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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 643  |  14 October 2015
Featured Story
' Come and Join with us Here'

Editor: In this final quarter of 2015 we are being presented with a number of invitations to come together globally in new ways.

In late September when world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mercy people were there. When Pope Francis on his Apostolic Tour of the United States and the UN visited New York, Washington and Philadelphia, challenging us to live ''joy and hope...justice and peace', Mercy people were there. At the end of November and into December, when the UN Paris Conference on climate change, COP21, is held, Mercy people will be there, supported by the prayers of all of us at home.

The theme of this year's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty being celebrated this coming Saturday, 17 October: 'Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination' evokes for us the theme of our Mercy International Reflection Process. On 8 December, when the Year of Mercy commences, we are all invited to begin to 'discern together globally our shared response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor'.

Come and join with us here.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: Crowd. Pixabay. Used with permission

Vision in Action
'A Swan in Flight' by Bernadette McCarrick - in Stock now at MIC

The MIC shop has 20 copies of Bernadette McCarrick's recently published poetry book 'A Swan in Flight' in stock now. There are only 50 copies of the print run left, so if you are keen to purchase this collection which includes the increasingly well-known 'Wild Goose' -
'I want to tell you this
The moment will surely come
when the Holy spirit
will be within you-
a wild goose
stretching and straining
through storms
with her taut body determined.

For that moment there will be nothing dove
about the Spirit...'

'A Swan in Flight' costs ‎€10 plus postage.

Messages to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Administration and Finance

Heads of State from around the world gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the Sustainable Development Summit beginning Friday, 25 September. At the Summit, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Summit was the culmination of nearly three years of consultations with civil society and intergovernmental negotiations. This Agenda will guide the international community’s course for pursuing development over the next 15 years. Following consistent human-rights-based advocacy throughout the negotiation processes, the Mercy Global Action team, including Director Denise Boyle fmdm, was present during the Summit and was able to attend several of the plenary sessions and interactive dialogues...

Messages to:
Avery Kelly - Fellow, MGA at the UN 
Angela Reed rsm - Resident, MGA at the UN
Áine O’Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN
Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action

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Next month we celebrate Remembrance Day. Be among the many people whose names are printed forever on plaques around the area of the ‘Wall of Remembrance’ in the garden of Mercy International Centre, where Catherine McAuley is buried. A contribution to the equivalent of €500 will ensure your name or the name of a loved one – living or deceased – is prayed for and remembered forever.

Messages to: Sylvia Williams rsm - Assistant Director Administration and Finance

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The reflective material on the nine themes published so far this year: Hospitality, Compassion, Mercy through an ecological lens, Courage, Forgiveness, Trust in Providence, Right Relations, Service, Respect, can all be accessed from the page linked to this item. We continue to welcome your comments posted online and your emailed feedback.

The material on the October theme Women & Children will be published in Mercy eNews next week, 28 October (Issue #645).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Synod on the Family

While the Synod on the Family continues in Rome (4-25 October), we continue to pray that those attending will do so with wisdom, compassion and openness to listen to one another and 'the kind of attitude that will allow them to face challenges as one body caring for one another. May decisions and outcomes be for the common good.' (adapted from Prayers for special help)

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health Julie, Bridget Holmes, Peter Kerschner, Madeline Swenson, Jennifer Popko 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

Please note: While we welcome requests for prayers for healing, to respect individuals' privacy, those who post prayers need to confirm by ticking the box on the prayer form that you have the permission of the person you are asking prayers for to post the request online.

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MIA Members News
Pittsburgh doctor named to CNN’s heroes list: Vote him Your support (Americas)

Editor: Dr. Jim Withers, founder and medical director of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net®, has been named one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of 2015.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Withers has taken his medical practice to the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offering free, quality health care to the homeless. Since 1992, the group has reached more than 10,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 of them transition into housing.

An interview by CNN with Dr Withers about his work and that of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net® can be viewed here

The Mercy network can help Dr. Withers go a step further to become CNN Hero of the Year by voting once a day, every day, by email or Facebook, from now through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 15, by clicking here.

Find out more about the remarkable medical outreach of  Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net® here on the Pittsburgh Mercy website

Messages to: Dr Jim Withers

Mercy Health debuted a $54 million dollar virtual care center with an open house on Tuesday, 6 October. The space will allow for doctors and nurses to use video conferencing and other tools to care for patients across four different states at any one time. 

'A four-story, 125,000-square-foot building, the Virtual Care Center houses 330 Mercy co-workers - but no patients. “It’s like a hospital without beds,” said Dr. Randy Moore, president of Mercy Virtual. “We have the medical team here, but with technology like highly-sensitive cameras and real-time vital signs, our providers can ‘see’ patients where they are. That may be in one of Mercy’s traditional hospitals, a physician office or in some cases, the patient’s home.”'

Video interviews form part of the report on this historic development.

Messages to: Nancy Corbett - Director of Newsmaking

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Celine Byrne and Friends in Fundraiser to Oppose Human Trafficking (The Congregation)

Editor: It was a full house at the Pavilion DúnLaoghaire last Wednesday evening, 7 October, for the fundraising concert by Irish soprano Celine Byrne and her Friends, musicians Dearbbla Brosnan (piano), Ailbhe McDonagh (cello) and Lynda O'Connor (violin). It was certainly a night not to be missed. A most appreciative crowd enjoyed a wonderful evening of opera, operetta, Irish songs and show tunes on behalf of APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking) -marking the organisation's tenth anniversary -and MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts to Counter Child Prostitution and Trafficking in the Hospitality Sector), a campaign to raise awareness among hotel staff and guests of child sex trafficking in Ireland.

Celine, a past pupil of St Mary's College Naas, Co. Kildare, was introduced by her former principal, Mary Ryan rsm who is very active in working to address human trafficking in Ireland where an estimated 80% of victims are trafficked into the sex industry.

European anti-trafficking day occurs on 18 October to raise awareness about this gross violation of human rights. Since 2007, the European Union along with its Member States has commemorated the victims of human trafficking on this date.

Messages to:

Mary Ryan rsm - Campaign Coordinator MECPATHS
Ruth Kilcullen - Campaign Manager MECPATHS

'More than 100 Catholic nuns who have served in the outback Queensland town of Winton over the past 100 years will be acknowledged in a special tribute this weekend [10-11 October].

The Sisters of Mercy have served the people of Winton since the order was established in 1906, but the last two finished their work in the town earlier this year.

Saint Patrick's Primary School principal David Manning said the sisters had made "an absolutely immeasurable contribution" to the town.

"From the detailed influence on individual people from families, right through to whole contributions to the town - 102 sisters over 110 years of unpaid service," he said.'

Source: ABC Online

Messages to: David Manning

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'A 179-year link with Mercy Sisters teaching in Charleville was severed this year with the retirement of Sr. Bernadette Maria Knopek, the last nun teaching at St. Anne's Primary School in the town.

This historic occasion was marked last week with a special Mass celebrated in Holy Cross Church followed by a function to honour the retirement  of Sr. Bernadette Maria and the end of an era for Mercy Primary education in Charleville, which started in 1836 when three Sisters of the Mercy Order, which had been founded by Catherine McAuley in Baggott Street in Dublin, came to the town...'

Source: The Corkman

Messages to: Bernadette Maria Knopek rsm

Image: L-r: Rev Sean Canon Cotter, Sr Bernadette Maria, Brother Ryan. Source: The Corkman

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Omaha’s 150th Anniversary Closing brings out Optimism for Future (Americas)

Patti Kantor, Communications Manager at Sisters of Mercy WestMidwest writes:
'While celebrating 150 years of Mercy presence in Omaha, Nebraska, Sister Johanna Burnell encouraged the Community to not only look back at all the good that has been accomplished by the Sisters during these 150 years but, she says, look to the future by seeing and acting upon what needs to be done today. “We have our share of women who are possessed by a Spirit of Fire and whose words to us, whose ideas, and whose challenges, have the power to jangle our nerves a little, maybe make us take a step back: maybe they help us question ourselves, our values, our behaviors. And we have our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who really rattles us with his very specific interpretation of the Gospel.” She adds, “Maybe we can make a connection between the agenda of Jesus and these signs of our times. The agenda Jesus put forth in the synagogue of Nazareth, when he addressed the issues of his day, has evolved into the issues of our day and our Sisters are the ones pointing them out to us.”'

The reflection given by Sr Johanna at the 4 October Liturgy celebrating the closing of Omaha’s150th Anniversary can be read here (PDF)

Messages to: Johanna Burnell rsm

Mercy Matters

MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts to Counter Child Prostitution and Trafficking in the Hospitality Sector) is a campaign to raise awareness among hotel staff and guests of child sex trafficking in Ireland.

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1845: Margaret Garden entered Liverpool Convent - became Sr Mary Bernard
1851: Foundation to Ballina from Sligo - M de Sales McDonnell
1876: Death at Baggot St of M Agnes Whitty, Crimea, Buenos Aires
1887: Foundation to Casino from Grafton - M de Sanctis Collins

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

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Repeated: Personal Enrichment Resource: Sabbatical Thresholds in 2016 at Mercy by the Sea, Madison, CT

Mercy by the Sea is offering two sabbatical opportunities in 2016:

February 19 – March 31, 2016
6-week Sabbatical Program with Judy Fortune rsm

October 10 – November 21, 2016
6-week Sabbatical Program with Judy Fortune rsm

Download the details here (PDF)

Editor: I published the wrong link last week. Apologies to all who are interested in these fine programs. Please now find the correct information linked above.

Filmed in May 2015 in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. A filming technique knows as 'Layer-lapse' filming which stitches together time-lapse footage from different areas and parts of the day into a single frame was used to create this stunning video clip (02:27).

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'There is nothing of greater importance than the perfect discharge of our ordinary duties.'

-Catherine McAuley

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'We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.'

Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus (2)

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'O Christ, Surround Me'. A community song paraphrasing St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer into a song of sending or invocation. Play it here.(03:23). More about the song and the songwriter can be found on the website of the same name,

Worth Contemplating:

'Every painting, simply by virtue of its stillness, encourages us to come to a standstill before it—to become present to it and let it become present to us. But this work of Vermeer’s does something more; it pictures the very stillness it creates. It is a meditation on living in the present...'  from 'Vermeer's Window' by Jerome Miller. Read the article here

Worth Reading:

Laudato Si'

Global efforts to fight poverty, protect the environment and make decisions about the economy must all be connected by the common thread of promoting human dignity, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said earlier this week. Read the intervention here

Worth Knowing:

Laudato Si'

A number of study days on Laudato Si' have been organised in dioceses around the UK - beginning with Westminster, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Nottingham and Leeds. Details can be found here

Tina Geiger rsm and Marian Wheeler OSB who work in the Catholic Rural Ministry, in Oil City Deanery, Pennsylvania are promoting an “Enrichment Series”on Laudato Si' in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Details are here

Worth Viewing:

Laudato Si'

Video of 'Pope Francis' Encyclical: Climate Change Evokes Moral Change' (Panel at Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale)

This panel discussion, held October 1, 2015 at the Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University, discussed how Pope Francis' encyclical will re-frame the issue of climate change for Catholics and non-Catholics. John Grim was the moderator. Panelists included: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Teresa Berger, Joanna DaFoe, Rabbi Joshua Ratner, and Omer Bajwa. Watch it here (1:15:00)

The Bottom Line:

'Perhaps our call at this time in our history is to give time and space with others to allow a new consciousness to come to light and to keep waking us up. In this process, old separations will fall away. Together, in this light, we will begin to see outmoded ways of thinking and acting. The new can then emerge more fully…

Multiple are the ways and strong is our impulse to seed the future. Essentially, we know that we are not finished yet. With the help of good thought partners and theologians we are challenging our thought patterns and usual assumptions with a new clarity. We are reclaiming love as the heart of who we are because we know that God is love…'

Margo Ritchie CSJ, Educator, Facilitator and Spiritual Director

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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)