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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 648  |  18 November 2015
Featured Story
Suggested Ritual for Opening Local Doors of Mercy Now Available

Editor: On Sunday, 13 December, the Third Sunday of Advent and the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pope Francis will open the the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome –  the Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Misericordiae Vultus, 3, 4).  In Dublin that same Day, Foundation Day celebrations which are normally held on 12 December will be linked with the opening of the Door of 64A Lower Baggot Street – Mercy International Centre, the first House of Mercy.

Across the Mercy world, planning is well underway to open local doors of Mercy on or around 13 December. At the request of MIA, a ritual has been prepared by Sheila Carney rsm (Americas) to use at Baggot Street and is made available here for us all to use locally. The ritual, in incorporating the two songs from the Vigil prayer that commenced the 20th Anniversary celebrations at Baggot Street last year, draws on that newfound sense of global connection as it introduces this third year in a rich three-year cycle of global Mercy reflection: 20th Anniversary (2014), Year of Consecrated Life (2015) and Year of Mercy (2016).

More will be shared over the coming weeks about the Year of Mercy. As you welcome in the Year of Mercy locally, we invite and encourage you to share your Images and Stories with the Mercy world through Mercy eNews.

Download the Ritual in English:

NB: The Ritual is currently being translated into Spanish and once it becomes available both the English and Spanish versions will be posted on the mercyworld.org website along with the video clip 'Doorkeepers of Mercy'.

Image: Invitation to Ritual.Any Mercy Congregation or Institute, community or ministry wishing to use this image to promote their local ritual is most welcome to do so. Please email Anne Walsh for a print quality copy of the image.

Vision in Action

The reflective material on the ten themes published so far this year: Hospitality, Compassion, Mercy through an ecological lens, Courage, Forgiveness, Trust in Providence, Right Relations, Service, Respect, Women and Children, 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 November theme Justice by Sheila Curran rsm (The Congregation) will be published in Mercy eNews next week, 25 November (Issue #649).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: The People of France

God you are our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in time of trouble (Ps 46.1)

We pray for the deceased and wounded victims of the Paris tragedy; for their families and friends who love them, for their local communities and networks who know them as neighbours, colleagues, passers-by and co-workers.

We pray too for ourselves. Not one of us is unaffected. We are challenged once again in the face of violence and tragedy, grief and loss, anger and disbelief to remain people of mercy, people of hope.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Registration is now open for the next Pilgrimage of Young Mercy Leaders, which will be held from Tuesday, 9 August to Friday 12 August, 2016.

Students and young adults from Mercy colleges, universities and young adult ministries will travel to Mercy International Association in Dublin, Ireland. These Mercy pilgrims will undertake their journey in the light of the story of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Participants will emerge with a deeper appreciation of our Mercy tradition – past, present and future.

Materials for registration can be downloaded from the website page linked to this item.

Group registrations (universities & Colleges) close 17 March 2016; individuals wishing to register need to do so by 30 June 2016.

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

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On Wednesday, 11 November, Sisters, Associates and Friends of Mercy gathered in the chapel of Mercy International Centre to commemorate the life and death of Catherine McAuley.  People from all four provinces in Ireland and some with connections to the USA and Kenyan Provinces of the Congregation joined MIA staff and team for a Eucharistic liturgy and lunch in remembrance of Catherine. 

In her welcome, Mary Reynolds rsm (Executive Director, MIA) invited us to remember all women and men of Mercy who have gone before us, and all who are currently negotiating through challenging life circumstances.  In particular, she encouraged us to remember in prayer Marie Chin rsm, Former President of Mercy International Association and Former President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, who is receiving treatment for cancer.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: L-r: Sheila Curran rsm, John O'Gara SM, Mary Reynolds rsm

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God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health Marie Chin rsm, Anne Elizabeth Kennelly, Barbara Bailey,  Eileen Simons, John Phillips 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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Join with Us for Foundation Day Celebrations & Opening of the Door of Mercy, Baggot Street

Celebration of Foundation Day this year will be held on Sunday 13 December (3rd Sunday of Advent) to coincide with the opening of Doors of Mercy around the world.

Free street Parking.

Further Details to follow.

RSVP by 7 December to: receptionist@mercyinternational.ie using the subject line ‘Foundation Day Celebration’ or ring (01) 661 8061 during business hours.

MIA Members News

The College of Health Sciences at Misericordia University has established the Autism Center as a resource for clinicians, practitioners, caregivers and students majoring in the health and medical sciences fields....

'We are utilizing our collaborative relationships in the community, and the talent, synergies and expertise available in the College of Health Sciences for the betterment of the autism community,' said Leamor Kahanov, Ed.D., dean of the College of Health Sciences.

'The Autism Center is a perfect match for our mission at Misericordia, as it coalesces our tenet of service to others with a vital need in the community,' said Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., president of Misericordia University. 'Few people have not been affected by autism. That's why it is so invigorating to see so many well-intentioned individuals working together for the common good.'...

Visit the Autism Center online here

Messages to: Leamor Kahanov - Dean of the College of Health Sciences

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Nearly 300 educators from Mercy secondary and elementary schools in the United States, Argentina, Belize, Guam, Honduras and the Philippines gathered 16-17 October at  Rochester, New York, for Mercy Secondary Education Conference (MSEC) XXXIV, “Responding to the Call through the Lens of Mercy” hosted by Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women.

In her keynote speech, “Wound with Mercy Round and Round: Grounding Our Critical Concerns” (29pps; PDF) Sister of Mercy Patricia Smith, a theological consultant, discussed the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women. She noted that these concerns “are not only ‘out there’ in plain sight in our nation and world. They are in plain sight in your classrooms and offices, as you intersect with your students and their lives.”

Visit the Network for Mercy Education website to access each of the presentations on the critical concerns

MSEC Conference XXXV will be held 14-15 October, 2016. Save the date.

Messages to: Corinne Raven rsm - Director Network for Mercy Education

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Editor: The Institute Leadership Conference met from 19-24 October in St. Louis.The following letter is published on the public section of the Institute website. Though addressed to vowed members of the Institute, because 'all are invited to read and stay apprised of these important and ongoing conversations' we are providing a link to it here. The letter also contains a link to an accompanying video presentation on YouTube (12:00).

'November 5, 2015

Dear Sisters,

With you, our sisters, we continue to ponder the underlying impetus for our Journey of Oneness: Who do we, as Sisters of Mercy, desire to be for one another and for our world?  How might we embody the mercy of God for a suffering world in more meaningful and impactful ways into the future? As your collective leadership body—the Institute Leadership Conference—we recently met in St. Louis prayerfully embracing our Critical Concerns and their expressions in our world. Maria DiBello, RSM, served as our spiritual guide and asked us “to walk where there are no paths, to accept the challenge of shared visions, to delight in the demand of the gospel and to continue asking questions..."'

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy

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As we draw closer to the Year of Mercy, we recall Pope Francis’ guidelines on how to live in the spirit of mercy:

“It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.” 

Sister Marlene Perrotte reflects on the Corporal Works of Mercy through the lens of Earth’s current ecological crisis and its impact on those most vulnerable. Stay tuned—her reflection on the Spiritual Works of Mercy will be shared next month.

Messages to: Marlene Perrotte rsm

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On the eve of the anniversary of the death of Catherine McAuley, 11 November,  ten women named Catherine gathered with the community of St. Joseph's Convent to remember Catherine McAuley.

In order to celebrate the 174th anniversary of the death of Catherine McAuley, the six sisters of St. Joseph's community on Signal Hill, St. John's invited women they knew and who had the name Catherine to a reflection and a cup of tea.  After they were welcomed each spoke of her name and its significance.  The stories were varied and some humourous - a great way to get to know each other!...

Messages to: Diane Smyth rsm

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Members of the Institute and Union attended  this Year of Consecrated Life event organised by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and led by Una O'Neill rsc on the theme 'New Evangelisation: Bringing to life the Gospel vision of hope, love, justice and compassion in the reality of people’s experience today'.

Sr. Una spoke of the importance of silence and the lack of it in today’s world as we do not live in an atmosphere which fosters silence. She quoted from Dominican Timothy Radcliffe's book 'I Call You Friends'...

Messages to: Noreen Cullen rsm c/- Annette McCartan rsm

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At our national Congregation Day held in Christchurch on 31 October, Natalie Murphy, Teresa Anderson and Kath Rushton shared their valuable experience of participating in the Mercy International Reflection Process co-ordinators' meeting which they attended recently in Dublin. The eighty Sisters who gathered from all parts of Aotearoa New Zealand showed great interest in this process for Sisters and our partners and companions in mission...

Messages to: ANZ MIRP Co-ordinators c/- Kathleen Rushton rsm

Image: L-r: Kathleen Rushton rsm, Natalie Murphy rsm, Teresa Anderson rsm

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I was first drawn to Advocacy for Older People because it provided me with the opportunity to journey with and befriend older people at a time of profound change in their lives. From the time I was very young - pre-entry to convent life - I had a deep affection for older people with an equally deep desire to support them in any way I could. And now that I am old myself, it seems natural that the dreams of youth rest within the wisdom of the sage!!! And if in the meantime, I am privileged to hear of any concerns they may have, perhaps I could enable them to voice their concerns...

Messages to: Meta Reid rsm

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Mercy Matters

1843: M Ursula Frayne and Rose Lynch returned to Baggot St from Newfoundland
1988: Opening of refuge for women, Mercy Care, Alfred St, North Melbourne - Srs Sheila Heywood and Wilma Geary.

Editor: Mercy Care’s services have grown into McAuley Community Services for Women, this week's featured website

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

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With $0.50, you can feed one child with nothing to eat for one full day in many countries, according to data gathered by the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) launched 12 November.

The WFP, which will take 5 cents from each donation to cover overheads, hopes the app will pay for a year’s worth of school meals for 20,000 Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan.

Visit the site, linked to this item, to learn more and to find out how you can donate.

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Of the Gospel of Mercy

"In Misericordiae Vultus Pope Francis declares: 'In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God.' The gospel of mercy [ gospel of Luke] which lies at the heart of the Bible will 'bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, and restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed.'"

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Address to 'Open Minds, Burning Hearts' National Scripture Conference, Manchester, UK,10 November 2015

McAuley Community Services for Women provides much needed services for women and their children who are escaping family violence, and for women who are homeless.

Each year we help around 650 women and children to rebuild their lives, supporting them on their journey towards independence and safer futures.

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To celebrate Pope Francis’ declaration of 2016 as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Anna Burke rsm (The Congregation) ponders the nature and quality of mercy in this considered book of reflections.

Published by Veritas (8 October 2015) this 59 page slim volume paperback can be purchased online.

Read More

'Life to the full! The only way to restore to the poor their lost dignity.'

-M Carmel Bourke

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:
for the People of France

'Seigneur mon secours...ma vie repose entre tes mains' (Psaume 120) 'Help me Lord... my life is in your hands' (Psalm 120). The repetition of this melodic refrain creates a sense of calm and comfort. 
Watch/listen here (05:20)

Worth Enjoying:

Sisters of Mercy have been present in Scotland since 1849 when Sister Elizabeth Moore established a foundation in Glasgow with some Sisters from Limerick. That's all the excuse needed to include a video from the piano guys, recorded in the Scottish highlands, worth viewing for the glorious scenery alone. Launched on 29  October, this clip is on its way to 3.5 million views. It's not hard to see why. View it here (04:54).

Worth Viewing:

A Letter to the Future. 15 years ago, a letter was written by The Nature Conservancy Trustee, Harry Groome, to his first grandchild. This is his letter. Watch it here (04:25)

Worth Reading:
Creation Care and Ecological Justice

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Spiritual Leader of Orthodox Christians, delivered an address to the members and guests of the Oxford Union on November 4, 2015, at the University of Oxford. The address entitled 'Creation Care and Ecological Justice:Reflections by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew' can be read here

Climate Change and Poverty

A  report from the World Bank released 8 November warns that human-caused climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty within just 15 years.

Entitled Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty,the World Bank’s study differs from previous efforts by looking at the poverty impacts of climate change at the household level, rather than at the level of national economies. The infographic can be viewed here, the press release is posted here. Read the report & policy notes here (227pps; PDF)


'Supply chain management (SCM) continues to evolve. Yes, there’s yet another new dimension to the space that is grabbing everyone’s attention. Corporate responsibility is being redefined. Governments are no longer asking global companies to avoid irresponsible sources of supply, they’re insisting on it. .. See: Governments Take Aim At Human Trafficking -- A New Dimension In Supply Chain Management. Read it here

The Church of England is setting up a network of champions to work alongside police forces and statutory and non-statutory agencies to support victims of human trafficking. See: New network of champions to combat human trafficking. Read it here

Caritas and partners to advance fight against Human Trafficking. Read the article here

The Bottom Line:

'There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realize that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.'

Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

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)