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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 657  |  17 February 2016
Featured Story

Last week, at a United Nations Special High Level Event on trafficking, Angela Reed rsm delivered a strong and clear message to Member States and policy makers. Calling for real solutions to the problem of trafficking, she claimed that we must shift from understanding human trafficking as a 'random act of victimisation' to 'systemic oppression over the life course leading to vulnerability to exploitation'.

The intervention [see video at 3:02:32 -3:05:07], delivered on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy and the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, challenged policy makers to understand trafficking from a life course perspective.[1] Challenging the dominant discourse on trafficking which is largely focused on criminality and migration, Sr Angela called for a focus on prevention, whereby children’s rights to safe housing, adequate schooling, and health and wellbeing are realised across the life course...

Messages to:
Angela Reed rsm - Resident, Mercy Global Action
Aine O’Connor rsm - Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the UN

Image: L-r: Angela Reed rsm, Aine O'Connor rsm, Winifred Doherty RGS (NGO Representative at the UN of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd).
Photographer J. McDermott. Used with permission

[1] A Life Course perspective is a multidisciplinary approach to looking at a person's story alongside the world that person lives in, including the social, historical, economic and political environments. 'Being born in a certain place at a certain time and having certain experiences lead one to be vulnerable to being trafficked.'

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Vision in Action
Global Catholic Climate Movement Releases Prayer for the Year of Mercy

Editor: MIA was one of the first member organisations of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), whose work is reflective of our MIRP theme 'the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor'. GCCM has released A Prayer for the Year of Mercy inspired by Laudato Si’ . Readers may wish to use this prayer:

Prayer for the Year of Mercy in English (PDF)

Oración por el Año de la Misericordia (PDF)

A reminder that details of the GCCM's initiative Lenten Fast for Climate Justice can be found here

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: for the Wonders of Scientific Discovery

"The fact that we are sitting here on Earth feeling the actual fabric of the Universe stretch and compress slightly due to the merger of black holes that occurred just over a billion years ago - I think that's phenomenal. It's amazing that when we first turned on our detectors, the Universe was ready and waiting to say 'hello''.

- Prof Sheila Rowan, School of Physics & Astronomy, Uni of Glasgow, on Confirmation of Einstein's Gravitational Waves

'We thank you O God,
for the wisdom and knowledge you bestow on scientists who work at revealing the secrets of creation.
We stand in awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet.
This knowledge strengthens our faith in your creative power.
We are grateful for this wonderful creation and for being a part of your blessing.
Praise be to you, O God.'

Olivia Masih White, Phd, Professor of Genetics. Used with permission.

Brian Greene Explains The Discovery Of Gravitational Waves

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: NASA.  Used with permission

MIA Reflection Process

We've had additional functionality added to the MIRP microsite to assist users to search among the many articles and resources posted in each of the four content categories: Key Documents, Events, Resources, News & Reports,

Now when you visit the landing page of the microsite (linked to this item) you'll see the icons we've uploaded to provide visual clues as to the contents of each of the articles.

A reminder that you can easily 'Spread the Word' about any of the content or pages on the microsite using the links to Twitter, Facebook and Email that appear at the bottom of the Landing page and at the top of every other page. Just look for the graphic strip pictured above and click on the appropriate icon.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Communications Director MIRP

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Tertiary level students, ages 18-20, studying in various disciplines at Holy Infant College, conducted by the Religious Sisters of Mercy (Philippines) in Tacloban City, were invited by Carmela Cabactulan rsm to share with the Mercy family on the impact of climate change in their local environment with reference to Laudato Si'.

The video clip (07:42) is linked to this item.

Messages to: Carmela Cabactulan rsm and Students

We welcome short clips from other Mercy groups and communities on the impact of climate change or related issues, such as sustainability, and encourage you to share your experiences and reflections. With Sisters of Mercy serving in 44 countries, there is much that can be shared.
Here are two clips that were recorded a couple of years ago by Srs Ana Siufi (Argentina) and Masbely del Cid (Honduras) talking about the root causes of many of the world’s ills that the Extended Justice Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas has been exploring.

Some suggestions for how you might create a small clip or powerpoint simply and easily can be found here.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Communications Director MIRP

Note from Sr Carmela: 'Holy Infant College is our school in Tacloban City, Philippines that was devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Praise the Lord for kind & generous people in the Mercy/world who contributed to its rehabilitation'.

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MIA Members News

Editor: On 22 December 2015, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a groundbreaking resolution to establish an annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It was celebrated last Thursday, 11 February, the theme 'Parity in Science'.

The importance of bridging the gender gap and encouraging more girls into a career in science and other male-dominated fields is a goal of  Mercy Academy, Louisville, Kentucky, America's first all-girls school to become an accredited STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) school.

Listen to the interview with seniors from Mercy Academy, linked to this item.

Find out more about the STEM curriculum at Mercy Academy

Messages to: Mercy Academy

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Nga mihi atawhai - greetings to all in Mercy! For once, the much anticipated pile of post-Christmas novels has been set aside. Squeezing them out for pride of place has been the first book written by Pope Francis. The slim 150-page book, published in English in mid-January, bears a title written in the pope’s own handwriting, The name of God is Mercy. Most of the book is the result of an interview with veteran Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli; attached as an appendix is the text of Misericordiae Vultus, the document in which Francis announced his decision to proclaim the Holy Year of Mercy which began on December 8 and will end on November 20.

In simple, personal terms, the book helps to explain why mercy is emerging as the keystone of the present papacy, and why Francis has instituted the Year of Mercy...

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Editor: The name of God is Mercy has been added to our Resources list in the section 'Other helpful resources'. Access the Year of Mercy resources list here

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Beginning in November 2014, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas embarked on our Journey of Oneness.

In this moment, we find ourselves at a unique and sacred place. We are at the threshold of the Year of Mercy, during which we will join the world in sharing the ways we give and receive God's mercy. At the same time, we are stepping into new conversations about the possibilities our future holds...

The Institute Communications Team has developed a section on our website to hold all Journey of Oneness resources and messages distributed thus far. It is linked to this item.

Ustedes pueden visitar este enlace para obtener estos materiales.

Messages to:Lauren Albright - Institute Communications Office

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Lenten Campaign Against Human Trafficking in the Seafood Supply Chains (Americas)

The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) in which the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas is an active member, has embarked on a national postcard campaign against human trafficking in seafood supply chains. As many Catholics eat fish and abstain from meat to be in greater solidarity with those in need, the Coalition is urging a greater vigilance on the part of our suppliers to ensure that the seafood we eat is not tainted by slave labor.

The Coalition has created two postcards, one addressed to Costco and the other to StarKist, which asks that these companies do all in their power to guarantee that their supply chains are free of forced labor. You can download the postcards sign your name, and mail into each company.

Download postcard for COSTCO (PDF); for STARKIST (PDF)

Messages to: Jeanne Christensen rsm - Justice Advocate - Human Trafficking Mercy WMW

Mercy Matters

1871: Opening of the first purpose built Convent in Perth - built by the Fenians with many hand carvings.

1995: Ministry to women in original convent, Grafton

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

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'After this dream of life, we shall be together in Heaven.'

-M Cecilia Maher

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Emoji, emoticons, keyboard symbols, text art.

Visit this site to find out how to create these symbols simply and easily.

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Sister Jude Walsh’s book, An Enduring Legacy: Savannah’s Sisters of Mercy and St. Vincent’s Academy, documents 170 years of history, starting with the founding of the Convent and Academy of St. Vincent de Paul in July 1845.

To find out more, read this comprehensive review published  in the Savannah Morning News: 'Polly's People: 'Enduring Legacy' of Savannah's Sisters of Mercy, St. Vincent's Academy a gem of a tale'

To order, contact St Vincent's Academy

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St. Vincent’s Academy was founded on June 23, 1845, when Father Jeremiah Francis O’Neill brought six Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy from Charleston, South Carolina, to educate Savannah’s young women in the finest tradition of a Catholic educational institution.

The early history of St. Vincent’s is intertwined with that of Savannah and the South. During the Civil War, eight year-old Maggie Davis, whose father Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America, became a student at St. Vincent’s. Her brother also came to the convent daily to recite his lessons.

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'The day of the release of the spectacular LIGO gravitational wave discovery is a good time to be pondering human destiny, the great things we can achieve as a species if only we don’t do ourselves in, and the responsibility to provide a home for future generations to flourish in. It is beyond awesome that we little lumps of protoplasm squinting out at the Universe from our shaky platform in the outskirts of an insignificant galaxy can, after four decades of indefatigable effort, detect and characterize a black hole merger over a billion light years away.

This is just one of the most dramatic examples of what we are capable of, given the chance to be our best selves...

But we have to make it through the next two hundred years first, and this will be a crucial time for humanity...'

- Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, Climate Scientist, Halley Professor of Physics at Oxford University

Read More
Further Resources

Worth Playing:

This Saturday, 20 February, is World Day of Social Justice (watch for UN site to be updated). The reflection 'Woman United in Spirit and Justice' created to the song Woman's Spirit by Karen Drucker uses strong justice visuals (e.g. Tar Sands, Equal Pay, Kentucky Pipeline) and is suitable for use to mark this day. It could also be suitable to use on International Women's Day. Watch/listen here (04:05). Purchase the song: *iTunes *GooglePlay

Worth Considering:


Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman official who, with his aide Lucius, is given the task of tracking down Jesus' body when it goes missing after his crucifixion. In cinemas everywhere this month. Visit the website and watch the trailer (02:36) La Resurrección de Cristo - Primer Tráiler


Based on true stories, SOLD, is the story of Lakshmi who journeys from a pastoral, rural village in Nepal to a gritty brothel/prison called Happiness House in Kolkata, India. Will be released in 30 US cities in April.
Visit the website; watch the trailer (02:11) . Based on the best-selling novel by Patricia McCormick

Worth Knowing:

At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, according to a major new analysis released last Friday. Read the report here. An article on the study can be read in The Guardian online here

Worth Using:

Another Lenten Resource with a focus on the environment:

'Forty Days with Scripture and Laudato Si' '

This Lenten Reflection Guide from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns contains reflections, questions, prayers, and actions based on each week's Gospel reading and the teachings of Pope Francis in Laudato Si'. Download it here (16 pps; PDF)

The Bottom Line:

'Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and prepares us for Easter by calling us to a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Given the dramatic state of the world today, with devastating wars and extreme weather events, a biblical exodus of refugees crossing borders and walls built higher and higher to keep them out, the answer to the question: Where is God speaking to us today? is crucial, and for many, a matter of life and death. How are we called to respond to those who cry out to us for justice and mercy?

God speaks to us from a wounded earth and from a wounded humanity, and invites us to respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. The season of Lent invites us to imagine these real-life Gospel scenes, and to respond with mercy and justice...'

from  Reflection: Ash Wednesday – Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, 9 February 2016
Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington DC,

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

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