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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 604  |  21 January 2015
Featured Story
Announcing Our Special 2015 Mercy E-news Series

Editor: Welcome to our first issue of Mercy eNews for 2015.

To mark the Year of Consecrated Life and to build on the interconnection and flow of Mercy energy among us that was generated during the 20th Anniversary celebrations, we will be developing a Mercy theme each month this year in eNews.

The 12 themes (in order) are: Hospitality, Compassion, Mercy through an ecological lens, Courage, Forgiveness, Trust in Providence, Right Relations, Service, Respect, Women & Children, Justice, Ordinariness.

The January topic, Hospitality, has been prepared by Elizabeth Davis rsm (Newfoundland). Sr Elizabeth's article, together with her reflection questions and accompanying prayer services, will be published in next week's Mercy Enews (Issue 605, 28 January). A suggested cycle for using these monthly resources can be found here

We are encouraging the sharing of reflections on each thematic article/ accompanying focus questions, both locally and on the www.mercyworld.org website. To read responses posted by other eNews readers, you will need to log on to the article on the www.mercyworld.org website. To post a response online you will first need to fill in your details in the form fields at the end of the thematic article on the website. Your name and response will immediately become public but your email address will not be made public.

The schedule of contributors and themes can be downloaded here:

We welcome your involvement and invite you to promote this special eNews series within and among your own networks. Materials will be suitable for Sisters, Associates, Partners-in-ministry and anyone interested in the vision and mission of Mercy International Association.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Year of Consecrated Life logo, specially designed by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) and the VISION Vocation Network, USA. Further NRVC resources, including the song 'Wake the world with dawning joy' can be accessed here

Vision in Action

The Mercy Global Action (MGA) office at the United Nations has created a new video about the work of MGA at the UN. This video highlights how we realize our special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations, ensuring that our vital Mercy work at the grassroots in 40+ countries and territories is brought to bear on decision-making, global policy-making, and advocacy at the United Nations.

For the past twenty years, grounded in our faith tradition and in Mercy, Mercy International Association (MIA) has focused on social justice, poverty eradication, gender justice, and environmental sustainability.  We seek to shift local and global political, socioeconomic, ecological and cultural systems that cause and perpetuate poverty, climate change, environmental degradation, inequality, injustice and conflict...

Messages to: Áine O'Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

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Reminder: Important Announcement: Renovations at MIC

Due to major internal renovations at Mercy International Centre, it will not be possible to accommodate large group bookings for tours or room hire during January, February and March 2015.

Bed and Breakfast bookings will be available from 16 January and restricted tours for individuals or small groups (up to 6 people) will also be available during this time, preferably with prior booking. 

We apologise for this inconvenience and we are very happy to take bookings for the rest of the year from April onwards.  Contact Madeleine at bookings@mercyinternational.ie or phone +353 1 6618061 to arrange these.

Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director-Administration & Finance

Thanking Mary Waskowiak rsm; Welcoming Suzanne Elliot rsm

We wish to thank Sr. Mary Waskowiak who resigned her role as Director of MIA Development and Fundraising at the end of November. Mary’s pioneering work in setting up a fundraising structure for MIA has been groundbreaking and her success in attracting funds is testimony to her generous commitment and dedicated hard work. As part of her role, Mary advocated the development of a spirituality of fundraising and was very keen to involve donors in the mission of Mercy by means of their donations to the ministry of MIA.

Sr. Sue Elliott has now taken up the role and is looking forward to continuing the work begun by Mary in advancing Mercy mission. We welcome Sue on board as Director of Mercy’s Mission Advancement and wish her blessings as she undertakes this ministry.

Messages to:

Mary Waskowiak rsm
Suzanne Elliot rsm

Details of the following programmes being offered at MIC in 2015 are linked to this item:

-Come Home to Catherine - Anne Reid and Áine Barrins rsm
-Seeking Mercy that is Twice Blest - Oonagh Campbell & Marianne Hieb rsm
-Pilgrimage of Young Mercy Leaders (secondary students) - Ailsa McKinnon rsm; other presenters to be announced
-Mercy - the Wildness of Divine Love - Mary Trainer rsm
-Mercy within Mercy within Mercy... - Oonagh Campbell & Marianne Hieb rsm
-'What had God in mind...?' - Áine Barrins rsm
-Visions of Mercy - Mary Wickham rsm

Download the detailed programme here (PDF)

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality

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The co-facilitators of the discussions surrounding the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set the process for inter-governmental negotiations going forward up to the final review and adoption of the SDGs in September. As such, the following roadmap for inter-governmental negotiations has been established:
19-21 January, Stocktaking;
17-20 February, Declaration;
23-27 March, SDGs and Targets;
20-24 April, Means of Implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development;
18-22 May, Follow up and Review;
22-25 June, 20-24 July, and
27-31 July, Inter-governmental Negotiations on the Outcome Document...

Messages to: Áine O'Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

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I travelled to Kenya on 11 December returning very close to Christmas and our holidays. It was a great visit where I met all the Sisters during the Provincial Assembly. A report follows:

11-12 December: Arrived into Nairobi late on Thursday evening, where I was met and hosted by Anne Itotia rsm Provincial and the community - Sr. Brigid Marnane and Sr. Rose Macharia - at Villa Maria, the Provincial House.

Friday, 12 December was Jamhuri Day or Kenya Independence Day so there were big celebrations in the city, which were televised. This provided a good opportunity to learn more about Kenya, particularly the social and political context operative today...

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

Since our last prayer together in Christmas week (Issue 603), The AirAsia plane crash, the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the Boko Haram catastrophic assaults in Nigeria, the continued outpouring of grief for the victims of the Sydney siege, the Cairns child killings and the Peshawar school massacre, scenes of bushfires, landslides, storms and floods... are among the many tragedies that have confronted us all.

For the victims, their families, relatives, friends and communities, and for the needs of our world -

'Let us pray well and never grow weary' Catherine McAuley

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Laity, religious, and clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists from all over the world, united by our Catholic faith and our work on environmental and social issues, have come together to form The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), launched on 14 January 2015. Catholic organisations and leaders throughout the world, including the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Leadership Team, have announced their collaboration as a movement working toward a sustainable climate future.

All Catholic individuals and organisations are invited to join this effort, both to raise awareness about this important issue and to act within the public sphere.

Further information can be found on the GCCM website linked to this item.

Messages to:The Global Catholic Climate Movement

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MIA Members News

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila led the Filipino people to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines on 15 January, 2015. Archbishop John F. Du, Archbishop of Palo led the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda to welcome the Holy Father in the midst of stormy weather in Tacloban City and Palo who were all garbed in raincoats in the airport's open field for the Mass.

The weather was so bad that after the Mass a very strong wind toppled the structure at the altar, hitting a 27-year old CRS lady-volunteer on the nape of the neck, instantly killing her. It was quite sad. Indeed, the faith of the huge congregation eagerly awaiting Pope Francis was so challenged.

The Pope had to wrap himself with a raincoat while celebrating the Mass. Almost all those at the airport, including our able Sisters, had to walk a good distance to the airport the night before so they can be one with the well-wishers.

The Holy Father's messages were so inspiring. He said, 'Filipinos are called to be outstanding  missionaries of faith in Asia. Being the foremost Catholic country in Asia is in itself a special gift of God, a blessing.'...

Messages to: Carmela N. Cabactulan rsm - Sister Superior

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Colleagues gathered to honour  Elaine Wainwright rsm at a celebration of her retirement after 12 years as Professor of Theology from The University of Auckland, late last year.

In their tributes colleagues acknowledged Elaine’s international reputation as an Scripture scholar, her unstinting commitment, her leadership, her ability to create an hospitable workplace, her relationship with students and staff, and her administrative skills in integrating Theology within the University.  

A full report, including copies of the speeches given by Drs Allan Davidson and Nick Thompson, is linked to this item

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

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'About a hundred people joined the Sisters of Mercy and the Basilica Parish Wednesday night, in welcoming 13 new Licensed Practical Nurses who moved to the province from Jamaica.

The sisters and the health authority held a shower for the women at the College of Licensed Professional Nurses building on Blackmarsh Road in St. John's. 

Kerrese Mitchell, who is from St. Catherine — a parish in Jamaica, told CBC News she and her colleagues have been "overwhelmed" with the generosity they've received.'

Source: CBC News

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland

Image: CBC News. Sister Margaret Taylor was one of the shower organizers, which was held at the College of Licenced Professional Nurses building in St. John's.

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California Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León has announced the appointment of Sister Michelle Gorman (West Midwest) as the 49th chaplain of the California State Senate. In a press release De León noted, 'Sister Michelle Gorman's life-long service to education and the needs of the poor and infirm, as well as her leadership in her religious community has deeply inspired me.'

Sister Michelle is the first Catholic woman to be appointed to this role.

In her chaplain biography on the California State Senate site, Sister Michelle says she 'is grateful for the opportunity to minister at the Capitol as chaplain to the Senate. Rather than function as the official “pray-er,” she hopes to facilitate the senators’ connection with their God so that their work on behalf of the people of California and the larger world can proceed from a spirit of humility and gratitude in the face of so many unresolved issues.  She expects to approach her work from the point of view of Anne Lamott’s description of the “three essential prayers”: HELP, THANKS, WOW! '

Messages to: Michelle Gorman rsm

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The latest issue (Vol. 22, No. 2) of The MAST Journal was recently published. Editor Eloise Rosenblatt rsm reports that the issue is focused on Many Gifts—One Spirit “in which non-theologians reflect on their untypical ministries and what inspired them.”

Contributors: Mary-Louise Petro rsm (Paramatta, Australia), Mary Quinn rsm (Northeast), Fran Repka rsm (South Central), Rosemary Revel rsm (AotearoaNew Zealand), Gloria Hesse rsm (West Midwest), Claudette Schiratti rsm (West Midwest), Patricia Griffith rsm (Mid-Atlantic), Jean Evans rsm (West Midwest).

As usual the issue provides discussion questions for those who want to use the essays for communal reflection with Sisters, Associates, Companions or Partners-in-ministry. The MAST Journal is published three times a year by the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology. To subscribe please contact Julia Upton rsm.

Messages to: Julia Upton rsm

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Editor: In Mercy eNews Issue 598 (19 November 2014) we reported on the announcement by The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation and the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta of the integration of  Mamre House with CatholicCare Social Services.

This week we are pleased to publish further details of the plans for the future use and protection of Mamre House, as reported in the December 2014/January 2015 'Catholic Outlook', the newsletter of the Diocese of Parramatta.

'CatholicCare’s vision is to build on the original mission of the sisters and make Mamre a property which the whole community can utilise and enjoy, whether for study, relaxation or as a place of welcome and solace.'

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation

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'So what are my hopes for the Year of Consecrated Life? There are many but I will focus on just two.

In the first place, I would like to see a new, deeper understanding of what Church is and how every baptised person is a herald of the Good News...

And that leads me to another of my hopes for the Year of Consecrated Life.

Much of the language around Religious Life is poorly understood, if understood at all, by the rest of the Church.

... the vows properly understood are entirely positive in their orientation. They involve an attitude of joy in sharing our material goods and a spirituality of “enough”; a commitment to right relationships with all others, with all that exists and with God; and a commitment to careful listening to the voice of God in our lives through prayerful attention.

It would be wonderful if we could find during the Year of Consecrated Life, in the first instance a renewed understanding of the vowed life, and secondly a new language that would speak to a wider world about what Religious Life is about...'

Berneice Loch rsm - Institute Leader

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Listening for the Heartbeat of God (The Congregation)

The Sisters of Mercy Western Province invite you to join them on Saturday, 28 March in Galway or on Sunday, 29 March in Athlone for a day with Revd John Philip Newell, Poet, Peacemaker and Scholar, internationally acclaimed for his work in the field of Celtic spirituality.

Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, John Philip is now Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico.

Further details and the booking form can be downloaded here (WORD), (PDF).

Please return your booking fom with your cheque/postal order to:

Sisters of Mercy Western Province
Society Street
Co Galway

before Friday, 6 March 2015.

All are welcome to attend these events. Please share this invitation among interested members of your networks.

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Western Province

Mercy Matters

'...let us imagine a much more extended group around Jesus than today’s gospel reading suggests. Women, men, and children, we are all invited to leave behind whatever gets in the way of making God’s empire a reality and transforming our ravaged planet. Not easy.'

Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG), Reflection on the Gospel-3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 1:14-20)

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The ways different Gospel characters together with Jesus embody mercy and also the ways Earth and all its constituents are likewise embodied in this story of mercy.

Talks given by Elaine Wainwright rsm during Wellsprings 2012

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'Desk-bound and want to stay fit and healthy? Don't despair. There are simple ways to keep your mind and body in top shape, even if you are stuck at your desk day-in, day-out...'

Source: The Age

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1906: Opening of Mater Misericordiae Hospital, North Sydney
Editor: Sisters of Mercy North Sydney Congregation is this week's featured Mercy website

1921: Foundation to Accrington, Lancashire from Oldham - Sr Stanislaus Merigan

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

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The second video from Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners)– a Catholic healthcare ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky – offers Weight Management Tips (02:34).

An infographic with the four tips is available here

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The Parish of St Patrick's, Sydney, became part of the Mercy global story when Elizabeth McQuoin (Mother Mary Ignatius) arrived in Sydney in 1865 and accepted Archbishop Polding's invitation to make a Mercy foundation there...

God in His loving providence has watched over this group of Sisters of Mercy as He watched over Catherine and her early followers. For all that we give thanks...

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Now is the time for mercy. Now is the time for grace.This is the season of compassion. That the world may see your face'. Lyrics from 'Mercy Song', one of the theme songs for the papal visit to the Philippines, written for Yolanda survivors and sung by Cherrie Anderson, a Taclobanon who is now the lead singer of the Filipino British electronica band, "Ooberfuse". Watch it here (04:17) Teachers: this tune will have appeal for students.

Worth Reading:

Year of Consecrated Life

'Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life'. Maria Cimperman, RSCJ, is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Catholic Theological Union, and was recently named the Director of the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life (CSCL) at the school which will launch on 12 February 2015. Sr Maria wrote this article for the Religious Formation Conference publication InFormation. Read the article here An interview with Sr Maria is in this month's 'US Catholic' online, out today. Read that interview here

Cosmology and Eco-justice

Data released on 15 January by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) confirmed 2014 as the hottest 12 months since record-keeping began in 1880. Read the media release here

Opposing Human Trafficking

'Battle Heats Up Over Legalisation of Sex Work in India'.

A recent study conducted by the Indian philanthropic non-profit Dasra found that roughly half of trafficking victims in India are adolescent girls, while the average age of sex workers has dropped from 14-16, to 10-14, “because young girls are believed to have a lower risk of carrying a sexually transmitted disease”.

“Most victims come from rural areas, over 70 percent are illiterate, and almost half reported that their families earned just about one dollar [per day],” the report stated. Read the article here


The January 2015 issue of 'Update', the monthly publication of LCWR, is online. Read it here (12 pps; PDF)

Worth Considering:

LCWR presents a new book,' I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness', a reflective resource for our spiritual journey.

LCWR will print only the amount of copies that are pre-ordered. Special rates are available for ordering in bulk. Orders must be received with payment by February 27, 2015. Further information and online ordering can be found here

Worth Knowing:

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned yesterday ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Read the article here

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2015 to: the Editor

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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)