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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 561  |  16 April 2014
Featured Story

Editor: The heavy rain that fell in Sydney on Palm Sunday didn't deter Sisters of Mercy from Congregations across Australia and Papua New Guinea from turning out in large numbers to peacefully protest against the Federal Government's policy of Mandatory Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

In Melbourne and in other capital cities across Australia, the sun shone on our Sisters and Partners-in-ministry who participated, along with tens of thousands of other citizens, in this demonstration of support for the most vulnerable persons in Australian society.

The presence of those who walked sent a clear message to those in mandatory detention. In the words of Hold On, a song of welcome to Australia's asylum seekers:
Hold on, you're not forgotten,
Hold on, we hear your call,
Hold on, 'til something can turn,
'Til hard hearts are melted with human compassion... (06:59)


Image: Courtesy Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation

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Vision in Action

Many people have been involved in the formal Volunteer Programme at MIC since its establishment in 1994.  Volunteers have been, and continue to be, of the utmost importance in all aspects of the day-to-day life of Mercy International Centre. We definitely could not survive without their generous support and service. 

A list of the volunteers who have served since the beginning is linked here. We hope it is accurate, but would very much appreciate receiving corrections in addition to a photograph of each person, and your contact details if applicable. We plan to put a more comprehensive document together for the 20th anniversary in September and so would appreciate receiving additions and amendments.

Message to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Finance and Administration

Editor: We invite MIC Volunteers to share with our readers from your memories of your time at Baggot Street. Send your reminiscences to the Editor

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Priority Theme of Commission on Status of Women (CSW): ‘Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls.’

To respond to this important CSW theme, MIA at the UN and the Mining Working Group at the UN brought a group of activists to participate in this event in New York.  The activists are working at ‘grassroots level’ on the two major concerns of the MIA Global Action programme:  

1. Combatting Human Trafficking (HT) or Trafficking in Persons (TIP)

2. The human and ecological abuses caused by mining/the extractive development model

Messages to:
Aine O'Connor rsm - Mercy Global Action Co-ordinator at the UN
Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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The Memorial Garden, Wall & Rill are three important developments from the beginnings of Mercy International Centre. These are still in existence and are explained as part of official tours. Tours are available by appointment on weekdays, usually at 10.00am. An interactive tour of Baggot Street is available here.

The Memorial Garden (former cemetery) is a place of peace in busy Dublin and visitors are amazed to find it among tall buildings almost in the centre of town. Guests and staff also appreciate its space and beauty on a sunny day. Fifty Sisters were buried here from the time Catherine died - 11th November 1841 - to the end of 1883 when Sr M Agatha Vincent Byrne died (28 December 1883). A virtual tour has been created of the Memorial Garden.

Messages to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Finance and Administration

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

O Triune God, we know you in many ways, each a gift as our faith seeks understanding. May we reflect carefully on the mysteries in which you manifest yourself to us, thus coming to know you in your infinite riches. May loving you lead us to a deeper appreciation of our communities and our world. We ask this in faith, knowing that you call us to love one another.


Morning Prayer for the Second, Fourth and Sixth Wednesdays in Lent from Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy.
Download: Prayerbook app for iOS  Download: Prayerbook app for Android


Editor: This week we publish a third of the Australian presentations given by Mary Reynolds rsm. In this presentation Sr Mary  discusses the meaning of charism, the growth of the Congregation, the Mercy Family and the challenge of creatively assisting the shaping of Mercy today.

'Catherine McAuley once said that God can form and reform any of his creation to meet his purposes. The charism of Mercy has been formed and reformed over the ages and continues thus right to this very moment and all of us here are intimately involved in that process...'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Coley Christine Catalano. Used with permission

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An unexpected vacancy for a Volunteer position has become available at Mercy International Centre from early October until mid-December 2014.

This position is open to Sisters, Associates and Friends of Mercy, to a single person or couple. Due to the time of year, duties will be lighter than at busier times of the year.

Details of the position and how to apply are linked to this item.

Messages to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Finance & Administration

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MIA Members News

"...‘Tell him we are faithful’ - were the words of the leader of women religious in the U.S., when she was asked by the papal visitor what he was to tell the Holy Father about the Sisters in the States. ‘Tell him we are faithful’ ……. she said. The women who began the Women’s Therapy Centre were being faithful to a vision of life which offered women a chance to become more themselves - and in so doing to own their own unique journey. 

All around the world at this moment, women are being invited to be faithful. There are mothers in Syria, nuns in Egypt, women poets and artists all over the world, mostly unknown, being faithful. But to what - what are we all being invited to be faithful to?.."

Jo Kennedy rsm  reflects on the forthcoming closure of the Women’s Therapy Centre in the Herbert St Dublin building beside Mercy International Centre.

Messages to: Jo Kennedy rsm

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On Monday, the Hon. Anna Bligh, CEO YWCA New South Wales, Former Premier of Queensland, and Dr Maree Petersen, University of Queensland, launched the report  'Older women's pathways out of homelessness in Australia'.

There is strong anecdotal evidence that a growing group of people becoming homeless in Australia are women aged over 55.

This report which has had significant mainstream media coverage can be read on the Foundation's website (linked to this item).

Messages to: Felicity Reynolds - CEO Mercy Foundation

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Parramatta Mercies’ New Website Comes to life! (Parramatta Congregation)

The Parramatta Congregation was delighted to finally have its new website - the product of many months planning, preparing and development - “go live” last Friday.

The website seeks to capture the spirit and essence of the Congregation’s life and mission, foster links around the Mercy world and engage the user in current issues of social Justice.

As the Congregation celebrates its 125 year history, the focus moves from the past to the present to the future. This new website aims to communicate the message of mercy to a wide audience across the generations.

Messages to: Maria Lawton rsm

Editor: Parramatta Congregation's website is this week's featured site

Editor: A  Charity event in February in the Co. Down city of Newry, organised to raise money for Concern Worldwide in aid of Syrian Refugees, provided Philippa McArdle rsm with the opportunity to nominate and champion the Russell Sisters who subsequently received top honours at a function in the Town Hall.

In an article linked to this item, Sr Philippa traces the contribution of the Russell Sisters who became Sisters of Mercy : Elizabeth (Mother Aquin), Sarah (Mother Emmanuel), and Katherine (Mother Baptist), according to the three  criteria:

What Newry citizen (deceased) did most for

  • Social welfare of Newry or elsewhere?
  • Economic welfare of Newry or elsewhere?
  • Brought most fame to Newry?

Messages to:  Perpetua McArdle rsm

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Editor: We received this image and short story regarding the Catherine McAuley rose garden in Charleville, south-west Queensland, Australia. We renew our invitation to send in your McAuley rose story for publication

I am writing from St Mary’s Catholic School, Charleville in Queensland, Australia.  Last year we celebrated the centenary of the school.  It was  founded by the Brisbane Sisters of Mercy and opened on Australia Day, January 1913.  In 2012 when we were building our Cobb & Co Sports Hall it was decided to build a garden between it and the main building as a place where one could just sit and relax.  One of the roses planted in it is the Catherine McAuley rose.

Messages to: Elizabeth O'Keeffe rsm

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Three text reflections for Holy Week composed by Aine Barrins rsm to accompany three illuminations by Clare Augustine Moore: Total Giving, Faithful Love to the End and Jesus is Risen.

From Opening Our Treasures: Some Images of Mary by Sister Clare Augustine Moore.
Reflections Áine Barrins rsm
Photos Máire Uí Mhaicín (RIP)

Messages to: Áine Barrins rsm

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Mercy Matters

No event of particular significance is recorded in the Mercy Through the Years Calendar as having taken place on 16 April. 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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The general premise behind the trick is that passwords should be long and have a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

The post includes a number of other quick tech tricks worth exploring.

Source: Time

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The first group of Sisters of Mercy to come to Australia arrived in Perth in 1846.

From then on, there was a succession of foundations of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia; Parramatta in 1888 was among the last. Parramatta was founded from Callan in Kilkenny, Ireland...

Over the 125 years since the foundation of the Parramatta Congregation, Sisters have continued to respond to the changing needs of the local and global population.

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'...What we have to offer is not ourselves but the Christ who lives within us and the mission alone to which he calls us.

Strategic plans are necessary, budgets and fundraising are necessary, restored cathedrals and consolidation of resources are necessary. Working away at such goals is part of the penance involved simply in living at this point of history.

But these are not our mission and these are not our life. He alone is our life...'

from the Homily for the 125th Anniversary Mass of the Sisters of Mercy, Townsville (2003)
given by Most Rev Michael E Putney  DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Townsville (RIP)

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'We seem to forget that God calls upon us to take up our cross and that this cross must be composed of the sacrifice of something that is dear to us, that He requires of us constant watchfulness over our thoughts and words...'

Catherine McAuley, Retreat Instructions, p168
cited in Helen Marie Burns rsm and Sheila Carney rsm, Praying with Catherine McAuley (1996)

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In these reflections for Lent, Kathleen Murphy rsm unravels the stories of the women who accompanied Jesus during his last days and were there when he endured agony and death on the cross. Who were these women and what are their stories? Is there anything we can learn from their suffering and hopes that might help us with our burdens – our own crosses?

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Further Resources

NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby has published a study and action guide to Pope Francis’  apostolic exhortation Evangelium Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It includes summaries of each section of Joy of the Gospel and analysis and questions for reflection, as well as suggestions for ways in which individuals and groups can respond to the Pope’s message. Access it here (PDF 24 pps)


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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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)