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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 655  |  03 February 2016
Featured Story

The Call to new life is a clarion call to hope. As we conclude the Year of Consecrated Life, we are encouraged to embrace the future with hope and as we embark on the Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis proclaims: 'Mercy is the force that reawakens us for new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope'.

In dedicating 2015 as the year of Consecrated Life, Francis expressed three aims:

-To remember the past with gratitude,
-To live the present passionately,
-To embrace the future with hope

Within this context, he invited all who witness the good news of God’s love and compassion to ‘Wake up the World’.

Remembering the past with gratitude is a good place to start- why? Because it helps us to recall as the chosen people of old did that ‘the Lord your God cared for you all along the way, as you travelled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place’ (Deut. 1:31)

On first glance, ‘this place’ may not be exactly where we might have hoped to arrive...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Used under licence
Text: Presentation given by Mary Reynolds rsm on 30 January 2016 in her home diocese, linking the end of the Year of Consecrated Life with the Year of Mercy.

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Those ill with Cancer

Tomorrow, 4 February, is World Cancer Day. Let us all join our prayers with those who are ill with cancer, especially the members of our families, our communities, our ministries, our networks and all cancer sufferers on our prayer list. May our prayers be a source of strength and comfort; may our concern offer companionship and care.

We give thanks for the following update on Marie Chin rsm, former president of the Institute of the Americas: 'Recently Marie Chin received incredible news that her lung tumor has shrunk 80 percent. While her prognosis remains the same, we are happy for this period of time during which we expect her symptoms to lessen. Marie is deeply grateful for your outpouring of prayer, love, care and concern. She is convinced it is this energy that sustains and strengthens her to hold her illness with faith and hope so that God's healing power can flow through her.
Please continue to remember Marie in your prayers. 

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

On Friday, 12 February, Maria Lawton rsm (Parramatta Congregation) will be participating in a head shave for cancer research. More information about Sr Maria's fundraising efforts can be found here

The Pope Video is a global initiative developed by the Pope World Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) asking for prayers and action on various challenges facing the world today.

This year the Pope's prayer intentions are being videoed and shared on social media. Pope Francis is speaking his message in Spanish with subtitles for a total of 10 languages. Videos are posted on the first Friday of the month; all texts are online.

 As we begin our group discussions on the MIRP theme 'cry of the Earth, cry of the Poor' we are invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Care for Creation: 'That we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations'.

The February video will be online on Friday, 5 February and will also be accessible from our mercyworld.org website. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of January's intention - Inter-religious Dialogue.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: GCCM

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MIA Reflection Process
Stage One of the Reflection Process Now Underway

Monday, 1 February was the Feast day of Saint Brigid, Earth woman, lover of nature, one of the patrons of Ireland from where Mercy springs. In ancient times, 1 February was the beginning of the Celtic festival known as Imbolc, the festival marking the beginning of Spring and the start of the agricultural year.

We are drawing on a very rich heritage then in timing Stage One of the International Reflection Process to commence on this date. As we make preparations across the Mercy world for our first gatherings to take place, we can take inspiration too from these words of Liam Lawton's, from his song Light the Fire, composed in honour of Saint Brigid:
'A woman’s voice...is heard across the plains,
That calls once more, for a people of new vision
To heal our wounds and green our Earth again...'

Messages to: Mercy International Reflection Process Guiding Team & Coordinators

Image: aspect of Brigid's window in the Baggot Street Chapel

A number of short YouTube and Vimeo video clips, most between 3-5 minutes in duration, have been added to a resource page on the MIRP microsite for use in contextualising the process when the group first gathers. The collection includes reflections and songs, some of which appeared in Mercy eNews during the preparation phase and in the lead up to COP21.

Suggestions are welcome of links to other short clips which can be considered for inclusion in this online 'video library' for the benefit of all participants in the process and beyond.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Communications Director MIRP

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MIA Members News

In Misericordiae Vultus, the Bull proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes, 'it is my burning desire that, during the Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.' And Catherine McAuley, in 'The Spirit of the Institute', reminds us that '…all these offices of Mercy, spiritual and corporal,…constitute the business of our lives.' These two exhortations have turned my thoughts more and more to these Works and to the question of what they might be asking of me/of us as we enter the Year of Jubilee. How, I ask myself, might we engage these Works in ways that are deeper, more creative, more challenging?...

Messages to: Sheila Carney rsm

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Participate in the Second Lenten Fast for Climate Justice

The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), of which MIA is a partner organisation, is once again this year organising a global fast for climate justice. On each of the 40 days of Lent  (10 February - 24 March) a different country will have Catholics and other Christians fasting and praying for action to solve the climate change crisis.

Details will shortly be posted on the GCCM website and once confirmed will be on the MIA website

Check the site for your country's date and consider signing up for the Lenten Fast. Note the health advice re fasting.

Messages to: Global Catholic Climate Movement

Prepare for the second World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Trafficking in Persons

Next Monday, 8 February, Feast of St Bakhita, is now World Day Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Trafficking in Persons. Sisters of Mercy, Associates and our Partners-in-ministry are actively involved in organisations opposing trafficking in persons, including ACRATH and US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT). See the complete list here.

In inviting our involvement in this day of prayer and fasting in the Year of Mercy, Anne Tormey rsm, President, ACRATH said, ‘Our prayer... becomes one of lamentation for the millions of women, children and men trafficked across the globe for human slavery.' She offers us practical suggestions for action: 'This day can be an opportunity to learn about trafficking locally and globally, to pray for the victims of human trafficking and for an end to slavery, to commit to buying Fairtrade products where possible and to advocate for legislation to protect victims of human trafficking’.

There are many resources available for prayer on this day including:

-ACRATH Prayer Service (2 pps; PDF)
-Prayer Service for the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita from USIG (5 pps:PDF)
-IPJC Prayer Service (2pps; PDF)
-MIA Prayer Service (2015) A4 here (8pps; PDF); USLetter (8pps; PDF)

Messages to:
Anne Tormey rsm - ACRATH
Jeanne Christensen rsm - USCSAHT

Nothing invigorates a community like a successful enterprise, and the women of the small village of Doko Yoyeri, high in the African Ridge Mountains of Southern Ethiopia, an area where the Sisters of Mercy (Western Province) support Vita’s projects, are beginning to realise this for themselves. They have worked closely with Vita and the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia to set up a Women’s Saving and Credit Co-operative that teaches them how best to engage in business and improve their standards of living.

The idea that projects like these are community - led is a huge part of Vita’s DNA, and six local villages competed for this innovative new co-op, designed with the most marginalised local families in mind. This community – led approach gives the village council a sense of ownership of the co-operative, and a vested interest in its success. The council themselves have selected the first 20 members of the co-operative from amongst the poorest families in the surrounding area...

Messages to: Ciara Feehely - Head of Communications & Marketing Vita


Image: Sefate Oda & Damanich Degaga

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Come to the Water: Enrol in a Program at Mercy by the Sea (Americas)

The 2016 program of offerings at Mercy by the Sea Retreat and Conference Center in Madison, Connecticut, directly on the Long Island Sound, is online.

Check out the themed and directed retreat schedule and  sabbatical information. Consider some time away with us in this peaceful place of natural beauty.

Download the program of offerings here (6pps; PDF)

Visit us online here

Messages to: Ann M. McGovern rsm - Director of Mission Integration & Hospitality

Reading Luke's Gospel with Ecological Eyes: Part 1 (ISMAPNG)

In the first part of this new series in Tui Motu, Elaine Wainwright rsm interprets the Lucan prologue Luke 1:1-4 together with the commissioning of Jesus in Luke 4:14-21.

Sr Elaine writes: 'As we read the Gospel of Luke, the gospel of divine compassion, we will attend to the images of mercy that this gospel constructs. We shall ask how mercy speaks to and within the human community and the whole Earth community...'

-Download the February article here (PDF)
- Read it online here
-Subscribe to Tui Motu here

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

Mercy Matters
New Resource: Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy Reflections

Mercy Partners (Australia) has developed two series of reflections on aspects of Mercy designed to be part of ministry prayer during the Year of Mercy. These are:

'Mercy Moments', for prayer or reflection, published each fortnight and posted online here. Next update: 15 February

'Board Prayer' resources for the commencement of a Board meeting. The complete resource package can be downloaded here (26 pps; PDF). Individual resources can be downloaded here

Messages to: Mercy Partners

View all listed Year of Mercy Resources online here

Our founder, Rose Carmel McNamara, member of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, came on holiday to Romania in March 2000. She quickly became aware of the problems of the marginalised and with the blessing of her congregation returned to Bucharest in October 2000.

Initially, she worked with children living with AIDS, teaching them English and befriending them in numerous ways. Other areas of vulnerability soon became evident and in November 2000, a number of shoe boxes filled with food came her way. There was no problem finding people who urgently needed them. Within a short time all were distributed with the help of Mrs. Elizabeth Bohm, co-founder of the association...

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Mercy in the Face of Suffering

'Mercy cannot remain indifferent in face of the suffering of the oppressed, of the cry of one subjected to violence, reduced to slavery, condemned to death. It is a painful reality that afflicts every age, including our own, and which often makes us feel impotent, tempted to harden our heart and think of something else. God, instead, “is not indifferent” (Message for the Day of Peace 2016, 1), [God] never looks away from human pain. The God of mercy responds and takes care of the poor, of those who cry their desperation...'

Pope Francis, Address at morning General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, 27 January 2016

Mozilla, the company that developed the Firefox browser, has created a quick links page of instructions for updating: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android and Browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari).

You can also sign on to stay up-to-date with other easy ways to protect your privacy and safeguard the Web.

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' Our founders were moved by the Spirit and they were not afraid to get their hands dirty with everyday life, with people’s problems, they were not afraid to courageously walk the geographic and existential peripheries. They did not stop before the obstacles and misunderstandings of others, because they kept the wonder of their encounter with Christ in their hearts. They did not tame the grace of the Gospel; they had a healthy yearning for the Lord in their hearts, the yearning to bring Him to others, just as Mary and Joseph did in the temple. We too, are called today, to make prophetic and courageous choices.'

-from Pope Francis' Homily during the closing Mass of the Year of Consecrated Life, 2 February 2016

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1965: Foundation to Pumakos, Papua New Guinea from North Sydney

1966: Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight closed and house opened at Newport instead

1970: Foundation to Negrie, Papua New Guinea from Townsville

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

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Watch/listen to this superb performance of Bogoroditse Devo, Raduysia (Rejoice,O virgin Mother of God) composed by Sergey Khvoshchinsky. This stunning version of the Hail Mary in Russian was recorded by the vocal ensemble From Age to Age,  (04:16). Be uplifted.

Worth Knowing:

Human Trafficking

Timely and important reading as we mark the second World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking. Read: ‘Rejecting the “globalisation of indifference” -mobilising for a more inclusive and sustainable global economy’ (2 pps; PDF) and accompanying action plan: The Board of The Consumer Goods Forum - Resolution to Fight Forced Labour (2pps; PDF)

Worth Watching:

A Palestinian short film 'Ave Maria' is one of the 2016 Oscar nominees for Best Live Action Short Film. 'Ave Maria' takes a comedic look at an encounter between Palestinian nuns and a Jewish settler family in the West Bank.

Nuns of the 'Sisters of Mercy' convent in the middle of the West Bank wilderness have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of religious Israeli settlers crash their car into the convent's wall.The Sabbath is approaching and they need to get home urgently, however, because of the Sabbath laws, the Israelis can't operate a phone to call for assistance, and the Nuns have taken a vow of silence. Together they have to come up with an unorthodox plan to help the settlers get home.

Watch the trailer here (01:37)
An interview with the Director Basil Khalil can be watched here (05:13)

Worth Visiting:

British Museum

Thousands of artefacts from the British Museum's priceless collections have gone online in a partnership with Google that will allow web-users to take a virtual stroll through its galleries. Come explore at the British Museum, or discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world at the Google Cultural Institute

Worth Considering:

Resources for Lent 2016 (10 February - 24 March)

Here are three new resources with a focus on the environment, all freely available online:

-Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTB) is inviting people to gather in groups for reflection and spiritual conversation around a series of themes drawn from the overarching title of ‘Pilgrimage’. Resources are freely available (or printed copies can be purchased) on this dedicated website The site is is equally suitable for you to use for your personal reflections during Lent and well worth visiting.

-The Columban Mission Institute Centre for Peace, Ecology and Justice (PEJ) has developed an online resource The Grace of Place consisting of six weekly reflections with a focus on Laudato Si'. Download the resource here

-Trócaire's Lent 2016 educational resources focus on climate change and climate justice for Early Years to Post-Primary classrooms. Resources can be accessed here

The Bottom Line:

"In the deep stillness of a forest in winter, the sound of footsteps on a carpet of leaves died away. Peter Wohlleben had found what he was looking for: a pair of towering beeches. ‘These trees are friends,’ he said, craning his neck to look at the leafless crowns, black against a gray sky. ‘You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t block their buddy’s light.’ … Trees can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the ‘Wood Wide Web’; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.”

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too. NY Times, 29 January 2016

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)