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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 623  |  03 June 2015
Featured Story

Editor: 173 years ago today, 3 June, the first three Sisters of Mercy to set foot on Newfoundland soil—Sisters Mary Francis Creedon, Mary Ursula Frayne and Mary Rose Lynch— arrived in St John's on the Sir Walter Scott. In her book 'Standing on their Shoulders', Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm calls the story of the Newfoundland congregation 'a story of valiant women, women of faith and vision, of courage and commitment, of hope and fidelity...a story pulsating with life and energy'. It is, she says, 'a story to be remembered, celebrated and shared' (p.2).

In this week's issue of Mercy eNews some pieces of that story are remembered, celebrated and shared, beginning with a recently published account of the celebrations marking the closing of St. Clare’s Mercy Convent in March. Its history began 102 years ago, as St. Clare’s Home for Working Girls, and it was the first location of St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.

As we join the Newfoundland congregation and Catherine today in saying 'hurra' for their first foundation, let us also 'thank our God for the foundations that have been, and... rejoice in the foundations yet to come' (Elizabeth Davis rsm).

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland

Image: St Clare's 1916. Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland. Used with permission.

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Vision in Action
Watering the Roots at the Wellsprings of Mercy – Renewal Programme for Sisters of Mercy in 2016

Mercy International Association is offering a month-long renewal programme for vowed Mercy women who are seeking refreshment and renewal. It offers participants the opportunity to take time out in an atmosphere of warmth, hospitality, and internationality in order to discern more clearly the invitation of the Spirit in how to live out the mission of Mercy in our church and world.


Week 1: Kathleen McAlpin rsm (Americas) on the context of vowed religious life today

Week 2: Elizabeth Davis rsm (Newfoundland) on Mercy-related themes in the Hebrew Scriptures

Week 3: Brenda Dolphin rsm (The Congregation) on Catherine and the early women of Mercy

Week 4: Elaine Wainwright rsm (ISMAPNG) on theological reflection

Dates: Sunday, 3 July - Saturday, 30 July 2016.

Cost: €2200 residential; €1620 non-residential (Cost for two or three weeks participation is pro-rata).

Sisters interested in reserving a place on one of these programmes can email Madeleine, ring +3531 661 8061 or  book online

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week

'We offer you our thanks, Creator God, for this wondrous planet that is our home. We are moved to awe when we are touched by the beauty, complexity, diversity, abundance and enormous scale of this world -- this one small corner of your creation.

In this week when we mark World Environment Day, we join with people from all around the world. As part of a global community, we lift up our heartfelt hopes for the health and sustainability for your Earth, and for all that dwells within it. We have read the news, O God, and we have seen the evidence of environmental problems ranging from local to global. We are deeply concerned, and we do want to find paths to healing.

Move within us, O God, in a time of silence. Call us to compassion at the state of the Earth.'

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Adapted from 'An Earth Day Prayer' by Rev. Thomas L Weitzel in the Green Faith collection of environmentally-themed prayers, p.16. Download the collection of prayers here (29 pps; PDF)

Applications close this Friday, 5 June.

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 to: Mary Reynolds rsm -Executive Director MIA

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

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Enrol in a Program at Mercy International Centre

Places are still available for the following Retreats and Events at MIC:

Mercy - the Wildness of Divine Love (PDF) Retreat with Mary Trainer rsm (Americas).
26 July - 1 August 2015
Merton - Mercy within Mercy within Mercy (PDF). Marianne Hieb rsm and Oonagh Campbell rsm. 9-15 August
What had God in Mind? (PDF) Áine Barrins rsm. 23 - 29 August 2015.
Visions of Mercy (PDF) Retreat with Mary Wickham rsm. 20-26 September 2015

Anyone interested in reserving a place on one of these programmes can email Madeleine, ring +3531 661 8061 or  book online

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality

MIA Members News
Cultivating and Caring for Creation (Newfoundland)

The Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland congregation is among the many Canadian congregational sponsors of Green Spirit Television.

In preparation for the coming encyclical on the environment from Pope Francis, Green Spirit Television has produced a twelve-part video and lesson plan series, featuring Papal teachings, the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference's (CCCB) recent document on Church Teachings on the Environment, along with a selection of key religious and lay leaders across the country who have worked for decades on initiatives and parish-based education to help Catholics become participants in this growing Church-based eco justice movement.

The high quality videos average 10 minutes in length and, together with the lesson plans, offer a wonderfully rich resource for use by individuals and groups of all ages, within and outside Canada.

Messages to:
Diane Smyth rsm - Congregation Leadership Team
Dawn Deme - Villagers Media Production

Mercy Speaker at Melbourne Evening for the Year of Consecrated Life (ISMAPNG)

Editor: To mark the Year of Consecrated Life, a number of church bodies in Australia (Church Resources, Catholic Religious Australia, the Australian Catholic University, and Catholic Church Insurance) have combined to present three evenings in three different Australian states during which some of Australia’s religious women and men share their reflections on their vocations, how they have responded to change over the years, and their hopes for religious life into the future.

Jan Gray, rsm (centre) who lectures in theology at Yarra Theological Union within the University of Divinity, Melbourne, was invited to be a member of the Melbourne panel. She joined Doris Testa csb (right), Joan Healy rsj (left) and Bishop Mark Edwards OMI on 19 May for a thought-provoking evening of input, followed by a Q&A session.

Sr Jan has generously agreed to share her presentation with Mercy eNews readers.

Download it here (2 pps; PDF)

Messages to: Jan Gray rsm

In the third of a series of reflections to be published on The Congregation's website over the coming months, Jo O'Donovan rsm continues: 'Having sourced our understanding of God in the biblical God of relationship, and having addressed the persistent human question – does God actually suffer for us and in us? – Kasper now asks what does it mean for us to be merciful? His final chapters look at the practice of mercy in the world today. But leading into them is chapter 6. This is a rich and dense bit of writing, but worth staying with it, if only to reflect on the four principles which in my reading seem to underlie the meaning of being merciful....'

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm

This and the first two reflections are linked to this item in HTML and PDF formats.

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Sabbatical Opportunity for Senior Sisters (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland is delighted to offer a six week Sabbatical Programme for Senior Sisters in New Zealand & from overseas.
Cost: $NZ 6,300.
Dates: 27 January-12 March 2016.

Download the flyer here (PDF)

Read the report on the 2015 sabbatical here (PDF)

Messages to: Beate Matthies - Manager

Mercy Matters

1842: Foundation to Newfoundland from Baggot St - M Frances Creedon

Editor: The Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland website is this week's featured Mercy site

1861: Skipton Convent, Yorkshire founded from Liverpool, Lancashire

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The Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland is a congregation of women religious who live and minister according to the spirit of Catherine McAuley, their foundress. Catherine's gift of mercy shaped the story and ideals of the congregation and became the hallmark of its mission and spirituality.

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'Catherine’s prayer life grew with constant nourishment from her activities for the poor.'

-Mary Daly

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Water has been called 'the strangest chemical in the universe'. To understand why, watch an explanatory video here. (03:00) According to a recent article, water is also the world's bestselling soft drink. Read more here.  Statistics say that 'The average Briton uses 150 litres of water a day; the average American gets through 570 litres of the stuff. The world is getting thirstier and the global demand for fresh water is rising by 640bn litres a year.' Read more here.

With reports of California's drought, as 'the worst on record' and of America's southwest looking at turning salt water into fresh water, linked to this item are 10 useful water conservation applications we can all check out for our own use.

The inspiring story of Larraine Lauter OSU, Executive Director of Water with Blessings getting clean water into the hands of mothers and children in impoverished countries across the world can be read here. Note: it is not necessary to sign up to read this article. Simply answer the question to be given access to the article.

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Kathrine E. Bellamy rsm (RIP) wrote the definitive history of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland, 'Weavers of the Tapestry' which was published by Flanker Press, St. John’s 2006. 963 pps.

Copies of this text may be obtained from the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland. Please email Diane Smyth rsm regarding cost and postage.

The story of Francis Creedon – the Steadfast Woman – is the story of the foundation of Mercy in Newfoundland. An article on her written by Kathrine E. Bellamy rsm (RIP) can be read here

The stories of the 60 "Irish" Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland who crossed the Atlantic between 1842 and 1907 have been told by Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm in 'Standing on Their Shoulders' and can be downloaded here (165pps; PDF). In 2011 Sr Charlotte wrote 'Woman of Providence', the story of Mary Antonio Egan, foundress of the first Convent of Mercy on Newfoundland's west coast. It can be read online here

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'Today, June 3, is such a holy day for a community of Sisters of Mercy'

'June 3 is a holy day for us, not just in the memory of the first Sisters of Mercy to step on this land, but in the spirit of Mercy that continues to be nurtured and energized by that memory as today’s Sisters of Mercy journey into new frontiers. We delight in the memory of this day, we thank our God for the foundations that have been, and we rejoice in the foundations yet to come...'

-Elizabeth Davis rsm, Reflection for Our Foundation Day

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

In celebration of World Environment Day, John Rutter's For the Beauty of the Earth. Watch/Listen here (03:38)

Worth Watching:

Human Trafficking

COATNET - Christian Organisations Against Trafficking in Human Beings is a network coordinated by Caritas. Their video 'Crossing continents, breaking chains' can be viewed here (02:31)

Labour Trafficking

'The True Cost' is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing? View the trailer, rent or buy the video online

Worth Reading:
The June issue of Update is now online. Download it here (9pps; PDF)

Human Trafficking

The Australian Federal Government is introducing major reforms to the Human Trafficking Visa Framework in the 2015/2016 Federal budget to provide better targeted support to trafficked people. ACRATH, in a joint NGO press release, has welcomed these changes for victims.

The Centre for Social Justice (UK) has released its second report on Modern Slavery. ‘A Modern Response to Modern Slavery’– a Europe-wide report– looks at how Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) move men, women and children across EU borders and into enslavement. Download the full report here (92 pps; PDF)

'Nepal, India move to protect children from human traffickers.' Read the article here


'2015 is "year of fear" for children worldwide, warns Gordon Brown. UN special envoy says this year is worst for children since 1945, with huge numbers becoming refugees or being forced from school.' Read the article here

The Bottom Line:

'...I look around and watch in ecstasy the woods full of violet lent trees, yellow cassias, and at the corner of my block amaryllis belladonnas in blossom, toucans resting on the trees in front of my window and macaws nesting under my roof. Then, I realize that the Earth is a truly generous mother: faced with our aggressions, she still smiles with flora and fauna. And she instills in us hope that this is not the apocalypse but rather a new genesis on its way. The Earth is still going to survive. As it is written in Jewish-Christian Scriptures: “God is the ruler lover of life” (Sab 11.26).'

- Leonardo Boff, Brazilian theologian and writer

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)