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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 763  |  21 March 2018
Featured Story

'... I give thanks for the gift of water without which there is no life. I give thanks for the asteroid or whatever it was that first brought water to our planetary home. I ponder what it means to be among the privileged inhabitants of planet Earth who have access to clean drinking water. I do not take this for granted. What more must I do? Do our “simple daily gestures” make a difference? I have to believe that they do...'

Download this article: A4 Paper size (3pps, PDF) US Letter size (3pps, PDF)

Messages to: Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG)


Image: iStock. Used under licence

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Vision in Action
Holy Week Ceremonies in Baggot Street

Planning to be in Dublin during Holy Week? The Orlagh in the City Congregation which celebrates Lectio Divina Mass at Baggot Street each Sunday will be conducting the Holy Week ceremonies here.

Holy Thursday:
8.00 pm Mass.
9.45 pm Prayer in the Garden

Good Friday:
3.00 pm Liturgy of the Lord's Passion
5.00 pm Stations of the Cross

Holy Saturday:
8.00 pm Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday:
10.30am Mass

All are welcome.

Image: RTF. Used under licence

MIA Prayer Intention: Water for the World

'We live in a world of unquenchable thirst where every nation must drink from the same well'

During MIRP, 52 of the 152 groups that reported back on an issue to do with Degradation of Earth chose Water. That's one in three; recognition of the crisis the world is facing. Today, 40% of the world's people are affected by water scarcity.

We invite you to watch and reflect on 'Water’s Promise: Making Every Drop Count' (03:56) and to consider in what ways you, too, might 'turn off...the waste, turn on...solutions, and turn up...the volume on the water dialogue.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA

Image: iStock. used under licence

Lynda Dearlove rsm MBE (GB Institute) and Angela Reed rsm were panellists at a co-sponsored side event Preventing Human Trafficking among Rural Women and Girls: Integrating Inherent Dignity into a Human Rights Model (PDF) at CSW 62 on 13 March. The event was live-streamed and archived by UN WebTv. Watch it here

Mercy International Association together with the Holy See Mission sponsored Ms Mely Lenario, a rural woman and survivor advocate from the Philippines to share her story of resilience on this panel.

Ms Lenario's story and an account of the panel presentations was reported by Catholic News Service, a publication of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and can be read here.

Messages to: Lynda Dearlove rsm MBE (GB Institute) and Angela Reed rsm

Image: Angela Reed rsm (first from left), Mely Lenarion (second from left),  Lynda Dearlove rsm (second from right)

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'Water and Sanitation A People's Guide to SDG 6' (20pps, PDF) was produced to enable readers to ‘dig deep’ into the significant global issue of water and sanitation with a particular focus on SDG 6 : Water and Sanitation for All. Interpretation of SDG 6 is guided by the Preamble to the 2030 Agenda which explicitly recognizes the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation...

The Guide begins by reminding the reader that in order to be true to the global pledge of ‘leaving no-one behind’, SDG 6 must have a rights based implementation. This means: Preventing the commodification of water, Increasing public finance and Promoting commons- based Water Resource Management...

Messages to: Angela Reed rsm - MIA-MGA Coordinator at the UN

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Journey Away from Plastic: Part 1

The Future We Need (FWN) Group, a faith-based group comprising members from eight different congregations or institutes, of which MIA is a member, is producing a 4-part series called 'The journey from plastic' in preparation for World Earth Day 2018. The theme of World Earth Day this year is  End Plastic Pollution.

Download part 1: One-use Plastic (PDF)

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Team Leader Mercy Global Action

Image: iStock. Used under licence

As a Mercy Community, we pray with those in need of physical healing through the intercession of Catherine McAuley. God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Jasmina Hazrolaj and allwhose names are on our prayer list.

We ask this with confidence through the intercession of Venerable Catherine McAuley. Amen.

Messages to: the Vice postulators

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MIA Members News
Suggestions for Action Invited (Americas)

Editor: Responses are invited to Sr M Gratia's request below

'Dear Editor,

One of the concerns that I have brought up in our MIRP group is that of Nestlé. It is buying up local water supplies, often from poorer rural townships, to bottle and sell for greatly increased profits (see attachment)

Our Mercy Center food service provides Nestlé dispensers, packages of hot chocolate mix, and Cheerios. I have spoken with our manager, but since he is not in control of that company's policies, nothing has happened. 

It would be helpful to receive suggestions for further action in light of our position on bottled water and Nestlé's  previous track record regarding sales of powdered infant formula to countries with no clean water.'

Messages to: Sr M Gratia L’Esperance



Water Crisis in Capetown, South Africa (The Congregation)

Cape Town is the capital city of the Western Cape Province, South Africa.  The city has a population of about five million people. I say about five million as there are a number of informal settlements in the city because of constant migration from the very poor rural areas of the Eastern Cape to Cape Town in search of employment. Cape Town is situated on the Southern Coastline of South Africa and has a Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and winter rainfall.  However, there has been minimal rainfall over the past three years leading to the worst drought in a hundred years in the area...

Read the complete article here (PDF)

Messages to: Marilyn Brown rsm, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sacred Water: Precious Gift and Critical Concern (Americas)

In response to its own study of the essential nature of water and the alarming truth of the water crisis in our world, the Mercy International Reflection Process group in St. Louis recently hosted a full day retreat to help others experience and grasp these realities.  Thirty-five sisters, associates, co-ministers and members of the wider community participated in “Sacred Water: Precious Gift and Critical Concern” on February 17, 2018 at Mercy Conference and Retreat Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

This special education program began with personal sharing, spiritual grounding and theological reflection...

Read the report (2pps, PDF)

Messages to: Carolyn McWatters rsm

Image: Sarah Smith, Director of Mercy Partnership Fund of Mercy Investment Services, one of the panel of presenters at the retreat day


Nature Holds Key to Our Water Problems (Aotearoa New Zealand)

'Major issues related to water in New Zealand include the debate over exporting bottled water, deciding who owns water, and ensuring the rights of Maori to a resource over which they often lay traditional claim. In what is regarded as a world-first, Maori living on the banks of the whanganui, New Zealand's third longest river, succeeded last year in gaining a settlement that confers the legal status of a person on the river. Local Maori say the staus reflects their long-standing belief that the river is a living entity and an ancestor that helps to create their identity and sense of belonging.'

Source: Imaging Mercy Today, April 2018

Download the complete issue here (2pps, PDF)

Messages to Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Image: Whanganui River by James Shook. Used under CC2.5 licence

Mercy Sisters were among those who turned up to the People’s Hearing on Offshore Oil and Gas development in Rhode Island late last month to express their opposition to the Trump administration's proposal to expand offshore oil drilling by 2020 (2021 off Rhode Island), in vast new ocean areas, including the entire coast of New England.

A clip of Mary Pendergast rsm leading a group chanting a series of facts, and ending with a song 'We and the Sea are one' can be heard here (01:56)

Messages to: Mary Pendergast rsm

Image: L-r: Srs Mary Reilly, Mary Pendergast, Jeanne Barry, Ann McKenna

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The Seven Last Words of Jesus— Week 6: 'It is finished.' (Americas)

'“It is finished”—something radically new surges in humanity that gives meaning and expression to the call of the Spirit.'

Download the reflection (2pps, PDF)

Follow the series online

Messages to:
Inés Villani rsm - Reflection week 6
Genemarie Beegan rsm - Artist week 6


World Water Day: Challenges we Face in Rhode Island (Americas)

While there may technically be enough fresh water for the countless living creatures on Earth as well as all 7.6 billion of us, we are already seeing shortages due to climate change, resulting drought and policy. One fifth of the world’s population lives in water scarcity. It is absolutely necessary that we work on behalf of Water wherever we are. “Water is Life!” has been true since Earth was formed, cooled, rained, and formed the sea. In Rhode Island, we have worked hard at remediation of the degradation of water we have caused through dumping from industry and pollutant runoff from farming and cities.

Read the complete article here (PDF)

Messages to: Mary Pendergast rsm

This is surely a  new way of living religious life- in an international, inter-congregational, intercultural, mixed group, which focuses all its attention on the mission to answer the call of God to train primary school teachers for the development of South Sudan, through the one ministry in the teacher training college. Nobody leaves this compound in the morning to go to another ministry site–we are all here all the time, in community with one another and our students.

As we religious model how to live together in peace and harmony (most of the time!), our students are also living in a mixed, intercultural, intertribal setting, which likewise is unusual for them...

Messages to: Ailish O'Brien rsm

Image: New water tank under construction, Solidarity Teacher Training College, Yambio, South Sudan

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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 14 February. 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

Contribute a fact about the Story of the Sisters of Mercy in your congregation or institute to our online archive

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World Poetry Day: 21 March

'28 of poetry's most powerful lines ever written' according to the Independent newspaper can be read here.

In celebration of this day last year, we invited a number of our published Mercy poets to share an example of their work together with a brief commentary. Download that collection (19 pps, PDF)

More people live in cities than ever before and by 2050, 6 billion people or as much as 70% of the global population is expected to live in urban areas.  Trees and urban forests can make our cities greener, healthier and happier. Video here (0:59)

Read the 10 Tree Charter Principles and Sign the Charter for Trees, Woods and People here

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Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lightsas a symbolic gesture to show that our planet needs stronger action on climate change.

On Saturday, 24 March 2018, we are each invited to join people around the world switching off for Earth Hour at 830pm local time.

Earth hour offers us a further opportunity to hear and reflect upon 'The cry of Earth and the cry of the Poor'.

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Palm Sunday Year B (Mark 11:1-10; Mark 14:1-15:47)

'Mark's account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is more restrained and less victorious in tone than the other gospel accounts. In keeping with Mark's gospel as a whole, it forms part of the relentless journey of Jesus, the suffering Messiah, towards Jerusalem the place of his death...'

Read the Reflection on the Gospel by Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG)

Listen to the Gospel read by Fr Eamonn O'Connor (Ireland)

Image: istock. Used under licence

This short online retreat encourages prayerful reflection on the words of Mary’s Song from the Gospel of Luke.

Because the Magnificat is recited every day at Evening Prayer, it is probably one of the most frequently used, and perhaps most familiar, pieces of Scripture. But how often do we take time to contemplate the message contained in the words?

Image: 'Henry Ossawa Tanner - The Annunciation'  by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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There are a number of valuable Mercy resources created for use on World Water Day that have been previously published (2015-2017) in MercyeNews. These include reflections, prayer and ritual, research and calls to action.

The resources are linked to this item.

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This day offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

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In 2016 the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas stood with The Water Protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota in their peaceful resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, intended to run under the Missouri river, a source of drinking water for over 18 million people.

Watch the trailer       
Watch the film on Netflix
Purchase the film and thereby contribute to the Indigenous Media Fund and the Pipeline Fighters Fund

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

For those welcoming in Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, here is 'The Beautiful Not Yet' by Carrie Newcomer & Chloe Grace. Watch/listen here (02:48). For those in the Southern hemisphere for whom Autumn has just arrived, 'Leaves Don't Drop They Just Let Go' by Carrie Newcomer and Michael Mains. Watch/listen here (03:51).

Worth Reading:

-Degradation of Earth


'WHO launches health review after microplastics found in 90% of bottled water'. Read the article here

A High Level Panel on Water has issued a New Agenda for Water Action calling for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG6, can be achieved. Press release here. Report here (34 pps, PDF)


'Papua New Guinea's first cardinal says climate change is 'disaster' for his people'.
Read the article here

Extractive Mining

The fifth Fracking Health Compendium, just released, finds that the oil and gas drilling technique poses high risks to food, water and the climate, and cannot be done safely. Read the Report here (266pps, PDF)

Worth Knowing:

-Degradation of Earth


World Water Day marks the launch of the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028 aiming to further improve cooperation, partnership and capacity development in response to the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Details here

Earth Day

It's a month till Earth Day. Creation Justice Ministries, an ecumenical organization that continues the work of the former Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches, USA, has developed its free, downloadable resource 'A Sense of place'. Details here

The Bottom Line:

'Happy are those who cry the pains of the wounded Earth, of its waters abducted by industry and predatory agriculture, pushed by great corporations and multinational groups, often in conjunction with political power structures. Their solace is the daily teaching path fighting for ecological sensitivity and changes in our consumption habits.'
- Sr. Raquel de Fátima Colet, 'Water: a calling to the blessing of caring!' the seventh reflection of the "Seven Weeks for Water 2018" The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN) Lenten series. The series is also available in Spanish

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2018 to: the Editor

World Water Day -dayonly
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