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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 617  |  22 April 2015
Featured Story
Mother Earth Day 22 April 2015: 'Fall of leaf teach us'

Editor: Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. More than 1 billion people are said to participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it 'the largest civic observance in the world'.

This year there is a heightened level of global consciousness and conversation around the urgency to deal with climate change. The newly announced conference to be hosted at the Vatican on 28 April entitled '“Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity" The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development', Pope Francis' much anticipated encyclical on the environment expected in June or July, the Open Letter from Global CEOs to World Leaders Urging Concrete Climate Action ... these are just three of the initiatives in the lead up to The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21), to be held in Paris in December 2015, that give hope and signal possibility for change.

In this issue of Mercy eNews we share stories of just some of the many and varied activities of Mercy people to care for the environment and ensure the future of our planet. We welcome for future publication stories of how you and your community or Mercy ministry are addressing this priority issue of Mercy International Association.

Today there is an opportunity to sign what is being termed 'the largest climate petition to save the world'. You can do that on the homepage of the Earth Day website.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: by Petradr. Unsplash. Used with permission
Quote: "Fall of Leaf teach us" from the poem 'Litany' by Anne Powell r.c, Poet, Aotearoa New Zealand

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

Editor: The fourth 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' by Elizabeth Davis rsm

Called to Compassion by Breege O'Neill rsm

Extravagant Mercy—A New Story in an Ecological Key by Elaine Wainwright rsm

'Take from My Heart All Painful Anxiety': Catherine's Courage by Janet Ruffing rsm

We continue to 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

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

This coming Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

We invite each member of the Mercy family  - Associates, Partners-in-ministry, Donors, Friends - to pray our MIA Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life on Sunday for the Sisters and the Sisters to pray it for each other.

Let us pray also that the God of Mercy will continue to bless the Mercy family with people prepared to witness to the mercy and tenderness of our God as Religious, Associates and Partners-in-ministry in a world so in need of God’s compassion and consolation.

Download the  Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life

Descargar la Oración por el Año de la Vida Consagrada

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

25 April marks the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli where, before the campaign ended in January 1916, 44,150 Allies would lose their lives in an effort to secure the peninsula and 86,692 Ottoman soldiers would die in defence of their homeland.

For over 8 months troops from Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland battled harsh conditions and Ottoman forces. Total casualties amounted to 392,856.

Considered a 'heroic but costly failure', for both Australians and New Zealanders Gallipoli is a household name, a common tie forged in adversity and a symbol of national identity.

Let us pray with the relatives and communities of those who lost their lives in this campaign, in World War One— "The war to end all wars" —and in all the wars fought since.

Let us pray with renewed vigour today for those parts of our world where there is conflict, unrest or uncertain peace, that peace will be restored.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

In the wake of the latest tragedy over the weekend in which an estimated 800 refugees (including 60 children) fleeing war and persecution drowned in the Mediterranean, the President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), Reinhard Cardinal Marx, has issued the following statement-

'“We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery!” This was the call of Pope Francis to the European States, in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November 2014, in which he encouraged “mutual support” and warned for the risk of “particularistic solutions”. The tragic drowning of an estimated seven hundred migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean on Saturday night not only recalls the Pope’s appeal but raises questions as to how seriously the European Union considers the values, so often referred to, on which it is founded. The recent disaster in the Mediterranean represents a defeat for everything that makes the European Union a community of values...'

While remembering in prayer the victims of this tragedy, MIA asks the Mercy family to pray that the Heads of State and Government meeting on Thursday will, in the words of Cardinal Marx, 'work to find concrete proposals for the establishment of human asylum and migration policies supported and implemented in solidarity by all member states of the European Union'.

We also ask for continuing prayers for all who set out from the land of their birth, risking everything in search of freedom and a new home, that they will find welcome and safety.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


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God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Baby Ned Perry, Peter O'Reilly, Brian Clarke, Robyn Bland, Brother Austin Coleman SSS 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 eNews: Spread the Word

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 has 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

MIA Members News
The Farm at St. Joe's Ann Arbor (Americas)

Editor: St Joseph's Mercy Health System challenges itself to work on 'better health from the inside out'. One of the ways it does this is through its farm. Begun just over 5 years ago on 4 acres of ground, the farm now covers 25 acres. As the farm has expanded its acreage, so has its output, with a community garden one of its features. 'The farm at St Joe's' as its known, grows crops year round, providing seasonal ingredients for patients' meals. Produce is sold at local markets with excess donated to the Food Gatherers Weekly, the local food rescue and food bank program. The farm also provides opportunities for rehabilitative therapy.

This wonderful initiative of a health system leading by example in providing healthy food for optimal health also reminds us of the need to tackle global warming for the sake of our rural communities and our supply of fresh, homegrown food.

Read more about The Farm at St Joe's

Watch the video: 'The Farm at St Joseph Mercy Hospital' (06:34)

Messages to: St Joseph's Mercy Ann Arbour

In this third article in the series published in 'Tui Motu InterIslands', an independent Catholic journal, Elaine Wainwright rsm explores Mark 3:20-27 and the New Testament worldview as a way of understanding demon possession.

'Last month’s ecological reading article closed with Jesus casting out demons (Mk 1:39) — “many demons” in an earlier verse (1:34). We gave this demon theme brief attention yet it is one of the key characteristics of Jesus’ ministry in Mark’s gospel, ' writes Sr Elaine.

Download the April article here (1 pp; PDF; 168 KB)

The February and March articles are linked to this item together with an interview by Sr Elaine with Beate Matthies, Manager Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

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St Joseph's College Maine has announced  that at its annual Commencement Exercises on 9 May 2015, Mary C Sullivan rsm will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Sr Mary is one of five persons who will be conferred with an honorary degree at this year's Commencement.

Sr Mary, who is professor emerita of language and literature and dean emerita of the College of Liberal Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is well-known throughout  the Mercy world as an authoritative speaker, retreat giver and writer on the life of Catherine McAuley.

Messages to: Mary C Sullivan rsm

Editor: The following resources by Mary C Sullivan rsm can be found on the mercyworld.org website:

Video & Text of Presentation: 'Gathering the Harvest of Catherine's Love and Humility'  (21pps; PDF)

Text & Reflection Questions: 'Sharing Christ's Merciful Yoke of Solidarity' (21pps; PDF)

Text & Reflection Questions: "Getting up Again" and "Laying Down Our Lives": The Enduring Work (21pps; PDF)

Video (Interview): A Conversation with Mary C Sullivan rsm

Text of Paper from MIRC (2007): Catherine McAuley in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries (18pps; PDF)
Presentation given at MIRC (2007):"Getting up Again" (4pps; PDF)  

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Our Daily Bread: Consecrated Life (Americas)

Our Daily Bread is a half hour cooking show which brings a Catholic presence to the secular TV markets in the eight counties of Western New York, and Southern Ontario. Hosted by Fr. Paul D. Seil, Our Daily Bread follows Jesus' example by inviting people into his kitchen and sharing food, fellowship and faith. Our Daily Bread is produced by Daybreak Television Productions, the television component of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

To help celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life, Fr. Paul D. Seil invited Jennifer Wilson rsm who is taking her perpetual vows on 2 August 2015 and Michael Sajda, OFM Conv. into the kitchen to talk about their vocations. That show screened on 11 April.

Information about that show and the dishes Fr Paul, Sr Jennifer and Fr Michael cooked can be found here

A recording of the show on YouTube on the Daybreak TV Productions channel can be viewed and enjoyed here (26.41)

NB: First Fr Paul cooks chicken in a pot. Sr Jennifer appears at 10 minutes 30 seconds into the program to share her insights and her cooking skills.

Messages to: Jennifer Wilson rsm

'It's 12 years since author and 'geologian' Fr Jim Conlon was here from the Sophia Center in California, insisting that in fidelity to Catherine McAuley, Mercy people today need "listening hearts" that can hear the poor and voiceless.  "The invitation is to awaken to the realisation that where we stand determines what we see, and that Mercy's position on this planet is to stand with the children and the poor of every species on this sacred Earth.

"We are at the door of the empty tomb," said Fr Conlon, "Easter comes through resurrection moments, whenever creativity happens and newness is born." Hope, he said, is not conviction that things will turn out well, "but a deep certainty that what we are doing makes sense and is worth doing, regardless of how it turns out...'

from Imaging Mercy Today. Produced for He Waka Tiaki, the mission team of Tiaki Manatu Sisters of Mercy NZ Ministries Trust, March 2015

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

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Papatuanuku Ki Taurangi (Earth Promise) was developed by the Sisters of Mercy in Aotearoa New Zealand as a community working for a just and sustainable Earth with women, children and families in local areas.The Sisters moved into the community house in February 2001 and from that time developed the Community Garden and planted trees on the property.

The garden is a place for teaching and learning as well as providing food. It is based on permaculture and organic principles, and is designed as a place of beauty. Hospitality is core and whoever comes is welcome.

In 3 half hour interview sessions recorded by Beate Matthies, Manager, Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland, Sisters Teresa Anderson, Bridget Crisp & Rosemary Revell
-share the vision and mission of the Centre;
-reflect on the Centre within the wider context of Mercy;
and look at the Centre in the light of Catholic social teaching.

Messages to: Sisters Teresa Anderson, Bridget Crisp & Rosemary Revell c/- Bridget Crisp rsm

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In the 18 March issue of Mercy eNews, we made available Sr Carmel Bracken's presentation given by her during the MIA 20th Anniversary celebrations at Baggot Street last September.

Cristina Mira rsm (Americas) has since arranged for the presentation to be translated into Spanish. The following files are all in Spanish:

For those readers who wish to access the presentation in English in the various formats, these are linked to this item.

Messages to: Carmel Bracken rsm

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Sustainability at Saint Joseph's College of Maine (Americas)

Editor: Saint Joseph's College of Maine (SJC), founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1912, is located on 474 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine, just 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Portland, Maine’s largest city. SJC offers courses for on-campus and online students.

SJC advertises itself as being more than an academic experience :'We're about service, the community and the environment.'

SJC has long recognised that resources are finite. Says Jeanne Gulnick, Environmental Science Sustainability Co-ordinator 'Because of our position we had the perfect place to develop a stewardship ethic. Keeping with the mercy mission, our stewardship is a really important value and sustainability and stewardship of the environment really go hand in hand.'

Watch the video 'Sustainability at SJC (05:52)

Messages to: Kathleen Sullivan rsm - Vice President and Chief Sponsorship and Mission Integration Officer

Mercy Matters

Just as physical fitness gives you greater endurance when you're running around, there's much you can do to build your stress fitness - your resistance to the toxic pressures and demands life can throw at you.

Source: ABC

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1894: Foundation to British Guiana from Midhurst, Sussex - M Antonia Chambers/M Ursula Grenn
1969: Foundation to Carisbrooke from Shanklin, Isle of Wight

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

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SoulWinds is located on the Little Kennisis River in the Algonquin Highlands of Haliburton County in  Ontario's near north in Canada.

SoulWinds is the home of Brenda Peddigrew rsm, Ph.D. and Joan Weir, N.D., who tend the land in all its seasons and offer consultations, teaching and guidance in their respective fields and in many ways to be in nature's presence.

Explore the wealth of resources on this site

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'...We are Custodians of Creation...Custody of Creation is custody of God’s gift to us and it is also a way of saying thank you to God. I am the master of Creation but to carry it forward I will never destroy your gift. And this should be our attitude towards Creation. Safeguard Creation. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!...'

-Pope at Audience: If we destroy Creation, it will destroy us, 22.05.2014

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'Solemnity of mountain    strengthen us.
Crescent of moon            shield us.
Wand of star                     guide us.
Fall of leaf                          teach us.
Circle of love                     companion us.
Horizon of hope                console us.'

- Anne Powell r.c.,'Litany' from Tree of a Thousand Voices (2010).
Details of how to order Sr Anne's poetry books can be found on the website of the Cenacle Sisters Aotearoa New Zealand/Australia.

Painted image of Catherine McAuley - Update

Editor: We are grateful to Sr Mary Joella Cunnane,  former Chicago Regional Community Archivist, for her advice that we published incorrect information regarding who commissioned the Catherine McAuley image in 1981.


The Catherine McAuley painting by Cloy Kent was commissioned by Sister Mary Venarda Lance and the Administration of Mercy Hospital, Iowa City…Chicago Regional Community, not The Cedar Rapids Community. (1981) .

The listing in the resource section has been updated.

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Hezekiah Walker – 'Every Praise' (video by Everton Reid)  Watch/listen here to the energy and joy of this song of Resurrection. Rev. Hezekiah Walker is singing with a flash mob on the streets of Birmingham, Alabama (05:30). Lyrics can be found here Purchase on *iTunes *Google Play

Worth Watching:

Ecology and Eco-justice

Project Yosemite (yoh-SEM-it-ee) is a time-lapse video project set in Yosemite National Park, California. These two short clips show the breathtaking beauty that is Yosemite. Watch the clips here.

Worth Enrolling:
Ecology and Eco-justice

The World Bank Group launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on climate change on April 20. The course, 'Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided' is free, runs for 5 weeks (until 22 May) and offers the latest information on climate change. It's not too late to enrol. Register here

The course will be offered in Spanish 'Bajemos la temperatura - Por qué se debe evitar un planeta 4°C más cálido' from 8 June until 13 July. Register here

Worth Reading:

Human Trafficking

In the wake of the latest tragedy over the weekend in which up to 900 refugees fleeing war and persecution drowned in the Mediterranean, 'The EU has set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant boat crisis in the Mediterranean.The EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the 10-point package set out at talks in Luxembourg was a "strong reaction from the EU to the tragedies" and "shows a new sense of urgency and political will. We are developing a truly European sense of solidarity in fighting human trafficking - finally so."' Read the article here

A report on Pope Francis' meeting on 18 April with the members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences,  in Rome for their plenary session to discuss ways to combat human trafficking, can be found here

'Famed economist Jeffrey Sachs, who is now a special advisor to the secretary general of the United Nations, has called on Pope Francis to press the global body to include the fight against human trafficking among its 17 new sustainable development goals'. The article 'Pope urged to press UN on fight against human slavery' can be read here.


'To craft prayers that resonate, writers listen deeply to patients and colleagues'. In this article in the 1 April issue of 'Catholic Health World',  Renee Yann rsm and other hospital mission leaders share insights and resources for creating prayers and reflections to inspire and comfort. Read the article here


'Despite sending more than half their aid to countries marked by conflict, donor states have not been successful in promoting peace and building institutions, and this failure risks torpedoing efforts to lift the world’s most vulnerable people out of poverty, according to a new report.' Read the article here


The Press Release and Joint (Vatican and LCWR) Final Report published in response to the announcement on 16 June of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concluding its mandate regarding LCWR can be accessed from LCWR's website.

Many news items, commentaries, statements, and reflections have also been published.  An extensive listing of these, with links, can be accessed under 'Recent Updates' on this site

Orders for the Summer 2015 Occasional Papers: Exploring the Great Deep are being taken until 31 May, 2015. Further details and the ordering process can be found here

The Bottom Line:

'...We live in a time that is breathtakingly complex. We are just beginning to understand the immense beauty, order, and diversity of the universe in which we live. Even as we struggle to respond with integrity to the heart wrenching realities we encounter every day, we are increasingly aware that the struggles of the human community for justice and peace are intrinsically interconnected with the struggles of the earth community for survival...'

Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International

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)