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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 652  |  16 December 2015
Featured Story

The ordinary is the bedrock of our daily lives. We associate the ordinary with the day to day, the usual, the normal, the commonplace.  To quote Madeleine Delbrel (1938) who lived her life as a lay woman in the suburbs of Paris and who wrote eloquently and convincingly about the presence of God in the ordinary, 'This is where we find God, among the ordinary people we meet with on our streets, among ordinary men and women, who have ordinary lives, ordinary illnesses, ordinary bereavements, ordinary houses and who wear ordinary clothes'. (Nous autres gens des rues O.C. t.7, 23-24).

The ordinary is what provides a safe anchoring space which holds and steadies us especially at times of crisis in our lives or in the lives of those around us. On all levels of our being we can only sustain short periods of intensity and difference. Sooner or later we will get back to “the ordinary”....

Messages to: Brenda Dolphin rsm

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Vision in Action
Complete Series of Mercy Thematic Responses for Year of Consecrated Life Available Now for Download

Editor: With the publishing today of Sr Brenda Dolphin's feature article on Ordinariness, the last of the Mercy Year of Consecrated Life thematic responses is now online.

Download the complete series in PDF:
[A4 Paper Size]  48 pps; PDF. 6.02mb
[US Letter Size] 49 pps; PDF. 6.321 mb

Read the series online and access the accompanying resources and prayer services.

We thank all our readers who have posted responses to the series online, provided feedback in eNews or sent messages directly to the authors.

We are grateful to our authors — Srs Elizabeth Davis, Breege O'Neill, Elaine Wainwright, Janet Ruffing, Kathy Rule, Sheila Carney, Kathleen Rushton, Helena O'Donoghue, Jo O'Donovan, Lynda Dearlove, Sheila Curran, Brenda Dolphin — for thematic responses which have resonated, nourished, inspired and challenged us over the course of 2015 as we sought to address through our Mercy lens the call of Pope Francis to 'Wake up the world'.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Pilgrimages to and Programmes at MIC in 2016

As we prepare for 2016, we rejoice that it has been designated as a Jubilee Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. It is in the context of this wonderful occasion that we invite you to consider a visit or a pilgrimage to Mercy International Centre, or perhaps participation in a programme or event on offer.

We look forward to welcoming many pilgrimages from around the world during 2016. Should you wish to organise one, we will be happy to facilitate you. A calendar of events to celebrate the Jubilee Year in Rome has been published and we will offer parallel events in Baggot Street on these special celebratory days.

We are planning to offer evening and short programmes on some of the major themes of the Jubilee. We are offering a number of longer programmes also that will depth the experience of Mercy during this special year. These are outlined in this brochure (8pps; PDF)

Whether you come for a visit, a tour, a pilgrimage, a programme or an event, we welcome you and we pray in the words of Pope Francis: 'In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us... From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people draw from it' (MV#25).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director, MIA

Editor: Mercy had five representatives at COP21: Áine O'Connor rsm (Americas), Bridget Crisp rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand),  Marianne Comfort (Americas Institute Justice Team) and Margaret Twomey rsm and Carmel Bracken rsm (The Congregation). On 9 December Mercy co-sponsored two side events on the international movement to ban fracking. [The flyer for the side events can be read here.]

The following report regarding activities at COP21 has been received from Aine O'Connor rsm :

Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground and banning fracking is not only possible, it’s already being done, according to panelists at two side events on 9 December co-sponsored by Mercy International Association. The events took place at the United Nations climate talks in Paris (30 November - 12 December) where country delegates negotiated an agreement to cap global warming and provide poor countries with the resources needed to adapt to climate change and develop renewable energy...

Messages to: Áine O'Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN

Image: Consequences of Fracking. iStock. Used under licence

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For Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy, the commencement of the Year of Mercy on 8 December has been marked by local Mercy door openings, by praying Pope Francis' prayer for Earth between midday and 2pm in the 44 countries where Sisters serve, thus encircling the globe in prayer, by inspirational talks and by the commencement of the Mercy International Reflection Process.

Reports from Baggot Street;  Newfoundland; Aotearoa New Zealand; Philippines; the Southern Administration Centre, Curtin (Central A), Adelaide, South Australia, Ballarat (South B) Community, and Academy and Sacred Heart Colleges in  ISMAPNG; from Ireland; at OLMC Parramatta and Parramatta Congregation and from Brisbane Congregation, fill pages on our MIA website. Pages are linked to one another with the  Baggot Street report linked to this item so you can click back through them all.

We still welcome your reports, responses or reflections and your images from the opening of your local door of Mercy. These will be added to the site as they are received for the enjoyment of us all.

Messages to: Editor

Image: Caitlin Conneely rsm, Provincial, Western Province (The Congregation) knocks on the Baggot Street door

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A coalition of leading NGOs in a new report launched 7 December in Dublin, has warned that the Irish Government has not lived up to its commitments, to provide a safe haven for people fleeing conflict. This includes a failure to address the root causes of forced displacement, as well as a failure to implement vital reforms to the domestic asylum process, according to the group. The coalition includes organisations working with asylum seekers, migrants and refugees in Ireland, those who support displaced people overseas, plus international agencies like MIA...

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - MIA - Global Action

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Editor: 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: the Editor

Image: Christmas crib

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MIA Welcomes the Achievement of Paris Agreement: Shared Commitment to Act for Humanity and the Planet

MIA welcomes the adoption by nearly 200 nations of the Paris Agreement designed to limit global temperature rise to less than 2C (3.6F) for the sake of the entire Earth Community.

While welcoming the shared commitment to act, we recognise that this Agreement is but a beginning of continued necessary action, not just from governments but from all of us.

As our global Mercy network embarks on a reflective process to respond to 'the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor' (LS#49) in this Year of Mercy, may we, too, be inspired to new action for the sake of humanity and the planet.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm -Executive Director MIA

Reminder: Mercy eNews: Important Dates

This is the second last issue of Mercy eNews for 2015. The  final issue of Mercy E-news for 2015 will be published on Sunday, 20 December. Please send in your Christmas greetings if you haven't already done so and any news items by Saturday, 19 December.

The first Issue of Mercy E-News for 2016 will be published on Wednesday, 27 January, 2016.

Please send your contributions to the Editor for the first issue of Mercy News by Friday, 22 January, 2016.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Reflection Process
Films Worth Checking Out (Part 1)

The Christmas holidays provide many of us with the time and space for movie watching. Here are six recent and new releases you might look out for, on the big screen or on dvd or to purchase online, all of which look to be good viewing during this MIRP personal reflection time. The movie websites are worth exploring for a synopsis of the movie and for additional resources.

Racing Extinction - a call to action amidst massive species loss. The film exposes the two worlds that are driving global species extinction—the international wildlife trade and the fossil fuel industry.

[Trailer  (02:39)]; [Website]; [How to see it: Screenings; Purchasing information]

Salt of the Earth: A journey with Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist.

[Trailer (01:48)] ; [Website]; [How to see it: Out now on DVD and on iTunes]

How to change the World: chronicles the adventures of an eclectic group of young pioneers – Canadian hippie journalists, photographers, musicians, scientists, and American draft dodgers – who set out to stop Richard Nixon’s atomic bomb tests in Amchitka, Alaska, and end up creating the worldwide green movement.

[Trailer (02:04)]; [Website]; [How to see it: Screenings; Buy & Book]

Films Worth Checking Out (Part 2)

Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything. Seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

[Trailer (02:22)]; [Website]; [How to see it] Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller

How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change. Filmed in 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away? Directed by Josh Fox (Gasland)

[Trailer (01:27)]; [Website]; [How to see it: Screenings]

Human: A film with three voices (those of the people, the testimony of the planet, the lyricism of the music). real-life stories from  2,020 women and men in 60 countries and 63 languages (from Mercy eNews Issue #649).

What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight ? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?..

[Trailer (02:31)]; [Website]; [How to see it: Watch on YouTube]

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Guiding Team

MIA Members News

Editor: In Doorkeepers of Mercy, Elizabeth Davis rsm speaks of the role of the portress in the Mercy tradition, the Sister 'who controlled all coming and going through the convent door'.

Sr Veronica McDarby, one of the seven missioned to Pittsburgh in 1843 became portress, or doorkeeper, of the convent there and, writes Sheila Carney rsm, 'she invested herself in that ministry for 40 years'.

Read the story of the impact of that personal investment, told by Sr Sheila and attached to this item.

We welcome stories from your archives as well as contemporary accounts of doorkeepers of Mercy for publishing throughout the Year of Mercy.

Messages to: Sheila Carney rsm

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Video Resources on Mercy and Justice for Year of Mercy (Newfoundland)

The Redemptorists Edmonton-Toronto Province and Villagers Media Canada have produced a series of videos for the Year of Mercy. Elizabeth Davis rsm is one of the presenters with a series of talks entitled Mercy, Journey through Scripture. The series can be watched on Roman Catholic TV via the website  or on YouTube. Titles, timings and links to each of the seven videos are listed below:

God is Mercy and Justice (07:16)
God as Mercy (06:58)
God as Justice (07:32)
Doing Mercy (07:40)
Doing Justice (07:57)
Mercy and Justice Together (08:09)
Radical Inclusion (07:29)

Messages to: Elizabeth Davis rsm

'As a novice I spent the last six months of my novitiate and the first six months in first profession in Panama, Central America. On my trip home for first vows I stopped in Florida to visit a friend, Sr. Pearl McGivney. I went with her to visit the farmworker families in the area. At one home there were two little boys playing outside. They had the base of a car jack and were playing with a live mouse. When it came time for me to decide on a ministry, I knew that the farmworkers in Florida were as impoverished as the people I met in Panama...'

From the interview with Camille D'Arienzo rsm published in NCR online and linked to this item

Messages to: Alicia Zapata rsm

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On Monday, 7 December 2015, twenty facilitators/co-facilitators of the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) for the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland met (with one coming in by phone) at our Generalate to be guided through the four stages of the reflection process by Elizabeth Davis rsm, Congregational Leader and Liaison for MIA Members of MIRP, and Elizabeth Marrie rsm, Congregation MIRP Coordinator...

Messages to: Elizabeth Marrie rsm -  MIRP Coordinator Newfoundland

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Eveline Crotty rsm, the Urban Ministry Movement-Sydney, writes: 'Earlier in the year I was contacted by the Civil Chaplains Association Committee asking if I would conduct an introductory program in pastoral care for the Muslim Association in Riverwood.  They had 10 women and 3 men wishing to be trained so that they could become pastoral visitors to their communities in hospitals and aged care facilities. Today, all pastoral visitors need to complete a 40 hr program in pastoral care to receive accreditation to visit.  I approached the Broken Bay Institute who were willing to accredit the program that we would devise and conduct for this community.Rev. Mary Pearson a very competent supervisor and pastoral educator, who works with me on occasions was willing to mount the program for this community as at the time I had running a 283 hr program in pastoral practice.

[Attached] is Mary’s reflection on the experience.'

Messages to: Eveline Crotty rsm  

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Stockton University Establishes Chair in Honour of Carol Rittner rsm (Americas)

On 2 December, Stockton University New Jersey established a chair in honor of Carol Rittner rsm.

From the Comments made by the Dean on behalf of the President of the University:

'First of all, I need to say that the university wants and almost feels compelled to recognize Professor Carol Rittner’s achievements for very obvious reasons. Since her arrival at Stockton as an Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar, back in 1994, Carol has been a mainstay and pillar of Holocaust and Genocide Studies education at Stockton.... Carol has edited and co-edited a great many books...too many to be listed. These publications have placed her at the forefront of the academy, and she is now a world-renowned scholar of Holocaust and Genocide Studies ...'

Read the Remarks in full (PDF)

Messages to: Carol Rittner rsm

Presentations Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life (Americas)

Editor: In the 3 December South Central Community Leadership enews, two talks given for the Year of Consecrated Life were made available to Sisters and Associates.

Doris Gottemoeller rsm addressed the North Carolina Local Area Community on 25 -26 September. The full text of Sr Doris'address —To live the present with passion — is made available in this issue of Mercy eNews with her permission.
Download the talk (4pps; PDF)

Messages to: Doris Gottemoeller rsm

Sharon Euart rsm presented at the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey's convocation on religious life. Sr Sharon's speech—Pilgrimage for Religious in the 21st century—was published in Origins on 24 September. The full text of Sr Sharon's address is made available in this issue of Mercy eNews with her permission.
Download the talk (16pps; PDF)

Messages to: Sharon Euart rsm

Editor: Human Rights Day, observed every year on 10 December, commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Last Thursday, 10 December, Margie Taylor rsm, tireless advocate for the human rights of prison inmates, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, was presented with the first Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award.

'"Human rights for me is the glimpse of a dream of a world defined by respect, compassion, justice and peace, a world of oneness and harmony," said [Sr Margie] in accepting the award.

"We stand at a critical moment in the earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future....the future at once holds great peril and great promise."...'

Source: CBC News Newfoundland & Labrador

Messages to: Margie Taylor rsm


Image: @NLhumanrights Margie Taylor rsm (right) with Remzi Cej (centre), Chair of the Human Rights Commission,  and Isabella St John (left), the artist who designed the human rights award

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Mercy Matters

Editor: During the Year of Mercy we hope to travel with you to many parts of earth using video for our journey. We begin with Finland.

Sit back and enjoy the diversity and immense beauty of this land from its very north all the way to the southern parts.(04:00)

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1977: Opening of Mercy Family Centre, Waitara, Sydney

1985: Opening of Mercy Hospice Care, Melbourne - Margaret Ryan

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

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'It is Jesus Christ you love and serve with your whole heart.'

-Catherine McAuley

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'...This Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. ..This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. .. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgement will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things...'

from Pope Francis' Homily for the Opening of Jubilee of Mercy, 8 December 2015

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We are a thriving community development initiative of the Sisters of Mercy New Zealand. We were established in 1999, building on a decade of highly respected community development work in Glen Innes.

Papatuanuku - a strong commitment to fostering earth awareness and responding to the call to heal the environment.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi - our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and to working in ways that work for Maori whanau and communities.
Tikanga Atawhai – the practice of Mercy values.   

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New Resource: Life's Delicate Balance

Following her reflection upon the text of Laudato Si', Sr Nellie exhorts people everywhere to pay heed to the Pope's call to save our planet from destruction. With core questions included for reflection and action, this clear and concise book is an urgent and timely wake-up call in its own right.

Order online from Veritas

Sr Nellie is the author of the widely read 'Out of Wonder:The Evolving Story of the Universe' (2004)

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'If I stumble, if I fall, if I throw away it all and I'm down on my knees, show me a little mercy' from Mercy by Damian Howard from the album 'One' (2006). Purchase on iTunes

Worth Reading:

Year of Mercy

Cardinal Turkson, in his CAFOD Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture 2015 speaks of  'five doors through which to see and judge the crisis in our social and natural worlds ...a sixth door of education and celebration is ready to give us the courage and strength to keep opening the previous five.' Read the text of the lecture here

The Bottom Line:

'We have three options for life.  We can be primarily self-interested, seeking wealth, power and honours in our own comfortable isolation.  Or we can live according to the norms of justice, law, order and fairness.  That way, we will always be prepared to meet the other half way, not going any further.  We will be prepared to accord each their due, but not giving any more of ourselves.  Or we can live with a commitment to relationships with God and our neighbour marked by mercy, forgiveness and love...'

-Frank Brennan SJ AO, The Year of Mercy, 8 December 2015, Talk given at Holy Trinity Parish, Curtin, ACT, Australia

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2016 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)