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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 633  |  05 August 2015
Featured Story

Editor: The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed each year on 9 August. We are grateful to Sheila Curran rsm (The Congregation), who spent many years in Peru (1995-2009), for her responding to our wish to draw this day to readers' attention. In tracing the story of the Catholic Church in Latin America, Sr Sheila explains for us the significance of Pope Francis' apology in Bolivia last month in affirming the identity and dignity of the indigenous peoples of Latin America.
Sr Sheila writes:

The Catholic Church in Latin America has struggled and continues to struggle with shaping its own evangelical identity.  It has experienced tension throughout the centuries with authoritarianism and centralism, first with Spain and then with Rome.  In 1492 the Spanish came to Latin America, with exception of Brazil, which was colonised by the Portuguese, and with them came the Catholic Church...

Messages: Sheila Curran rsm

 

Image: Children outside their home in Bolivia, South America

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

'"The hour was early; the morning still, warm, and beautiful. Shimmering leaves, reflecting sunlight from a cloudless sky, made a pleasant contrast with shadows in my garden as I gazed absently through wide-flung doors opening to the south...Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me - and then another...'

-Michihiko Hachiya, 'Hiroshima Diary' (1955)

Tomorrow, Thursday, 6 August, is the 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima; this coming Sunday, 9 August, is the 70th anniversary off the bombing of Nagasaki. Both are cities in Japan.

As we remind ourselves of the events of these days and the violence and destruction to human and other life forms, let us once again resolve to work for peace so that nuclear weapons are not used again to kill and destroy.

To mark these significant anniversaries, consider signing the Fuji Declaration and becoming a signatory to this
transnational alliance for peace.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

On Sunday, 2 August, United Nations Member States unanimously agreed on the final text that will be adopted by Heads of State at the UN Summit to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda in late September.

The Post- 2015 Development Agenda will shape official development policy for the next 15 years. The Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 6 on universal access to water and sanitation.

The Mercy family worldwide celebrates the pledge made by Member States to 'A world where we reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation […]' in paragraph 7 of the final text...

Mercy Global Action at the UN will continue to work with its colleagues the NGO Mining Working Group to ensure a rights-based implementation of Goal 6 on water and sanitation. We will also work  to ensure that in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda essential services, including water and sanitation, are not privatized.

An analysis of the final text of the Post-2015 Development Agenda as it relates to our right-based advocacy efforts during the Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations process will be prepared by Mercy Global Action at the UN in September. 

Messages to:
Áine O’Connor rsm - Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the UN
Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action
Avery Kelly - Fellow at MGA
Rita Parks rsm - Staff at MGA

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MIA Reflection Process

Additional resources for engaging with the encyclical Laudato Si' in preparation for the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) have been added to the resource page linked to this item.

The additions are:

LCWR's most recent Resolution to Action (vol. 24 no.3) : 'Climate: A Common Good' has been written by Marianne Comfort, Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Download it here (PDF)

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach has produced 'Laudato Si’ Study and Action Guide' to help people learn and reflect on Pope Francis’ teaching, and find direction on ways to respond. Download it here (8pps; PDF)

CAFOD has created a 38 slide powerpoint with quotations from the encyclical interspersed with photos from a range of locations and texts from a variety of sources including Thomas Berry, Evangelii Gaudium, Bishops Conferences and finishing with the prayer for the earth. Download the ppt here (6 MB)

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Team

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Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy: Prayer for the Earth

As shared with eNews readers in the issue of Mercy eNews formally announcing the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP), Issue 631, 22 July,  the first of the two prayers that conclude the papal encyclical Laudato Si', the prayer for the earth, will be our shared prayer throughout and until the conclusion of the Jubilee Year.

The prayer can now be downloaded on MIRP letterhead for personal use and general distribution.

In English

A4 paper Size (PDF)
US Letter Size (PDF)

Online on mercyworld.org

In Spanish

A4 Paper Size (PDF)
US Letter Size (PDF)

Online on mercyworld.org

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Team

MIA Members News

In this seventh article in the series published in 'Tui Motu InterIslands', Elaine Wainwright rsm focuses our attention on time, location and the permeable space between human and holy in the story of the transfiguration in Mark 9:2-8

'The story we name the "Transfiguration of Jesus" has a number of features that invite us to read ecologically,' writes Sr Elaine.

Download the August article here (PDF)

The February - July articles are linked to this item.

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

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Editor: Preparations continue for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Institute Chapter which will be held in Buffalo, New York ,19-29 June, 2017.  The return to the site of the 1991 Chapter 'signals a hope to recapture and feel anew the vibrance and energy of the founding of the Institute as Sisters chart together the future'.

The Institute Chapter Planning Committee has recently issued a letter with important considerations and a fact sheet regarding the nomination of delegations.

Readers of Mercy eNews may be interested in following the preparations for the Chapter. All Chapter announcements and preparation materials can be found on the Chapter 2017 public web page on the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas website which is linked to this item.

Messages to: Lauren Tyrrell - Institute Communications Office

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As people from all corners of the globe were aware, 2014 marked the centenary of the start of the First World War and events were planned around the world to mark this. As Mercy Archivists, we wanted to contribute towards this commemoration and explore the Mercy story of the war. To do it together - Union and Institute - would be even better. This would give us more records to explore and, as we found, where one might be silent, the other may speak. Both Union and Institute Archives had strengths and we were able to play to these. We created a standing exhibition as well as an illustrated talk, able to be taken to any venue, offering accessibility to all.

Messages to:
Jenny Smith - Archivist, Union Sisters of Mercy GB
Claire Childs - Archivist, Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

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The first time I witnessed a woman in shackles and chains a cold chill ran down my spine.  I felt paralyzed. The sight was an awakening for me.  Someone had to be a voice for the voiceless.  No longer could I remain silent about the conditions in this women's prison, situations like the one I encountered. I later learned that the woman was going to a dentist appointment and was stripped-searched before and after she left the prison. 

How could I, as a woman, not respond to the degrading situation before me?  I felt appalled that men had the right to buy us and turn our bodies into  commodities and women were the ones imprisoned for the crime.  How could I not respond as a Sister of Mercy knowing Catherine McAuley's vision was one based on freeing people from exploitation?  How could I not respond when I heard story after story of this heinous crime known as Human Trafficking-Our Modern Day Slavery...

Messages to: Margie Taylor rsm

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Final Professions (Philippines)

The Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines) rejoice with Sisters Mary Blase Nalda & Mary Camillus Artigas who made final profession in the congregation on 16 July, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Messages to: Srs Mary Blase and Mary Camillus c/- Carmela Cabactulan rsm - Sister Superior

The future of the Mercy Associates movement was under the microscope at the first gathering of the Mercy Associates Implementation Committee (MAIC) in Sydney late in June.

Discussion centred on renewing and expanding the Mercy Associates movement, with a great deal of hope and energy evident in the group. The Institute Leadership Team has made a commitment to provide resourcing for rebuilding the Mercy Associates movement, with the prospect of forming new groups as well as renewing current ones...

Messages to: Carmel Ross - Mercy Associates Executive Officer

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Words of Remembrance for Kath Burke rsm (Brisbane Congregation

Catherine Reuter, Congregation Leader Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation, welcomed all who gathered to celebrate the life of Kath Burke rsm in St Vincent's Chapel Nudgee on 30 July with these words:

'This afternoon we gather to celebrate Eucharist.  As people of faith and hope we gather - to give praise and thanks to God for the life of Kathleen Mary Burke, to comfort and support one another and to pray for Kath...'

Download the Words of Welcome (1p; PDF)

The Words of Remembrance for Sr Kath included a summary of her public and professional life, prepared by Mary Lawson rsm, Leadership Team, that was printed in the Mass book; the words of remembrance given by her nephew, John Burke and by Catharine Courtney rsm and the prayers of intercession prepared by Sandra Lupi rsm

Download the Words of Remembrance (12 pps; PDF)

Messages to: Mary Lawson rsm - Leadership Team

MIA's acknowledgement of Sr Kath was published in eNews last week and can be read here

Image: Sr Kath taken at her Jubilee in 2007

Way too much moves me at levels deep. The wounds of this world can be overwhelming if one’s eyes are wide open to the massive suffering of those made poor, and the spiraling violence and racism destroying precious lives all over the globe, including in our own city streets. I’ve worked in inner city housing projects and in rural Appalachia; I have been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; during the war years in El Salvador, I took religious delegations to sites of massacres perpetrated by U.S. funded security forces. Today, my email inbox is stuffed with reports of human rights violations from Honduras, death squads and all...

Messages to Jean Stokan - Director of the Institute Justice Team of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Image: Mural in El Salvador of Archbishop Oscar Romero surrounded by his beloved people, bearing on their hands the stigmata wounds of the crucified Christ, the wounds of a crucified people. From the cover of  'Touching Hope' by Jean Stokan

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Editor: St. Joseph Mercy Neighborhood Family Health Center and St. Joseph Mercy Academic Internal Medicine Clinic in Michigan are two of the 2015 Clinic and Farmers Market Partners in the Prescription for Health Program which connects patients to their local farmers market though their medical clinic. 'Health care providers write "prescriptions" for their patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and patients redeem their prescriptions at the farmers market! '

In this video interview (01:35) with a reporter from channel WXYZ Detroit, Michael Miller, regional chief mission officer at St. John Mercy Hospital and patients share the value of this program in promoting good health.

St. Joe's Farmer’s Market provides the food. Regular readers of Mercy eNews might recall the article on St Joe's in Mercy eNews, issue 617, 22 April 2015. It can also be read here.

Messages to: St Joseph's Mercy Ann Arbour, Michigan

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Mercy Investment Services (MIS) recently expanded its investments to create a new Environmental Solutions Fund
— investing in companies that focus on renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, recycling, green building practices and sustainable agriculture.

MIS sees this as another way to use investments to respond to Mercy’s commitment 'to reverence Earth and work more effectively toward the sustainability of life'.

Messages to: Pat Zerega - Senior Director Shareholder Advocacy

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Mercy Matters

'Mercy Learning Centre (MLC) has educated and served nearly 900 women and over 140 of their young children this year', writes Jane Ferreira, President and CEO, in the Summer issue of the newsletter from MLC. 'Twenty-two women earned high school diplomas--many as the first in their families to do so--and hundreds more learned new, life-changing skills.'

Learn more about this wonderful Mercy ministry combating illiteracy and empowering women.
Visit their website (linked to this item) and watch the video (02:35)

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1865: Foundation to Bangor, Maine from New Hampshire - M Gonzaga O'Brien
1866: St Mary's Chapel opens on St Mary's Convent site in Ponsonby Auckland.
1883: Death of M de Sale Vigne, Foundress of Dundalk, 1847 from Baggot St
1894: Foundation to Sandgate from Brisbane, Queensland - M Borgia Byrne
1895: Death of M Bernard Dickson, Crimean nurse, Foundress of Wellington

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

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'...Caring for the environment means an attitude of human ecology. In other words, we cannot say: the person and Creation, the environment, are two separate entities. Ecology is total, it is human. This is what I wanted to express in the Encyclical "Laudato si'': that you cannot separate humanity from the rest; there is a relationship of mutual impact, and also the rebound effect when the environment is abused. Therefore … I say, 'no, it is not a green encyclical, it is a social encyclical'. Because we cannot separate care for the environment from the social context, the social life of mankind. Furthermore, care for the environment is a social attitude...'

Pope Francis, Impromptu Address to participants in the  “Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of cities” and in the Symposium “Prosperity, people and planet: achieving sustainable development in our cities ”, Vatican City, 21 July 2015

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Learn how to use light and position your subjects for stunning smartphone images. Retouch your photos with VSCO Cam, one of the best free photo editing apps.

A 01:45 minute video

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It's Summer in some parts of our Mercy world. In this video clip Mercy Health Dermatologist Dr. Emily J. Fisher answers skin cancer-related questions (02:08).

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Words of Mercy

'Water is free beverage'

-Catherine McAuley (1840)

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, always referred to simply as ‘Gurrumul’, is an Australian Aborigine from Elcho Island off the far north coast of the continent. His first album was described as 'Over 40,000 Years In The Making' - a reference to the Australian Aboriginal peoples' culture being the oldest living culture in the world.

All the songs from that album - and his story - can be heard online here

Worth Reading:

LCWR

The theme of the 2015 LCWR Assembly is: 'Springs of the Great Deep Burst Forth: Meeting the Thirsts of the World'. Details of the Assembly which is being held from 11-15 August, can be found here. Please hold the Assembly in your prayers.

The August/September newsletter 'Update' can be read online here

LCWR has produced a new book, Transformational Leadership: Conversations with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious'. The interviews were previously published separately. Details and ordering information can be found here

Opposing Human Trafficking

The 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has been released. It can be read here in a variety of formats

The SDGS have been adopted by consensus. Read: 'Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' (finalised text for adoption, 1 August) available online here (29pps; PDF).

Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets announced in this document is that of 8.7:  'Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms'.

Worth Knowing:

Religious Life

The Center for the Study of Consecrated Life (CSCL) will be holding a symposium 'Community Life and Mission: Toward a Future Full of Hope'  with Timothy Radcliffe OP, February 5-6, 2016. Details of this and other CSCL programs can be found here

The Bottom Line:

'The interests of the indigenous peoples must be part of the new development agenda in order for it to succeed. […] Together, let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations. '

-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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)