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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 615  |  08 April 2015
Featured Story

Editor:  What does it mean— for you, for me, for us, for the world— that Catherine is 25 years Venerable?

In this issue of Mercy eNews Julia Upton rsm (Americas, Academic),  Diane Smyth rsm (Newfoundland, Leadership Team and Canonisation Cause Contact), Terry Power (ISMAPNG Associate and Staff member) and Ty Barnes (Americas Associate) share with us their reflections on Catherine McAuley and the importance of this anniversary for the Mercy family.

We invite you to join us tomorrow in praying the Prayer for Beatification of Catherine and to share with us all online your reflections on the significance of this milestone in the Mercy story.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Vision in Action

Pope Francis’ announcement at the Lenten penitential service in St Peter’s basilica on Thursday March 19 2015 took many by surprise – he announced a jubilee year of Mercy starting on the 8th of December 2015 and ending on the 2nd February 2017. The announcement of a jubilee year may have caused some surprise, the content of that year hardly so!

Mercy, the merciful love of God at work in our lives, has been the hallmark of almost every homily and letter of Francis since his election two years ago. He delights in sharing his own clearly held conviction that no matter what we have done, no matter how far we have strayed, God's Mercy is always open and ready to receive us...

Messages to: Brenda Dolphin rsm - Postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley

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Responding to the Special Mercy eNews YCL Series

'We are delighted with the monthly reflections and use them at our monthly Circle of Mercy meetings in Laurencetown, Co Galway. All our Circles in the Northern Province [The Congregation] are encouraged to use such a valuable resource.Thank you for all your hard work.
-Catherine McEvoy - Circle of Mercy (Northern Province)

Forthcoming: Next week (Issue 616, April 2015) we are publishing the fourth of our Year of Consecrated Life (YCL) themes. Janet Ruffing rsm (Americas) will engage us in reflective sharing on the topic: '“Take from My Heart All Painful Anxiety”: Catherine’s Courage'. Once again, you are warmly invited to share your reflections online.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

MIA joins with the Sisters of Mercy in Kenya in prayers for the tragic loss of life of the 147 people killed and the scores injured in the attack by Al-Shabaab on Garissa University College on Holy Thursday. May these and all the dead rest in peace in the sure hope of the Resurrection.

We pray with the victims, their colleagues, their relatives, the Kenyan people and all who mourn the deceased, for an end to violence and bloodshed.

May this Easter Season of hope and new life bring about a new beginning of justice, mercy and peace in the many places in our world where there is violence and conflict.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

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

MIC Lenten Fast for Climate Justice

Ireland’s day for Prayer and Fasting was 31 March. Due to the schedule here in the Mercy International Centre we gathered on Monday to pray together using a Reflection Booklet we prepared on Climate Justice. Our session lasted about 40 minutes. There were 16 of us with friends joining us from the Irish Missionary Union and the Conference of the Religious of Ireland.  At the start of the reflection we used part of the film clip from the IPCCC report that was circulated in ‘resources for Lenten Fast’ and finished with a 3 minute YouTube clip, with voice over by  Morgan Freeman.  It is excellent and offered practical suggestions as to how each of us can make a difference.

We pray that our collective efforts will indeed lead to a comprehensive and legally binding document on climate change, that ALL Governments will sign up in Paris in December.

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

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Derek, Edwin Ramos 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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It was ‘gift’ to be able to participate in the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York last  month. Participants gathered from all over the world to share the uniqueness of their culture with tremendous energy, wisdom and HOPE!

The focus of this CSW was on progress made on the ‘Beijing Platform for Action’ that emerged from the Fourth World Conference for Women, held in Beijing, 1995. The twelve key areas of the ‘Platform’ were the foci for the UN side-events and parallel events organised by the NGO community...

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

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MIA Members News
Associates Learn, Share and Act to Confront Human Trafficking (Americas)

Associates, Sisters and friends of Mercy gathered at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach, Florida on 21 March 2015 for a workshop entitled "Eradicating Human Trafficking" . Theresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor, shared her story. Appointed to the Ohio Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission in 2009, she testified before the Ohio House and Senate in support of Human Trafficking Legislation. She also wrote the book, The Slave Across the Street.

Theresa founded Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution, also known as S.O.A.P. Its mission is to provide information to trafficked people in hopes of rescuing them. Volunteers visit area hotels with free bars of soap labeled with the phone number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline so victims can call for help. The organization also educates hotel staff on the definition of human trafficking and signs of suspicious behavior.

Workshop attendees labeled soap during the conference for an upcoming Mercy Association S.O.A.P. event in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  

Messages to: Ty Barnes - Director Mercy Association, South Central Community

'[Catherine] did not take herself too seriously and her “mirth”, her irrepressible joy, was constantly in evidence in her fun poems, her good humour in defusing tense community situations, her capacity to make fun and to laugh, especially at herself...'
-Brenda Dolphin rsm, Postulator for the Cause

To coincide with the Year of Consecrated Life, the 25th anniversary of Catherine being declared Venerable and Pope Francis’ love for ‘Mercy’, the Canonisation Committee invited Sisters, Associates, Circle of Mercy members and Together in Mercy members to write a poem about Catherine McAuley.

Many poems have been written. Enjoy those which have already been published on The Congregation's website and keep an eye out for more over the coming months.

Messages to: Ailish O"Brien rsm - Communications Co-ordinator

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Less than a week after Mercy Hospital Joplin moved patients to a new $465 million facility, plans were being made to turn the old building into a medical school.

Mercy constructed the temporary hospital at 2807 St. John’s Blvd. three years ago at a cost of $100 million, after the May 2011 tornado destroyed the old building. Plans now call for donating the temporary hospital to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences’ (KCU) College of Osteopathic Medicine for a new medical school campus...

Messages to: Angella Saporito - Media Contact

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Only ten miles from the Serbian border, Srebrenica, Bosnia was a coveted target for Serb Nationalists. Over a period of three years, the town became hostage in the savage ethnic war that was consuming Bosnia, and the people of Srebrenica became victims of genocide. This week, Professor Carol Rittner rsm gave a talk on this horrid tragedy that happened in July of 1995....

Dr. Rittner raised some important points at the end of her lecture. We must do more than remember these horrific tragedies.Too often do these terrible events keep occurring, and not enough is being done to stop them from happening. Rittner stated that, “we must fight against the human inclination to fall in the globalization of indifference” when it comes to the suffering and injustice of others...

Messages to: Carol Rittner rsm

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Mercy Matters

In a wide-ranging conversation recorded on 27 September 2011, Mary C Sullivan freely shared her insights and reflections from her own deep study and lived experience of Catherine McAuley. The conversation was filmed by Marie Stuart rsm (The Congregation) in the Callaghan Room at Baggot Street. The conversation was later edited into two parts. The interviewers were Anne Walsh (Part A) and Adele Howard rsm (Part B).

Part A: focusses on Mary Sullivan's research and writing about Catherine McAuley (video length 20:12).

Part B: focusses on Catherine the woman and the Order of Mercy she founded (video length 29:33).

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The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy (Ireland) is a Catholic Religious Women's Congregation. Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland. Her aim at that time was to 'care for the poor, sick and ignorant'. Today, 2,324 members follow in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley, in 9 countries: Ireland, Britain, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, United States, Zambia.

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Twenty-five Years

'...As we commemorate the jubilee of [Catherine] being declared Venerable, as we wonder how much longer we will wait for Blessed to appear before her name, we can hear her urging us to do as she did. When, in her name, we focus on the present, when we are intent on the person before us and the need before us, when we seek ever more loving and effective solutions to human suffering, then our waiting is vibrant and fruitful and merciful. And when the day comes that her sainthood is officially recognized by the Church, we will bring to that celebration the fruits born of our faithful efforts to follow her path.'

-Sheila Carney rsm, 'Twenty-five years' (2014)

Download the complete reflection here (PDF)

from the Decree of Heroic Virtue

'That Catherine McAuley, Servant of God, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, is adjudged to have practised in heroic degree the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity - towards God and towards neighbour - as also the Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude.'

- Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Decree of Heroic Virtue

Download a copy of the Decree here (PDF)

1885: Death of M Camillus Byrn, Catherine's god child, Baltimore

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

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The Hubble telescope was launched in April 1990. Ever since, it has been providing astronomers with breathtaking images of the cosmos.

Source: The Guardian

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Further Resources

Worth Watching:

Cosmology & Eco-justice

Livestreamed today and archived online on YouTube: 'Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters.'

As previously advised in eNews, Yale University is sponsoring a panel on the Papal Encyclical today, Wednesday, 8 April at 5:30pm EST entitled “Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters.” Participants include John Grim (Chair), Peter Crane, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Margaret Farley rsm, Dekila Chungyalpa, Doug Kysar, and Greg Sterling.  Watch the panel here


The spring issue of The Yale ISM Review, published on Holy Thursday, is devoted to the Passion of Jesus Christ. It includes amongst other riches a conversation with liberation theologian Jon Sobrino on the Resurrection. Watch it here (7 minutes).
The Yale ISM Review is a biannual, open-access online publication serving practitioners in the fields of sacred music, worship, and the related arts. Subscription is free and open to all.

Worth Playing:

What else could our music choice be this week but Catherine's Suscipe? Here is Marie Cox rsm (The Congregation) singing the well-known version composed by Elaine Deasy rsm (Americas) and Teresa Martin rsm (The Congregation) singing her composition with which we became familiar during the MIA 20th Anniversary celebrations. Play them here.
Note: Clicking on the downward arrow on each song will download the mp3 file onto your computer.

Worth Reading:

The Future of World Religions

Pew Research Center, the nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world, has released its findings on religious prejections for the next 35 years. See: 'The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050' . Read the report here.
A related article of interest is '7 key changes in the global religious landscape'. Read that article here


The April edition of 'Update', the newsletter of LCWR, is now online. Download it here (8pps; PDF)
Due to a printer overrun, LCWR has additional copies of the 2015 Reflection book, 'I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness' available. Details of how to order these can be found here
There is also a limited number of copies of the Winter 2015 issue of Occasional Papers 'Leadership in the Middle Space' available. Details of how to order these can be found here

Opposing Human Trafficking

The Philippines and the Netherlands have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a more thorough partnership in battling cross-border human trafficking. Read the article here


The number of people applying for asylum in wealthy countries soared to a 22-year high in 2014, as hundreds of thousands fled conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said. Read the article here

Cosmology & Eco-justice

'The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on Friday that found there are nearly 700 chemicals used in the fracking process...' Read the article here

'Life on Earth is intimately connected to the celestial realm' writes Ray Jayawardhana, a professor of physics and astronomy at York University in Toronto, in 'Our Cosmic Selves', published last week in the New York Times. Read the article here.


'States of Fragility 2015, which has been produced by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says many countries will not be able to eradicate poverty if concentrated efforts to address fragility are not made now.' Read the article 'Aid must be smarter to stop conflict and end poverty, report says' in The Guardian here

The Bottom Line:

'We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.'

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran Pastor, Theologian, anti-Nazi dissident. Executed 70 years ago on 9 April 1945.

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

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