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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 601  |  10 December 2014
Featured Story
Human Rights Are For All of Us Every Day of the Year

Editor: On Monday, Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, launched online the Global Humanitarian Appeal 2015, setting out the needs of the most vulnerable people in the world. Says Ms Amos, 'As we look forward to 2015 ...We estimate that 77.9 million people will require humanitarian aid in twelve major crises spanning 22 countries.' The statistics are staggering, the images haunting.

On Monday, Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, called 2014 'a devastating year for millions of children' with the rights of so many children 'brutally violated'. Meet some of those children here (03:40).

Today, 10 December, is Human Rights Day. Today we are called on by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to 'respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all'. His words and call 'to protect human rights every day of the year' echo for us those of Catherine: 'the poor need help today, not next week'.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: Children in Town of Kaga Bandora, Central African Republic. 06 July 2014 . UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina. Used with permission.

Vision in Action

As we come to the end of 2014, it is time to bring the 20th Anniversary celebrations to a close and more especially, it is a time to give thanks.

We thank the Members/Leaders and the Board for their visioning on how the celebrations might unfold. They wanted the focus to be a remembering of the story to date, a recognition of the current reality and a forward look at where the road may be leading. They saw this celebration as a year long process, offering the opportunity for education, participation and transformation of the members of the Mercy family. Most especially, they wanted the celebrations to be global, connecting Baggot Street to the Global Mercy world and connecting the Global Mercy world to Baggot Street...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

MIA joins with the Sisters of Mercy in Kenya in prayer for the protection and safety of the people of Kenya, following the massacre of 28 Kenyan bus passengers last month, the deaths of 36 people last week as a result of an attack on a stone quarry in Mandera, northern Kenya, and the attack on a night club in Wajir last Monday in which one person was killed and at least 12 injured as gunmen hurled grenades and sprayed bullets at the building.

Lord, surround your people with your loving care and protect them from every danger.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to:
Anne Itotia rsm - Provincial Leader - Kenya
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA welcomes the announcement of the signing on 2 December of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery...

This gathering of religious leaders represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and commits the communities they represent to working together 'for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored'...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: News.va

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Forward Notice on a Vacancy at Mercy International Centre

Sylvia Williams rsm will complete her assignment as Assistant Director Administration and Finance at the end of October 2015. The recruitment process to fill the post will commence in mid 2015. This is now being announced so that anyone who may be interested in making an application has forward notice and can plan accordingly.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Sam G, Mary Ann Walsh rsm, Cora Harper, Michael Gerard Kennelly, Barbara Anne Smith 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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As we bring this year of sharing our global Mercy story to its conclusion —a year in which we have experienced new ways of being connected — we invite all members of our Mercy family to tell us all how it has been for you in your ministry this year - through an anecdote, a greeting, a prayer, a wish, a hope you have or a plan for 2015.

Post your Christmas greeting online on the mercyworld.org site. Send these in by Friday, 19 December.

Messages to: the Editor

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MIA Members News

Editor: From 4 - 8 December, members of the Mercy Family kept watch and waited with the Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines) for the arrival and impact of Cyclone Hagupit (Ruby), holding their request for prayer, conscious of the devastation of last year’s typhoon Haiyan, and in fear of the impact of the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year.

It was with great relief that Sr Carmela's email of 8 December was received advising: 'No casualties among our evacuees and no reported casualties in our neighborhood.'

The correspondence over these days of worry is linked to this item.

Messages to:
Carmela Cabactulan rsm - Sister Superior, Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines)
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Heherson Alvarez, Climate Change Commission Philippines, spoke at COP 20 on 5 December about how the country has been devastated by climate change such as Typhoon Haiyan. Watch the video here (04:44)

Add your voice to the global petition to world leaders to prevent climate change. Sign on here

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Two dozen Mercy Sisters, Associates, co-workers, volunteers and friends gathered in Columbus, Georgia, November 21-23 for the annual protest of the military training facility formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA). This year’s gathering, which drew more than 1,000 people, also focused on the causes of immigration rooted in U.S. military and trade policies.

The Sisters of Mercy have participated in the annual solemn procession at the gates of Fort Benning outside Columbus since the first protests began there in the mid-1980s. Prior to that, Sisters of Mercy in Panama protested outside the school’s site that was previously located there...

Messages to: Institute Justice Team

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Wow! in Wau (Americas)

Last month Raila Philips gave us all something to celebrate: she beat the odds stacked against females in South Sudan. As a young girl Raila was evacuated from the heavily-bombed Nuba Mountains and brought hundreds of miles southward to St Bakhita Girls' Primary School, where her education was supported by Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB). Now Raila has just become an RN, a graduate of the prestigious Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan.

Wau is pronounced "WOW" and that's exactly how we feel about her accomplishment!  There are only 158 RNs among South Sudan's population of 8 million, so her "small step" is a huge step for healthcare there.  We salute Raila for her hard work and we salute our marvelous donors for supporting her every step of the way. 

Messages to: Marilyn Lacey rsm - Executive Director MBB

Editor: Mercy Beyond Borders' new website is this week's featured Mercy site

The Mercy Young Adult Network held its biennial conference in Brisbane spending the majority of time between the Mercy Heritage Centre, Ann Street, Fortitude Valley and Mercy Place, Bardon. Its chosen theme, Looking for Hope, was broken open through guest speakers, discussion and reflection, listening and sharing on action and goals happening in the various at-home groups and through a hands-on activity packing some hundreds of books supporting BOOKS4PNGKIDS.org. Participants heard that learning to read in order to learn is a basic necessity for children in developing countries especially in the remote locations where there is very little in the way of reading material. Such deprivation came as a surprise.

Messages to: Mary Lawson - Congregation Councillor

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Mercy Matters

Thank you to Rob Gardiner (Director) and Carol Rittner rsm (Executive Producer) for inviting mercyworld.org to showcase the 'Sisters' documentary, now linked to this item.

While Lifetime® in the US is using the reality TV format for their series The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns to follow five young women who want to discern their vocations to religious life, this documentary presents five faces of religious life today: Deirdre Mullan rsm, Karen Schneider rsm, Melissa Camardo, SCL, Monica Gundler, SC, Michelle Lesher, SSJ.

Messages to:
Carol Rittner rsm

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Reflection: The Spirit that Shaped the Congregation

'The women who joined Catherine were not formed to mirror some ideal image of a religious. Rather, the life experience, gifts and concerns of each were cherished and supported and this spirit shaped the young community. Each was encouraged to enflesh the charism in distinct and personal ways and the result was a congregation whose works are as broad and manifold as human need...'

- Sheila Carney rsm,  'The Legacy of Catherine McAuley and the Transformative Elements for Religious Life in the Future'

Our Mission

Forging ways for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect and lead.
In post-war South Sudan & post-quake Haiti, Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) develops the talent, leadership, & advocacy potential of marginalized women and girls.

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1982: First Mercy foundation to Brazil from Cashel Diocese, Co Tipperary - M Ursula Allen

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

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'The charisma of Catherine is alive and vital in the lives of all who share our commitment.'

- M Christopher O’Rourke

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From the Modern One Loop to The Basic Loop, from The Waterfall to The Braid; in just 4.5 Minutes learn 25 Ways to wear a scarf.

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Further Resources

Worth Reading:

Apostolic Visitation

The long awaited final report on women’s religious life in the United States is set for release on 16 December, 2014 . John L Allen Jr. in A primer for the looming Vatican report on American nuns provides 'a primer on the report, and what’s at stake in its release'. Read it here

Religious Life

Pope Francis' Address to Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Vatican City, 27 November, 2014. Read it here.


Friends of the Earth Europe released their report 'Fracking Frenzy: How the Fracking Industry is Threatening the Planet' on 1 December, the day the latest round of global climate negotiations opened in Peru. The Report examines the planned expansion of shale gas operators into vulnerable regions of Latin America, Asia and Africa, and highlights the threats posed to local environments and communities as well as the global climate. The Executive Summary provides an explanation of how fracking technology works and the key findings in the Report (pps1-10). Read the Report here (80 pps; PDF).

'A new study links shale oil and gas development to a host of developmental and reproductive health risks, and says the processes involved – including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – pose a particularly potent threat to what researchers called "our most vulnerable population."'. Read the complete article from 'US News & world Report' here

Opposing Human Trafficking

Women and girls form the vast majority of human trafficking victims, both in and outside the EU. On 2 December the EP's women's rights and civil liberties organised a meeting with UN and European Commission representatives to find out the latest about the situation in the world and the implementation of the EU's strategy to eradicate human trafficking. See: Human trafficking: 80% of victims in the EU are women and girls and related resources. Access these here

Police chiefs and Church representatives from around the world joined UK Home Office ministers in London on 5-6 December for the second Santa Marta Conference organised by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Home Office, aimed at developing strategies to combat human trafficking. The Speech given by Home Secretary Theresa May can be read here . It was at the launch of the Santa Marta Group, named after the Papal residence where the participants stayed, in April 2014, that Pope Francis described human trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society; a crime against humanity”.The Pope's message for this second international conference can be read here.

'Poorly paid Indian tea workers and their destitute families are a major source for human traffickers who lure away mainly women and children with promises of a new life but who end up enslaved in factories and households, human rights organisations say in a report 'Tea workers in India falling prey to human traffickers', published in The Age Newspaper. Read the article here

Worth Enjoying:

The Adventures of Mary and Joseph - The Road Movie tells the Christmas story in nine entertaining and informative episodes. Produced for use in the classroom, they can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Watch the 9 episodes here. Start with the Angel Gabriel and click your way through in sequence.
Teachers: Creative activities to use in conjunction with each of the nine videos can be found here

Worth Playing:

'I am the river flowing, I am the desert dry. I am the four winds blowing, I am the sunset sky.' Lyrics from I Am The Earth. Listen/watch it here (03:48). Written for the International Year of Planet Earth, this song by Glyn Lehmann  imagines a dialogue between the Earth and the world's children. Lyrics, sheet music, recording and backing track available at Song Library

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

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								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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Mercy International Association Limited
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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)