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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 654  |  27 January 2016
Featured Story
Happy New Year of Mercy

Editor: It is a meaningful coincidence that we publish the first issue of Mercy eNews for 2016 in the same week that Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications is released. In 'Communication and Mercy: A fruitful Encounter', the Pope speaks of the 'broader horizons' that communication opens up and how the use of social networks 'can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society'. From the beginning of the Institute the letters of Catherine McAuley and other Mercy writings have been a source of union and strength among Sisters and have become central to Mercy life. From their inception, the mercyworld.org website and Mercy eNews have helped Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy to understand that the life and mission of our own part of the Mercy world is more expansive than our local geographical area and region - that we are each an important part of a global reality known as Mercy International. This year through the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) we will come to know that reality in a deeper way.

Pope Francis concludes his Message with an invitation that is also a challenge: 'The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful to the degree that it generates a closeness which cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates'.

May our communications this year help bring about for each one of us —and for all those who encounter us through these channels —a Happy (i.e.blessed) New Year of Mercy.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

 

Image: #EarthArt Patches of emerald, amber and purplish-blue woven over #MiddleEast like a colorful carpet. #YearInSpace NASA/Scott Kelly. Used with permission
Commander Kelly, who in March 2016 completes a year-long mission on the International Space Station (ISS), on a scientific research project that studies the health effects of long term spaceflight, is sharing amazing images of Earth that look like art, hence the hashtag.

Follow Scott Kelly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to see more of his mesmerising photos and experience more of the magnificence of our common home.

Vision in Action

A number of Resources, including books, videos, articles and poetry, were produced by Sisters of Mercy and partners-in-Mercy in 2015 to aid our prayer and reflection in the Year of Mercy. Promoted as the 'featured Mercy resource' in previous issues of Mercy eNews, they  have now been compiled in an annotated list for ease of access, accessible from the homepage of the mercyworld.org website by clicking on the Year of Mercy logo. The list is also linked to this item.

Do let us know of any additional Mercy resources, newly created, soon to be published (or previously produced and suitable for use this year), so we can highlight them in a forthcoming issue of Mercy eNews and include them in our Year of Mercy Resources page.

Recommendations of other useful resources for the Year of Mercy are welcome and will be added in a separate section of the list.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Concluding the Year of Consecrated Life

As we enter the last week of the Year of Consecrated Life, which concludes on 2 February, MIA renews its invitation to our partners-in-Mercy to pray the MIA Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life for the Sisters and to the Sisters to pray it for each other. English version;Spanish version.

Let us pray also in this Year of Mercy that the God of Mercy will continue to bless the Mercy family with people prepared to witness to the mercy and tenderness of our God as Religious, Associates and partners-in-Mercy in a world so in need of God’s compassion and consolation.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Download the 12 Thematic Reflections individually and as a set here (2015)

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Eduardo De Crescenzo, Michaela Halpin, Brittany Tapia, Lori Going Mendler, Gary, Aidan, Matthew and Dawn Stahl, Kathy Green rsm 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

We look forward to welcoming many pilgrimages from around the world to MIC 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)

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Opening Local Doors of Mercy (cont)

Editor: Reports of more Opening Local Doors of Mercy events were received in late December and throughout this month. These were posted on the website as they were received and are linked below.

Thank you very much to those who sent them in, enabling us to to appreciate the local celebrations while keeping us globally connected.

Opening “Doors of Mercy” around the Northeast Community, (Americas)

Opening the Door of the Mercy Sisters House, Upper Main St., Ballymahon, Co Longford, Ireland (The Congregation)

Opening the Door: South East of North Community (ISMAPNG)

Opening the Doors of Mercy at Sisters of Mercy, Burlingame, California (Americas)

Doors of Mercy Opened at MercyFirst New York (Americas)

Opening of the Door of Mercy at Rahamim Ecology Centre, Bathurst, Australia (ISMAPNG)

Opening the Door of Mercy at Gort Convent, Co. Galway (The Congregation)

Messages to: the Editor

Help Distribute the Weekly Mercy eNews in this Year of Mercy

A reminder that Mercy eNews is available without charge to all members of the global Mercy family and to anyone who is interested in the vision and mission of Mercy International Association (MIA).

Mercy eNews in the Year of Mercy has fresh interest beyond the Mercy Family, particularly our Mercy International Reflection Process.

Please pass on the invitation to those in your networks and send them this link to the subscription form for eNews: http://www.mercyworld.org/news_centre/enews_index.cfm?loadref=14

We welcome all who are interested to become regular readers and to participate in or to follow the process as it continues to unfold this year.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Members News

'...In reflecting on the encyclical as a whole, I believe that Pope Francis’s exhortation “to approach life with serene attentiveness" (226) is key to renewal and ecological conversion, both individual and communal. When we approach life from our essence or heart space we connect with the breath of God at the heart of the universe breathing us and all beings in unison.  We are, therefore, more likely to contemplate in wonder and awe the gifts and potential in and among us as the community of creation and develop an abiding sense of abundance and thankfulness...'

Messages to: Nellie McLoughlin rsm

Editor: Sr Nellie's latest book 'Life's Delicate Balance' is a reflection on Laudato Si'. Further detail, including how to order her book, can be found here.

Election of New Leadership Team (Philippines)

On Wednesday, 30 December 2015, following a retreat in preparation for the elections, the new Leadership team of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines) was elected, assuming office immediately. The members of the new team are:

Sr. Marian Ladrera (Superior-General)
Sr. Lucy Marie Parena (1st Councilor)
Sr. Mary Angela Vergara (2nd Councilor)
Sr. Mary Concepcion Perejan (3rd Councilor)
Sr. Mary Rosario Abacahin (4th Councilor)

Praise the Lord for blessings!

Messages to: Marian Ladrera rsm

 

Image: L-r: M Concepcion Perejan rsm, M Angela Vergara rsm, Marian Ladrera rsm, Lucy Marie Parenarsm, M Rosario Abacahin

In anticipation of the Church’s celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania commissioned a painting for their newly renovated University Commons. While Our Lady of Mercy was the working title for the painting, she emerged from the canvas as Mary, Mother of Mercy – loving, welcoming, familiar.

The artist chosen for the work was Janet McKenzie. Janet is an internationally known and respected painter, largely of sacred subjects. She is perhaps best known for Jesus of the People, chosen as winner from a field of 1500 submissions of the National Catholic Reporter’s 1999 invitation to artists to create an image of Jesus for the new millennium. She has also published two books featuring her work – Holiness and the Feminine Spirit and The Way of the Cross created in collaboration with Joan Chittester, OSB...

Editor: Janet's reflection on Mary, Mother of Mercy, an image of the painting and one of the music tracks Janet listened to as she worked, are linked to this item. Make sure you click on the 'Read More' button below to experience the beauty of this artistic creation.

Messages to:
Sheila Carney rsm
Janet McKenzie

'Men go to God when they are sore bestead,
Pray to him for succour, for peace, for bread,
For mercy for them sick, sinning, or dead;
All men do so, Christian and unbelieving.

Men go to God when He is sore bestead,
Find him poor and scorned, without shelter or bread,
Whelmed under weight of the wicked, weak, the dead;
Christians stand by God in his hour of grieving.'

It is within this context also of a gospel truth being suffered into that I choose Bonhoeffer’s poem. It has always challenged me. Possibly because my main work has been the handing on of faith within  a theological context, I found  in the  rigour and beauty of theology  a confirmation and shelter. I now ask, shelter from what?  From who God really is?  From what God suffers in the world? And I kept  this  poem  to  keep these questions alive...

Messages to Jo O'Donovan rsm

Image: "Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1987-074-16, Dietrich Bonhoeffer" by Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA 3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons

'Men Go to God' published in: Eberhard Bethge ed. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Letters and Papers From Prison. SCM Press, 1954, pp.167-8).

'Tucked away in a corner of Mercy High School [Omaha, Nebraska], at the end of a hallway and through two doors, is a room with vintage furniture and about two dozen porcelain teacups and saucers.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the tiny room awakens when students arrive for tea time with Sister Jeanne O’Rourke, Mercy’s spiritual adviser.'

The tearoom is a place where students bond, share struggles, find comfort over cups of tea.

'“I like coming to tea. You just come in here and talk about everything in your life,” said junior Madison Daniels. “It’s a stress reliever and a great time to get away.”...'

Source: Omaha.com

Messages to: Jeanne O'Rourke rsm

Editor: Mercy High School Omaha is this week's featured Mercy site

2016 is a significant year for all Mercy Sisters and their partners-in-Mercy in the Institute with a number of anniversaries marking the growth of the ministry of the Sisters throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea. These milestones begin with the arrival exactly 170 years ago (1846), of the first seven Sisters of Mercy, led by M Ursula Frayne. A list of the anniversaries is linked to this item.

On Saturday, 9 January 2016, a large number of Sisters of Mercy, ‘descendants’ of the pioneer group, along with ‘Mercy’ colleagues and friends, remembered that first significant Mercy event by retracing the river journey. Read the account on the Archdiocese of Perth website here

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy

Image: Ursula Frayne

The official launch of Catholic Schools Week (31 January - 6 February) took place on Monday, 25 January in Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Bishopstown, Co Cork, the first time that a school in Cork has hosted the national launch. This year's theme is 'Catholic Schools: Challenged to Proclaim God’s Mercy', complementing the Year of Mercy.

In welcoming Catholic Schools Week 2016, Ms Padraigín Ui Riordáin, the principal of Mount Mercy College, said, 'We are delighted to be chosen to launch this national celebration of Catholic education. We look forward to welcoming the wider Catholic community to our school in Cork for this special event. The words of Pope Francis "Mercy is the spirit that awakens us" will inspire the community of Mount Mercy College to participate wholeheartedly in, and celebrate, this spiritually enriching occasion at a milestone in our school tradition, having just celebrated our Golden Jubilee.'

Resources for primary and secondary schools on the theme can be downloaded from the Catholic Schools Week section of the Irish Catholic Bishops' site here

Messages to: Ms Padraigín Ui Riordáin and the Mount Mercy Community

The Sisters of Mercy joined a spirited group of young people, frack activists from Pennsylvania to Vermont, activist Tim De Christopher and representatives from Fossil Free Rhode Island, Burrillville Against Spectra Energy (BASE) and Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG) in a community resistance aimed at the fracked gas industry.

Burrillville, a rural town in Rhode Island, is a regional center for fracked gas, delivered to the northeastern United States from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  The town is home to two major interstate fracked gas pipelines, a fracked gas power plant and two toxic fracked gas compressor stations. As part of the Spectra Energy expansions, one of these compressor stations would be quadrupled in size. In addition, a mammoth new $700 million fracked gas power plant has been proposed for the town by Invenergy, a Chicago corporation...

Messages to: Mary Pendergast rsm

Image: Consequences of Fracking. iStock. Used under licence

Editor: Readers will remember the listing of 'The Mercy GPS' booklet as a new Mercy resource in Mercy eNews on 8 December. At home in Derry for Christmas, Sr Deirdre was interviewed by the 'Derry Journal', describing 'The Mercy GPS' as ''a simple book with a simple message". But as the interview linked to this item reveals, the message has resonated far and wide.

'Sr Deirdre initially had 5,000 copies of her Mercy GPS booklet printed, however demand for the book has been so great she has had to print 40,000 more.

It has now gone out to Samoa, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, the USA, the UK, and Australia...'

Download the flyer for the booklet here (PDF)

Year of Mercy Resources can be found here

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm

Image: Used with permission of the 'Derry Journal'

For several years I have wanted to visit and listen to the stories and experiences of some of the people who touch Mercy through our sisters in Honduras. In December 2015, I was able to make that visit as part of a six-day delegation, organized through the Institute Justice Office.

Simply, this visit changed my life. I “woke up” in Honduras! Now that I am awake, everything looks different.

In the United States we hear countless news stories of drugs, violence and guns in Central America. We hear that women and children, fleeing the terror of ruthless criminals, are a threat to our national security. We are told that the U.S. military presence in Central America is an effort to protect U.S. citizens from violence and the social deterioration of drugs. In the voices of the people of Honduras I heard the rest of the story....

Messages to: Deborah Kern rsm

Image: Sister Deborah (far left) and Jean Stokan (far right), a member of the Institute Justice Team, with two labor leaders.

Mercy Matters
Contemplating the Mercy of God

'We can contemplate the mercy of God in the simple actions of others; the kind acceptance of our failing efforts, the comfort we receive in weakness, the encouragement to try again, the forgiveness offered out of a shared humanity, the quiet word that helps to lift a veil of depression. These merciful moments set us on our feet again. In them we are touched by that hidden presence of the Holy Spirit'

- Cardinal Vincent Nichols in 'A Pilgrimage Companion for the Year of Mercy 2015-16'

Mercy High School is a diverse educational community, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, focusing on academic excellence and inspiring young girls to become confident women of Mercy who embody faith, knowledge and compassionate service.

' This book is designed to be a homely series of reflections for the ordinary person who loves God, loves mercy and wants simple nourishment and stimulus for mercy living and acting in a world which at times can seem overwhelming in its demand for us to adapt to the new. The focus is on exploring facets of the Catherine McAuley story, the scriptural story and the story of the universe, and reflecting on them through the eyes of evolutionary consciousness and mercy's place in that...'

Further details are linked to this item.

Download the order form here

Year of Mercy Resources

1925: Convent opened in Mitchell, Queensland from Brisbane

Contribute a fact about the Story of the Sisters of Mercy in your congregation or institute to our online archive

SplashData has announced the 2015 edition of its annual 'Worst Passwords List',  highlighting the insecure password habits of Internet users. The Password management firm compiled more than 2m passwords leaked over the course of 2015, to find the 25 worst passwords – those used by the most people at the same time.

If your password appears on the attached list, you should probably change it, now.

Considering a password manager? Some free ones you might like to check out are described here

An explanation of the Year of Mercy for the young and young at heart (02:51). Religious Education Teachers might find this useful for explaining the Year and how to live it.

Have you a suggestion of a resource to use for the Year of Mercy? Let us know and we'll include it on our annotated list.

Messages to: the Editor

Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'beautiful world circling infinitely
fragment of sun marbled in blue
turning in time and tuned like a symphony
beautiful stars beautiful view...'

From the song 'Beautiful World' on the album of the same name by singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson. Watch/listen here (06:27). Lyrics here Purchase on *iTunes *GooglePlay

Worth Exploring:

Members of Catholic Women Speak —a forum for dialogue, theological exploration and collaboration among Catholic women in the worldwide Church —were invited to share the books, poems, pieces of music, paintings and blogs that inspired them in 2015. You are sure to find something new in their responses assembled in this collection (6pps; PDF).

We think this is an idea well worth emulating and come November will be asking you, our readers, to contribute to our listing. Please keep this in mind as you read, listen, explore and watch in 2016.

Worth Reading:

Laudato si'

Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke at a special event in Geneva on 15 January. The text of his speech 'Caring for Our Common Home - the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ ' can be read here

LCWR

The current issues of 'Update', the LCWR newsletter, are online. Download them here: January (11pps; PDF) February (10 pps; PDF). LCWR is offering a new reflection journal, Avanti, for US$6.00. Details and ordering information can be found here LCWR is also offering an annual subscription to its Occasional Papers. Find out more here

Worth Knowing:
2015 has been confirmed as the hottest year on record. NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both independently concluded that the global surface temperature was the hottest since 1880 when records began being kept. The previous record was set in 2014. A visualisation illustrating Earth’s long-term warming trend can be watched here (00:30)

'An Economy For the 1%: How privilege and power in the economy drive extreme inequality and how this can be stopped' - report by Oxfam Great Britain, published 18 January. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined. Read/download the report/summary/methodology note here Report (44pps; PDF); Summary (12pps; PDF); Methodology Note (8pps; PDF)

Worth Visiting:

Project Reconnect

Google has donated millions to help refugees in Germany get online and it's just a start. Google.org, the search giant’s philanthropic arm, is teaming up with a non-profit called NetHope on the initiative, Project Reconnect. Find out more here
 

The Bottom line:

'...As for me, I’ve no complaints. I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had on this planet. As an astronaut I spacewalked 220 miles above the Earth. Floating alongside the International Space Station, I watched hurricanes cartwheel across oceans, the Amazon snake its way to the sea through a brilliant green carpet of forest, and gigantic nighttime thunderstorms flash and flare for hundreds of miles along the Equator. From this God’s-eye-view, I saw how fragile and infinitely precious the Earth is. I’m hopeful for its future.

And so, I’m going to work tomorrow.'

Piers J. Sellers, Climate Scientist, former astronaut, on his diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Read his reflection 'Cancer and Climate Change' in the 16 January issue of the NY Times here

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2016 to: the Editor

Mercy World E-News is the Online Newsletter of the Mercy International Association. We hope you value this email. However, should you no longer wish to receive this eNewsletter, please unsubscribe.

Mercy International Association Limited
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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)