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Edition No. 767 | 18 April 2018
Help Build A Great Green Wall/
Ayudemos a Plantar la Gran Muralla Verde
Editor: 'There are many reasons why we erect walls, because we are divided in many ways - in terms of wealth, race, religion and politics' writes Tim Marshall in Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls. Thousands of miles of fences and barriers have been erected in the past ten years, with more than a third of the world's nation states having built barriers along their borders, redefining our political landscape.
Remarkably, there's another wall going up - or, rather, across: the Great Green Wall, an African-led project with an epic ambition: to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa, in the Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert, on the frontline of climate change. This is crucial - according to a study published online 29 March 2018, in the Journal of Climate, the Sahara desert is expanding. It has enlarged by 10% since 1920.
Inspired by Laudato Si' and the Great Green Wall project, the Society of African Missions, in the lead up to the World Meeting of Families and in Association with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has launched the Laudato Tree project to build support for climate action and tree planting in Ireland and the Sahel region.
As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day (22 April), MIA invites all of us in the 40+ countries where Mercy ministers, over the next year, between Earth Day 2018 and 2019, to plant or help nurture a tree wherever you are located as a sign of support for the Great Green Wall and Laudato Tree projects and of our Sisters and co-workers in Africa. MIA has committed to planting six trees in the Sacred Garden at Baggot Street.
When we look at the map of the Mercy world, what a contribution to the flourishing of life on Earth such a contribution will make!
'Let us resolve to do something' this Earth Day says Suzanne Gallagher rsm in her article (below). We invite you to record your commitment here We'll remind you of this project from time to time over the next tweve months and share some of the tree planting & tree nurturing stories through MercyeNews.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA
MIA Prayer Intention: Prayer for our Earth
In this week when we celebrate Earth Day, we each have the opportunity to renew our commitment to care for Earth, our common home. That commitment may take different forms - a change in attitude, a change in behaviour, a change in understanding, a growth in knowledge...
As a sign of our ongoing commitment to respond to 'the cry of Earth', MIA invites each member of the Mercy network to this week pray the Prayer for our Earth from Laudato Si'.
Access the prayer: English, Spanish
Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
To coincide with Earth Day 2018, Mercy Global Action has produced a leaflet on SDG Goal #15, 'Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss'. The leaflet 'Protect, restore and promote sustainable land use' can be downloaded here (2pps; PDF).
Leaflets on Goals 1 and 2, 5, 6, 12, 13, 16 are linked to this item.
Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Team Leader Mercy Global Action
Mercy International Association, 64a Lower Baggot St, Dublin, welcomes applicants for its volunteer positions in 2019.
Why not consider volunteering?
Volunteers need to be able to commit to 8 – 12 weeks between 21 January 2019 & 29 November, 2019
Open to Sisters, Associates and Friends of Mercy.
Single person or couple
Duties: Household Duties * General Reception *Tours * Gift shop
Requirements: Ability to be a team member* Initiative* Cheerful disposition* Good health & plenty of energy
Hours and other information are linked to this item.
Messages to: Avril Tyrell - Facilities Manager
Image: L-r: Carol Villagio (USA), Phil Murphy rsm (The Congregation) and Patricia Galli rsm (Americas) are volunteering at MIC this month
Special Prayer Intention: Syria
In the words of Patricia McDermott rsm, President, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, ‘The war in Syria is one of the worst cases of war-mongering and war criminality of our time. As Sisters of Mercy we have witnessed the pain and suffering of victims of violence around the world, especially of women and children. We call on the US government to pursue peace by engaging both allies and adversaries in serious negotiations and diplomacy to end the war in Syria. This heinous war must stop immediately and we need to respond to the refugee crisis with humanitarian aid, not bombs and missiles. Peace is possible, we must seek peace and pursue it!’
Let us join our prayers with this call of the Institute and pray for an end to the conflict, the pursuit of peace, for the welfare of civilians in Syria and for almost five million Syrians who have had to leave the country, seeking refuge and safety.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA
Reflection: Mercy to Earth (Americas)
During this wonderful Eastertime I am aware of two emotions that seem to be felt by those who witnessed Jesus’ dying and his rising – grief and joy. Think of any story of this Easter season and notice how these feelings well up. My favorite is the scene of Mary Magdalene, arriving at the tomb that Easter morning (perhaps she never left!). Such devotion and love for Jesus yielded grief at the violence of his death and loss she experienced. And then, hearing her name spoken so tenderly again from his lips, “Mary.” And her joyful response, “Rabboni!”
This interplay of grief and joy reminds me of a work of the U.S. poet, Mary Oliver. Oliver notices “We shake with joy, we shake with grief. What a time they have these two, housed as they are in the same body.” We know these feelings and we experience how quickly one yields to the other in our daily life.
As we approach Earth Day 2018 grief and joy can, once again, play out in our experience on multiple levels. In Laudato Sí Pope Francis reminds us that this wonderful world of ours is a sacrament, a place of communion with God and our neighbors. Creation is the venue where the divine and human meet (#9). Oh, what joy to partake in this communion...
Download the complete article: A4 Paper size (4pps, PDF), US Letter size (4pps, PDF)
Messages to: Suzanne Gallagher rsm - Justice Coordinator Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Mid-Atlantic Community
Critiquing the Impact of the Extractivist Development Model on Earth and Vulnerable Communities (Americas)
The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Extended Justice Team, made up of justice coordinators from throughout the Institute, is increasingly critiquing the impact of the extractivist development model on Earth and vulnerable communities.
This model is visible in the form of mining for minerals, oil and gas; pumping water for commercial interests over the needs of local people; taking large swaths of land for palm oil or other cash-crop production that doesn’t feed or support surrounding communities; and building corporate-owned solar and wind farms at the expense of the rights of local people. Its impacts include environmental degradation, the warming of our climate, the lack of access to clean water, and the murders of human rights defenders.
The Sisters of Mercy and our partners earlier this year launched the justresponse.faith website to educate others about the extractivist development model, also known as extractivism, and to call for a response by the larger faith community. An initial conversation has begun around how to minimize our dependence on the extractivist model and throwaway culture, and how to change the systems that foster them.
We would appreciate hearing how you or your community is addressing extractivism.
Messages to: Marianne Comfort
Image: iStock. Used under licence
Scripture with Kathleen Rushton rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand)
Kathleen Rushton rsm explains how the vine imagery in John 15:1-7 speaks of friendship with Jesus and abiding in God. Sr Kathleen writes, 'The vine offers a rich and organic view of the Christian life through a spirituality of joy in the earth and our senses'
Download the article here (2pps, PDF)
Messages to: Kathleen Rushton rsm
In 2017, Sisters from the South B Community donated funds to buy solar-powered lights for a clinic in Kungingini, PNG, where some of the Institute’s Sisters minister. The solar lamps have been a great success aiding in providing reliable lighting in the clinic at night – especially while delivering babies.
The project originally came about after South B Community Leader Berenice Kerr rsm heard about the ‘Little Sun solar lamps’ from a student at Sacred Heart College Geelong who went to Sub-Saharan Africa in her Gap year and realised the potential for solar power in the villages...
Messages to: Berenice Kerr rsm
4th Sunday of Easter Year B (John 10:11-18)
This year we celebrate World Earth Day on Good Shepherd Sunday. The liturgy invites us to reflect on Jesus as the noble or good shepherd of the believing community.
Read the Reflection on the Gospel by Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG)
Listen to the Gospel read by Fr Eamonn O'Connor (Ireland)
The Earth day network is focussed on ending plastic pollution
Refuse disposable plastic...
Reduce your plastic footprint...
Reuse durable, non-toxic containers...
Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse...
1898: House opened in Mornington, Victoria from Fitzroy - M Bernard Whyte
1906: St Mary's Hospital, San Francisco destroyed in earthquake and fire
Contribute a fact about the Story of the Sisters of Mercy in your congregation or institute to our online archive
Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony: 22 April
The Paris Climate Change Agreement opened for signature on 22 April 2016, remaining open until 21 April 2017, in accordance with Article 20, paragraph 1, of the Paris Agreement. 195 States have now signed the Paris Agreement which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
Image: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to journalists on the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
04 November 2016
United Nations, New York
Photo # 703089
Used with permission
A reflection produced for Earth Day 2018 from Catholic Health USA based on Psalm 148: 7-10, 12 (02:46)
Plastic Free..Ideas for Action
'Going plastics-free is as easy as calico bags and reusable coffee cups.' Read the article here
Three sites each offering additional suggestions for living without plastic:
Five Easy steps to reduce Plastic; Five suggestions
Plastic -Free Tuesday: One day a week no plastic consumption and no plastic waste.
My Plastic Free life:100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life
Plastic Pollution Primer & Action Toolkit
Produced by the Earth Day Network. Information, resources and ideas. Download it here (53 pps, PDF)
'Touch the Earth Lightly - instrumental' A reflection based on the music of Colin Gibson. Watch/listen here (03:09)
If in Ireland in May
'A Spirituality of Creation in Laudato Si & Patrick Kavanagh' workshops in Wexford and kilkenny Ireland given by Una Purcell SSL. Details here
'Catholic sisters serve "where no one else will dare go", UISG leader says.' Read the report here
LCWR newsletter 'Update' for April can be read here (13 pps, PDF)
'However Long the Night: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis' edited by Annmarie Sanders IHM, LCWR Communications Director. This is the story of what was learned by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during a six-year crisis (2009-2015). Available from Amazon in kindle and print formats here.
Global Sisters Report overview here
-Degradation of Earth
'Archbishop Jurkovic’s Reflections on Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' on the Occasion of the International Day of Mother Earth.' Read the article here
'Pope a Part of Amazon Synod Preparation.' Read the article here
'Protect indigenous people’s land rights and the whole world will benefit, UN forum declares.' Read the article here
-Displacement of People
'Papal commission asks Francis for synod on the role of women in the Church'. Read the article here
The Bottom Line:
'We must never forget that the natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.'
- Pope Francis, 5 June 2017
Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2018 to: the Editor
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Directors: Sister Denise Fox (ANZ), Sister Sheila Carney (US), Ron Ashworth (US), Susan Clarke (GB), Sister Colette Cronin (GB), Mary Moorhead (IRL), Kevin Hoy (IRL), Sister Margaret Casey (IRL), Sister Scholasticah Nganda (IRL)