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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 621  |  20 May 2015
Featured Story

'As I walked out the  door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.' Nelson Mandela.

This is a special time for all of us associated with Catherine McAuley’s charism and the Mercy World as we are constantly being made aware of the mystery of God’s abundant mercy.

From the day he was elected, Pope Francis has spoken and written about mercy. The whole world has been touched by his living of mercy as he reaches out to those in greatest need. We all smiled when Pope Francis spoke of 'shepherds living with the smell of the sheep' but behind the earthy expression was the challenge to put out into the deep where bringing God’s healing and comfort to others is the priority. In declaring a Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said that this Holy Year is 'the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.'

Messages to: Kathy Rule rsm


Image: Forgiveness Artwork by Usha Seejarim. Image used with permission.

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Vision in Action

On 7 May, 2015, the Mercy Global Action office at the UN, along with colleagues from the NGO Mining Working Group (MWG) and the Blue Planet Project of the Council of Canadians, addressed a joint letter to the Ambassadors of UN Member States on behalf of more than 600 organizations as part of the global water justice movement.

The letter urges Member States to ensure that the human right to water and sanitation (HRTWS) is included in the Declaration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It builds on the consistent and urgent advocacy done by civil society throughout the Post-2015 process regarding the importance of including the HRTWS.

Messages to:

Aine O’Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN   
Avery Kelly, MGA Fellow

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

With an estimated 6,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants believed to be still stranded at sea in precarious conditions in Southeast Asia, and three countries actively implementing a policy of pushing boats back to sea, there is an urgent need for the meeting this Thursday, 21 May, between Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai officials about the crisis to find and implement a humanitarian solution. Meanwhile, EU ministers have approved plans to establish a naval force to combat people-smugglers operating from Libya.

MIA invites all readers of Mercy eNews to join us in praying that in seeking a solution to the refugee crisis on the seas of Southeast Asia and the shores of the Mediterranean, regional leaders will prioritise human life.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Another action you can take: Sign the 'Lost at Sea: Fleeing the Threat of Genocide' Petition to President Obama here

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Members News

The Catherine McAuley Symposium is a biennial event in Australia sponsored by the Leaders of the Congregations of Sisters of Mercy Brisbane, North Sydney and Parramatta and the Leader of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The Keynote Speaker for the 2015 Symposium is Brenda Dolphin rsm, Vice-postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley.

This year the Symposium will be held in Cairns, Newcastle and Melbourne. Sisters of Mercy and their Colleagues, Associates and Friends are warmly invited to attend the 2015 Symposium at any one of these three venues. 

Dates and venues are linked to this item.

RSVP to: Denise Fletcher - Institute Centre by Friday, 19 June.

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Eileen M. Campbell rsm, Vice President of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, urged Misericordia University graduates to be courageous and stay close to the spirit of Mercy that first brought them to Misericordia.

During her address at the University's 89th annual Commencement and inaugural undergraduate degree ceremony on 16 May, the former leader of the Mercy Volunteer Corps paid homage to the students and asked them to reflect upon their time at Misericordia and how they each have represented Misericordia – which translated means "heart of mercy."

Download Sr Eileen's Commencement Address here (3pps; PDF)

Messages to: Elieen Campbell rsm

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Rising almost organically from a naturally wooded, 40-acre site, Mercy’s virtual care center is transforming health care and changing how new commercial buildings are planned, constructed and function.

When the first-of-its-kind center opens this year, Mercy Virtual will connect more patients with clinical expertise and convenience across four states. In concert with Forum Studio, Inc. and Clayco, Mercy developed plans that minimized the impact on the earth and provide a better environment for those who will work there – and ultimately those they serve...

'Working together with our design and construction partners, we’ve found a way to preserve the natural beauty of these pristine acres in the heartland of America,' said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and chief executive officer. 'At the same time, we’re providing unprecedented care to patients across the country.'

Click here for more about Mercy Virtual, including an artist’s rendering, facts, video and photos. For time-lapse photography of the building from groundbreaking to today, click here.

Messages to: Nancy Corbett - Mercy Health Media Relations Director, Marketing and Communications

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Our theme this month is forgiveness, God’s gift to a humanity that is in some ways radically flawed but which, when transformed by that gift, is capable of shining with a light that brightens our world wherever it is allowed to reach. In his book Mercy, Cardinal Walter Kasper describes forgiveness as ‘a creative new beginning that cannot be derived from the world.’ The forgiveness and reconciliation that have followed some of the great ethnic and political conflicts of our day involve 'something' that is transcendent to us. 'Consciously or unconsciously, we are grasping after that which theologically is called grace and which scripture testifies is God's infinite mercy." (p 204)

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

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregational Leader

Image: The inuksuk or stone cairn built centuries ago by Canada’s Inuit people as a landmark and used by Elizabeth Davis rsm in her presentation at a Mercy conference in Auckland last month.  Each of the stone pieces is broken.

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Athlone, described as 'stand[ing] proudly on the border of two counties, Westmeath and Roscommon, and link[ing] two provinces Leinster and Connaught' has its own radio station, Athlone Community Radio, which serves the interests of the general public of Athlone and its surroundings.

In a two-part  interview on Athlone Community Radio, Gabrielle McManus rsm speaks with interviewer Ursula Ledwidth of her discernment about Religious Life and her initial ministries. Not one to ignore current needs, one of her many initiatives was to set up cross-border communications between her students and others in the North of Ireland, during the Troubles. In the second interview, we hear how she went to explore Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War and how she again made connections for students from two different realities.

Messages to: Gabrielle McManus rsm

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On 6 May  in Rome, Italy, six members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) including Marianne Comfort, Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team, presented the Catholic Climate Petition to Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis’ secretary signed the petition on behalf of the Pope. The petition, to be delivered to world leaders at the international climate talks in Paris in December 2015, calls on world leaders to take bold action 'to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5°C.'

If you haven't yet signed the petition, you can do so here

Messages to: Marianne Comfort

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Applications for the 2015-2016 volunteer year with Mercy Volunteer Corps are due 27 May.

The first step in the application process is to determine if you fit the qualifications.

Qualifications to become a Mercy Volunteer:

  • 21 Years or Older
  • High School Graduate
  • Comfortable with the Catholic Church
  • In Good Health
  • Flexible and Adaptable
  • Gifted with a Sense of Humor
  • Single or Married With No Dependents

Information on how to submit a request for application is linked to this item.

Messages to: Mercy Volunteer Corps

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It was O’Shea Shield time again earlier this month for the 17 Catholic Secondary Schools in the Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North. This closely contested Shield which has been competed for since the 1940s covers debating, oratory, junior prepared speech, Te Reo Scripture reading (Scripture Reading in the Maori language), scripture reading, religious drama, religious questions and impromptu speaking. It is an exciting weekend for the hundreds of students in their college teams along with all their uniform clad supporters. St Patrick’s College, Wellington, hosted this year’s event. The students from our two Mercy colleges, St Mary’s and St Catherine’s Colleges, did very well with the ultimate winner being St Catherine’s College, Wellington.  This is the third consecutive year the St Cath’s team has won and of all the schools taking part only two have fewer students than St Cath’s. Well done, competitors and coaches.

Our young Mercy women are growing into competent, compassionate citizens of the world. We are proud of you!

Messages to: Mary Curran - Principal St Catherine’s College

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Mercy Matters

'The Offering' was sculpted by Meliesa Judge of Liquid Metal Studios South Australia, specifically for All Hallows' School, Brisbane, on the occasion of the College's150th anniversary in 2011.

This illustrated booklet tells the story of the sculpture from concept through development to placement, installation and unveiling. It provides insight into Catherine's historical context as well as the creative process.(47pps; PDF).

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'We must work ceaselessly as a global community to address the causes of violence and abuse and search together for lasting solutions. As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, let us gather into our hearts all the distressed members of our Earth community and pray with greater urgency than ever: “Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth'

-Veronica Lawson rsm - Reflection on the Gospel-Pentecost Sunday Year B (John 20:19-23)

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'The scientists, who are supported by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and used NOAA’s Okeanos ship for the expedition, found several creatures so new to us, they don’t even have names. In a total of twelve dives, they saw 100 species of fish, 50 species of deepwater corals and hundreds of other invertebrates, many of which had never been seen in their natural habitat.' (01:29)

To focus on the creatures and not the conversation amongst the scientists, turn off your sound.

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1875: Foundation to Stradbally from Cappoquin - M Joseph Mahoney
1878: Foundation to Kilmacthomas from Cappoquin - M Gertrude Athelan

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

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'How do we expect to take up our cross and follow Christ if we are not to meet with it in those with whom we are associated?'

-Catherine McAuley

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The first Convent of Mercy in Africa was opened in Mafeking in the diocese of Kimberley on 15 February 1898.

Image: PLT of the South African Province. L-r: Srs. Christine Jacob, Colleen Wilkinson, Constance Khuele, Kathy Rule (Provincial Leader), Chrissie McGettrick.

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Misericordias Domini' (Of the Lord's Mercy) -Taize Watch/Listen here (03:15)
Purchase on *iTunes, *Google Play, *eMusic

Worth Reading:

Cosmology & Eco-justice
'Climate change and the Common Good', a joint publication of The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was released 29 April. Download the document here (12 pps; PDF). The related document, 'Declaration of Religious Leaders, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners' can be found here. (3 pps; PDF). On 14 May Cardinal Turkson, at the General Assembly for Caritas Internationalis, spoke of the 'sacred duty' humans have to care for the earth. Read the report of that speech here

The Uniting Church Australia has released its resource for World Environment Day (5 June) on the theme 'From the Ground Up: Caring for the Planet's Precious Soil'. It can be downloaded here (25 pps; PDF)

Pew Research has just released its research on the state of Religion in America. Rabbi David Wolpe in his article 'Don't Lose Faith in Faith Just Yet' responds, addressing the question 'Why is religion in trouble, and should we be fighting to save it?'. Read the article here


With the 30-day moratorium for comment now ended, following the April 16 announcement at the Vatican that the implementation of the CDF Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012 had concluded, LCWR has released a Statement on its website which can be read here

In 'LCWR observers see a model for the wider church', the Global Sisters Report article published in response to the month ending and LCWR's Statement, Eileen Campbell rsm, Vice President of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and Helen Marie Burns rsm (LCWR President 1989) are interviewed on their response - that dialogue is possible. Read the article here

Update, the newsletter of LCWR is now available online. Read it here (13 pps; PDF)

Worth Knowing:

The Tablet 175th Anniversay Conference: The Spirit of Catholic Renewal: Signs, Sources, and Calling at Ushaw College, Durham, Great Britain 2nd—4th November 2015. Details of the Conference, including call for 20 min papers on any topic pertaining to the theme of the conference, can be found here
Conference program highlights include HE Cardinal Walter Kasper's keynote: 'Church, Mercy and the Signs of the Times'

The Bottom Line:

'God is transfiguring the world right this very moment through us because God believes in us and because God loves us. What can separate us from the love of God? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And as we share God’s love with our brothers and sisters, God’s other children, there is no tyrant who can resist us, no oppression that cannot be ended, no hunger that cannot be fed, no wound that cannot be healed, no hatred that cannot be turned to love, no dream that cannot be fulfilled.'

- Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist and retired Anglican Archbishop

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

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