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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 575  |  23 July 2014
Featured Story

Editor: 'Welcome! Welcome to the home of Catherine McAuley on Baggot Street, Dublin. Today is a very special day for Mercy Sisters and lay Associates all over the world...'

With these words of welcome the video of the 1994 Opening of Baggot Street begins. With these words of welcome we invite you to watch the events of that day as part of our shared preparation for the week of celebration, 23-29 September, 2014.

To access the video, click the 'more' button below which will take you to a page on the mercyworld.org website where the video resides.

We hope that watching the video will refresh memories of 'that day', deepen interest in participating 'at home' in the forthcoming celebrations and 'stir within us the passion that motivated Catherine to identify contemporary needs and do something new' (Jan Geason rsm).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: Mary Trainer rsm prepares to introduce to the assembled gathering the Sisters participating in the ritual carrying of the waters.
Seated (l-r): Archbishop of Dublin Rev Doctor Desmond Connell, Aide to President Robinson, HE President Mary Robinson, Pat Ryan rsm First Director of MIC, Jean Kennedy Smith USA Ambassador to Ireland

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

MIA joins in prayer for the 298 victims—80 children and three infants are among the dead—of the missile strike on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and for their relatives, friends and colleagues.

Figures released by Malaysia Airlines show the plane was carrying 189 Dutch nationals, 29 Australians, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons, along with a number of other nationalities.

While these nations lost their citizens, we are all impacted by the shock and manner in which these lives were taken — so suddenly, so violently.

We join with all persons everywhere who strive and work for a culture of nonviolence and a world at peace.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

This year we have been retelling the story of Mercy International Association and in so doing rejoicing in the providential guidance of God, honouring the courageous women whose faith and courage enabled them to lead through times of transition and recognising that we stand on the shoulders of the many who generously ran the Association and the Centre over the past twenty years.

The articles we have published this year can all be found from the page linked to this item.

Readers who have missed out on a chapter in the retelling of the story, or who wish to reread an article, should click the 'Read more' link below.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Over 150 poster board displays depicting the global mission of Mercy as it was being lived out in 1994 in the diverse cultures and countries where Sisters of Mercy ministered in that year were created for permanent display at MIC.

Earlier this year these posters were professionally photographed for future digital viewing. As part of this anniversary issue of Mercy E-news, online galleries have been created to enable us all to see these posters.

The gallery pages can be accessed individually from the links below or from the page linked to this item.

#1: Ireland, Iceland and the African countries
#2: Australia and Papua New Guinea, Aotearoa New Zealand,Tonga and Samoa and Great Britain
#3: the Pacific and Guam; Central America and the Caribbean and South American countries
#4: Newfoundland & Canada and the former Regional Communities of the United States
#5: US Mercy ministries and Locations that became USA Province of The Congregation (Ireland) and Diocesan Sisters of Mercy, Portland

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


Image: l-r: David Knight (photographer) with Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm preparing to photograph the former New Jersey Regional Community poster

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Editor: As part of this anniversary issue we asked Anne McMillan (ISMAPNG) to share with readers the story of how she came to create the original MIC and MIA logos.

It was late in 1993, the year prior to the Opening of MIC. A logo had been commissioned in Ireland but the result was not all the First Team had hoped it would be. A logo after all provides a visual expression of an organisation and it was felt that what was received didn't capture the meaning and spirit of Baggot Street...

Messages to:
Anne McMillan rsm
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Original MIC logo

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MIA Members News

Editor: As part of the 20th anniversary celebration lead-up, each week in E-news we are featuring a ministry of one of the member or associate member congregations that specifically addresses the concerns of MGA: cosmology and the environment; opposing human trafficking; displacement of peoples. This is the third in the series of contemporary Mercy ministries. Previously published: Sabon Rayuwa Centre for Cosmology, Ecology and Culture (9/7), Earthkin (16/7)

Founded in 1987 by Gerrie Naughton rsm, ARISE in South Texas is a resource to the immigrant population to bring equality of opportunity for its people.

ARISE’s focus is on a programme of personal development with training in leadership and community organization for women who are immigrants to USA to build capacity to be leaders, organizers, and capacity builders.

Messages to: Rose Weidenbenner rsm

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Monica Killeen rsm is a member of the Multi Faith Chaplaincy Team at the London Heathrow airport. The chaplaincy, made up of chaplains from a diverse range of faiths and Christian denominations, provide pastoral care and opportunities for worship and prayer for staff, passengers and others who come to the airport and are passing through its terminals.

Any Sisters/friends/visitors travelling through Heathrow may contact Sister Monica. Email: chapel-heathrow@baa.com (or monica_killeen@baa.com) or leave a message at the office 00 44 208745 4261. It is advisable to give plenty of notice if you would like her to meet you, as she does not work at the airport every day.

Messages to: Monica Killeen rsm

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Eight members of Great Britain Mercy Institute joined over a hundred Religious, mainly Sisters, at the end of June at Heythrop College, London, to hear Sandra on themes from her book 'Buying the Field'.  She used her vast experience, expertise and theological reflection to look at the way Religious Life has evolved over the fifty years since the Vatican Council invited us to return to our sources and founding charism. 

Messages to: Barbara Jeffery rsm -  Institute Leadership Team

Editor: A study guide to help readers of 'Buying the Field' to unpack the richness of Sr Sandra’s words is being prepared by the Religious Life Institute. We will advise in E-news when this guide becomes available.

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On 12 July 2014, the Family Care Sisters (FCS), based in Melbourne, Australia, and the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG), marked a significant development in their ongoing partnership. Since 2008 they have journeyed together in a spirit which would have brought great joy to their founding women, Maude O’Connell and Catherine McAuley, both of whom had a strong belief in the Providence of God and worked for the betterment of women...

Messages to: Annette Schneider rsm - Institute Vicar ISMAPNG

Image: l-r: Jill Harding fcs, Congregation Leader, Berneice Loch rsm Institute Leader and Michele Toussaint fcs

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The annual gathering of the newer members in the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea was held at Goroka from Sunday 29 June till Friday 04 July.  Seventeen Mercy women attended including eleven newer members from Australia and PNG together with those who are accompanying them on their Mercy journey.  The program was co-ordinated by Joan Doyle rsm, the Institute Director of Initial Formation, and had as its theme 'Graced Difference' which was explored using the medium of story. 

Messages to: Joan Doyle rsm

Image: Front row l-r: Joan Doyle rsm with some of the newer members of ISMAPNG

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A Eucharist reflecting the culture and traditions of Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand was the setting for the celebration of 25 years of religious profession for Fatima Lemisio and Malia Fetuli.

The celebration was held at St Mary's Convent in Auckland. Family, friends and companions in mission joined Malia and Fatima and their Mercy Sisters for the occasion.

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leadership Team

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Editor: This year 103 years old Sr Hope celebrates 80 years as a Sister of Mercy. Today Sr Hope is involved in prayer ministry. 'My life in Mercy gives me great joy,' she says.

A photo essay by definition is storytelling with photography. This album of 'milestones and memories' conveys a story of warmth, relationships and faithfulness to the God of mercy.

Messages to: Sr Hope c/- Lauren Tyrell - Institute Communications Office

Image: l-r: Sr Maureen (past pupil) with Sr Hope

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If you’re sick, uninsured and financially struggling, where do you turn? If you’re living near Viera, Florida, you turn to the Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine (SCVIM) clinic, where Sister Clara Kelly is medical director...

Sister Clara coordinates the 80-plus volunteer doctors, dentists and nurses who provide a basic unmet need to those who qualify. And every patient who walks through the door is treated with utmost dignity.

Messages to: Clara Kelly rsm

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Join the Institute of the Americas in Support of Unaccompanied Migrant Children (Americas)

The Institute Justice Team invites us all to pray for the unaccompanied migrant children  and their families, and have provided a prayer service and prayer for migrating children on the Sisters of Mercy’s website.

To better understand the role of U.S. policies in immigration flows, you might find helpful the hard-hitting film Harvest of Empire. View the trailer here (02:31).

Messages to: Institute Justice Team

Mercy Sisters and local community workers gathered to hear the voices of five key people, working in local neighbourhoods and communities to help people who struggle with the everyday reality of one or all of the following: no food, no home, no job and escalating debt...

The inequality gap between the ‘haves and have-nots’ has widened over the last thirty years. New Zealand has gone from being one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. ..

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leadership Team

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Mercy Matters
A Window on Eternity

'...If then our Mercy International Centre can take us beyond the building to its founding inspiration; if like the icon, it can draw us to become like what it images; if it can stir within us the passion that motivated Catherine to identify contemporary needs and do something new, then it will not be a relic of the past but a "window on eternity" where rich and poor, strong and weak, women and men will all be embraced by Mercy...'

Excerpted from 'Baggot Street - a Mercy Icon?'
published in Listen: Journal of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia, vol 13 No 2, 1994
- Jan Geason rsm (ISMAPNG)


Mercy E-news subscribers who read Mercy E-news on an iOS device (iphone or iPad) are reminded that to view the videos or slideshows (image galleries) which often accompany stories on the mercyworld.org website, you need to use the Puffin Browser app.

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Visit Catherine's House today and take an interactive tour. This Centre of Hospitality, Heritage, Pilgrimage and Renewal is a Wellspring of inspiration for those who come to continue Catherine's mission with new life.

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1890: Foundation to Wilcannia from Yass, New South Wales - M Paul Fielding
1896: Foundation to Portland, Oregon from Morris, Minnesota - M Joseph Lynch
1994: Opening of Mercy International Centre, Dublin

Post a Mercy fact online here

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Prayers and Resources

Catherine McAuley’s prayers, while composed in the mid-nineteenth century and reflective of the language of the times, powerfully express the faith and the confidence in God’s providence that characterized her life and her work. She weaves into her prayer her own struggles, the miseries of others, acceptance of the divine plan in all things and a deep desire to be transformed each day into the person God wanted her to be.

On the Institute site, Catherine’s prayers have been adapted slightly from the words she used in her own prayerbooks. The original version is available in Praying in the Spirit of Catherine McAuley: A Collection of Prayers Written or Compiled by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Catherine McAuley's Understanding of Leadership

'It would seem to me that Catherine McAuley was blessed with a core insight into the meaning and expression of leadership. She loved her sisters for who they were. She shared with them her goals and her plans, her joys and her sorrows. She asked no more of them than she was prepared to ask of herself. She conferred with them, sought their opinions and encouraged them with their own initiatives. They were family, they were sisters together, working and praying together. How often did she refer to the harmony that existed between them and the absence of harsh words and any form of rowing. She, herself, showed none of the impatient arrogance which is so often found in reformers.

She disliked the trappings of power and depended on the authority which integrity commands...'

- Very Rev John Fitzpatrick, Vicar for Religious, Archdiocese of Dublin.
Opening of MIC Homily, Eucharistic Celebration at Westland Row Church
, 23 July 1994

Further Resources

Worth Reading:

CRA Assembly

The 38th Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) National Assembly, 'Living on the Fault Lines - Leading in a Climate of Change' held in Melbourne, Australia, from 23 to 27 June, examined the challenges facing religious life today.

Papers given by the Keynote speakers are linked below:

-Sister Carmen Sammut msola, President of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) PDF
-Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz cm, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life PDF

Ilia Delio

If you are planning to attend the Sydney (4 December) or Melbourne (5-7 December) Ilia Delio seminars, organised by the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes in NSW (CLRINSW), then this article in NCR online 'The Evolution of Ilia Delio' might be helpful background reading. Read the article here

Opposing Human Trafficking

The 2014 World Cup is finished and Qatar’s World Cup is eight years away. '2022 FIFA World Cup slave labour deaths' describes the experiences of Nepalese workers 'in a country where trade unions are illegal and minimum wages do not exist... end[ing] up as de facto slaves on construction sites...' Read the article here.

The Australian Catholic Religious Against trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) Newsletter July 2014  provides an update of recent work and achievements. Download the newsletter here (PDF)

Worth Watching:

Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Tens of thousands of children from Central America are arriving alone at America's border, posing a major challenge to humanitarian systems that have been in place since World War II. For readers unfamiliar with the situation, this is a very accessible, visual presentation of the humanitarian issue which the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Institute Leadership Team are addressing as a top priority.  Watch the presentation here (02:00) See also the article in NCR online 'Catholics respond to migrants’ humanitarian crisis' for which Kathleen Erickson rsm was interviewed about her knowledge of the situation in Honduras. Read the article here

Worth Playing:

In 1994 well known Irish composer Shaun Davey put a section of St Patrick's Breastplate to some stirring music on his CD "The Pilgrim".  Enjoy the moving performance of this ancient Irish prayer 'I arise Today', sung by Dublin-born Rita Connolly who sang it at the inauguration of Michael Higgins, the ninth president of Ireland, in November 2011, and who has become identified with the singing of this invocation for protection and strength. Play it here. (04:07).  Purchase it here from iTunes

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section to: the Editor

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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 Colette Cronin (GB), Mary Moorhead (IRL), Kevin Hoy (IRL), Sister Margaret Casey (IRL), Sister Scholasticah Nganda (IRL)