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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 644  |  21 October 2015
Featured Story

Imagine bedding down every night sheltered from the wind and rain only by a ragged make-shift tent. Imagine having to sleep in groups of six in that tent, huddled together out of fear of being sexually assaulted during the night. Imagine, upon waking, having to use the same few filthy toilets that are shared by thousands of others. Imagine this magnified by circumstances such as menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, the responsibility for children. Imagine, then, having to queue hours for food to ease your hunger. Imagine, if you can, living with the constant fear of violence, whether from the authorities who wish you were not here, or from the prostitution rings and smuggling gangs which are becoming more prevalent with every passing day. Imagine, finally, having to live this life whilst still dealing with the almost unspeakable horrors that you experienced on your journey to get here.

For many of the between 200 and 400 women at any one time living in ‘the Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, they need not imagine, for this is their reality...

Messages to: Lynda Dearlove rsm MBE


Image: Still taken from 'Emergency operation in the "jungle"', six minute video report by Secours Catholique-Caritas France, partners with CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Sr Lynda is a Trustee of CSAN

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Vision in Action
Invitations to Celebrations at Baggot Street

Sisters, Associates and Friends of Mercy are invited to two celebrations at Baggot Street, Remembrance Day and Foundation Day

Remembrance Day
The celebration of the Eucharist at 12.00 p.m on the Anniversary of Catherine’s death, Wednesday 11 November, followed by lunch.

Street parking only. Some accommodation is available.

RSVP is essential by/on Friday 6th November to: receptionist@mercyinternational.ie using the subject line ‘Mass/lunch Nov 11’ or ring 01 6618061 in business hours.

Foundation Day Celebrations and The Opening of the Door of Mercy, Baggot St
Sunday 13 December (3rd Sunday of Advent) to coincide with opening of Doors of Mercy around the world.

Details to follow. Free street Parking.

Download the invitation here (PDF)

MIA Special Prayer Intention: Typhoon Koppu (Lando)

At least 23 people have died and six more are missing since the landfall of Typhoon Koppu (Lando) in the Philippines last Sunday morning,18 October, local time. With torrential rains still falling, dangerous flooding and mudslides pose further risks in the northern part of the country.

We are very mindful of our Mercy Sisters and our partners-in-Mercy in the Philippines at this time of national disaster.
We remember their suffering and the devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
We recognise that Koppu (Lando) will be reviving memories of the trauma and tragedy they experienced in November 2013.
We pray for their continued strength and healing and for all those impacted by the rains of these past few days.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel


Image: Track map of Typhoon Koppu of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season. Public domain. Used with permission

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health Catherine Mackey, Sister Edward Mary Kelleher, Caden Kemmerer 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

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Synod on the Family (Last Days)

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

MIA Members News

In this ninth article in the series published in 'Tui Motu InterIslands', Elaine Wainwright rsm reads Mark 11: 1-10; 15-19 showing how the carnival-like story-telling upends the usual order and draws readers into a different world.

'Ched Myers says that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Mark 11:1-10 resembles “carefully choreographed street theatre”. It turns the world upside down in ways that upset or disturb, especially those with political, economic or social power.,' writes Sr Elaine.

Download the October article here (PDF)

The February - September articles are linked to this item.

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

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Every day, Sister Rosemary Welsh helps women who are suffering from chronic illness or domestic violence. Some are seeking a safe haven, others compassion. In a world short on both, Casa de Misericordia (translated “House of Mercy”) offers these women the chance to reclaim their lives through comprehensive, holistic services and consistent long-term support. In addition to offering emergency shelter, Casa provides counseling and support groups; advocacy and intervention legal services; children’s services; referrals for other issues; and assistance with developing personalized safety plans...

For the past 17 years, Sister Rosemary has ministered concurrently as executive director of Casa and director of Outreach Services at Mercy Clinic–both components of Mercy Ministries of Laredo, Texas.

Messages to: Rosemary Welsh rsm

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Berneice Loch rsm (ISMAPNG Institute Leader), Sally Bradley rsm, Theresia Tina rsm (ISMAPNG Leadership Team) and Loreto Conroy rsm (North Sydney Congregation Leader), were among the more than 50 religious leaders representing diverse faith groups who met with Australian parliamentarians in Canberra, seat of Australia's Federal (national) government, on 15 October. This initiative of  Catholic Religious Australia has resulted in the establishment of a cross-party, interfaith task force, comprising five parliamentarians and five religious leaders, who will work together to change the political and public narrative regarding asylum seekers and refugees.

Messages to:
Berneice Loch rsm - Institute Leader ISMAPNG
Loreto Conroy rsm  - Congregation Leader North Sydney

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'...Jazmin Brito, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders, said the journey of compassion to the Broadview Detention Center, where immigrants living in the country illegally are processed for the final time before being deported, is a reason to set the alarm early.

"Deportation affects my culture. I'm Hispanic. I have friends that have been deported and their families have been separated," she said. "It really hits close to home."

The 15 or so students, along with Sr. Carol Mucha, campus minister, board the bus, ready to join members of the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) in a weekly vigil outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Center at 1930 Beach St.

"This university is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy," Mucha said. "We have certain critical concerns we're working on throughout the United States and around the world. One of them is immigration."'

Source: Chicago Tribune

Messages to: Carol Mucha rsm and St Xavier University students

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Presentation to Hydraulic Fracturing Panel (Newfoundland)

On 15 October, Elizabeth Davis rsm (Congregation Leader Sisters of Mercy), together with Sharon Fagan pbvm (Provincial Leader, Presentation Sisters) and Bishop Hundt (Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador) made a public presentation on behalf of the Roman Catholic religious leaders in the province to the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel that has been conducting a public review of the socio-economic and environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing in Western Newfoundland. The mandate of the Panel is also to make recommendations on whether or not hydraulic fracturing should be undertaken in Western Newfoundland.

The presenters expressed their concerns with the 'impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the health of humans and human communities, environmental integrity and ecological sustainability', and raised a number of critical questions including whether 'the voices and concerns of the most vulnerable people affected by hydraulic fracturing are being heard?'

A full copy of the presentation can be downloaded here (12pps; PDF)

Messages to: Elizabeth Davis rsm

The Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland, had earlier made a presentation to the panel. That submission can be accessed here (16pps; PDF)

Messages to: Mary Tee rsm

'The theme of this month’s column has women and girls as its focus; at the heart of our reflection is Catherine McAuley’s deep conviction that women have the power to change society by making small but significant changes in the lives they touch. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has praised Malala Yousafzai as "a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”' Her message to world leaders is to fund the real weapon for change–education. “If the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just eight days,” Malala writes, “we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet."'

Source: Imaging Mercy Today, October 2015

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

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Mercy Matters
Mercy in International Relations

'Mercy is not limited to individual relationships (from one person to another), but embraces public life in all its
sectors (political, economic, cultural, social), at all levels (international, regional and local), and in all directions
(between states, peoples, cultures, religions and confessions).When mercy becomes part of public action, it is able to transfer the world from the sphere of selfish interests to that of human values. This form of collaboration builds a better world. Mercy is a political act par excellence, provided the policy is set in its noblest sense, of caring for the human family starting with ethical values, of which mercy is a principal component opposed to violence, oppression, injustice, authoritarianism and the spirit of domination.'

Extract (p.9) from 'Christ, the face of the Father’s Mercy'. Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. October 1, 2015. (25pps; PDF)

Over 8,400 images from NASA’s moon missions are now available in high resolution (1800 dpi) on Flickr. These images, from Apollo 7 to Apollo 17, are all public domain ie you can copy, modify, distribute any of these images without asking permission to do so. The images are linked to this item.

Readers might also like to view the video reflection 'Pale Blue Dot', Carl Sagan's uplifting ode to Earth, inspired by the photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by Voyager 1. There are a number of versions of this video. The most recent one using contemporary footage, is arguably the most compelling. Watch it here (03:45)

'Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us...' The complete text of the ode can be found here

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Sister Kay O’Brien has spent much of the last 12 years making the Mercy past vivid for present day readers. Through interviews, research and writing about the history of the Omaha Sisters of Mercy Community, she has captured in three volumes the spirit and imagination of the Sisters who founded the community throughout nine western states. The books —Journeys, Our Journey Together, and Home is Our Journey—trace the Sisters of Mercy’s path from the adventures of pioneer days to the challenges of changes in religious life after Vatican II.

The books can be ordered by emailing Monte Kniffen

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1864: Foundation to Omaha, Nebraska from Manchester, New Hampshire - M Ignatius Lynch
1876: M Gertrude Blake (professed Baggot St) died, Pittsburgh

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

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'For Catherine, holiness was bound up with the works of mercy.'

-M Joanna Regan

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With its tranquil devotional chapel and comfortable amenities, the House of Prayer is a peaceful, hospitable oasis, a calming retreat where you can recharge and connect to God through prayer and solitude, spirituality programs, retreat experiences, spiritual direction and more.

Forthcoming: Pope Francis: Embracing the World with Mercy: An Evening with John Allen on November 4, 2015

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

‘Love Song to the Earth’

On September 4, 2015, 16 internationally renowned artists released  ‘Love Song to the Earth’, which urges world leaders to strive to reach a global agreement during the United Nations climate conference, COP21.

The official Love Song To The Earth Lyric Video and lyrics can be viewed here (03:48). Purchase the song through links on the Love Song to the Earth website. The Love Song’s creators and Apple are donating every penny that the song earns to Friends of the Earth and the UN Foundation to fund their work to fight climate change.

You can sign the accompanying petition to World Leaders on the website.

Michelle Sherliza op has created a video reflection using this song in thanksgiving for Pope Francis' Encyclical - Laudato Si'. Watch/listen here

Worth Knowing:

Mary Oliver's latest book of poetry 'Felicity' was released in hardback through Penguin Press on 13 October. Order from Amazon

Worth Reading:

Our Vanishing Flowers

'We need flowers for our very survival, and in turn flowers — the plants that exist as crop cultivars or horticultural cut flowers or potted beauties — rely on us to reproduce and spread. But all is not well in this storied partnership: We who behold or nurture flowers are condemning their wild relatives to extinction at an alarming rate, and the world is quickly becoming a lesser place without them...' Read 'Our Vanishing Flowers' in the NY Times.

'The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has approved the world's first global agreement involving all stakeholder groups on coordinated action to combat hunger and undernutrition among people living in protracted crises: Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (14 pps; PDF). Read the article here

Human Trafficking

The Pontifical Council of Migrant and Itinerant People's has issued a final document following an international symposium on the Pastoral Care of the Road. The document and plan of action offers reflections and recommendations highlighting the scurge of human trafficking and calls on states and governments to "protect with all legal measures children and women earning a living or living on roads and streets, who are often victims of socio-economic inconsistencies and/or human trafficking..'. Read the document here

'Human trafficking in the US: Sisters' networks and ministries break the cycle one life at a time' looks specifically at the efforts of Benedictines in South Dakota, whose education and other ministry centers on the I-29 corridor and the particular vulnerability of Native American young women living there. Read the article here


Movement of people from poor to rich countries could drive economic growth and boost battle against global poverty, claims World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim. Read the article here

The Bottom Line:

'The evolving history of life is still underway. In and through the suffering and death of billions of creatures new forms continue to emerge, and what lies ahead is not yet known. The ever-creating God of life, source of endless possibilities, continues to draw the world to an unpredictable future, pervaded by a radical promise: at the ultimate end of time, the Creator and Sustainer of all will not abandon creation but will transform it in an unimaginable way in new communion with divine life. Being created means that living creatures are the bearers of a great and hopeful promise:
"Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21.5).'

-Elizabeth A. Johnson,CSJ, Feminist Theologian 

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

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								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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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)