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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 639  |  16 September 2015
Featured Story

Respect – the ground of the word is the Latin, re-spicere which means ‘to look again’. We naturally look to others for the comfort of likeness. We are less threatened when the personality of another person, their race, skin colour, in short, their narrative, fits in with ours.  But the pluralism of our world today invites us beyond such boundaries.  After the two world wars of the twentieth century, the Jewish philosopher, Levinas, tells us that the real face of our period has to be ‘the face of the other’, and it is that face that commands, ‘do not kill me’; that insists ‘do not reduce me or anyone else to your narrative.’ 

The haunting personalist philosophy of Levinas and his colleagues has laid the groundwork for the pluralism that is the mark of our times.  If we are to avoid wars, if we are to live in peace in our time and simply be human, we must allow the many and different others to have space in our lives. And we need not be afraid of difference...

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm


Image: Used with permission

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Vision in Action
Final Reminder: Invitation to Celebrate Mercy Day at Baggot Street

Celebrations at Baggot Street on Mercy Day will commence  with Eucharist at 12.00 p.m

Celebrant: The Most Reverend Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio.

Re-dedication of the newly renovated International Room and lunch will follow the Eucharist. Arrangements will be in place to enable attendees to watch Pope Francis address the US Congress.

RSVP is essential by/on Friday 18th September to Madeleine  using the subject line ‘Mercy Mass’, or ring 01 6618061 during business hours.

Download the invitation (PDF)

Image: Celebrating Mercy Day 2014 at Haddington Road. Photo: Adele Howard rsm

Final Reminders: Mercy Day Activities You Can Join in Online

Send in your Mercy Day Greetings by 23 September to make sure they are published for Mercy Day.
Details of how to do this can be found here

Share Your Mercy Day 2015 Plans and News with the Mercy World
Details of how to do this can be found here

Join in the Letter Writing for the Cause for Beatification of Venerable Catherine McAuley
Helpful suggestions for the content of the letter and instructions for mailing it to Pope Francis can be found here

Join With Us to Watch Pope Francis Address the US Congress and then on Friday, the UN General Assembly. Details here

The Network for Mercy Education (Americas) has prepared 'A Litany for Pope Francis' which you might like to pray during Pope Francis' visit to the USA (22-27 September). The prayer can be found here

Messages to: the Editor

Denise Boyle fmdm writes: 'It was a big surprise to receive an invite via our Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, to meet Pope Francis with Rachel Moran.  We had worked hard to arrange for Rachel to meet Francis, prior to Amnesty International (AI) voting on their resolution to ‘decriminalise’ all those involved in the ‘sex industry’.  This means that pimps, johns or punters and brothel keepers would all operate legally! Tragically AI during their bi-annual meeting of the International Executive Committee, in Dublin in July, voted in favour of de-criminalisation, encouraging all their members to work towards achieving this in every country...'

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

Image: L-r: Denise Boyle fmdm, Rachel Moran with Pope Francis

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Torrential rain, resulting in widespread flooding and landslides in north-east Japan, has caused more than 13,000 homes to be uninhabitable, at least seven deaths, seen almost two dozen people unaccounted for, 28 injured and an estimated 3 million people have been advised to evacuate. Wildfire in northern California has resulted in one death, several people unaccounted for, destroyed numerous homes and outbuildings, burnt thousands of acres (hectares) and forced many thousands to be evacuated or to flee.

While mindful of all these persons forced by flooding or fire to abandon their homes this past week, we continue our special prayer focus for a shared response by governments to the European migrant crisis so that people from the Middle East and Africa fleeing war and poverty can find welcome, safety and a place to call home.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

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MIA Reflection Process

The following resources have been added to our collection to assist in our reading/exploring/engaging with the encyclical Laudato Si' by way of readying our minds/hearts/selves for our shared undertaking.

* An article by Leonardo Boff:  'La Carta Magna de la ecología integral: grito de la Tierra-grito de los pobres'; 'The Magna Carta of integral ecology: cry of the Earth-cry of the poor'

* A video reflection of 'A Prayer For our earth' created by Catholic Health Association USA (01:45)

* An audio recording of Laudato Si' in English in 11 sections ranging in length from 16 -38 minutes

* Presentación de la encíclica Laudato Si´ sobre el cuidado de la casa común (03:21:51)

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Team

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In this eighth article in the series published in 'Tui Motu InterIslands', Elaine Wainwright rsm reads Mark 10:17-30 pointing to the clues that draw the reader into the ecological world of radical relationships among the human, the holy and the habitat.

'As you begin reading Mk10:1, you encounter Jesus walking new ground — the region of Judea beyond (or on the eastern side of) the Jordan and in that place people (human bodies) are gathered in significant numbers,' writes Sr Elaine.

Download the September article here (PDF)

The February - August articles are linked to this item.

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

Editor: The art and articles in the September issue of Tui Motu explore Laudato Si’ from various perspectives. An overview of the contents is outlined in the editorial with three articles made available online and accessible under 'Most Recent Articles'. Additional copies of this month's issue have been printed. Contact the Editor, Ann Gilroy rsj, if you are interested in purchasing this issue, or subscribing to this award-winning independent Catholic publication.

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MIA Members News
Mercy Day Prayer Service Available (Americas)

Editor: Thank you to Anna Marie Saltzman rsm and the Mid-Atlantic Spiritual Life Committee for generously sharing their Prayer Service for Mercy Day with us all. The Prayer Service has been designed to be used as Morning and/or Evening Prayer, and may be adapted according to individual and/or community practice.

The Prayer Service provides options for singing and alternative readings, as well as Focus Questions for Reflection and/or Sharing.

Download the Prayer Service here (6pps; PDF)

Messages to: Marie Ann Ellmer rsm - Chair Mid-Atlantic Community Spiritual Life Committee

A reminder that the Mercy Prayerbook and Oración Misericordia apps and PDF can be downloaded here

Editor: Teaching staff from Mercy schools and colleges across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, representatives from Mercy Education, ISMAPNG and Mercy Works were among the more than 135 delegates who gathered in Adelaide from 13-16 August for the 13th biennial AMSSA Conference with the theme of Making Mercy a Verb.

The powerpoint presentations from the three keynote speakers: Mary Reynolds rsm, Executive Director MIA (Catherine McAuley A Woman Who Made Mercy a Verb), Maryanne Loughry rsm, Associate Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (What are core elements of a merciful response: a case study of Australia's refugee policy) and Philip Marshall, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Adelaide Archdiocese (Mercy in Evangelli Gaudium: Making Mercy a Verb) are now available online, along with a report from the conference and other materials of interest to educators and the general readership.

The powerpoints can be downloaded from the newsletter linked to this item.

Messages to: Kitty Guerin - Executive Officer AMSSA

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'Nga mihi atawhai - greetings to all in Mercy! The theme suggested for our reflection in the ninth month of this Year of Consecrated Life is respect. In what is known widely in our own circles as Mercy Month, September also marks the anniversary of the opening, 188 years ago, of Catherine McAuley's first House of Mercy in Baggot Street, Dublin.

What dominates our recollections of that time was her "tender love" for the poor, whom she identified so closely with the Christ she followed. Respect is possibly not a word she would have often used, but our present commitment to "respect the dignity of every human person and culture" comes close to what Catherine urged her sisters to have. The same kind of reverence is contained in the Maori words we use to translate this core value – 'te tapu o te tangata' – the sacredness of every human being and of all humanity...'

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

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Image: A boy lights up a candle to ask for Pope Francis’ leadership in the urgent need to usher in a fossil-fuel free future. © LJ Pasion/350.org

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Eileen Savage rsm, a recently retired Montessori teacher from Canberra Australia, came to Maliana Timor Leste for one month to introduce the Montessori method of Education to some teachers in Maliana

Are there any other Montessori preschool teachers out there who would like to come and share a wonderful experience in Timor Leste?

Perhaps the story and images linked to this item will help you decide!

Please contact  Eileen Savage rsm or Helen Nolen rsm for further information.

Editor: Helen Nolen rsm has ministered in Timor Leste since 2005 under the auspices of Mercy Works Ltd, the development arm of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea. More about the programs Mercy Works supports in Timor Leste can be found here.

Messages to:
Eileen Savage rsm
Helen Nolen rsm

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Barbara Ann Ozelski rsm was born in Brooklyn, New York. Last year, she celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Sister of Mercy. For 50 of these years, she has been serving in the Republic of Panama, including teaching, helping those sick with leprosy (1964-69), serving economically poor families and the indigenous people the mountainous areas of Volcan, and serving poor mothers, children and teens in Colón, a slum city in Panama.

In this item she shares some of the goals and challenges she faces in her ministry called MUCEC (in Spanish—Mujeres Colonenses en Camino), helping mothers and children help themselves and to bring hope into their lives, where there is no hope...

Messages to: Barbara Ozelski rsm

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'September 8 was International Literacy Day, a good time to consider the importance of literacy skills, internationally and here in Bridgeport [Connecticut USA). Literacy has a powerful impact on economic development, health, and personal well-being. Low literacy hurts both men and women, but it affects women particularly. As a literacy specialist and an economist, we have seen that impact, both in national data and in our work at Mercy Learning Center, a literacy center for women in Bridgeport.

Mercy Learning Center provides basic literacy and life skills training to low-income women using a holistic approach within a compassionate supportive environment. Last year it served 1,050 women and children from Bridgeport and the surrounding communities...'

Source: Fairfield Sun

Messages to: Mercy Learning Center

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Con motivo del Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente, el 5 de junio los alumnos de 1eraño del nivel secundario del colegio Santa Ethnea realizaron la Promesa Ambiental, que se lleva a cabo en el Colegio desde 2012 por Resolución de la Dirección de Cultura y Educ ación de la Provincia de Buenos Aires...

Santa Ethnea’s 1st Year students (Secondary School) took an Oath to the Environment on the World Environment Day. This activity has been taking place at the School since 2012, as suggested by the Department of Culture and Education of Buenos Aires...

Mensajes a/ messages to:

Josefina Gutierrez
Maria del Mar

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Mercy Care: Hope in Healing in Atlanta Georgia (Americas)

'Mercy Care is a member of Saint Joseph’s Health System and  Trinity Health. Mercy Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center and Atlanta’s only Healthcare for the Homeless program (330h).

Mercy Care exists to make Atlanta a better place. We are privileged to be an active part of a large network of individuals, agencies and service providers. Together, this community works to provide healthcare where it’s needed most.

Since 1985, we have worked to restore vulnerable individuals in the community through powerful outreach programs that care for body, mind and spirit.

The Community Homeless Outreach Program (CHOP) team reaches out to street bound homeless persons. By building trusting relationships with those who tend to remain permanently on the fringes of society, we are able to give referrals for critical housing, medical and behavioral health services. In a similar fashion, the Street Medicine program brings doctors out to care for patients who are experiencing homelessness.'

Editor: Read about the marvellous work of Mercy Care, now in its 30th year, in their latest newsletter and on their website or watch their inspiring 'Field of Light' video (03:45). Mercy Care is this week's featured website.

Messages to: Denise Garlow - Marketing Manager

Mercy Matters
Resource: Understanding Differently

Published by Veritas in 2012, Understanding Differently considers the four main religions – Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism – that, along with Christianity, represent ancient and vibrant visions of God at work in the world and in peoples. Showing the particular radiance, rationality and spirituality of each tradition and Christianity’s relationship and dialogue with them, Jo O’Donovan rsm explores what it means to be Christian in a multi-religious world.

The Table of Contents and First Pages can be viewed online here

Click here to order online

We believe everyone deserves exceptional medical care regardless of insurance or income status.

Through a network of clinics and outreach programs, patients can access an array of medical and social services, delivered with compassion.

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No event of particular significance is recorded in the Mercy Through the Years Calendar as having taken place on 16 September. We know, however, that the Works of Mercy continued to be carried out and so we remember on this day Catherine and all our Sisters, Associates and Co-workers who have given their lives in service to others.

We invite contributions for this date to be be added to the mercyworld.org online calendar.

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

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Ask to be informed personally and Take back the subject line - two simple ideas for improving your life in an email world.

Source: Fast Company

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'Recreation contributes much towards giving new vigour to the spirit.'

-M Frances Warde

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Our Humanitarian Obligations

'Pope Francis will soon be in the United States...How appropriate it would be if he were to challenge both the UN and the U.S. Congress to live up to their humanitarian obligations...Francis could say. “Stop looking over your shoulder at those who only want to divide humanity. Do the right thing: feed the hungry; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; visit the sick and imprisoned; and bury the dead. Don’t tell me there is nothing you can do about this.”'

- The Editors, Commonweal magazine in 'Works of Mercy: Why Are Our Doors Closed to Refugees?'

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Go, thoughts, on golden wings;
Go, settle upon the slopes and hills,
where warm and soft and fragrant are
the breezes of our sweet native land!

from 'Va, Pensiero', the Hebrew Slaves Chorus from Verdi's Opera, Nabucco. Watch/Listen here (05:29)

Worth Reading:

Cosmology and the Environment

Smart anti-poverty and energy-access measures are brightening the outlook for Africa and the rest of the developing world reports Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in 'Green Energy for the Poor'. Read it here

'It is simply assumed that people are fleeing war, poverty, and ISIS. Especially ISIS. But what most people don’t seem to realize—or don’t want to talk about—is how much this crisis has its roots in climate change. The clearest example of this is Syria, the origin of the vast majority of refugees...' See 'Climate Change and the Migrant Crisis' by Anthony Annett in Commonweal.  Read it here


New Theology Review, Vol 27, No 2 (2015) is now available for (free) download in PDF or publisher, by article or the entire issue, from the CTU Chicago site. Articles of interest include 'Ecclesiological Themes in the Teaching of Pope Francis' by Robin Ryan, C.P., 'New Voices: On the Road Together: Multicultural Religious Life in Light of Luke 24:13-35' by Sarah Kohles, O.S.F.

Worth Knowing:

Religious Life

'Conversations We Must Have in Consecrated Life Today' - Part II is being held 23 September  from 7-9 pm at CTU Chicago. Details here

Mercedes McCann rsm (Americas) is a keynote speaker at the 'Who Do You Say That I Am?: Exploring the Identity of Religious Life in the 21st Century,' conference in October to celebrate and reaffirm consecrated life. Details here (PDF)

'National Religious Vocation Conference study on family finds key influences to Catholic vocations'. Article includes link to the NRVC/CARA study. Read/download it here

The Bottom Line:

'Over the past fifty years, we have seen aversion to war develop, and have witnessed the spread of the view that the earth is nothing but a “big village.” This evolution is underway. Perhaps it is enough to take part in it, by adding our stone to the building, our drop to the ocean. But we can also decide to actively facilitate it and amplify it, like a catalyst accelerating a chemical reaction.'

Adapted from 'Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World' (2015) by Matthieu Ricard, Author, Scientist, Buddhist monk

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)