremendous support to Rainbows over so many years. The new Resource and Training Centre at Grange Avenue in Oldham was originally an extension to the convent and has been leased to Rainbows on the most generous of terms.

Messages to: Sue McDermott - National Director Rainbows Great Britain

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Nga mihi atawhai – greetings to all in Mercy! April 9 has become etched on our local Mercy calendar, recalling the arrival in New Zealand of the first Sisters of Mercy, after their eight-month voyage from the other side of the world. They stepped ashore on a piece of Auckland’s shoreline which has long since disappeared as a result of quarrying for the settlement’s roads and buildings.

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leadership Team

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Mercy Matters

Apps to to help you work smarter instead of harder.

Source: FastCompany

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'Mercy, as described by Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, is “the principal path pointed out by Jesus Christ to those who are desirous of following Him.” It sounds simple enough. And yet I often feel that this path can be a difficult one to travel, and that keeping pace with Jesus, our guide, is a challenge. But I also feel that it is a path worth pursuing, even if we end up wandering for a bit. The path of mercy is a wide one....'

Kerry Weber
Mercy Associate (Americas)

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'The Servant of God, Catherine McAuley...practiced to a heroic degree the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor and along with them the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude'.
Decree, 9 April 1990, Congregation for the Causes of Saints

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1850: Foundation to Auckland from Carlow - M Cecilia Maher
1895: Death of M Teresa Maher, Foundress of Athy/Callan
1989: Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dunedin changes its name to Mercy Hospital.

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Mother Mary Cecilia Maher and the first Sisters of Mercy in New Zealand 1850 - 1880
by Marcienne D Kirk rsm (1998).

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To share in the mission of the Sisters of Mercy by continuing the healing of Jesus Christ through providing the highest standards of health care for the total well-being of all.

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Further Resources

Worth Knowing.

The Vatican and Law Enforcement Agencies from around the world are teaming up to combat human trafficking. The second international conference entitled 'Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership' will take place in the Academy of Sciences in the Vatican from April 9-10. Archbishop Vincent Nichols will host the conference.Hear his announcement of the conference (01:41). Read the conference background and process. The conference will be live streamed and can be watched here

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide, the great untold story of Rwanda's rise is how women rebuilt the nation. Visit  How Women Rebuilt Rwanda which tells the story of how women rebuilt their society and brought peace across sectarian lines after the slaughter of a million people in 100 days two decades ago. It's an inspiring read.

Worth Considering:

A major campaign called 'Making Christianity No. 1 this Easter Season' has just launched in Ireland.  Part of the campaign is the release of a CD which recounts the story of Holy Week using old and new Irish hymns and tunes. Some of the hymns are over 1,000 years old.

The music on the CD will be a great source of spiritual nourishment and conversion at this time and the proceeds from the sale of the CD, will go towards a Dominican Youth Camp, in Ireland, called Knockadoon. 

To purchase the CD by the band Celi De Collective, visit the band’s website www.celide.ie, and if you like what you hear, there is an option to buy the album from iTunes. Your purchase will go a long way in helping the youth in Ireland, and bring Christianity into the Music Charts (a great source of evangelization).

 A preview of Caoineadh na dtrí Muire: The Lament of the Three Marys can be heard on YouTube (02:25)

Worth Attending:

In conjunction with the opening of the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive on 30 April in honor of Joan D. Chittister, at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, Tom Roberts, editor-at-large for the National Catholic Reporter, will give the inaugural Joan Chittister Annual Lecture address at 7:30 p.m. Sister Joan will respond to Roberts who is in the process of writing a biography about her and add her comments on the event. The lecture is free to the public at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, Mercyhurst University.

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