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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 595  |  29 October 2014
Featured Story

The Human Right to Water in Detroit, Michigan

On 19 October, two Special Rapporteurs (see below for a description) from the United Nations held a Fact-Finding Town Hall Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, USA, regarding potential human rights violations related to water shut offs.  Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, and Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, came at the invitation of the Detroit Peoples Water Board Coalition to hear the stories of families and senior citizens living without water as a result of unaffordable and incorrect water bills.  

The Detroit Peoples Water Board Coalition (DPWB) is­­­ a grassroots organization whose goals are to provide water to people in need, to stop shutoffs and restore water to households, to implement a plan for affordable water for all, and to prevent privatization. Members of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest Community, Mary Ellen Howard and Canice Johnson, and Mercy Volunteer Corps member, Rich Samartino, are active members of the Detroit Peoples Water Board Coalition...

Messages to: Mary Ellen Howard rsm - Public Policy Advocate

Image: Faucet at cemetery (aka).jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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Vision in Action
Céad Míle Fáilte! A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Welcome to all who will join our programmes, pilgrimages and tours at Mercy International Centre in 2015. There is a feast of nourishment in the programmes on offer next year and an opportunity to explore and deepen Mercy in story, art, poetry, in the writings of Catherine and in the very spaces of Catherine's own house. These gatherings will offer opportunity for quiet reflection and for interconnection with many other mercy seekers from around the world.

In 2015 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Catherine being declared Venerable, so why not mark it by participation in a programme, taking a tour of the Centre or enjoying the hospitality of B&B in Catherine's house?

Be assured of a Céad Míle Fáilte when you visit Mercy International Centre!

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

My name is Avery Kelly, and I am delighted to be serving as the Sister’s of Mercy’s Global Action Intern for Fall 2014- Summer 2015. I am passionate about the issues that the Sisters of Mercy tackle on the ground throughout the world and am thrilled to be part of the Mercy Global Action office in addressing global policy that parallels these lived realities.

I am from Alabama, USA and the oldest of three children. In May I graduated summa cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South where I majored in International and Global Studies and minored in Women’s and Gender Studies and in Spanish. I am extremely interested in the intersections between personal identity, social power, lived experience, and globalization...

Messages to: Avery Kelly - MGA Intern

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

MIA invites you to join with us in this prayer for those who hunger and thirst for justice:

'... We thank you and praise you, O God,
that how ever we may thirst,
what ever we may need to satisfy our souls,
you offer it freely and abundantly in Christ;
So we drink deep of the living water
and, as we draw from your wells,
we seek to pass the cup to others
who, like us, are thirsty for your grace.'

from Living Water © John van de Laar

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Sandra McGregor, Mary Ann Walsh rsm and for the safety of those volunteers who are dealing with the Ebola Crisis and in particular Dr Geraldine O Hara (niece of  Caitriona O Hara rsm) who is currently working in Sierra Leone and all whose 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

One of the advantages of living in East London is the ease with which we can access some of the wonderful lectures offered on many subjects.  On 15 October we (Monica and Margaret) availed of one such opportunity when we joined over two hundred at Heythrop for the “World Mission Conference”.

The keynote speaker was Rev Dr Stephen Bevans SVD, who is based in Chicago, and who linked his talks with the papal exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”...

Fr Stephen captured this vibrancy and joy in his talks, which were accompanied with beautiful power points.

We cannot do justice to the lectures so offer you the opportunity to participate via the enjoyable power points which Fr Stephan has graciously agreed to make available on the websites of the three groups who had organised the Day.

Access the powerpoints in both ppt and PDF format as well as an overview of the day on the CMU and Missio sites

Messages to:
Monica Butler rsm
Margaret Duffy rsm

Image: Catholic Missionary Union UK

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Celebrations to mark 150 years of faith-filled service in Omaha began last Sunday, 26 October, with an anniversary Mass celebrated at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.

'Education and health care were among the order’s first ministries. While such work is still a priority, the order says it strives to adapt and meet current needs and now has sisters tackling such issues as immigration reform and human trafficking.

“We’ve always walked side by side with people in their need,” said Sister Laura Reicks, president of the Omaha-based Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest Community.

The Mercy name is a familiar one in the Omaha area and the order established such institutions as College of St. Mary, Mercy High School, Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Housing Inc. and Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center...'

Source: Omaha.com

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy West Midwest

Editor: The programme for the year's planned events can be read here

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'A couple dozen women gathered at 111 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester Friday.
They were there to remember five women who preceded them there – by 150 years.
The five were Sisters of Mercy who arrived at this spot, then called Pine Street, on Oct. 24, 1864.
The two dozen were Sisters of Mercy from different states, and their associates, who continue their forebears’ ministry.
The sisters were celebrating their 150th anniversary of serving in Worcester – with a pilgrimage of remembrance Friday and a Mass celebrated by Bishops McManus, Reilly and Rueger and several priests Saturday.
“This afternoon’s tour is not about visiting buildings,” began the history/reflection on Shrewsbury Street, “It is about remembering and honoring the building blocks of the Sisters of Mercy in Worcester. We have chosen to begin our weekend of celebration of 150 years of Mercy Ministry, here at this spot where it all began...”'

Source: The Catholic Free Press

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Worcester

Image: The Catholic Free Press

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Editor: In the article linked to this item, Srs Mary Doherty and Loreto Hogge share the details of their recent visit to Ethiopia, bringing to life the day-to-day living of the people and the impact of the Mercy/Vita partnership.

Background to the news article

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy at their Congregational Chapter  in 2006 decided to work for “the alleviation of extreme poverty in all its forms at global and local level”.  In keeping with this decision the Sisters of Mercy in the Western Province decided, at their Provincial Chapter in 2007, to “commit ourselves to share generously.  We will support and resource discerned ministry needs at Congregational, Provincial and Local levels.  We will heighten our awareness that our lifestyle choices contribute to extreme poverty.”

A committee was set up to  research and resource a collaborative project that would be a response to this Chapter commitment. The organization chosen for collaboration would  have similar values and ideals as the Sisters of Mercy.  Vita was an organization that surfaced and a proposed collaborative project in Ethiopia was very acceptable to the membership of the Province. ( See: Launch of Collaborative Project in Chencha Ethiopia, 10 December, 2009)

Messages to: 
Mary Doherty rsm
Loreto Hogge rsm

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When people hear about Atlantic City, New Jersey (USA), they think about casinos, gambling, and the seashore. On Friday evening, 24 October, 2014, hundreds of people who gathered in Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church thought about Atlantic City, New Jersey for a very different reason.

They came to applaud and say a thanks to a woman on the occasion of her retirement - Sister Shamus Zehrer, who for 46 years ministered, taught, and was principal of what is the only surviving Catholic School on the entire island (once there were several such schools)...

Messages to: Shamus Zehrer rsm

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There was great excitement in the campus of both Merion Mercy Academy and Gwynedd Mercy Academy on Tuesday October 21st, as both schools had been invited to the special event in Philadelphia when Malala was awarded the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia. The Liberty Medal, established in 1988, commemorates the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, it honors "men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe."

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm -Mercy Girl Effect Coordinator

View the visual report by Merion Mercy Academy

Read the report by Gwynedd Mercy Academy

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Mercy Matters
Catherine's Quality of Justice

'...Justice was that quality in Catherine which accorded God His rightful place in her life and which led her to recognise in the miseries of her time a starting-point for dealing with such miseries. Her concern for social justice impelled her to provide for the poor those essential services of teaching, catechising, nursing and training not otherwise available for them in her time. "The poor", she said, "need help today, NOT next week".'

- Decree Dublin Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Catherine McAuley

'...The effective use of visual technology comes with practice and experience. Here are six techniques to keep in mind for your next videoconference:

1. Get framed
2. Look at the lens
3. Warm up
4. Dress for success
5. Watch your posture
6. Prepare to be seen...'

Source: Forbes

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On This Day

1836: Foundation to Charleville, Co Cork from Baggot St - M Angela Dunne

Editor: Charleville is this week's featured website

1874: Sisters moved to new convent, Main St, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary

Submit a fact about the Story of the Sisters of Mercy for our online archive

'The 29th October 1836 was the foundation day in Charleville. This was the third house of the Order. Catherine McAuley, Sr. M. Angela Dunne and two novices came from Baggot Street, Dublin via Tullamore...

The Sisters went to the Crimean War in 1855, and also made foundation in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. Foundations were also made in Buttevant and Midleton, County Cork, New Inn, County Tipperary, and Kilmallock, County Limerick.'

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'In December 1854 fifteen nuns from Ireland arrived in the Crimea to nurse the sick and wounded British soldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War. The head of this mission was Mother M. Francis Bridgeman of Kinsale, and among her community were Sister M. Doyle of Gort and Sister M. Joseph Croke of Charleville. All three kept an account of their experiences, recording the conditions under which they travelled to the Crimea, the state of the hospitals they worked in, their relationships with the soldiers, medical and military authorities...'

Four Courts Press. Hardback 288pp. 2004
Catalogue Price: €55.00; Web Price: €49.50

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'Love works to transform human distress.'

'When I talk of the poor, I am talking about all the aspects of poverty, which enslave the human heart. For example, the poverty of food and shelter, the poverty of loneliness, the poverty of greediness, the poverty of knowledge, the poverty of possessiveness, the poverty of "you-don't-belong-here", and the poor who are sick. These were the kind of issues Jesus addressed on a daily basis and taught his disciples how to go about them and render help, which brought liberation and hope. Mercy is alive and well in South Africa. Not only through its imagination, but also in its various expressions—healing, lending a "hand up" to young people, educating for societal change—love works to transform human distress.'

Juliana Yarkwan rsm, quoted in '"Love's Imagination to Transform Human Distress" :Mercy in South Africa', Jean Evans rsm. Published in MAST vol 22, no 1, 2014.
Details of how to subscribe to the MASTJournal can be found here

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'The water sustains me without even trying...' from the song 'Water' - Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling. Listen to it here. Words and guitar chords here Purchase on iTunes here

Worth Checking Out:

'The Elephant in the Church: A Woman’s Tract for our Times' by Mary I. Malone. The Columba Press (2014). Details and how to order can be found here

'This Changes Everything' by Naomi Klein. Simon and Schuster (2014). Details and how to order can be found on the book's website here

Have you a recommendation for a recently published book title? Please let us know.

Worth Watching:

PeerSpirit Circle methodology, developed by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linne, teaches participants how to listen carefully, speak intentionally, and act with clarity. This 3-part video introduces the circle process. Part 1:(05:02); Part 2: (03:04); Part 3: (04:05)

Worth Following Up:

Cosmology and Eco-justice

Christian organisations in the UK are coming together to launch a year of prayer and fasting for the climate at special services across the country on 1 November 2014. This initiative calls on Christians to pray and fast on the first day of every month to make a stand for climate justice. Find Prayer resources and information about events on this site.

Opposing Human Trafficking

In a new study conducted in the US, the Urban Institute and Northeastern University examined each step of the trafficking process and found that perpetrators are often able to commit these crimes in plain sight because embassies fail to identify glaring red flags when victims obtain U.S. visas. Download the research report 'Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States' (307 pps; PDF) Read a news article in the Huffington Post on the research report.

Born out of a much-needed initiative to unify the anti-trafficking movement, the recently launched online Global Modern Slavery Directory currently identifies over 850 organisations committed to ending modern slavery in over 120 countries across the world. The Directory will continue to expand in order to provide 100 per cent geographic coverage, with a minimum of 3000 contacts to be incorporated by 2017. Access the Directory here

Is your Mercy OHT organisation listed in the Directory? If not, you can apply via the form in the 'Contact' section to have your organisation listed in the Directory

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 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 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)