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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 616  |  15 April 2015
Featured Story

What comes to mind when we reflect on the courage Catherine McAuley quietly embodied as the works of mercy and compassion for the poor claimed her heart and led to founding the Sisters of Mercy?  Where do we find courage or fortitude throughout her life? And how did she nurture it through the spiritual practices she adopted?

The theme and vocabulary of fortitude or courage is not particularly common in our mercy tradition with the exception of M. Joanna Regan and Isabelle Keiss’s work, but its reality is.[i]  Catherine drew on the spirituality of the Cross, of suffering with Jesus - characteristic of her times.   One invocation of the ”Jesus Psalter,” one of her life-long recited prayers, in the fifth petition pleads,”Jesus! Make me constant (or steadfast) in Faith, Hope, and Charity.”   This is one devotion that explicitly limns one version of courage...

Messages to: Janet Ruffing rsm


Image: from the painted image of Catherine McAuley by Cloy Kent. The painting was commissioned in 1981 by the former Cedar Rapids Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

[i] M. Joanna Regan and Isabelle Keiss, Tender Courage: A Reflection on the Life and Spirit of Catherine McAuley, first Sister of Mercy. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1988.

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

It is exactly 12 months since 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram.

According to the report, Missing Childhoods, released by UNICEF this week, the number of children running for their lives within Nigeria, or crossing over the border to Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has more than doubled in just less than a year, reaching a total of 800,000 children.

MIA Joins with the Sisters of Mercy in Nigeria in praying for these and all the world's children who live in crisis situations, that their governments might put the safety of children at the heart of their political agenda.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to:

Marie McGann rsm - Local Leader Nigeria
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MGA at the UN Repeats Call for Rights to be Named & Upheld

At the recent Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations, in collaboration with colleagues in the NGO Mining Working Group, the Blue Planet Project, Mercy Global Action at the United Nations repeated the call for the human right to water and sanitation to be named and upheld in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Three consistent themes emerged: that the human right to water and sanitation be explicitly named in the Declaration; that indicators on the proposed Sustainable Development Goal on water and Sanitation (SDG 6) measure the realization of this human right, and that the means of implementation of the goal prioritize cooperation and capacity building within the public sector including measures to ensure strong public financing.

To learn more about this repeated call, read the Press Release issued by the Mining Working Group, of which Mercy is an active member. To watch the video recording of this interactive dialogue with civil society, click here.

Messages to:
Aine O’Connor rsm - MGA Co-ordinator at the UN
Avery Kelly - MGA Intern

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Andrew, Evelyn Collins, Margaret Doherty, Jackson Donnelly and his family, Barbara S, Thomas Jones, Yvonne Rice Hylton and family, Joice Brogan, Bessy and Kitty 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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'Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope.'
Pope Francis, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 10.

The presentation of the official Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, set to begin December 8, took place last Saturday, 11 April.

The bull (document) titled 'Misericordiae Vultus' ('The Face of Mercy') outlines the spirit, intentions and hopes for the Jubilee Year. The document is linked to this item.

Have you an idea for how MIA might facilitate the Mercy World in celebrating the Holy Year in light of this document?

We welcome your suggestions (Final reminder).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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MIA Members News

Sisters who have shared their stories of facing terminal illness with Mercy in the series published on the Institute website are like Jesus on the road to Emmaus, says Jean Roche rsm in the fourth and final article in the series. Sr Jean is a nationally recognized pioneer in the hospice and death-and-dying education movement, and author of What Color is the Other Side of Darkness? Lessons of Living Taught by the Dying.

“Just as Jesus did for his disciples that day, these Sisters of Mercy are giving the rest of us a wonderful blueprint for our own very human journeys of suffering, dying and rising again,” she says.  

Messages to: Jean Roche rsm

Image: Michael P. Farrell/Times Union

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Lenten Lecture Explored the Spirituality of Catherine McAuley (Americas)

On 4 March Marilyn Sunderman rsm, Associate Professor of Theology at St Joseph's College Maine, presented a public lecture 'Catherine McAuley: Woman of God,' discussing the various aspects of Catherine’s spirituality.

The lecture was filmed and is now available for viewing online.

Watch the video here (1:04:12)

A copy of the lecture can be downloaded here (18pps; PDF)

Messages to: Marilyn Sunderland rsm

Boston College Office of Public Affairs announced last Thursday, 9 April, that at 139th annual Commencement Exercises on May 18, Marie Chin rsm will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Sr Marie is one of five persons, including two alumnus, to be conferred with an honorary degree at this year's Commencement

Chicago Archbishop Blase Joseph Cupich, leader of the country’s third-largest Catholic diocese and a champion for the economically and socially disenfranchised, will address the graduates and be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Messages to: Marie Chin rsm

Image: Marie Chin photographed at the 2013 Wellsprings program in Dublin. View the videos and related resource material of her presentations: Religious Life: A Deep-down Impulse to Care and Make Creation Whole

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Sabbatical at Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland (Aotearoa New Zealand)

On 28 January 13 Sisters from Australia, New Zealand and Tonga gathered at the Mercy Spirituality Centre in Auckland. Our group consisted of eleven Sisters of Mercy – (three from New Zealand and eight from Australia) and two Sisters of Compassion from Tonga. We spent the next six weeks exploring Scripture, Ecology, Spirituality and Art, Women’s Health Care, Byzantine Art through history, Celtic Spirituality and the transitions we are called to experience as our lives change...

Download the report here (PDF)

The Sabbatical Programme 2016 at Mercy Spirituality Centre, Auckland, is planned for 29 January to 11 March 2016. For further information or expressions of interest, please contact Beate Matthies

Messages to: Beate Matthies

Mercy Matters

Pick is a free iOS app that aims to help you find a good meeting time for a group of people by collecting information from calendars to find common available times.

Download from *iTunes


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'Be mild and sweet in all your ways…'

-Catherine McAuley

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Portrait of Catherine McAuley commissioned by the Regional Community of Chicago. © 1981, Cloy Kent.

Postcards, prayer cards and prints are available for order


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1847: Opening of Benevolent Institution for Aboriginal Children, Perth, Western Australia

1850: Opening of St Patrick's, the first Mercy school, Auckland

Editor: St Mary's College, the present name for the former St Patrick's, is this week's featured Mercy website

1916: Death of Mother Camillus Dempsey, foundress of Whitstable Convent, Kent from Bermondsey

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

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St Mary’s College is the oldest existing secondary school for girls in Auckland and one of the oldest existing schools in New Zealand. It was established by a group of pioneering Sisters of Mercy who arrived from Ireland on 9 April 1850. The following day they began their work of teaching in a building on the site of the present St Patrick’s Cathedral in Wyndham Street, Auckland. The Sisters continued to teach there while the St Mary’s Ponsonby property was developed: a name which became attached to the school.

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'Just as Catherine fostered within the church a new expression of religious life, she nurtured a spirituality suited to that new expression. A ministry responsive to the suffering of the world must be nourished by a prayer that not only strengthens our union with God, but impels us to a practical outpouring of love for God's people...

For Catherine, prayer and ministry were not separate experiences but two dimensions of one vocation revealing God's mercy among the suffering people she met each day...'

Helen Marie Burns rsm and Sheila Carney rsm, Praying with Catherine McAuley, Minnesota: St Mary's Press, 1996, pps 30-31

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Bless the Lord o my soul, oh my soul, worship his holy name.' Lyrics from 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)  by  Matt Redman. Watch/Listen here (04:21).  Purchase on *iTunes *Google Play

Worth Reading:

Cosmology and eco-justice

'The Power and Limits of Pope Francis’s Climate Change Campaign'. This article by Andrew Revkin,  a NY Times reporter and the Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University, includes links to some important content on the ecology issue, as well as the embedded video from Yale's panel discussion. 'Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters' held on 8 April. Read the article here


'Levels of cancer-causing radon gas in Pennsylvania homes have increased as the fracking industry has expanded, a new study shows.' Read the article here

Year of Consecrated Life

Pope Francis met with an international group of formators of religious life on Saturday, 11 April at the Vatican, encouraging them 'to transmit the beauty of consecration with their own witness' and 'to live this ministry in joy and gratitude'. This event is one of the planned events for the year. Vatican Radio’s full translation of the Pope’s message can be read here A report on the address given by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, can be read here
The message issued by the Congress denouncing persecution of Christians can be read here


Avine Hassan, her husband and children fled their Damascus home as the Syrian conflict raged at their front door. She describes life in the vast refugee camp where they are eking out a living. The article 'We’ve lived in a refugee camp in Iraq for four years' can be read here

Worth Knowing:

The 2015 Broken Bay eConference will be held on 23 June. Topic: 'Religion: Catalyst for Violence or Peace? Probing the Abrahamic Traditions for Answers'. Speakers: Mohamad Abdalla, Amy-Jill Levine, Rev Dorothy Lee, Terry Lovat. There is no charge to watch the eConference but registration is mandatory. Details can be found here

The Bottom Line:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight, I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

- Theodore Parker, Minister, Reformer, Abolitionist

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

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								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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