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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 562  |  23 April 2014
Featured Story

Editor: This is such an important week for us all. On Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection and so commenced the Easter Season. Yesterday we marked International Mother Earth Day. Elizabeth Johnson, in 'For God so loved the cosmos' (2010), one of this issue's Further Resources, brings both these experiences together in this sentence: 'In truth, the risen Christ embodies the ultimate hope of all creation'.

For this issue of Mercy E-news we sought out contributions that recognise our collective responsibility for all creation, because, as members of the Mercy family, with our shared MIA focus on Cosmology/Eco Justice, we 'acknowledge, hold and respect the energy, sacredness, and interconnectedness of all life's ongoing stories.'  (Ref: Our Vision, Cosmology/Eco Justice).

A particular highlight of this issue is the report by Mary Reynolds rsm (3 linked pages) of her recent trip to the Philippines. Sr Mary writes:

'Having just spent an unforgettable week in the Philippines, I am celebrating Easter this year in the sure belief that out of death comes life.

As Letty de los Santos rsm, one of our Filipino Sisters, put it ‘… amidst the desolation of loss, the uncertainty of a future, and amidst the rubble, not only of homes but also of dreams, there emerges a persistence to survive, to re-create; a courage that smiles through tears, dances through tragedies…'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: The fishermen of Bantayan Island giving thanks to the Sisters of Mercy for their new boats. Courtesy of Mercy Works


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Vision in Action

Editor: In 1998 Adele Howard rsm (ISMAPNG) was invited by Doris Gottemoeller rsm (Chair) on behalf of the Members of MIA (the leaders of the MIA Congregations, Institutes and Federations) to attend the May AGM. The previous year she had been asked to look at and respond to a communications proposal for the creation of an interactive CD-Rom on the Mercy story across the world which MIA had received from a local company.

Following her presentation, Sr Adele was asked to establish a team responsible for putting in place a web site for MIA and to develop a Communications Policy for MIA...

Messages to:
Adele Howard rsm - MIA Communications Consultant
Mary Renolds rsm - MIA Executive Director


Image: Alejandro Escamilla. Used with permission

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MIA Intention for the Coming Week

‘We envision a country where justice, liberty and prosperity for all shall truly reign; a country where people will live long and children will not die young and senselessly', write the ecumenical church leaders of South Sudan In their latest pastoral statement.

'As the rainy season rapidly approaches, we are extremely concerned about the implications for the seven million people who are at risk of food insecurity,' warns Natalia Chan, Christian Aid’s senior advocacy and policy officer for East Africa, as reported in the Independent Catholic News

"Many families have missed the planting season because they have been displaced by the violence, and the conflict continues to impede humanitarian access to the most vulnerable.'

MIA joins in prayers for peace and for generosity for the people of South Sudan.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Will it be 'We’re In the Money'?

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in his current report on Harmony with Nature asserts that 'it is critical that the post-2015 development agenda is aimed at sustaining nature rather than reducing it to a resource to feed our economic system.' This is a harsh critique of economic growth as the basis of development rather than, as the Secretary General notes, 'supporting the flourishing and the maintenance of an infinitely diverse natural and social life ... and the well-being of present and future generations.'

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

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Messages to: Betty Lacey - MGA Intern

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Ownership of land and its produce in Catherine McAuley’s Ireland was a source of Catholic-Protestant conflict.  In the decade of her death (1841) the Great Famine caused more than a million Irish people to immigrate – and often the Sisters of Mercy followed them - to Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Earth, home to all people, regardless of race, creed, economic status, is suffering.  What we do to one another, in times of plenty and in times of poverty, we do to Earth...

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

Image: Marcin Czerwinski Used with permission

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As a Mercy community we pray with those in need of prayer. We especially pray this week with the intercession of Catherine McAuley for those whose names are newly added to our prayer list: Patricia Harrington rsm, Margaret Harrington, Marlene Fosnight, Lisa Eglar, Sr Barbara Mary Marshall and all who have asked for prayers.

Messages to:
Anne Hannon rsm - Vice postulator Europe and Africa
Sheila Carney rsm - Vice postulator Americas
Caroline Ryan rsm - Vice postulator Australia & PNG, Aotearoa New Zealand, Philippines

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MIA Members News

Situated on the north-western corner of Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, North Sydney, Catherine McAuley Place is innovative in its design, digitally rich, colourful, open plan and exciting.

It is designed to make the most use of natural light and uses the physics of convection currents to assist in maintaining optimal thermal conditions. It recycles what water it can capture and also uses this water to heat or cool the concrete slabs of the building.

Messages to: Ann Buchanan - Communications and Publications Administrator

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'Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you are is holy land
You don’t live off it like a parasite
You live in it and it in you,
Or you don’t survive...

-Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

These lines reflect the experience of Moses at the burning bush when God says to Moses: ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground’ (Exodus 3: 5)

Is everywhere we stand holy ground and every bush aglow with the Divine?

Messages to: Mary Carmody rsm

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In the early 1990s, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas identified climate change as the most significant and critical environmental issue of our time. It impacts water, food and the public health of all Earth’s residents, particularly those who are most poor and vulnerable. As the state of our planet becomes more serious, there is an urgency for us, as Mercy, to respond to these issues—as the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas committed in the 2011 Chapter Declaration, we must 'act in ways which contribute to a sustainable future for our Institute, the Church, and Earth.'

Messages to: Amanda LePoire - Communications Manager

Editor: Pat Zerega, Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Mercy Investment Services, presented ‘Using your investments for Social Change and Anti-Trafficking Initiatives’ as the final Soup and Substance Gathering on Wednesday, 9 April. Listen to a recording of Pat speaking and read a report on her talk.

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'It’s 3:23 in the morning and I’m awake, because my great, great grandchildren won’t let me sleep.  My great, great grandchildren ask me in dreams, what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the Earth was unraveling? Surely you did something when the seasons started failing, as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying. Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?  What did you do, once you knew?' 
- Drew Dellinger: Hieroglyphic Stairway

Right now, we all grope our way into the biggest context of existence.  With the glimmer of  an understanding of a cosmos in evolution and with the hint of knowing  something about inner and outer transformation through our lives as women of Mercy, we at Mercy Ecology are taking  steps  to 'reverence Earth and to work toward the sustainability of life by acting in harmony with all creation.'  It is both a lofty goal and a gritty reality.  It requires continually turning to our Cosmic Story, the great flaring forth of all that would ever be, and bowing in awe before the mystery of Love in which it all lives and moves and has being...

Messages to: Mary Pendergast rsm - Vice Chair Mercy Ecology Board

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As we celebrate Mother Earth Day it gives me pleasure to reflect on the vision of Earth Link and the way in which that resonates with some of the principles of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth as developed in Bolivia.  That Declaration recognises that “Mother Earth is a living being, a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.” (Article 1)  The challenge is to take those words from the paper and allow them to be become part of who we are.  Earth Link understands that at the heart of the matter is “deep bonding with Earth”, a sense of our oneness with all that is and of our interdependence with the whole Earth community....

Messages to: Mary Tinney rsm

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'It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.' (Jeremiah 51:15)

Earth Day in Aotearoa, the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'. The name Aotearoa includes the Earth made by God’s power and the clouds in heavens…

The indigenous in New Zealand, the Maori believe that all life is connected. Therefore, so-called kaitiaki (guardians) are chosen to protect the environment. Landscapes may be named after a part of a chief’s body and consequently made sacred.

The kaitiaki were watching over the balance between communities and nature. If the nature is treated well, the people would be healthy. This is the key to 'Kaitiakitanga' – a word which means guarding, caring for, being interconnected. Spiritual power (mana), spiritual restriction (tapu) and life force (mauri) go hand in hand.

Messages to: Beate Matthies - Manager Mercy Spirituality Centre Epsom

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Whether it’s constructing new buildings to meet ENERGY STAR standards or removing unnecessary lighting, Mercy’s Green Team members across four states are saving money while reducing the impact our facilities have on the environment.

'This is good for our communities, patients and for our planet,' explained Doug Neidigh, Mercy executive director of energy and sustainability. 'Our co-workers are implementing strategies that reduce our energy consumption, waste generation and water consumption. It’s all about stewardship and making smarter use of our resources.'

Messages to: Sonya Kullman - Media Contact

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'. . .  that it may truly be said, there is in us but one heart and one soul in God.'  Familiar Instructions, p. 107e.

Catherine McAuley’s words awaken our minds and hearts today to the reality of the silent yet boundless energy which desires to enfold every moment of our existence into a oneness with the purpose of nurturing and sustaining life itself in all its beauty and diversity. In the springtime unfolding and budding forth this natural primordial zest to survive and thrive manifests itself abundantly.  In the beautiful and serene grounds of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, with its focus toward examining, challenging and healing injustice and oppression, life’s determination to flourish is witnessed in the delicate strength and vitality of the tiny crocuses and in the tips of the tulips poking their way up through the snow into the sunlight.

Messages to: Mary Tee rsm

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Mercy Matters

Here are 11 simple and creative solutions to help users manage aspects of their technology. One idea on the list might be useful for you. Check it out and see...

Source: Gearburn

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Mercy Community Services SEQ Limited is a new Catholic Ministry owned by the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy and established to support and empower people who are poor, vulnerable, marginalised or in a position of disadvantage.

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1900. Opening of Mater Infirmorum Hospital, Belfast - M Magdalen Malone

1900. Foundation to Stanford le Hope from Wanstead, London

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'Out of Wonder'  by Nellie McLoughlin rsm takes the reader on a journey through life in the Universe from its initial ‘flaring forth’ to the present day; in so doing, she presents a passionately-argued case for the need to care for the Earth, which has supported life for aeons.

Purchase online from Veritas Publications.
Special price currently available

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'Prayer is a plant the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian, but its growth entirely depends on the care we take to nourish it.'

Catherine McAuley, Retreat Instructions, p. 90

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'The New Creation in the Risen Christ has shattered all limitations and boundaries to unity between Peoples and with Creation. The focussed expression of the New Creation is ‘in Christ Jesus’ in the Christian community.

To be ‘in Christ Jesus’ is to be baptized into the empowering possibility of reconciling all Creation from its patterns of exploitation, abuse and violation of rights to a new integrity in the interdependence of the Life-sustaining presence of the new Creation, the Risen Lord.'

Adele Howard rsm (ISMAPNG)
The Land As Sacred: A Theology of the Land from an Australian Christian Perspective (1990)

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Further Resources

Worth Reading:
(Repeated) ' "The fragile world": Church teaching on ecology before and by Pope Francis' by Donal Dorr. Read the article

'For God so loved the cosmos'by Elizabeth Johnson CSJ (2010) Read it here (2010)

For those who garden - 'The Vermont Garden Journal'. Read online or listen to an mp3. Have a great time looking back through the searchable archives Read it here.

'Humanity deserves dark skies and starry nights' by Joan Chittister OSB. Read it here

'Spiritual Ecology: Is It the Ultimate Solution for the Environmental Crisis?' by Leslie E. Sponsel
Abstract: Scientific, academic, and public interest in spirituality and ecology and their intersection has been growing exponentially since the late 1980s. This essay identifies the place of ecology in various religions around the world. It discusses some of the most important books on the topic, focusing on key textbooks, interfaith anthologies, publisher series, periodicals, reference works, and websites. The overview concludes with works discussing the opposition and obstacles to this movement. This invited Feature Article is a Bibliographic Essay reviewing over 100 books on the subject.
CHOICE 51.8 (April 2014): 1339-1348. Purchase short term access to the essay

The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program (US) produces Earth Day Sunday resources each year. In 2014, the theme is “Water, Holy Water.” Developed ecumenically, this annual worship and education resource invites congregations to celebrate an Earth Day Sunday on a Sunday close to Earth Day (April 22), or any Sunday that works well for the congregation's calendar. Download here PDF

Worth a Look:
Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature (on the occasion of International Mother Earth Day).
Theme of the dialogue: "The promotion of a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development through Harmony with Nature"
The dialogue will include an opening segment, panel presentations, an interactive and multi stakeholder dialogue and a closing segment. Archived video can be viewed online 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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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)