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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 612  |  18 March 2015
Featured Story

This is the Spirit of the order, indeed—the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us—words of Catherine McAuley which capture the paradoxical heart of the ‘call’ to mercy within the context of this year of reflection on Consecrated or Religious Life (Letter 78, February 17, 1838). And they echo the beatitude: Blessed are the merciful for they shall be mercied (a more literal translation of Matt 5:7).

Both short texts take us to the very core of mercy that emerges from the womb of divinity and is embraced by those in the human community committed to doing and being mercy. Such mercy has characterized almost two centuries of consecrated religious life and more recently partnerships in ministry under that title...

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm


Image: Creation window in the (Sister Mary) McAllen Science Centre at Academy of Mary Immaculate, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. This series of windows tells the story of creation from Indigenous, Biblical and Scientific perspectives. Used with permission.

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Vision in Action

We posted greetings (in Irish and English) on the website for St. Patrick’s Day to our Irish Sisters of Mercy, Associates, Partners-in-ministry and Friends of Mercy over the world and to all Sisters of Mercy and the extended Mercy Family, who can claim Celtic roots through our foundress, Catherine McAuley.

We congratulate the Sisters of Mercy in the Diocese of Portland, Oregon, USA whose 150 years of service to the Diocese was honoured in last Sunday's St Patrick's Day parade.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Shamrock. Pixabay. Used under CCO

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Share Your Mercy Stories with the World

This year, 570,484 visitors (201,942 in January, 224,609 in February and 143,933 so far in March) have visited Catherine's virtual (online) House of Mercy at mercyworld.org to experience from the rich storehouse that is the Mercy story.

Have we heard your Mercy story? Have we viewed your Mercy story? Have we told your Mercy story?
Send us your news and help build the global Mercy community online.

We welcome contributions of general or broad Mercy interest in the following and related areas: events, ideas, actions, connections, opportunities, celebrations, reflections.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

'God our Father, open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendour of creation, in the beauty of human life. Touched by your hand our world is holy.

Help us to cherish the gifts that surround us, to share your blessings with our brothers and sisters
and to experience the joy of life in your presence.'

[Old Opening Prayer, Mass of 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time]

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Marie and Denis O Malley, Sister Mary Kelly, John Elsner 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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Earth Hour this year is on 28 March 2015, 8:30 pm (your time). Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide.

Earth Hour is more than an event. It is a movement that has achieved massive environmental impact, including legislation changes by harnessing the power of the crowd.

Join the movement and use your power to change climate change.

Information, resources, sign- up opportunities and how to join in conversations on social media can be found on the Earth Hour website which is linked to this item.

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Áine Barrins rsm is a member of the Western Province of The Congregation. Since the early nineties she has been involved in spirituality in one way or another – through spiritual direction, retreat work and faith development for adults. In the last few years Sr Áine has had many opportunities to deepen her knowledge of and love for Catherine McAuley and regularly co-facilitates programmes in Mercy International Centre.

From Sunday 23 August through to Saturday 29 August, Áine will facilitate a program at MIC.

In this week, writes Áine 'we will engage with Catherine's story and writings, hoping to come to a deeper appreciation of how Catherine understood and experienced 'the loving providence' of God in her life.'

Participants can live-in or be non-residential. Cost: €570 (residential)  €390 (no-residential).

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

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MIA Members News
Global Transformation: A New Worldview Transforming Humanity (The Congregation)

Editor: We are very grateful to Carmel Bracken rsm for sharing her text, powerpoint and a bibliography of suggested reading/viewing on the topic of global transformation and pleased to be able to publish these resources this week in conjunction with Elaine Wainwright's thematic work.

Members of the Mercy family in attendance—both in person and online—at Sr Carmel's presentation at the 20th Anniversary celebrations in Dublin last September, will remember the impact this presentation had on those who heard it.

Carmel has made some adjustments to her presentation to ensure it can be widely shared through Mercy eNews. Próximamente ofreceremos este artículo traducido al español para las hermanas de CCASA

Messages to: Carmel Bracken rsm

Institute Extended Justice Team Writes to Pope Francis in Advance of His Encyclical on the Environment (Americas)

The Extended Justice Team (XJT) of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas has expressed its appreciation to Pope Francis, via letter, for his decision to issue an encyclical on the environment. Additionally, the XJT offered hopes for the encyclical based on the justice team members' lived experiences of working with people who are poor and vulnerable and on their work with the Critical Concerns.

'The timing could not be more critical as we witness communities suffering from the ravages of extractive industries, the impacts of climate change and the effects of an economic system that places profit over the lives of vulnerable people,' the letter states. 'We especially appreciate that you hope to influence the international climate change talks in Paris in December.'

The letter is signed by the 13 Sisters and Colleagues who form the Extended Justice Team.

Read the entire letter here (2pps; PDF)

Messages to the Extended Justice Team c/- Jean Stokan - Director, Institute Justice Team

'After 50 years of service, Sister Pat, who has made helping the homeless her life's work, is now stepping down.

The work to fight homelessness will continue but it will have to go on without Sister Patricia McKeon, executive director of the Mercy Housing and Shelter [in Hartford]

"Those who came for meals, those who came for shelter, those who came for housing, I am so humbled by them," [Sr Pat] McKeon said. "I just think that's very, very important. This wasn't just a job, it was a ministry to help people."'

Source: WFSB Eyewitness News

Messages to: Patricia McKeon rsm

Editor: Sr Pat's story of how she came to minister to the homeless in Hartford was written up in the 'Women in Business 2014' series in Hartford Business. com, a publication of the Hartford Business Journal. Read her story here

Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation is this week's featured Mercy website

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Women@thewell in the News (GB Institute)

Women@thewell is an innovative charity working with vulnerable women in the Kings Cross area of London. It was started by the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy in 2007. Women who use the Centre have often experienced multiple forms of abuse and accompanying them as they rediscover their own potential and giftedness demands great compassion, hope and time...

On Tuesday,  March, during the 6:30pm BBC London news, women@thewell was featured in a short film as one of the many projects which have received funding from Comic Relief. Actor Gillian Anderson visited  the service to meet the women and staff...

The short film can be viewed here on the BBC website (02:24)

Download the complete article here (PDF)

Messages to: Lynda Dearlove rsm MBE

Mercy Journey in Birmingham: A Retreat with Catherine (GB Union)

Mercy Journey in Birmingham: A Retreat with Catherine is being held from Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June 2015 at St Mary’s Convent, 98 Hunters Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B19 1EB.

The program incorporates a different theme for each day and offers a varied range of presentations, discussions, activities, and opportunities for reflection, together with a range of organised tours and visits.

Full details of the program can be downloaded here (4pps PDF)

Cost: £490 (residential).

Messages to: St Mary’s Convent


Image: Bronze life size sculpture of Catherine McAuley (left) and Juliana Hardman (right) in the prayer garden at St Mary's Convent. St Mary’s Convent was founded by Catherine McAuley on 21 August 1841; Juliana Hardman was appointed the first Superior.
Sculpture by Philip Jackson CVO DL MA FRBS

In her newsletter of 26 February 2015, Congregational Leader Sister Catherine Reuter urged Sisters to respond to the invitation of the Care for Creation group to make a voluntary donation to an environmental fund, as one small way to offset the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere by planes and cars.

This invitation resulted from a consultation by the Care for Creation group with Sisters attending a congregational gathering and after meeting with the Leadership Team.  It was decided that the gift would be on a voluntary basis and the annual amount to be determined by the sister. Further details may be found in the March Care for Creation newsletter.

Messages to: Anne McLay rsm

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Mercy Matters

2007: Te Korowai Atawhai Mercy Hospice Auckland is officially opened on its new site in Ponsonby.

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

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'Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.'

-Pope Francis, General audience, 21 May 2014

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'Water is free Beverage'

- Catherine McAuley (1840)

Cited in 'The Little Book of Catherine of Dublin'

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Mercy Health: Helping You Be Well

Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners) – a Catholic healthcare ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky – has devoted the fourth of its monthly Mercy Health: Helping You Be Well videos to depression awareness. Depression is one of the most-common mental disorders in the United States, affecting an estimated 16 million adults in a year.

What are the warning signs for depression? (02:03)

What is the best treatment for depression? (01:51)

Does depression only affect adults? (01:24)

Where can you find help for depression? (01:30)

An infographic with depression awareness facts is available at http://bit.ly/1BhRaBF

Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation provides housing assistance and supportive services to persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Mercy works to empower its clients to become independent, so they may live and work with dignity and respect.

Mercy seeks to end homelessness by advocating for changes in the social systems that perpetuate homelessness.

Mercy welcomes and serves all in need in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, who founded the organization in 1983.

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The Global Calculator is a new, free and interactive tool that helps you to understand the link between our lifestyles, the energy we use, and the consequences for our climate. It is aimed at anyone interested in exploring what a low-carbon world could look like in 2050. The Calculator shows that it is possible to prevent dangerous climate change and ensure people's living standards continue to improve if we act now.

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Further Resources

Worth Watching:

Center for the Study of Consecrated Life, CTU, Chicago

Presentations from the Center's Opening Event on 12 February: 'Re-Imagining Consecrated Life in a Changing World' by Robert Schreiter, CPPS (video and podcast formats) and 'Hope Encounters: Consecrated Life for Our Times' by Maria Cimperman, RSCJ (Video and podcast formats) as well as the Q&A sessions that followed each presentation, are now publicly available online. Access these resources here

Worth Reading:

Trócaire 2015 Lenten Lecture

The Trócaire 2015 Lenten Lecture, held in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, on Thursday 5 March 2015, was given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Titled ‘Integral ecology and the horizon of hope: concern for the poor and for creation in the ministry of Pope Francis’, Commonweal magazine is calling it 'An outline of the Pope’s forthcoming encyclical'.

Download the lecture here (PDF) Watch the lecture here

Worth Celebrating:

World Poetry Day 21 March

In celebration of this day, enjoy Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Winning Poet Mary Oliver in 'an intimate conversation on the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing.' Mary rarely gives interviews so this one with Krista Tippett, aired last month on the program 'On Being', is a real treat. Listen to the interview and the poetry reading here

Worth Playing:

Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam., is a composer, a musician, and a monk of New Camaldoli Hermitage, a community in the Camaldolese Benedictine tradition, located in Big Sur, California. The lyrics of his song 'There Is No Joy (Like Freedom)' from the album 'My Soul's Companion', are from a text from the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form.
Watch/listen here (02:52) Purchase on iTunes

Worth Doing:

Participate in the #WithSyria campaign calling on world leaders to commit to bringing the conflict to an end. Sign the petition here

Worth Knowing:

World Water Day 22 March

This year's theme is 'Water and Sustainable Development'. The UN World Water Day site contains a wealth of resources for learning about and celebrating this day, including posters and videos for sharing. Find those materials here The resource produced by Mercy reaches Mercy— 'The Human Right to Water: The Free Beverage'— can still be ordered here

In 2014, Mercy eNews Issue 557 (19 March) was focussed on Mercy people in different places in our world, sharing from their experiences and their insights into Living water. If you missed or want to read that World Water Day issue again, you can access Issue 557 here

Facilitating Spiritual Reminiscence for People with Dementia

Spiritual reminiscence is a way of communicating that acknowledges the person as a spiritual being and seeks to engage the person in a more meaningful and personal way. This practical guide by Elizabeth MacKinlay and Corinne Trevitt teaches carers how to facilitate engaging and stimulating spiritual reminiscence sessions with older people, and particularly with people with dementia. This book will be available in June 2015. Further information can be found here

The Bottom Line:

'Our lives are part of the cosmos, and the cosmos is part of us. The life of humanity is not an appendix or an exception to the universe. It is a unique expression of the universe. And each of us carries the essence of the cosmos within us'.

-John Philip Newell, Poet, Peacemaker, Minister, Teacher and Scholar

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)