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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 650  |  02 December 2015
Featured Story
Join Us as We Encircle the Earth Community in Prayer on 8 December 2015

Editor: COP21 has commenced and so has our 12 Days of Mercy Prayer [English/ En Español]. Begun by The Congregation on Monday (30 November), carried forward by the Sisters of Mercy Aotearoa New Zealand on Tuesday (1 December), today it is Brisbane Congregation's turn to lead the prayer for the Earth/Oración por nuestra Tierra from Laudato Si'. Each one of us is, of course, welcome to pray the prayer each day.

Next Tuesday, 8 December, the Year of Mercy and the Mercy International Reflection Process on the theme 'cry of the Earth, cry of the Poor' (Laudato Si # 49), commence. At a time convenient to you between 12 noon and 2pm your local time on 8 December, you are invited to set aside your normal activity in order to participate in the global circle of Mercy Prayer by praying the prayer for the Earth/Oración por nuestra Tierra from Laudato Si'.

With Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy serving in 44 countries and on six continents, our prayer shared during these two hours will literally encircle the globe as we welcome in the gift of the Year of Mercy and 'enter into the grace and challenge of this contemplative space' which is offered to each one of us through the International Reflection Process.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mercy International Reflection Process Team

Image: © Used under License from 123RF Limited

Vision in Action

Editor: The following report was received on Sunday morning, 29 November, from the GCCM:

'Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil presented over 800,000 Catholic Climate Petition signatures to United Nations and French officials in Paris on 28 November along with the petitions of other interfaith groups. Collectively the messages of over 1.7 million people of faith calling for climate justice were delivered from all over the world. 

During the event, Cardinal Hummes stated, “I pray for political leaders to “hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Laudato Si # 49) and to respond to the climate justice demand from faith communities.”'

MIA is pleased to have helped facilitate the signing of the petition by members of the Mercy family. Our partnership with GCCM enabled us to embed the petition on our website and encouraged us to keep highlighting it in Mercy eNews and on mercyworld.org homepage.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mercy International Reflection Process Guiding Team

Read More
MIA Global Action Statement on UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), Paris, December 2015

MIA: Global Action has called on world leaders and governments to place at the center and core of the Paris negotiations the necessary and urgent global transformation that can safeguard the wellbeing and sustainability of the community of life. MIA urges them to deliver a just, rights-based and legally binding global agreement that ensures the global average temperature does not rise beyond the critical temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Read the Statement here.

Áine O'Connor rsm (Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the UN, Americas), Bridget Crisp rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand), and Marianne Comfort (Americas Institute Justice Team) are representing global Mercy at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 21. 

The Sisters of Mercy, Mercy International Association: Global Action will co-sponsor two side events in Paris entitled: Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: the International Movement to Ban Fracking on 9 December 2015.

Further information can be found here

Messages to:

Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action
Áine O’Connor rsm - Mercy Global Action

Thirty-five years ago today, (2 December, 1980) Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan were martyred in El Salvador where they were living and working with the most vulnerable Salvadoran communities.

This anniversary invites us to pray with the deceased and the living in gratitude for the witness of these martyrs; in memory of the more than 70,000 persons who perished during the El Salvadoran civil war and for the safety of all those women and men who, daily, put their lives on the line in service of God's people.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Maryknoll Sisters

Image: Maryknoll Sisters

Read More
Details Now Confirmed for Opening of Baggot Street Doors

Sisters, Associates and Friends are invited to a ritual to mark the Opening of the Mercy International Door of Mercy (including Foundation Day celebrations) at Mercy International Centre on Sunday, 13 December at 2.00pm followed by afternoon tea.

Please note that the ritual does not include celebration of the Eucharist.

RSVP no later than 8 December.

Messages to: Madeleine O'Hanlon - Receptionist by email or phone: 01 661 8061

Download the invitation here (PDF)

Editor: Quick access to all the resources for Opening Doors of Mercy can found at this link


Image: ‘The Opened Baggot Street Doors’ © MIA 2015. Photo: Anne Walsh

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health Andrew Carlton, Michael Mullins, Virginia McGrath, Kathleen Waytowich 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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Invitation: Send in Your Christmas Greetings for Posting on the Mercyworld.org Website

Editor: Each year the Christmas greetings not only impart good wishes and hopes for us all, but they also hold out to us something of the stories of Mercy lived, loved and experienced in ministries across the Mercy world.

As we bring this year of sharing our global Mercy story to its conclusion and enter into the Year of Mercy, we invite you to tell us all how it has been for you in your Mercy community or ministry - through an anecdote, a greeting, a prayer, a wish, a dream you have or a plan for 2016.

Send in your greetings by Saturday, 19 December. The last issue of Mercy eNews for 2015 will be published on Sunday, 20 December.

Messages to: Mercyenews


Image: Village nativity figures

MIA Reflection Process
Personal Reflection on the MIRP Theme Begins

During December and January we are each invited to begin our personal reflection on the Mercy International Reflection Process theme 'cry of the Earth, cry of the Poor' using Laudato Si' and accompanying resources.[Calendar: English/ En Español]

The contents of the six chapters of Laudato Si' are divided into topics. Taking a topic at a time could be how you divide up the reading task over these two months or until your group first meets.

The Encyclical can be accessed in English and Spanish on the Resources pages on the MIRP microsite in formats enabling you to read online, download or listen to the text read aloud [Resources: English/En Español].

To introduce you to the task and the theme, you may find it helpful to watch a video, such as the excellent recently released (20 November) 'Laudato Si' A Canadian Response' on YouTube (35:55) which introduces the themes of each of the six chapters, or to look first at a Reading Guide or one of the other aids in the organised and curated collection in the resources section on our MIRP microsite. [Resources: English/En Español]

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Guiding Team

A Helpful Method to Assist Personal Reflection on the MIRP theme

Obtain a notebook or set up a folder on your digital device to create a MIRP journal in which to record your thoughts, ideas, responses and reactions as you reflect on the theme 'cry of the Earth, cry of the Poor' over December and January. Be creative in your recording - doodling, jotting, sketching...Use the journal to record quotes or paragraph nos from Laudato Si' that impress you, challenge you and/or enlighten you in your personal reflection.

We are beginning our reflection during COP21 so you can expect there to be significant print, online and on air media coverage until the conclusion of the conference on 11 December. When and where helpful, use some of this material from reliable journalistic sources, including the COP21 website, to assist you in your reflection. Be attentive to other related material, such as that often included in the 'Further Resources' section of Mercy eNews which may also prove useful to you in your reflection.

This journal could accompany you to the group sessions for each of the four stages of the reflection process once they get underway.

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Guiding Team

MIA Members News

Last night in New York, Denise Coghlan rsm received the the JRS Accompany Award from JRS USA. Details from the recent announcement follow:

'Jesuit Refugee Service/USA will commemorate 35 years of working alongside refugees and the displaced on Dec. 1, and present Sr. Denise Coghlan, RSM with the JRS Accompany Award. Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J. founded JRS in November 1980, in response to the exodus of refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Sr. Denise has served the displaced in Cambodia for the past 25 years, being one of the founding members of JRS Cambodia. She serves asylum seekers and refugees who seek protection in Cambodia, including the Montagnard who are not yet registered for the refugee status determination procedure, and stateless Rohigya and ethnic Vietnamese people...'

Messages to Denise Coghlan rsm

Image: A recent photo of Sr Denise supplied by Brisbane Congregation

Read More

Editor: On the third and final day of his visit to Kenya, the first stop on his 3-country African apostolic tour, Pope Francis met Mary Killeen rsm in the Nairobi slum of Kangeme on the outskirts of Nairobi. Sr Mary had been invited to make a presentation to Pope Francis, an opportunity for her to talk about the challenges facing those living in the slums which is the reality for 60% of Nairobi's population.

'Sometimes the challenges … almost cause us to despair,' said Sr Mary to Pope Francis. 'Your visit has given us new courage and hope. By your very coming you shine a spotlight on these challenges.' she said.

Sr Mary is the Director of the Mukuru Promotion Centre (MPC), established in the area of Mukuru by The Congregation in 1985. The slums of Mukuru are home to over 600,000 people. MPC is making an impact implementing a holistic program of education, health and social development components in collaboration with the Mukuru community.

A report in the Irish Times is linked to this item.

Messages to: Mary Killeen rsm

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'Embrace the Future with Hope': Pope Francis (The Congregation)

Helena O’ Donoghue rsm at the Association of Bursars of Religious Institutes (ABRI) Conference on 9 November 2015 said:

'Eight years ago I was here talking about the impact of change on Religious Life and on the use of our resources.  So much water has gone under the bridge since, some expected and some not. We have seen an unrelenting diminishment in our numbers and visibility, a decline in our sense of relevance and influence in society, an ever-more pain-stricken world, expanding perceptions of the living God and the degradation of our earth home.  Given all that and much more, I think I must have been in ‘junior infants’ in sensing what the future held...'

The text of the talk 'Embrace the Future with Hope' can be downloaded here (6pps; PDF)

Messages to: Helena O'Donoghue rsm

A planning weekend for the Key Facilitators for each of the Communities (regions) of ISMAPNG was held on 21-22 November. Led by Adele Howard rsm, MIRP Coordinator for ISMAPNG, the agenda covered the historical background, year of Mercy focus, timeline, theme and the detail of the four stages of the Mercy International Reflection Process. A session on communications and resources provided by MIA was led by Anne Walsh, Communications Director for the MIRP.

Key Facilitators shared details of their local and regional planning for engaging Local Facilitators (group leaders) then considered as a group the training, timing and support needed to work with Sisters, Associates, Staff, Ministries, Parishes and other groups within or associated with the Institute...

Messages to: Adele Howard rsm - MIRP Coordinator ISMAPNG

Read More
Let Mercy Rain: Support Emergency Drought Funding Appeal For Kiunga, PNG (Australia & PNG)

Papua New Guinea is in the grip of a crippling drought affecting more than 2.4 million people. Many of the elderly and young are suffering from diarrhoea and malaria as a direct result of the drought conditions. The numbers are so great that clinics are running out of medicine to treat people.

In the remote regions of Kiwi Island and Lower Bamu safe drinking water has all but dried up. Families are doing a three hour round trip just to collect water. In rural areas, villages have less than one month of food left in the ground.

Mercy Works need to raise $100,000 to give support. Can you help provide relief?

Download the Appeal Letter (PDF)

Download the Donation Form (PDF)

Download the December 2015 issue of our biannual magazine, The Bilum (20pps; PDF)

Messages to: Elizabeth Grady - Mercy Works Fundraising Officer

Editor: Pie is a staple of the Thanksgiving Meal. For 30 years now the community of Mercy High School in Middletown Connecticut has helped ensure that shut-ins have pies to eat and local shelters have pies to serve on this traditional day of gratitude for abundance. This year's bake of an estimated 300 pies was donated to Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project and to Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation - a mercy ministry which has been working since 1983 to empower homeless persons to become independent, so they may live and work with dignity and respect.

As the news story linked to this item indicates, responding to the needs of those who struggle with hunger and want is well entrenched in the school where the Thanksgiving bake is just one of the many social justice activities.

Learn more about Mercy High. View the Admissions video '15'16 (04:06).

Messages to: Mary McCarthy rsm -  President Mercy High School

Read More

Nga mihi atawhai- greetings to all in Mercy! What would Catherine McAuley like best about our church today? Its invitation to lay people to be involved in mission and to recognise its call to ordinary folk to be holy? Its recognition of theologians-women as well as men-who see faith in God linked to contemporary issues as diverse as fracking and human trafficking? Or perhaps its determination, through the leadership of the present pope, to become a church of the poor, for the poor? Each of these priorities, in its own way, reflects a commitment to tika or justice, which [was] the theme for our reflection [last] month.

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Read More

An innovative, intergenerational partnership between a Craigie-based primary school and a local residential home has not only proven that age is no barrier to strong friendships, it has also resulted in a prestigious excellence award.

Whitford Catholic Primary School has been bestowed a Lead Award for Excellence by Catholic Education as a result of its partnership with Mercy Health’s Mercyville aged care home, which aims to encourage companionship and connections between the young and the old.

Messages to: Annette Lynch - Teacher/Librarian, Whitford Catholic Primary School

Read More
Mercy Matters

The complex framework of the UN Climate Talks is demystified in this map.

As COP21 convenes this week in Paris, this data viz breaks down all you need to know about the history, key players, and big decisions.

Read More

1884: Foundation to West Texas
1884: Death of M Aloysius Brady, Foundress of Downpatrick, Northern Ireland
1963: Carmel College, a secondary school for girls, is opened on Auckland's North Shore - Sister M Justine Gillies

Editor: Carmel College is this week's featured Mercy website

Read More

We are a Catholic girls' college, for Years 7 to 13, situated on the shores of Lake Pupuke, in Milford, on Auckland's North Shore.

The Carmel learning community is committed to educating and developing young, Catholic women who will always strive for excellence in all their academic, sporting and cultural endeavours.

Read More
New Resource: Mercy-ing App

The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta and Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand have together released a new app for the Year of Mercy to assist with daily reflection and prayer practice.

Download from iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Further information about this digital resource can be accessed here

Support the Work of ACRATH: Purchase its 2016 Calendar

The 2016 ACRATH calendar is now available for purchase. By its purchase you will assist ACRATH in promoting awareness of human trafficking issues, fundraising for ACRATH’s work and providing some income for a project in South East Asia supporting victims of human trafficking.

Download the order form here

Words of Mercy

'I give myself into the arms of God’s loving providence.'

-M Cecilia Maher

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Waiting in Silence, waiting in hope, we are your people we long for you Lord...' This reflection was filmed in Mission Marsh Conservation Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Watch/listen here (03:44)

Worth A Look:

Volume 2.1 Fall 2015 of the The Yale ISM Review is now online in text and pdf. This latest issue is centred on the theme of Water. Access the issue here


Inspired by the broad ecological vision of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’, the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE)  have produced a report 'The Time for Conversion is Now'  to feed into COP21. The report follows an analysis of the current climate dynamic with a series of concrete policy suggestions, the basic thrust of which is a move toward ecological conversion. Download the report here (17 pps; PDF)

'Climate scientists came to a consensus that the Earth was warming significantly in the late 1980s. Despite our knowledge of the harm we are inflicting, the volume of greenhouse-gas emissions has increased each year since that time, recently at an accelerating speed. Our conscious destruction of a planet friendly to humans and other species is the most significant development in history.' Read the essay 'Diabolical: Why have we failed to address climate change?' by Robert Manne online here
See also Robert Manne's 'Laudato Si’: A political reading' published in July.

Worth Watching:

Elizabeth Johnson CSJ spoke at The Maryknoll Speakers Series Event, 4 October 2015 on the meaning of Creation And The Connection Of Eco-Justice And Spirituality under the title ''Is God’s Charity Broad Enough for Bears?' This is a short clip from the talk with commentary from audience members. Watch it here (06:55)

The Bottom Line:

'We need to be alert to one sad sign of the “globalization of indifference”: the fact that we are gradually growing accustomed to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal (cf. Message for World Food Day, 16 October 2013, 2), or even worse, becoming resigned to such extreme and scandalous kinds of “using and discarding” and social exclusion as new forms of slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and trafficking in organs. “There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty aggravated by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever” (Laudato Si’, 25). Many lives, many stories, many dreams have been shipwrecked in our day. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this. We have no right...'

Visit to the U.N.O.N. ( United Nations Office at Nairobi) Address of His Holiness Pope Francis, Kenya, Thursday, 26 November 2015.

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

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