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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 778  |  04 July 2018
Featured Story
Invitation: Participate in Plastic Free July

Editor:  July is Plastic free month in more than 150 countries, a community-based initiative now in its sixth year. It is hard to avoid knowledge of the impact of plastic waste and its adverse effects on the health of land, oceans, wildlife and ourselves, as the consequences of garbage/pollution — one of the significant issues raised during MIRP— are widely reported.

All of us are being encouraged this month —and hopefully for good — to become part of the solution to beating plastic pollution, rather than a contributor to the problem. While necessary applications for single-use plastic are recognised, a growing list of companies is banning the use or supply of plastic products, including drinking straws, bags and bottles, for which there are alternatives. People the world over are being urged to get behind these bans, to sign petitions and to take the 4Rs pledge. 'Good' behaviour is being rewarded,  such as the discount on take-away coffee at many cafes and coffee carts for consumers using their own keep cups.

In the Mercy world, many efforts are being made to reduce reliance on single-use plastic in favour of reusable packaging. In this issue we hear about some of them with practical ideas being shared.

Messages to: MIRP Continuation Group

 Image: © 2018 MIA

Vision in Action
MIA Annual Report 2017

'2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the documents to found Mercy International Association (MIA), and the year has been marked by momentum that would gladden the hearts of our founders.'
(Denise Fox rsm, p.006)

'2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of Mercy International association and provided an opportunity to harvest the learnings at this critical juncture. The most significant change is our extended membership.'
(Mary Reynolds rsm, p.008)

MIA Trustees' Report and Financial Statements for 2017 is now online (67 pps, PDF)

Messages to:
Denise Fox rsm - Chair MIA
Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA


Next Monday, 9 July, marks 7 years since South Sudan became an independent country. Last Wednesday, President Salva Kiir, and his rival and former deputy, Riek Machar, reached an agreement to end their country’s four and a half year civil war which has resulted in what is being described as the world’s most catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Prayers are asked for the success of this peace agreement:

'May [God's] justice tower over the
people of South Sudan:
Upholding the righteous,
Protecting the widow and orphan,
Staying the hand that seeks
Reconciling brother with brother,
Sister with sister,
Your children with each other...'

Download the complete prayer here (PDF)

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA

Read More

'Australian Mercy Sr. Angela Reed represents Mercy International Association / Mercy Global Action at the United Nations...

She advocates for trafficking survivors telling their stories at forums like the United Nations...

"Formerly trafficked women and girls challenge the view that being trafficked for sexual exploitation is a single, isolated event in their lives," she said. "Instead, they draw attention to human rights violations and systematic oppression" across their life trajectories...

Messages to: Angela Reed rsm - MIA Coordinator at the UN - Mercy Global Action

Source: Global Sisters Report

Read More

Plastic was first discovered in 1907 but it was only in the 1960s that it became popular, for example plastic bags have only been in circulation for the past 50 years. In his extraordinary series on the ‘Blue Planet’,  David Attenborough revealed the enormous damage plastic pollution is causing:  “The world’s oceans are turning into a ‘toxic soup’ of industrial waste and plastic, putting the future of humanity at risk.”  Images of turtles with plastic straws in their nostrils and dolphins slowly dying because of plastic tightly wrapped around their necks, is making everyone think again about our collective and personal use of disposable plastic like straws and water bottles...

The complete article is linked to this item.

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

Read More
MIA Members News
Mercy Ballymahon Students Shine at International Conference (The Congregation)

Editor: James Carroll and Sam Maxwell from Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon County Longford showcased their ingenious knife kitchen aid at an international conference held recently at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). Their invention is designed to help people with disabilities reclaim their autonomy. The entrepreneurial duo won a national innovation award last year and already have a patent pending on their invention. The name of their company is “J and S Kitchen Aid” and they have designed a tool which one puts on the spine of a knife to help when chopping vegetables.

Messages to: James Carroll and Sam Maxwell c/- Mercy Ballymahon

Image: L-r: James Carroll and Sam Maxwell

CEIST (Catholic Education, an Irish Schools’ Trust) is the Trustee body responsible for the trusteeship of the secondary schools of five religious congregations including the Sisters of Mercy.

Paper Bags for all Vegetables (ISMAPNG)

Greetings to MIRP people!!

Today (27/6) I had to attend a Bank (Bank Australia) here in Melbourne, Australia where all the wonderful employees in the whole of the Company have been invited to engage in plastic-free July!  While the transaction was going through the system we all talked about how we could successfully undertake this task (I'm not an employee - am a customer!).  After suggesting that the most difficult thing to do for us was how to avoid plastic in our supermarkets, we all decided we could use the paper bags that are normally used for mushrooms as our 'go-to' instead of the plastic bags and wrappings being used across the vegetable departments...

Read the complete article here (PDF)

Messages to: Mary Tehan

Image: iStock. Used under licence

Plastic Reduction Initiatives at the Institute Centre Stanmore (ISMAPNG)

From mid-July, the Institute Centre will be implementing a number of initiatives aimed at reducing our eco footprint by improving our office recycling processes. These will be presented to staff at a Plastic-Free July morning tea in late July. The main changes will be:

  • no plastic bin liners in under desk bins
  • all food waste to be put in general waste or compost bins
  • compostable, bio-degradable bags to be used for all general waste
  • cans and bottles to be placed in separate recycling bins for reclaim

Our regular composting programme will continue to be used on the Institute vegetable garden.

Messages to: Deirdre Gardiner rsm - Mission & Ministry Team

Image: iStock. Used under licence

Towards a World Without Single- Use Plastics (Aotearoa New Zealand)

To mark Earth Day and World Oceans Day this year, the Cosmology and Eco-Justice representative on Mercy Global Action Aotearoa New Zealand developed posters (PDF) on the theme of reducing plastic pollution, drawing attention to practical steps to help in this goal.

Sisters of Mercy in New Zealand have identified a range of practical actions for themselves and their partners in ministry to adopt...

Read the article here (PDF)

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Image: iStock. Used under licence


Supporting the Fistula Hospitals in Ethiopia (Parramatta)

For many years OLMC Burraneer in New South Wales, Australia, has been involved in support of the Fistula Hospitals in Ethiopia. Our connection began with one of our ex students, Mrs Mary Ann Ayers speaking to us about Dr Catherine Hamlin and her work.

The stories of hardship of the Fistula patients really touched our girls and we wanted to help. Although funds are needed, we wanted to do something directly for the patients...

Read the article here (PDF)

Messages to: OLMC Burreneer

The Last Straw: Plastic Straw Use in South Africa (The Congregation)

Ocean Basket is a large seafood restaurant franchise in South Africa which has banned the use of plastic straws at its restaurants as well as plastic bags for take aways. It will also push for a similar ban in its restaurants in the rest of Africa, notably Nigeria and Zimbabwe. ..

A fairly large number of restaurants in Cape Town and Durban, both coastal cities, have also taken this on and have begun phasing out plastic straws...

Read the complete item here (PDF)

Messages to: Marilyn Browne rsm

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July (8-15 July 2018)...

This year's theme 'Because Of Her, We Can', pays tribute to the strength and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) women...

Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation recognises the importance of NAIDOC Week in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture, talent and resilience and the opportunity this week offers us all to grow in knowledge and build relationships.

Messages to: Maria Lawton rsm - Congregation Leadership Team

Read More

As Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a congregation of women religious recommitted to stand in solidarity with immigrants seeking fullness of life, we are appalled by the recent actions of the Trump administration regarding the treatment of immigrants and asylum-seekers at our southern border and the growing move to charge immigrants with criminal offenses. Far from addressing this assault on human dignity and basic human rights, the Executive Order issued on June 20, 2018 paves the way for mass incarceration of families and makes no provisions for reuniting the 2,300 children already separated from their parents...

Messages to: Institute Justice Team

Read More
Mercy Matters
Mercy 2018 Education Conference (Americas)

The 2018 Mercy Education Conference hosted by Merion Mercy Academy, Pennsylvania (pictured) will take place from 11-13 October 2018. Visit this page for more details, and click here to register.

The conference brochure (6pps, PDF) contains the information, schedule and links to the registration forms.

Register before 18 September.


Prophetic outcry

'...I want to think that the outcry against governments subjecting children and adults to inhumane treatment is prophetic. That God’s mission is being proclaimed as compassion, the belief in human dignity and a sense of responsibility for the common good. Many of the situations in countries from which asylum seekers are fleeing have their roots in the colonisation and on-going interference and exploitation of the countries to which they now seek entry. I want to think that the call to offer humble hospitality to new arrivals now, is also a call to reconcile the past sinfulness that has affected generations...'

-Ann Gilroy rsj, Babies and Other Things, Editorial, Tui Motu, July 2018

Image: iStock. Used under licence

'How many exclamation points does it take to exclaim something? One, a human of sound mind and a decent grasp of punctuation might say. The exclamation point denotes exclamation. That is its point. One should suffice.'

Source: The Atlantic

Read More
Independence Day (USA), 4 July

Wishing a happy Independence Day to all our Sisters and partners-in-Mercy in the United States.

The Spiritual Life Committee of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community (Americas) offers a prayer for use (PDF) on 4th July 'to fill us with grace as we envision our hopes and dreams for our country and world'.

1916: Union of Sisters of Mercy, Cloyne

2005: Mercy Sculpture Centre, in Melbourne, Australia, is officially opened - Sister Gael O'Leary

1872: Connecticut (Hartford) community became independent of Providence, Rhode Island – M Pauline Maher

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

Read More
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 6:1-6)

'As noted in relation to Mark 3:21-35, Mark’s gospel often has a story within a story. Some scholars refer to this technique as the making of a Markan sandwich, others as a framing device...'

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

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'This Day, This Day'  from the new album 'Love Beyond Knowledge with Gaelic Mass' by Christopher Walker. "Each song highlights his signature blend of strong vocals, accompanied by flutes, violins and horns." More information and how to order from the publisher here.
Listen to 'This Day, This Day'  here (03:23)

Worth Watching and Reflecting on:

'Blessed Are the Unemployed, Unimpressive, and Underrepresented '. Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran minister and public theologian presents a contemporary version of the Beatitudes.
Watch her challenging and articulate presentation here (2:02)

Worth Checking Out:

- Degradation of Earth

Sahel region crisis

'Five things you need to know about the Sahel region food and nutrition crisis.' A photo essay from OCHA (The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) shows the lean season’s impact on people in the region. Read it here


The world’s tropical forests lost roughly 39 million acres of trees last year, an area almost half the size of the United Kingdom, a new report found. Read it here

- Displacement of Persons

Migrants & Refugees

With rare footage from some of the most remote reaches of the U.S., “The Wall”, a USA Today NETWORK film explores the impact, reveals unknown issues and details the unintended consequences of President Trump’s $20 billion promise to build a wall from the Gulf to the Pacific. Trailer here Screenings here

Human Trafficking

The 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report is available. This year’s TIP Report highlights the critical work of local communities to stop traffickers and provide support to victims. Access the Report in full or by section here

The July issue( Vol. 16 No. 07) of 'Stop Trafficking!' is now online. This issue highlights information from the
2018 U.S. State Department‘ Trafficking in Persons’ (TIP) Report. Download it here (9pps, PDF)

Religious Life

'Update', the July issue of LCWR's newsletter is now online. Read it here (12pps, PDF)

The Bottom Line:

“If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more of a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”

- Cardinal Luis Tagle at Panel discussion called ‘Share the Journey: Promoting the Dignity of Migrants and Refugees’, Geneva, 26 June 2018

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

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Today, Sisters of Mercy, through Mercy International Association, use their resources to respond to issues of global
								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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Mercy International Association Limited
Registered in Ireland.
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 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)