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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 605  |  28 January 2015
Featured Story

Aíocht, hospitalidad, manaaki, kagiliwan, hospitalité, ukarimu, gutpela lukaut, hospitality – this life-giving word strengthens us on our global Mercy journey into the Year of Consecrated Life, the Year of Religious Life.  Although seemingly simple, warm and comforting, hospitality at its best is radical and prophetic.  Let us hear this word spoken in our scriptures and tradition, inviting us into new thinking, challenging us to “daring hospitality.”...

Messages to: Elizabeth Davis rsm


Image: © Gerald Squires, A hand rules compassion as a hand rules heaven, The Gathering Place, St. John’s NL, Canada. 4 of the 6 panels. Used with permission.

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Vision in Action
A Thomas Merton Centenary Event

'On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world.' So begins 'The Seven Storey Mountain', the memoir of Thomas Merton, a book that has been a spiritual classic since its publication in 1948.

Among the many events being held this year to mark the centenary of Merton's birth is a 6-day retreat at Baggot Street, commencing Sunday, 9 August and concluding Saturday, 15 August.

'Mercy within Mercy within Mercy: creative Exploration of Mercy Themes in Thomas Merton's Journey and in Our Own' will be facilitated by Marianne Hieb rsm (Americas) and Oonagh Campbell rsm (The Congregation).

Download a description of the program and facilitators' biographies here (8pps; PDF)

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

Image:"TMertonStudy" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

Yesterday, 27 January, 2015, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, many heads of state, dignitaries and about 300 Auschwitz survivors commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz - Birkenau, by Soviet troops in 1945. The ceremony took place in front of the Death Gate of Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

On this significant anniversary, in remembering the unimaginable loss of life of Jewish, Roma and other peoples, and the enormity of the suffering of the living as a result of this genocide, let us determine anew that ignorance, prejudice and bigotry will not dictate how we encounter, respond to or treat those whose culture, heritage, background, way of life or faith mean they are "different" from us.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Editor: Readers might care to read the reflection by Mary O'Sullivan rsm (The Congregation) who works in the Education Section of the  Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), founded in 1992 for all those who were touched by what happened in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Writing for eNews in 2009, Mary spoke of the Centre's dream for 'a future filled with life, hope and shalom so that the last word “after Auschwitz” no longer belongs to the power of evil and death but to the power of Love.' May it be so.
Read Mary's article here

Mercy Enews

There have been 91 new individual subscriptions to Mercy eNews this month from Sisters, Associates and Partners-in-ministry. Welcome to all our new subscribers, joining the many thousands who already receive the weekly Mercy eNews. A special welcome to those Sisters who are receiving Mercy eNews for the first time via an emailed link from their Provincial/Regional/Community/Congregational/Institute Offices.

A reminder that Mercy eNews is available without charge to all members of the global Mercy family and to anyone who is interested in the vision and mission of Mercy International Association (MIA).

Our special eNews series for the Year of Consecrated Life is expected to have interest beyond the Mercy Family. We welcome all readers who are interested in this topic. Please pass on the invitation to those in your networks and send them this link which provides quick access to the subscription form for eNews: www.mercyworld.org/mercyenews

Messages to: the Editor

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Sr Jane O'Donnell, Amanda and her mother, Birney Pease, Michelle Horan 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
UNICEF Partnering with Religious Congregations (The Congregation)

Long before there was a UNICEF, faith communities were among the greatest advocates for the world's neediest children, providing guidance, aid, comfort and sustenance to millions of disadvantaged families and children. 

In 2014 - UNICEF launched a new initiative to look at ways to further partner with religious communities on the ground.

Mercy Sister, Deirdre Mullan, who has years of experience and many contacts at the United Nations, is the key contact for this project.

The Pilot Project will focus on Nutrition and Feeding Programs and we are beginning with 6 countries:

Democratic Republic of Congo; Haiti; Nigeria; Papua New Guinea, Philippines and South Sudan.

Other countries will follow shortly.

YOU Are invited to send this to Sisters working in any of these countries - see document attached here (PDF)

This project is primarily intended to strengthen the partnerships already in existence and find ways to make then even more effective as we work together to improve children's lives. 

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm - Consultant to UNICEF in Partnering with Religious Congregations

Being Human in the 21st Century. Our Impact on an Interconnected World (Americas)

'“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.'

– John Muir

These almost quaint words of John Muir foreshadow the growing understanding of interconnectedness in this century.

The world has changed at a phenomenal rate since Muir fell in love with nature and worked on its behalf. Today science and theology affirm his understanding that everything is hitched to everything else, but in ways that are increasingly complex and even alarming.

We see oil spills, refugees, dreadful poverty, catastrophic storms, droughts, wars and violence occurring around the world. We realize the consequences of mining and fracking, deforestation and contamination have repercussions close to home.

Home itself is not what it used to be...'

Download the article here (4pps; PDF)

Messages to: Kathleen Erickson rsm

Article: courtesy of  Sr Kathleen and the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Communications Office

Image: courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An invitation was extended across the Mercy world to submit photographs of our Sisters in ministry, before Easter 2014. It was my privilege and pleasure to take some of these photographs in the Western Province. I can now say definitively that the motto, a Mercy Sister never retires, is correct. Perhaps I could add that the range of ministries, in which we are engaged, is magnificently varied. Further to this, we are rather good at multi-tasking!...

May we continue to inspire each other to be the compassionate face of God at every turn of our day!

Messages to: Suzanne Ryder rsm

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From a Bad Choice to a New Life (The Congregation)

It is an honor for me to be invited to share my story with the Sisters of Mercy.  I had never heard of this group of special women until I came to Veronica's Home Mercy in San Bernardino, California.

My name is Chana Misouk, my nationality is Laotion but I was born in the country of Cambodia. My family and I came to America as refugees back in 1979. If any of you have ever watched the movie "The Killing Fields", that's exactly what we had to endure...

My family and I are so grateful and consider it such a blessing to have been at Veronica's Home of Mercy. I hope that the entire staff knows how much they have let God use them in the lives of others. Throughout all this experience I have come to believe that the past does not define who you can become.

Messages to: Chana Misouk c/- Betty McGovern rsm

Wake Up the World! A Song for the Year of Consecrated Life (Americas)

Thank you to Cynthia Serjak rsm who has written a hymn text for the Year of Consecrated Life and is making the text freely available through Mercy eNews this week to all who might like to use it.

The text can be downloaded here (PDF)

The tune is 'Lift High the Cross'. For those who don't know that tune, here is a link to it online

Messages to: Cynthia Serjak rsm


Image: courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sowing Seeds: A Mini Sabbatical at Rahamim (ISMAPNG)

Do you have an interest in reading and relating to the Gospels? Are you wondering how to nurture your growing ecological consciousness?

Rahamim Ecological Learning Community, in partnership with the Catholic Education Office, Bathurst, New South Wales, is hosting a 5 day mini sabbatical centred on St Matthew’s Gospel, from 18-23 October, 2015.

Elaine Wainwright rsm (ISMAPNG) will set the focus for each day as we explore together St Matthew’s Gospel, through the lens of an ecological and cosmological awareness.

Download the flyer here (PDF)

Messages to: Mary-Ann Casanova rsj - Executive Director

Mercy High SchoolBaltimore will be the new home of the Hunt Valley Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will be in residence at Mercy High School, performing several concerts a year in addition to holding weekly rehearsals and offering performance opportunities for Mercy students...

“The arts are an integral part of life at Mercy High School,” said Mary Beth Lennon, president. “Our partnership with the Hunt Valley Symphony Orchestra will give Mercy students and faculty unique opportunities to perform with professional musicians right here on our campus. We are also pleased to help make a first-class symphony experience available to our neighbors and friends in North Baltimore...”

Watch the video report on WBALTV here (01:33)

Messages to: Mary Beth Lennon -  Mercy High School President

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Bricks for Baggot Street (Americas)

On December 12, 2014, Foundation Day, the Mercy High School community in Middletown, Connecticut celebrated “Bricks for Baggot Street”.  Everyone purchased bricks to help support the Mercy Endowment Fund.  Bricks were purchased in Advisor Groups and then the Peer Ministers placed the bricks on our “Bricks for Baggot St.” wall.  The Sisters of Mercy all over the world were remembered in prayer, especially our own Mercy sisters, Sr. Mary McCarthy, Sr. Peggy O’Neill and Sr. Rita Garneau.  A check is being sent to Mercy International for the House of Mercy. 

Messages to: Ann C. Derbacher - Campus Minister/Theology Department Chair

Mercy Matters

'...globally more than 250,000 ministry colleagues accompany the less than 8,000 Sisters of Mercy worldwide.  We are entering into a deeper phase of being and doing Mercy that will be lay-led and we need effective structures and processes to enhance and protect this gift that we inherited and must preserve.  The gift of mercy is ours and the responsibility for tending this charism, this gift is awesome.  Becoming more of a “WE” is our deep desire.'

Pat McDermott rsm, President, Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, ' "Four Conversations" for Mercy Higher Education'. Address to participants at the second Mercy, The Principal Path leadership formation program, Conference of Mercy Higher Education (CMHE), 2014.

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2015 Summer Retreat Season at Mercy by the Sea

We are delighted to announce our Summer 2015 Retreat Season offerings. Come and experience our beautiful and serene surroundings that change your state of mind just as soon as your foot hits this ground. Naturally, you will always find the warm welcome and  Mercy hospitality that draws you back year after year.

Come to the sea to rest, re-create and renew your body, mind and spirit at Mercy by the Sea,  Madison, Connecticut

Download Summer Retreat Season Offerings (PDF)

'Religious life, as prophetic sign of the world to come, is called to offer in our time a witness to that communion in Christ which transcends all differences and finds expression in concrete gestures of acceptance and dialogue...'

Pope Francis during Vespers at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls to mark the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  25/1/2015. Translation.

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The address book on your iPhone or Android phone can do a lot more than just store names, numbers and addresses.

Source: PCWorld

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Mercy High School is a private Catholic secondary school for young women sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Its mission is to offer students a superior college preparatory education in an environment rooted in Catholic values.

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1890: Foundation to Lyttleton from Hokitika
1895: Foundation to Deloraine, Tasmania from Goulburn, New South Wales

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

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Further Resources

Worth Watching:

Introducing the works of Mary Southard, CSJ, visual artist, educator, retreat director, voice for earth healing. Watch the video (08:40).

'Universe Story'.  A new video from The Well Spirituality Center, Chicago. Watch it here (06:14)

Worth Playing:

'By Breath'. This song is an anthem to interconnectedness - 'By breath, by blood, by body, by spirit, we are all one'. Sara Thomsen explains her composition this way: 'This song takes the 4 elements and uses the metaphors of breath for air, blood for the water, body for the earth, spirit for fire'. Enjoy it here (05:54). Lyrics in English and Spanish can be found here Purchase this song on iTunes

Worth Reading:


Among the events being held at Mercy by the Sea this northern Winter is a book signing with Kerry Alys Robinson, author of 'Imagining Abundance Fundraising, Philanthropy, and a Spiritual Call to Service', published December 2014. Those unable to attend the event but interested in the spirituality of fundraising can purchase Imagining Abundance online in paperback or digital format from Liturgical Press.

Those engaged in prison ministry may be interested in the widely endorsed 'Ministry to the Incarcerated'', (published January 2014), available in print and digital format. Details can be found here (PDF)

'Resisting Structural Evil, Love as Ecological Economic Vocation' by Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, published March 2013, is described by Kathleen Erickson rsm  as "inspiring in that it speaks of moral oblivion, but searches for solutions." See Sr Kathleen's article 'Being Human in the 21st Century', above, in Members' News. Further details about this book and how to purchase it in print or digital format, can be found here

Opposing Human Trafficking

The American Psychological Association’s report on The Trafficking of Women and Girls has now been released. The Executive Summary can be downloaded here (38 pps; PDF). The Report can be downloaded here (91 pps; PDF). The report can be read in sections here

'Migrants dreaming of Europe have their pick of social media sites that work like an online travel agent, advertising fares and offering tips on secure payments. Meanwhile, the traffickers who send them floating across the Mediterranean are buying scrapyard cargo ships over the Internet,' according to a report on CBS News. Read the report here

'A recent article published in The Australian [newspaper] examined a reported increase in human trafficking and slavery in Australia, with the exploitation of trafficked people working in industries such as agriculture, construction and hospitality on the rise.' Read the article in 'Red Cross' Support for Trafficked People Program has almost doubled since 2009.' here

UNODC Supports Sudanese Efforts to Curb Human Trafficking. 'As one of the largest countries in Africa, Sudan has become a transit hub of mixed migration flows from the Horn of Africa to North Africa and Europe. The irregular nature of many of these migrants often puts them in a very vulnerable position as they lack protection and are thus susceptible to being victimised through kidnapping, extortion and human trafficking.

In response, the Sudanese Government adopted a law to combat human trafficking on 3 March 2014, and on 2 December 2014 acceded to the United Nations  Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children supplementing the  United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.  Furthermore, Sudan recently established  a National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking.' Read the article here.


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

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