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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 613  |  25 March 2015
Featured Story
The Annunciation: 'Here it Begins'

'...Here it begins.
In such utter simplicity,
In quiet strength, at the appointed hour,
With the rippled rungs of time at your feet,
And the broad lines of history at your back...'

from 'A Meditation on Henry Ossawa Tanner's "The Annunciation"' by J. Michael Sparough sj

Image: 'Henry Ossawa Tanner - The Annunciation'  by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Vision in Action
Join in the Conversations about topics of importance to the Mercy Network

Editor: The third of the reflective papers on a particular theme has been published on mercyworld.org. We invite you to share your thoughts and reflections online on one or more of the following topics:

Daring Hospitality - 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'.  Respond to the reflective sharing by Elizabeth Davis rsm

Called to Compassion. Respond to the reflective sharing by Breege O'Neill rsm

Extravagant Mercy—A New Story in an Ecological Key. Respond to the reflective sharing by Elaine Wainwright rsm

We also welcome reports on how you are using these reflective materials personally, in small groups, in community and congregational meetings, with staff and board meetings... so that others may benefit from this wisdom.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA welcomes the announcement by Pope Francis of the upcoming Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy (8 December 2015 - 20 November 2016). In his announcement Pope Francis spoke of his conviction 'that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time.'

We invite your suggestions as to how MIA might facilitate the Mercy World in celebrating the Holy Year.

The Announcement of the Holy Year of Mercy is linked to this item.

An explanatory note about the Jubilee of Mercy can be read here

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Editor: This international day is one of the key dates in 2015 commemorating the cause of victims of slavery and human trafficking. A list of these dates can be accessed here

'This year’s theme, “Women and Slavery" pays tribute to the many enslaved women who endured unbearable hardships, including sexual exploitation, as well as those who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition. The theme also celebrates the strength of enslaved women, many of whom succeeded in transmitting their African culture to their descendants despite the many abuses that they had to endure.

It is estimated that one third of the approximately 15 million people who were deported from Africa through the Transatlantic Slave Trade were women. Enslaved women carried a triple burden. In addition to enduring the harsh conditions of forced labour as a slave, they experienced extreme forms of discrimination and exploitation as a result of their gender and the colour of their skin...'

Messages to: the Working Group on Opposing Human Trafficking c/- Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MGA

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This lament of the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge’s poem echoes loud and clear today as we conclude World Water Day on 22 March 22.    

Water covers almost three-fourths of our little planet’s surface but almost all of it is laden with salt.  Less than 3 per cent is fresh and of that small portion even less is fit for us and other creatures of Earth to drink.  Even more critically, we can’t manufacture more water.  Water can only recycle itself, and unsustainable water use endangers this vital process.

But in further diminishment, 748 million people remain without access to water, 1.8 billion people worldwide are estimated to drink water that is faecally contaminated--and like the Mariner- lack water that is safe to drink.  It is estimated that some 3.6 billion people’s right to water is not satisfied while a privileged 8 per cent of us consume a colossal 85 per cent of this precious gift.

So what is Mercy Global Action doing to change those numbers?...

Messages to:
Rita Parks rsm - MGA Staff at the UN
Áine O’Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN

Editor: The International Business Times has published 'World Water Day 2015: Photos to make you think twice about wasting this precious resource'. View this visual display of the difficulties facing so many of the world's citizens in accessing safe water.

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Mary Aikenhead Declared Venerable

We celebrate with the Sisters of Charity the official announcement on 19 March of the declaration of their Order’s founder, Mary Aikenhead, as Venerable.

This announcement comes as the Sisters of Charity commence the celebrations of 200 years of their Congregation.

An Irish woman of vision, faith, justice and service, Mary's life (1787-1858) continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration and challenge and a sign of hope and possibility.

The Sisters of Charity Press Release can be read here

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mary Christian rsc - Congregational Leader of the Religious Sisters of Charity

Generally, my attitude toward sound bites is unfriendly because they often trivialize by reducing complex concepts to simplistic slogans. On the other hand, sound bites can at times offer wisdom in small doses that can be swallowed easily in sips that both satisfy and create a thirst for more substantial fare.

In that spirit, the following menu of sound bites has been culled, with further reflections, during the 2015 session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.  (Note: These bites are the contributions of presenters at a side event sponsored by UNANIMA International and titled: Three Stories: Women of Courage.  Some have been edited for clarity.)...

Messages to: Rita Parks rsm

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

''It has devastated our entire country and it is a setback for the nation'
- President Baldwin Lonsdale to BBC

With winds of up to 270kph, Cyclone Pam wreaked a path of destruction across the tiny island nation of Vanuatu on 14 March, leaving great numbers of people homeless and without access to essential services or clean water.

Let us keep all those affected by this disaster in our prayers. Let us remember also those members of aid organisations who are providing practical and strategic assistance.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Further Resources Opposing Human Trafficking published in Mercy E-News from January 20 - March 2015 can be found linked to this item. If you hadn't time previously to read, watch and listen to these, or you want to check back on a listing, here's an easy way to do it.

Suggestions for inclusion in this listing should be sent to: the Editor

Messages to: MIA Working Group on Opposing Human Trafficking c/- Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MGA

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Reminder: YML Pilgrimage Registrations Due on 27 March

Registrations for the Young Mercy Leaders' Pilgrimage for Secondary School Students being held from Tuesday, 14 July to Friday, 17 July 2015, are due this coming Friday, 27 March.

There will be four plenary sessions as well as workshops, discussions, rituals, a tour of Mercy International Centre, socials, and a talent show.

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

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Linde, Cynthia Halloran, Marie Harte Bars, Anabelle Jones, Eileen Flanagan 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 this coming Saturday, 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.

Messages to: Earth Hour

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The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) has launched a new website and a new Catholic Climate Petition, available in both English and Espanol.

Should we take action on Climate Change? Cast your vote online

The Fast for Climate Justice, with Catholics from more than 50 countries fasting during each of the 40 days, continues. More information on both these initiatives can be found on the GCCM site, linked to this item.

Messages to: Global Catholic Climate Movement Team

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MIA Members News

Editor: The author explores Mark 1:29-39 in this second article in the series published in 'Tui Motu InterIslands', an independent Catholic journal. Support and enjoy this exciting and challenging publication. We thank Ann Gilroy rsj, Tui Motu's Editor, for her thoughtfulness and generosity in making Sr Elaine's ecological readings (11 in all) available to us each month in PDF.

'We began our ecological reading last month (1pp; PDF; 5mb) of Mark’s gospel by focussing on the message of Jesus: repent. The call to metanoia invites us to change our perspective, our way of seeing. As ecological gospel readers we look “for and with” the human characters, the holy characters and presence, and the habitat. Further we explore these three in intimate relationship, and through a new lens of interconnectivity...'

Download the March article here (1 pp; PDF; 5mb)

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm


Image: The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-law - James Tissot. Brooklyn Museum. Wikimedia Commons

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Exactly one week before the new hospital opened its doors, co-workers helped dedicate the St. John’s Mercy Memorial Garden at the new open air chapel at 26th Street and McClelland Boulevard (the old hospital property). Following the ceremony, most co-workers journeyed by foot together to the new hospital site, a 2.75 mile walk.

Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO, along with Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, then led a blessing ceremony at the new facility, followed by a co-worker picnic and tours. Special music was provided by the Mercy singers. A first mass and chapel blessing was simulcast to the cafeteria and conference center.

“This ceremony signified the transition our co-workers have made with us along the way,” said Gary Pulsipher, president of Mercy Hospital Joplin...."We are finally getting back to normal, a new normal. It’s time to celebrate our resilience..."

Messages to: Angella Saporito - Media Contact, Mercy Health

Editor: The photostream 'Mercy Joplin: Tornado to Today' demonstrates the enormity of what the Mercy Hospital Joplin community have experienced and achieved in the past four years.


Image: Mercy Hospital Joplin today

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Mercy Matters
On This Day

1843: Sister Mary Joseph Nugent, received 1842, professed March 25, 1843, St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is the first Sister of Mercy received and professed outside the British Isles and in the Americas.

1935: Opening of Mercy Hospital, Melbourne - M Frances Hanigan

2000: Sr M Michael (Patricia) Bell began Youth Mercy Associates in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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

Editor: Youth Mercy Associates UK is this week's featured Mercy website

'...The Magnificat is a whole world-view. It is the perception of a person who is thoroughly steeped in God, and if its message escapes us, or fails to ignite us, then that says a great deal about us.
The Magnificat is thoroughly traditional in its expression of the Jewish faith in a God who hears the cry of the poor, the God who exalts the lowly, the God who brings life out of sterility. It is also thoroughly traditional in the Christian sense in its expression of the Resurrection faith in the God of Reversal, in its announcing in a nutshell the program of Jesus...'

Susan Connelly rsj, 'The Magnificat as Social Document', Compass, vol 48 no 4 (Summer 2014)

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The foundation began on 25th March 2000. A group of children from St Joseph’s Primary School, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne were invited by their Headteacher, Sr. Patricia Bell (formerly Sr. Michael) to reflect on the meaning of Mercy. The project motivated these youths to reach out to others, including them in the process, and in this way, they committed themselves to forming the first YMA Group with Tommy and Monica Mills acting as their Youth Leaders.

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'The latest CD from Suzanne Toolan rsm (composer of 'I am the Bread of Life') offers reflections on the life of Jesus from Annunciation through Resurrection.

Opening with a dramatic representation of the Annunciation, her piano improvisations paint colorful, vivid scenes from Jesus’ boyhood, youth and public ministry...'

Further details are linked to this item

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'Google sees you when you’re sleeping, it knows when you’re awake…'

The infographic in this article demonstrates the power and reach of Google.

Source: The American Genius

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'We should implore the assistance of the Blessed Virgin in all our duties.'

-Catherine McAuley

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Be born in me' sung by Francesca Battistelli.  Lyrics here. Watch/Listen to it here. (06:19)
Nichole Nordeman, lyricist of this song  says 'We sing along with Mary, who is a scared teenager trembling in the presence of an angel yet understanding the significance of her calling: “Be born in me…trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me…”'

From the album 'Music Inspired By The Story', a two disc compilation featuring 24 artists and 18 songs inspired directly from The Bible. Purchase the song here from iTunes or from Google play

Worth Seeing:

If in Washington before 12 April

'Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea' closes 12 April at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Thislandmark Washington exhibition depicts Mary from multiple perspectives in sculptures, portraits, prints, and other works by acclaimed Renaissance and Baroque artists. Watch the promotional video here (04:47)

For those of us who can't get to Washington, there is a wonderful accompanying online exhibition 'A Global Icon: Mary in Context'  exploring representations of Mary from across the world, available until 12 April. To move through the online exhibition, simply click the right arrow. View the online exhibition here

Worth Reading:

Celibacy and Soul: Exploring the Depths of Chastity by Susan J. Pollard rsj - published 15 January 2015
Book Cover image, Meditation © by Mary Southard, CSJ – www.marysouthardart.org

'What wisdom and guidance is needed here! Celibacy and Soul. And here you have it! Good spirituality, good psychology and lived experience are all growing together in one lovely field of honest and divine love. This book is indeed 'singular beauty' and a gift to our humanity!'

- Richard Rohr, OFM

Order online from Amazon

Worth Knowing:

The Nun in the World Symposium, May 7-9 2015

Information about this international conference being held at the University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway can be found here. The brochure can be downloaded here

The Bottom Line:

'Universal peace can only come if we develop and awaken those very human qualities, hidden under the more superficial needs for power and of winning, which lead us to welcome reality. These qualities are those linked to the heart – the capacity to love people, to respect them deeply, to live authentic relationships with others, to yearn for truth and justice in the huge family of humanity; qualities of humility, of forgiveness and of compassion for those who are weaker and in need; in short to seek the wisdom of the heart.'

- Jean Vanier, Humanist, Philosopher, Theologian, Man of Letters on winning the 2015 Templeton Prize

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)