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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 658  |  24 February 2016
Featured Story

Announcing the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis proclaimed: Mercy is the force that reawakens us for new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope.

Back in the early 1800s Catherine McAuley understood this and the people to whom she ministered experienced it. Thanks to the magnanimous generosity of her donor William Callaghan, Catherine was able to open the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland on 24 September, 1827. She had intended to continue this work with the support of her co-workers as a lay woman but in 1831, she with two other companions, took their vows and became the first Sisters of Mercy.  They did this because Catherine realised the need to establish a religious structure that would ensure the extended existence of what she was establishing at the House of Mercy...

Messages to:
Suzanne Elliott rsm - Director of Mercy’s Mission Advancement
Ron Ashworth - Chair MIA Fundraising Committee


Image: Helen Nolen rsm (ISMAPNG) with children from the Early Childhood Learning Centre in Fohorem, Timor-Leste. Sr Helen has been working as a teacher trainer in Timor-Leste, Asia's youngest and poorest nation, since 2005. Mercy Works has established Early Childhood Learning Centres in remote villages in the Cova Lima District in south west Timor-Leste. Read more here. Source: Mercy Works. Used with permission

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Vision in Action

Editor: On 3 April 2016 a small but representative group of Mercy pilgrims— both Sisters and partners-in-Mercy— will be present in Rome for Divine Mercy Sunday, one of the events in the Vatican's Jubilee Year of Mercy Calendar.

In preparation for that pilgrimage, all MIA Member Congregations and Institutes have prepared reflective and inspirational powerpoints on the Face of Mercy in their own congregations today, using the 14 Stations of the Cross and 10 of the Corporal and Spiritual Works as their inspiration. Together these 24 powerpoints will form the Stations of Mercy.

The webpage with each Station will be live on the mercyworld.org website, accessible from the homepage, the day before it is due, with the first in place on Wednesday, 2 March 2016 for the online pilgrimage to commence on Thursday, 3 March 2016.

Further important information, including a calendar of the Stations in both A4 and US Letter size (PDF) for you to download, print out & share, is linked to this item. Please click the 'Read more' button below to access the details.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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The inter-congregational ‘Future We Need’ group of representatives from religious congregations (Sisters of Mercy, Presentation Sisters, Franciscans, Loreto, UNANIMA, Columbans and Jesuits) set up after Rio+20 to promote education and advocacy on sustainable development issues, has been working on the production of a 'Toolkit' reflecting the impacts of the extractive industries on twelve communities across the world.

As well as examining the twelve case studies, the kit covers the importance of networking with civil society, faith-based and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for positive outcomes; social, environmental and health impacts of the depletion of natural resources and sharing strategies and campaigns of best practice.

The kit will be launched on 10 March at Baggot Street by Eamonn Meehan the Director of Trocaire, the development agency who funded the project. The kit will be available online as a free download, details to be advised.

Messages to: Betty Lacey - Researcher, Mercy Global Action

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The next pilgrimage of Young Mercy Leaders (College Students & Young Adults) will take place from Tuesday, 9 August to Friday,12 August 2016.

The registration materials can be accessed here.

A reminder to pilgrimage organisers that Group Registrations must be received by Mercy International Association (either electronically or by postal mail) by Saint Patrick’s Day, Thursday, 17 March 2016

Individuals who are coming on their own and not with a university delegation can register up to Thursday, 30 June 2016.

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm - Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality

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Volunteers need to be able to commit to 8 – 12 weeks between 23 January 2017 & 30 November, 2017

Volunteer positions are open to Sisters, Associates and Friends of Mercy. To Single persons or couples.

Further details are linked to this item.

Applications will be accepted up to 31 March 2016.

Please send a simple Curriculum Vitae, including your preferred dates, to:

Margaret Scroope rsm - Assistant Director-Administration & Finance

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Extreme Weather Event -Tropical Cyclone Winston

''As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind.'
- Prime Minister Bainimarama

With winds of up to 296 kph (184 mph),Category 5 Cyclone Winston lashed the tiny Pacific island nation of Fiji on 20 February, leaving 21 people confirmed dead, widespread damage and extensive flooding.

More information about the impact of Cyclone Winston can be found here

Let us keep all those affected by this disaster in our prayers. Let us remember also those members of aid organisations who are providing practical and strategic assistance to the people of Fiji.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: NASA.  Used with permission

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: 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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MIA Members News

Cheryl Camp rsm lived in Pakistan for 7 years in the 1990s, has a Master of Islamic Studies and is currently  a PhD Candidate. Her research topic is 'Towards a Model of Christian-Muslim Women’s Interfaith Dialogue in Australia'.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, Catholics are invited to explore the meaning and experience of mercy. One way of exploring mercy is by looking at what it means to people of different faith traditions. Their scriptures and beliefs can enrich our own understandings.

To examine a theology of mercy in Islam may seem somewhat strange in today’s context of what could be called a plague of terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists against both Muslims and non-Muslims in many parts of the world. However, their interpretation of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad - which forms the religious rationale for their political and military movements – does not represent the vast majority of Muslims.  It could therefore be helpful to take a brief look at a different interpretation, mindful that this ‘look’ is from a non-Muslim...

The article in A4 Paper Size and US Letter Size is linked to this item.

Messages to: Cheryl Camp rsm

Editor: We invite members of the Mercy network with expertise in other faith traditions to contribute articles on 'Mercy in...' as a resource for us all in this Year of Mercy. Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm

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Mercy Sisters, Staff & Students Speak Up in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (Parramatta and Brisbane Congregations)

Editor: Background. On 3 February, the full bench of the Australian High Court rejected a legal challenge to the federal government's offshore immigration detention regime in the case of a pregnant Bangladeshi asylum seeker who was brought to Australia from Nauru for treatment for serious health complications. The ruling of the court has implications for the 267 other asylum seekers, including including 91 children - who are in Australia for medical treatment. More about the situation can be read here.

At their first Congregation Gathering for the year on 20 February, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta took the opportunity to show their support for the call to let the 267 Asylum Seekers remain in the community in Australia, instead of being transferred to [Australia's] Immigration Detention Centres of Manus Island or Nauru. Read more here.

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation

In Brisbane, Queensland, a small group of All Hallows’ students and staff members attended the Schools Vigil outside the Lady Cilento Hospital in support of the 10 day protest taken to advocate for baby Asha — in Brisbane with her parents for treatment of burns she suffered in the Nauru detention centre —not to be sent back to Nauru but to be released into community detention. Read more about their initiative here

Messages to: Angela O’Malley - Director of Mission All Hallows'

At the time of writing, the Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, confirmed that baby Asha and her family would be returned to Nauru. Read more here

'Sister Marie Therese Sheehy marked her centenary at St Michael’s Convent and Care Home in Clacton on Wednesday.

Sister Marie is the oldest sister of the order of the Sisters of Mercy and became a nun when she was 16.

During her life, she has taught youngsters and helped the homeless in London.

She puts her long life down to positivity and prayer...'

Source: Daily Gazette

Messages to: Sr Marie Therese c/- Philomena Bowers rsm - Congregational Leader

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Editor: J.R.R. Tolkien, English writer, poet and philosopher, is internationally known for 'The Hobbit' and the 'Lord of the Ring's trilogy. Now it appears that he had a connection with the Sisters of Mercy through Our Lady's School in Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England with the inclusion of two of his poems in the 1936 school magazine, the 'Annual', the year before 'The Hobbit' was published.

It is thought that Tolkien, a devout Catholic, got to know Our Lady’s School while living at Northmoor Road in Oxford, when he was the university’s Professor of Anglo-Saxon.

Our Lady's School was founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters resident in Abingdon still have a role in the life of the School, helping to strengthen the ethos of integrity and warmth that are two of its special characteristics.

Messages to: Stephen Oliver - Principal

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Mercy Matters

Every Second Tuesday throughout the Year of Mercy, short reflections in PDF connected with the themes of the Year of Mercy are being posted online on the Parramatta Congregation website.

The most recent reflection, posted on 16 February, is 'Lent: the Challenge to Conversion'.

The next reflection will be posted on 1 March.

Messages to: Anne Ferguson - Coordinator, Office of Mission Animation, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta

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Age-otori (Japanese): The feeling of looking worse after a haircut. Captures how hard it is for our plans to come off well. Gökotta (Swedish): To wake up early in the morning with the specific purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sing.

These are two of the thirty linguistic gems that make the inexpressible expressible in the list of untranslatable words collected in the Book of Life.

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Whom Do We See?

'Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.'

from Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, n17, Havana, Cuba,12 February 2016

In 2013, Mercy International Association (MIA) launched a global campaign with a goal to build an endowment for the important work of MIA.

Friends, partners and stakeholders of the Mercy mission are being asked to participate and inform the best strategy for building an endowment to secure the future of Mercy International Association, while also ensuring that funds are available for current initiatives.

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'Catherine’s heart was drawn with special compassion to the marginalised members of society.'

-M Carmel Bourke

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1854: William McAuley, Catherine's nephew, married Jessie Tomkins, Colac

1856: Foundation to Buenos Aires, Argentina from Baggot St - M Evangelista Fitzpatrick

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:

Displaced Persons

Award-winning Australian musician, Missy Higgins has released her newest song, titled 'Oh Canada', which is about 3 year old Syrian refugee Alan (originally reported as Aylan) Kurdi and his family's plight for sanctuary. The video clip of the song includes drawings by children in a Caritas program in Damascus, Syria. Watch it here (04:46). Lyrics are accessible under the 'Show more' button. Purchase on *iTunes . 100 per cent of net proceeds will go to the ASRC (Asylum Seekers Resource Centre) in Footscray, Victoria, Australia.

Worth watching:

Human Trafficking
Center of Concern (USA) has announced the premiere of 'I Am Miriam', an anti-human trafficking video, and its companion website entitled, 'Against Humanity'.The video tells the story of a 26-year-old Ethiopian woman who underwent sex trafficking as she sought asylum from violence against her family and herself in her homeland. Watch it here (04:08).

Worth Reading:
The Inspiration of Laudato Si’'
'Catholics, Capitalism and Climate' - remarks delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson at Molloy College, 17 February 2016.

Worth Considering:

In each of our last 3 issues (#655 - #657) we've highlighted resources for Lent that have an environmental theme. Here's something very different - it's an article by writer Nick Ripatrazone on why the novel 'The Power and the Glory' by Graham Greene is the perfect book to read during Lent. Read the article here in The Atlantic online . If after that you want to hear more Lenten literary suggestions from Ripatrazone, you can. In 2015 he published 'Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent' : 40 stories, poems, essays, and books for the 40 days of this season.

The Bottom Line:

'Opening the door to mercy is a personal as well as a community challenge. Just as a door is an entry and an exit, so the work of mercy is within and around us. It suggests opening our minds, rearranging the priorities of our hearts, softening our judgements, dropping our carefully cooked resentments, reassessing our certainties, chipping away at our rigidity, relieving suffering — and we have a year to practise. As the year goes on we can expect to feel lighter, more hospitable and comfortable, more involved and more joyful.

And the call for mercy is not just for personal practice...'

-Ann Gilroy rsj, Editor of Tui Motu, Happy New Year of Mercy,  February 2016

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

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								poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide.
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