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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 659  |  02 March 2016
Featured Story
Las Estaciones de la Misericordia

Editor: Catherine McAuley has taught us that 'Mercy is the principal path marked out by Jesus Christ for those desirous of following Him...'  [1] In the Way of Mercy, in the many and diverse places where we are called to serve, we stop at need and attend there to the cries we hear from the Poor and from the Earth, for this is 'the business of our lives'. [2]

The Season of Lent reminds us to undertake the journey in a spirit of mercy and justice. 

In the Way of the pilgrim, we set out on this path and are shaped by what we encounter.

FIRST STATION: Jesus is Condemned to Die. PRIMERA ESTACIÓN: Jesús es condenado a muerte

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


[1] 'Rule and Constitutions of the Religious Sisters of Mercy' in Sullivan, Mary C. Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy. Dublin: Four Courts Press; Notre Dame, Ind.:University of Notre Dame Press, 1995

[2] Letter 324, 'The Spirit of the Institute' in Sullivan, Mary C, ed. The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley. 1818-1841. Dublin: Four Courts Press; Washington, DC. : The Catholic University of America Press, 2004

Image: Stations of Mercy. Explanation outlined above. © MIA 2016. MIA would be delighted to have this logo used by Mercy Congregations and Institutes, communities and ministries in promotion of our global pilgrimage. Email the Editor

Important Advice for undertaking the Stations of Mercy pilgrimage on your digital device

Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: World Day of Prayer

World Day of Prayer is an international, ecumenical, prayer movement initiated and carried out by Christian women in more than 180 countries and over 1000 languages. Their motto of 'Informed Prayer & Prayerful Action' resonates with our Mercy charism. Every year, Christians of many traditions and all ages celebrate a common day of prayer on the first Friday in March.

This year's theme is 'Receive children. Receive me'.

Let us pray for all children, especially those we encounter in our ministries of education, welfare, health and housing, that they may flourish in our care.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel


Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Welcomes 2016 International Womens Day Theme

Editor: The theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality'.

The recently released 2015 Gender Chart (2pps; PDF) demonstrates both the progress that has been made in a number of the gender dimensions of the MDGs and that more needs to be achieved through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Women and girls need to be at the centre of any development imperative for 'We know now that without gender equality and a full role for women in society, in the economy, in governance, we will not be able to achieve the world we hoped for (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women)

For members of the Mercy family, this day, this theme, this challenge and the aspirations voiced by the UN echo the sentiments expressed by Catherine McAuley who wrote, ‘ ... that no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of the poor than the careful instruction of women, since whatever be the station they are destined to fill, their example and advice will always possess influence...' (Rule and Constitutions of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Chapter 2 'Of the Schools').

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Editor: It is Fairtrade Fortnight in Ireland (29/2 - 13/3) and for all of us Easter 2016 is just over 3 weeks away. Sisters of Mercy and our partners-in-Ministry working on opposing Human Trafficking are once again asking that we choose Fair Trade chocolate this Easter and all year round.

Farmers operating with Fairtrade Certification, Rainforest Alliance,  UTZ Certification and similar stamps are engaging in good labour practices. A list of ethical chocolate companies can be found on this website

Messages to: MIA Working Group on Human Trafficking c/- Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MGA

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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 Reflection Process
Dozens of Groups Across the World Are Forming & Joining the Mercy International Reflection Process

Q.What do Argentina, Auckland, Athlone, Brisbane, California, Sligo, Ohio, Cambodia, Galway, St Johns NL, London, Melbourne, Far North Queensland, County Mayo, PNG, Peru, Panama and Washington ... all have in common?

A. They are just some of the places in the Mercy world where groups have formed or are in process of coming together to start the four-stage year-long Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP).

Image: St Patrick's Mercy Home (SPMH) Group, Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland

We are 10 partners-in-Ministry  (8 of us shown here)- all of whom are in ministry at SPMH (management, past oral care, board member, nursing, volunteering)

Considering Joining Us in the MIRP?

MIRP group members reflect the many branches and connections of the Mercy family: Sisters, Associates, partners-in-Ministry, university students, prayer companions, wisdom circle members, parishioners in churches with a Mercy presence, friends and neighbours, an ecumenical women's  group (assisted by a Sister of Mercy), a married couples group (Teams of Our Lady ) assisted by a Sister of Mercy, Trustees/Board members, Staff members, young adults network members...

Interested in finding out more? We can easily put you in contact with the Coordinator of the MIRP in the Congregation or Institute where you are located so you can find out more about this process.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Director of Communications MIRP

Image: Six of the members of the group of Sisters and Associates being facilitated by Carren Herring rsm in Cincinnatti, Ohio, USA

MIA Members News

'FARMINGTON HILLS — Sister Marjorie Elizabeth Allen has had quite a life. 

When the McAuley Life Center nun was born in 1916, 28th U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was in office. A 1916 Model T Ford cost $490, and the Titanic had sunk just four years prior. 

A bit has changed in the last 100 years, and the centenarian’s birthday was celebrated Feb. 16 at the McAuley Life Center retirement home, 28750 W. 11 Mile Road. 

Surrounded by dozens of friends, former colleagues, students and her cousin, Allen sat front and center under two sets of pink “100” balloons...'

Source: C&G Newspapers

Messages to: Sister Marjorie Elizabeth Allen  c/- Lauren Albright - Institute Communications Office


Image: McAuley Center Activities Director Marcia Kirk places a tiara on Sister Marjorie Allen and names her the Queen of Hearts. (Photo by Patricia O’Blenes)

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Sr. Colette [Congregation Leader]...thanked Sr. Geraldine, too, for putting her hand to ‘the Mercy plough’ in this great Jubilee Year of Mercy:

'It is not easy or common in these days for a young woman to vow her life to God and so it is with great joy and thankfulness that we welcome you, Geraldine, today as a finally professed Sister of Mercy… your heart is a mercy heart and you have chosen to be a follower of Catherine McAuley. And Catherine assured us that "God never calls any person to any state or for any end without giving them the means and necessary helps to carry them through.’''

Sr. Colette made particular reference to the outer motto on Sr. Geraldine’s ring, ‘Hesed’, which is a Hebrew word with a meaning somewhat deeper than the English word ‘mercy’. She explained that it comes from the word for ‘womb’ and quoted from the American theologian Wendy Farley who described ‘Hesed’ as ‘a mode of relationship… a power that is wounded by the sufferings of others… propelled to action on their behalf… now!'

Messages to: Geraldine Sweeney rsm

Image: L-r: Colette Cronin rsm, Geraldine Sweeney rsm

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Pope Francis to Receive a Copy of 'The Mercy GPS' (Americas, The Congregation)

Carol Rittner rsm (Americas) and Deirdre Mullan rsm (The Congregation) were special guests at a dinner to honour the conferring of an honorary degree on Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace which was held in Villa Nova University, Philadelphia on February 23, 2016.

During the dinner Sister Deirdre presented Cardinal Turkson with copies of the booklet The Mercy GPS - our Global Positioning System for 2016. Over 62,000 copies have now been distributed worldwide. Cardinal Turkson said he would share a copy with Pope Francis. Afterwards the Cardinal gave a Lenten Reflection on Laudato Si'.

Messages to:
Deirdre Mullan rsm
Carol Rittner rsm

In 2014 Pope Francis declared a year of Consecrated Life to commence on 30 November 2014 and to conclude on 2 February 2016. This special time in the life of consecrated persons was to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), and the Decree Perfectae Caritatis that speaks to us of the renewal of religious life. Fifty years ago we were young, healthy, energetic, enthusiastic, dedicated women who took the reins of this document and set out to follow its guidelines. Never did we envisage the tremendous changes that the Church through the Holy Spirit was asking of us. Some things did not require much imagination...

The complete article (14pps; PDF) is linked to this item

Messages to: Margaret Randall rsm


Image: Stock photo

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Editor: For her her fifth poetry commentary for Mercy eNews, Jo O'Donovan rsm has chosen 'Travelling  Through the Dark' by William Stafford. 'This is simple poem I have always loved' shared Sr Jo in explaining her choice. She continued: 'It is suitable for reflection  because of our growing awareness of the needs of the environment.'

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm

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When Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy it has been with grateful hearts that the Sisters of Mercy have embraced all the possibilities of special Graces and Blessings.  Here in the Diocese of Down and Connor in the Northern part of Ireland there is a designated Church with the Mercy Door and a Pilgrim Way to follow through simple prayers and ritual.

One local community in the West of Belfast has shared the Jubilee concept with the members of the Mercy Prayer Group in the Parish of St. Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon.  In December last, Sisters Frances, Emmanuel and Claire welcomed the Prayer Group to the convent to celebrate the “Opening of the door of Mercy.”...

Messages to: Claire Loughran rsm

Image: Sr Frances McCashin knocking the door of Mercy in the convent Chapel Lenadoon Belfast

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Mercy Matters
Mercy in the City

Editor: In 2012  Kerry Weber (Mercy Associate and Managing Editor of America magazine) decided to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy during Lent. What she did, and how it transformed her life, is the subject of her book, Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job.

We promoted this book when it was first released in 2014 and think it a good accompaniment during the Stations of Mercy pilgrimage, hence its listing again this week. It is also in our Year of Mercy resources list.

In place of the book, you might like to look at:
Mercy in the City: A Q&A with Kerry Weber (article)

Mercy in the City - Kerry Weber (06:04)

1861: Foundation to Commercial Rd, London from Tullamore - M Evangelist Daly, M Angela Gilsenen

1905: Death of M Ignatius Croke, Foundress of Bathhurst, from Charleville

1907: Foundation to Terang, Victoria from Warrnambool - M Magdalen McDonnell

1907: Destruction by fire of Mt St Mary motherhouse, North Plainfield, New Jersey

1945: Original Pugin designed convent in Bermondsey destroyed by bomb.

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

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Mercy is Eminently Practical

'For Catherine her charism, her expression of Mercy is truly feminine in that it is eminently practical. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy were always her focus. She understood how useless it is to preach the gospel to one who is hungry. At the same time, when she relieved the hunger of the other, she never failed to help the person turn in gratitude not to herself but to the giver of all that is good, God. “Charity that does not give God as well as material help gives too little”...

Catherine was very aware of the fact that in the end we will be judged not by our sins but by our omissions, our failures to do good. “I was hungry and you did not give me to eat.....”

- Brenda Dolphin rsm, Postulator, 'Mercy the Principal Path', talk given at the Symposium on Catherine McAuley in Australia (2015), p 7

Re-prints (as the name suggests) is a company that has come up with idea of re-using print outs that didn't quite work. They suggest using the reverse side of a printed page to print weekly or monthly calendars.

Other design templates will be coming soon. For now, download their free calendar templates and save paper by giving the 'failed' printout a fresh purpose.

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Words of Mercy

'Catherine's conviction that the works of mercy were the very "business of our lives", had shaped the community from its inception in an apostolic spirituality.'

- M Joanna Regan rsm and Isabelle Keiss rsm, Tender Courage: A Reflection on the Life and Spirit of Catherine McAuley, First Sister of Mercy (1988)

A vibrant, Catholic college for girls in the heart of the City of Adelaide.

Our Reception to Year 12 College has a long tradition of excellence in both academic and creative pursuits and our students achieve high success rates for tertiary entrance.

St Aloysius College is renowned for fostering confident and compassionate girls who are equipped to take on the challenges of today's world.

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'God of Mercy Chant' (as heard in the First Station of Mercy). Watch/listen to the recording here (02:37).

Worth Knowing:

-The first World Humantarian Summit will be held in Instanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016. The Report of the Secretary-General (an advance unedited copy) for the Summit —'One Humanity Shared Responsibility'— is available on the interactive website here. The full report (draft; 64 pps) and the 'Agenda for Humanity' (14pps; PDF) can be downloaded from the site.

-The March issue of Update, the newsletter of LCWR is now online (10 pps; PDF).

-Orders for LCWR's reflection journal Avanti are due in on 10 March. Information about the journal and how to order online can be found here

Worth Reading & Watching:

'Character, Flourishing & the Good Life: A Conversation with David Brooks and Miroslav Volf.'
Volf is the founder and director of the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture, Brooks is a NYT columnist. A comprehensive report on the evening can be read here in the Yale News. The video for the evening can be watched/listened to here (1:32:55 note: actually starts at 11.05). The Course description and reading list for the Yale undergraduate Humanities Program seminar 'Life Worth Living' which Volf developed and co-teaches can be accessed here (9pps; PDF). Volf’s latest book 'Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World' was published by Yale University Press in January 2016. David Brooks most recently published the NYT bestseller 'The Road to Character' (2015).

The Bottom Line:

'If we relieve the suffering of the poor with a sandwich from a soup kitchen (Mercy) without also working to correct the social systems which caused the hunger (Justice), we merely pour a bucket of the living water of change into an ocean of deadening problems. Perhaps that is why the Bible puts so much emphasis on both Mercy and Justice. Mercy without Justice can lead to dependency and entitlement, increasing the power of the giver over the one in need. Justice without Mercy can lead to hardened hearts and cold, impersonal treatment of others. May all of us who follow Jesus continue to better harmonize Justice and Mercy in our ministries and in our lives.'

- Victoria Vondenberger rsm (Americas), JCL, 'Justice and Mercy Meet in Tribunal Ministry', Tribunal Director, Archdiocese of Cincinnati

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)