Editor: What a great day we had! And it began in a very special way...
The ritual this morning was prepared by Sisters in Aotearoa New Zealand who are— as we are all well aware— in Chapter (24 September - 1 October). We are all invited to pray for them.
At 9am this morning, many of the Irish Sisters who as young women in the 1950s, made the long voyage to New Zealand where they joined The Congregation, ministered in New Zealand for decades and then returned home in the early years of this century, assembled in the chapel. Under the leadership of Rosello Pepper rsm, they had taken on the responsibility for the New Zealand Sisters of leading us in prayer on the theme 'Taking Mercy into the Future'. As we looked to the future in our prayer, we were called upon to 'recognise the enormous trust our forebears placed in divine providence'. And in these women we have models of that great trust.
Dee McKenna rsm (The Congregation), a highly skilled and experienced facilitator, was asked by Mary Reynolds rsm to engage the members of today's gathering in the topic of the Future of Mercy through five lenses: Younger Religious/Religious; Youth; Associates; Partners in Ministry; Advancing Mission. Each member of the gathering was assigned to an appropriate group.
With those arrangements firmly in place, we then listened to Mary Reynolds rsm speak of the call to be 'Shapers of the Dream'. This talk gave us much solid food for thought to draw on in our group work, dealing as it did with the history of religious life and with how the Mercy Charism is being expressed today. Further stimulus and encouragement for our sharing and moving forward came from the video messages of Pat McDermott rsm (Chair MIA Board) and Berneice Loch rsm (President MIA).
The reports from each group will be available online as an archived video. Importantly, this material will be source material for the work of MIA. As participants online, we invite and encourage your response to the question that was put to the members of each group meeting in person in Baggot Street:
What do you see as the possibilities/opportunities and the challenges/questions for the future of Mercy?
Please indicate which of the five lenses shapes your response. We would like to receive your contribution within the week, if possible.
We also welcome your participation in the ongoing discussion amongst members of these groups. Do indicate your interest in being involved.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Image: Sara Druhan. Members of the Religious Life Group reporting back from their morning's discussion: l-r: Srs Veronica Ekerick (Brisbane Congregation), Genemarie Beegan (Americas), Raphael Amante (Philippines), Ailish O'Brien rsm (The Congregation), Scholastica Nganda (The Congregation). Of the 7516 Sisters of Mercy today, 480 are under 60 years of age.