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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 620  |  13 May 2015
Featured Story

Editor: International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated around the world every 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. Sisters of Mercy have a close connection with Florence Nightingale with two groups of Mercy Sisters joining her to nurse the sick and wounded British, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish soldiers who were involved in the war with Russia in the Crimea (1854-1856). More can be learned about that story in the Mercy resources by Mary C Sullivan rsm and Maria Luddy which are also included below.

Many Catholic Sisters volunteered to serve as nurses during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Of the 640 Sisters who joined, Paula Diann Marlin rsm tells us, 'over 100 from 10 motherhouses who nursed the wounded during the conflict were Sisters of Mercy.' We invite you to explore the Civil War Sisters website to learn about their generous service to both sides.

The IND theme for 2015 is: Nurses: A Force for Change: Care Effective, Cost Effective. It could be applied equally well to the Mercies who nursed in the Crimea and in the American Civil War as it is to all those persons who nurse in Mercy hospitals and facilities today. For care given without counting the cost, we say to each of you, to all of you, 'Thank you'.

Messages to:

Jenny Smith - Archivist, Union of the Sisters of Mercy GB
Paula Diann Marlin rsm - South Central Community Archivist
Emily Reed - Mercy Heritage Center Digital Archivist
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Abraham Lincoln requested this painting of a Sister of Mercy in 1863. This 1908 reproduction by John Hauser (1859-1913) hangs in McAuley Convent in Cincinnati. 

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Vision in Action

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has released a report describing violations of religious freedom in more than 30 countries.

'We are witnessing levels of persecution of ancient Christian communities of the Middle East at levels that are something that we have not seen, one could almost say, in millenia. It's very disturbing and disheartening.'
- Dr Katrina Lantos Swett - Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

We pray for the Christian communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel, and especially Iraq, facing rising persecution and intolerance from Muslim extremists. We pray also for other minorities and everyone suffering because of the violence of the Middle East.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Archbishop Warda of Iraq (Erbil), in his recent visit to London, connected with the electronic pop band Ooberfuse to help highlight, through music, the plight of persecuted minorities in Iraq. The result is the song 'We are One' (04:07).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Special Mercy eNews Series

Forthcoming: Next week (Issue 621, 20 May) we are publishing the fifth of our Year of Consecrated Life (YCL) themes. Kathy Rule rsm (The Congregation) will engage us in reflective sharing on the topic 'God's Healing Mercy is Forgiveness'. Once again, you are warmly invited to share your reflections online.

Already published:

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

Feedback on how you are using these reflective materials personally, in small groups, in community and congregational meetings, with staff and board meetings is welcome.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

An opportunity will become available later in 2015 for a Sister of Mercy to be appointed to the role of Assistant Director with responsibility for Administration and Finance.

The position will be based in Dublin with, initially, a 3 year contract.

The Job description and Referee Template are linked to this item.

Applications will close on Friday 5 June.

Applications to: Mary Reynolds rsm -Executive Director MIA

Position Inquiries to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Administration and Finance

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God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health Thomas Riccio, Linda 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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MIA Members News

The Tiaki Manatu Mercy Ministries Board Conference held in April this year, proved to be a highlight for many!

Mercy Sister Elizabeth Davis, Congregational Leader of Newfoundland, kept the audience captivated sharing her life experience as well as daring conference participants to ’imagine diverse and energising answers to the poignant question, “How can we, as Mercy leaders, be the space for the holy to rise in our midst?”

Sister Katrina Fabish shared the Congregation’s Vision for whakawhanaungatanga, widening Mercy circles and standing with fragile communities, arising from Te Whakaminegna Chapter. Sister Tui Cadigan challenged conference participants on their commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi encouraging all to take time to reflect on how the Treaty principles are embedded in their organisations.

Participants were treated to a new video (35:52) of many of the Mercy Ministries, providing valuable insight into the Mercy organisation.

Messages to: Astrid Lambert - Group Administrator

Image: L-r: Elizabeth Davis rsm, Tony Harkins (Chair Tiaki Manatu Mercy Ministries Board ), Katrina Fabish rsm (Congregational Leader ANZ)

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In the second session of the Autumn series of 'Wake up the World to Mercy', Margery Jackman, former principal of Catherine McAuley Westmead, examined the concept of 'Hospitality' in Scripture and explored its implications for us as Mercy people both in society and in the church.

This session will be repeated on Monday 18 May from 10:30am to 12 noon in the Catherine McAuley Rooms, Mercy Congregation Centre, 6 Victoria Rd, Parramatta.

The third session will focus on 'compassion' and will be presented by Claire Thomas, the Director of Mission at OLMC Parramatta.

All are welcome to attend these sessions. Details are linked to this item.

Messages to: mercyfuture@hotkey.net.au

Image: l-r: Margery Jackman (Speaker), Jan Smith (Facilitator)

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On Saturday, 18 April  the Religious Sisters, Brothers and priests of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton gathered for another celebration of the Year of Consecrated life. We met at Worth Abbey. Fr Stephen Ortiger, OSB, Vicar for Religious, facilitated the day and the speaker was Margaret O’Shea, SMG, formerly Vicar for Religious in the diocese. Her topic was 'Deep roots, fresh shoots – the enduring joy of Religious Life'...

Messages to: Camilla Hunt rsm

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Editor: Elizabeth Davis rsm was in Aotearoa New Zealand last month as the Keynote Speaker at the Tiaki Manatu Mercy Ministries Board Conference (See Hui Taumata (A Gathering) 2015 above), speaking on the topic, 'Daring Mercy in the 21st Century'.

While in Aotearoa New Zealand Sr Elizabeth was interviewed on radio by Beate Matthies, Manager of the Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland.

In this wide-ranging interview on leadership, Sr Elizabeth spoke of our new understanding of what it means to be a leader today; our identity, call and responsibilities as humans; diversity as gift; bi-culturality and multi-culturalism; inclusivity; equality of access; communication; relationships and being a 'missionary disciple' (Pope Francis).

The 30 minute interview is linked to this item.

The text of Sr Elizabeth's 2014  interview on 'The Ministry of Leadership and Religious Life'  (3 parts) can be found here

Messages to:
Elizabeth Davis rsm - Congregational Leader, Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland
Beate Matthies - Interviewer

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Mercy Matters
Please Read: CrytpoLocker virus

Cryptolocker is a Ransom Ware virus which was spread around the globe during 2014. Variants of another outbreak are being experienced widely. Typically these have a subject heading like "Infringement notice xxxxxxx"  and "Track advice Notification Consignment xxxxxx" and appear to come from authoritative sources. Cryptolocker encrypts data files on your computer. Once your computer has been encrypted it then attempts to spread the virus to other workstations and servers on your network.

As always, if you receive unsolicited email, or you simply don't know who it is from - delete it AND empty your trash. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If your computer is infected, turn off your workstation or disconnect your computer from the internet by removing the Ethernet cable or disconnecting from Wifi and contact your IT support.

'This book records the twenty year friendship of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) with Mary Clare Moore (1814-1874), the founding superior of the Sisters of Mercy in Bermondsey, London, whom Nightingale first met en route to their service in the Crimean War....

The heart of the present book is the texts of the fifty-two letters of Florence Nightingale, most of them to Mary Clare Moore, that these sisters and their predecessors have preserved for almost a century and a half...'

Mary C Sullivan, Preface

Order from Amazon

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In December 1854 fifteen nuns from Ireland and England arrived in the Crimea to nurse the sick and wounded British soldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War. All fifteen sisters were encouraged to write accounts of their experiences, not as personal diaries, but as community documents; of these, three are extant. This is the first publication of these three journals in one volume; it includes letters from Florence Nightingale.

Four Courts Press, publisher of this volume, advises online of Limited Stock – only 2 copies remaining. Order here

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'We should receive all things as coming from the hand of God who sends them with tender love for our good.'

-M Frances Warde

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On This Day

1864: Marble altar at Baggot St  (pictured) consecrated by Bishop Quinn, Bathurst, Australia

1887: Death of Mother Angela Gilsenan, Foundress of Barnsley, South Yorkshire

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

'I'm sticking with a loving, global, imperfect church', wrote Kerry Weber, Mercy Associate (Americas), Managing Editor of "America" and the author of "Mercy in the City", last week in the "Huffington Post".

'... wherever the church goes, I am staying with it. And I am here by choice. I am here because I believe, and because every day I must confront my unbelief. I don't always agree with everything my church leaders say. But I trust that God will either transform their hearts or mine. Likely both. Hopefully soon. In the mean time, all we can do is keep working with others to try to build up the kingdom of God, even if we can't quite tell what it will look like...'

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Further Resources

Worth Reading:


On 6 May the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) released its report 'Global Overview 2015: people internally displaced by conflict and violence'. This report is based on data and analysis gathered between January and December 2014 in 60 countries and territories across the world.  A record 38 million people were internally displaced by conflict and violence worldwide last year as 30,000 people fled their homes each day in 2014. Visit the IDMC site here. Read the report here (99pps; PDF)

Save the Children has just released its 16th annual State of the World's Mothers report with a special focus on our rapidly urbanizing world and the poorest mothers and children who must struggle to survive despite overall urban progress. Read the report here (80pps; PDF)

Human Trafficking

In a new report, UNODC warns the smuggling of migrants poses a significant threat to Asia, generating an annual value of $2 billion for criminal groups and leading to deaths and human rights abuses.The report also stresses that a significant number of migrants use smugglers to cross borders in order to seek a better life, but end up in human trafficking situations. Read the report here (341 pps; PDF)

'Opportunists are pouncing on the chaos in Nepal to force vulnerable people into slavery. It's not a new problem – but one we urgently need to address.' Read the article here


The untapped riches in the world’s oceans are estimated at nearly 24 trillion dollars – the size of the world’s leading economies, according to a new report  by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Describing the oceans as economic powerhouses, the study warns that the resources in the high seas are rapidly eroding through over-exploitation, misuse and climate change. Read the report here (60pps; PDF)

Religious Life

Reports from 'The Nun in the World: Catholic Sisters and Vatican II'  international symposium in London 7-9 May have been posted online on Global Sisters Report. Access them here

'Whither Women Religious: Analyzing the Past, Studying the Present, Imagining the Future'. The Tenth Triennial Conference on the History of Women Religious will be held at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara California, from 26-29 June 2016. Submissions by 1 June 2015. Details can be found here

The Bottom Line:

'Spirituality is always about how we see. It’s not about earning or achieving some kind of merit. Once you see rightly, the rest follows and the road widens. You don’t need to push the river, because you are already in it—and floating along! The Great Life is already living within us and we only gradually learn how to say yes to this always-existent Life. This Life is so large and deep and spacious that it even includes its opposite, death.'

- Richard Rohr, Priest, Teacher, Inspirational Speaker

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Today, Sisters of Mercy, through Mercy International Association, use their resources to respond to issues of global
								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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Certificate Number 194263. Public Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Office: Mercy International Association, 11 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. Registered Charity no CHY 10078
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)