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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 661  |  16 March 2016
Featured Story

Guímís Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig ar Shiúracha na Trócaire ar fud an domhain ar Lá Fhéile Naomh Pádraig. Guímís sonas agus sláinte orthu siúd atá as baile as Éirinn agus orthu siúd ar fad a mhaíonn fréamhacha ceilteacha trénár mbunaitheoir, Catherine McAuley.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, we send greetings to Irish Sisters of Mercy, Associates, partners-in-Ministry and Friends of Mercy all over the world and to all Sisters of Mercy and the extended Mercy Family, who can claim Celtic roots through our foundress, Catherine McAuley.

En este Día de San Patricio, les enviamos saludos a las Hermanas de la Misericordia, Asociadas/os, socias/os en el Ministerio, amistades irlandesas de la Misericordia por todo el mundo, y a todas las Hermanas de la Misericordia; también a la extensa familia de la Misericordia que hace suyas las raíces celtas mediante nuestra fundadora Catalina McAuley.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: iStock. Used under licence

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: An End to the War in Syria

Today the Syrian war enters its sixth year. Despite the limited ceasefire, conflict continues in parts of the country. The story of the conflict has been told and re-told; among the most recent accounts is that by the BBC.

In the period since the war began (15 March 2011), more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives and more than 11 million others have been forced from their homes.These numbers of the dead and the displaced can simply overwhelm us.

Among the most vulnerable of all Syrian refugees are single women. Let us take the time necessary to 'hear' three stories and as we continue to pray for an end to the conflict that has ravaged this country for so long, let us pray particularly for Jamila (19), Umm Mohammed (40) and Shemkha (57) whose names, faces, families and circumstances now known to us, must be of concern to us.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

In a report  released last week, Save the Children sheds light on the terrifying reality that is life in Syria for children and other civilians. Read: 'Childhood Under Siege: Living and dying in besieged areas of Syria' (28pps; PDF).

Image: iStock. Used under licence

Editor: Mary Quinn rsm (ISMAPNG), Project Director for the creation of Mercy International Centre, died last Wednesday, 9 March at St Michaels Aged Care Facility, Casino New South Wales and will be buried today, 16 March, in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.

Of Sr Mary's contribution to the establishment of Mercy International Centre, Mary Trainer rsm (Americas), Facilitator of the Vision, has reflected this week: 'If I were asked How did we move from hope filled dreams shared at Pentecost 1989 to a full fledged Proposal in Dec 1990...to a consensus to move as Mercy International Center in Spring 1992 - I would answer:  It all began with two; Sr. Mary Quinn and I. The world Mercy Community owes a debt of gratitude to Sr. Mary Quinn our first Project Director'.

Messages to:
Sisters of Mercy Central B Community (ISMAPNG)
Mary Trainer rsm
Mary Reynolds rsm -  Executive Director MIA

Image: Mary Quinn at Catherine's grave. Still taken from the 1994 video of the Opening of Baggot Street. Sr Mary's interview on that video is linked to this item

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On Thursday, 10 March the ‘Future We Need’ (FWN) group launched their Mining Toolkit: ‘Digging At Our Conscience’...

‘Digging At Our Conscience’ consists of ten case studies, plus two overviews on the so called ‘mining giants’ of Canada and Australia. There are also articles on ‘A Rights Based Approach to Mining’, ‘The Rights of Nature’, ‘Mindfulness’ and a Conclusion, which invites every reader to take concrete action in the light of what s/he has just read...

A report on the launch is linked to this item, as is a link to download the kit.

The mining toolkit can also be downloaded here (36pps; PDF) 10.9mb

Messages to:

Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action
Betty Lacey - Researcher

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'Those that go on a pilgrimage and who reach their destination should feel at home, loved and looked on with eyes of mercy.'

-Pope Francis

Today we stop at the Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb Décimo Cuarta Estación: Jesús es llevado al sepulcro.

Access Stations of Mercy 1-14

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Pamela Fick, Margaret Carney OSF, Patricia Nelson, Martha Steigerwald, Cecilia Feltz 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

A message from Patricia Powell rsm (ISMAPNG) about her brother-in-law’s niece, Jo, a young mother in Melbourne, Australia, diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and who is on our prayer list:

“I got great results this week from my quarterly body scan – all my spots are shrinking!!! Soooo excited!!! Love to you all!!!”

Sr Patricia asks that we all please continue to pray for Jo’s complete healing through the intercession of Venerable Catherine McAuley.

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On Thursday, 3 March, the Sisters of Mercy: Mercy Global Action at the UN, the NGO Mining Working Group, Franciscans International, and Food & Water Watch joined the Western Downs and Wider Unconventional Gas Group of Chinchilla, Australia to deliver an oral intervention at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The statement concerned the increasingly urgent and widespread issue of fracking’s impacts on human rights...

The intervention described that for our coalition of organizations, 'from Australia to the US to Argentina, our communities report violations related to the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment', with clear connections to fracking....  

Messages to Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN

Image: iStock. Used under licence

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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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Editor: The Priority theme of the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) – the annual gathering of States to address critical issues related to gender equality and women’s rights — is 'Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development'.

Taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 14-24 March 2016, Member States, UN entities and accredited NGOs from around the world will take stock of progress and remaining challenges for implementing this landmark agreement for gender equality and women's rights.

The Review theme is: The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

As previously advised on mercyworld.org, the Sisters of Mercy have submitted a written statement to this commission which can also be accessed on the commission’s website.

Sisters of Mercy have three areas of focus during CSW 60.

Details of the events Sisters of Mercy are presenting at and how to watch these live/archived online are linked to this item.

Messages to:
Aine O'Connor rsm - MGA Coordinator at the UN
Angela Reed rsm - Mercy Resident at the UN
Lynda Dearlove rsm - Founder of women@thewell

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MIA Reflection Process
MIRP Groups Begin to Refine their Issues of Concern

Some MIRP Groups, particularly in the northern hemisphere, are starting to move from Stage 1 broad areas of subject interest (a large category where their issue is located) to refining their issue in precise terms in Stage Two.

Among the broad areas identified so far are:

  • Water
  • Displacement of peoples (homelessness, trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers)
  • Fracking
  • Sustainable Living
  • Climate change
  • Environmental devastation

I would be delighted to hear from any readers of Mercy eNews who know of or have access to resources in these broad areas of subject interest so these can be shared globally.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Director of Communications MIRP

Image: iStock. Used under licence

Meet Members of MIRP Groups Across the Mercy World

Over the course of this Year of Mercy, as we engage in the MIRP, the groups formed to undertake this process will be introduced to the Mercy family through eNews and the mercyworld.org website.

As MIRP groups confirm their focus issue for Stage Two, we will put those groups with similar and related issues in email contact with each other 'across the miles' through their MIRP Group Facilitators, thus 'facilitat[ing] collaboration among the Congregations, Institutes and Federations to meet the needs of today and to work for justice. (MIA Purpose of the Association).

This week we introduce groups from Silver Spring, Maryland, USA (Americas);  Baulkham Hills, New South Wales, Australia (Parramatta Congregation); Adelaide, South Australia (ISMAPNG) and Galway (The Congregation)

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Director of Communications MIRP


Baulkham Hills Parish No 1 Group, New South Wales (Parramatta Congregation)

There are two groups of parishioners from Baulkham Hills Parish, New South Wales Australia, participating in MIRP. Kathleen Dowse rsm is facilitating one group of eight parishioners (pictured) and Barbara Stenning is facilitating the other group of seven parishioners. Both groups are meeting at a facility on the grounds of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta

Hopes for the Year are:
Group No 1: Listening with an open heart, hoping to learn and understand more about the needs of our society and the world. To take some action.

Group No 2: That some practical good will comes from the process

Messages to: Valda Dickinson rsm - MIRP Coordinator Parramatta and North Sydney Congregations

L-r: Paul Waite, Rhonda Waite, Anne Walton, Mary Davis, Carol Harding, Kathleen rsm, Vicki Vella, Victor Vella

Meet the Members of the Silver Spring, Maryland Group (Americas)

The Silver Spring group is meeting at the offices of the Institute of the Americas. We are 7 Sisters, two co-workers and two members of a parish at which Mercy worships.

Standing, left to right, are: Sisters Susan Weetenkamp, Pat McDermott (President, ILT), Anne Curtis (ILT), Deb Troilette (ILT),  Eileen Campbell (ILT) and Bob Simon

Seated, left to right, are: Helen Penberthy,  Rita Parks rsm, Karen Simon, Mary Pat Garvin rsm (ILT)

After sharing our stories and concerns, it was clear that the theme of water was a thread through all of them. So that is our focus area, which we will talk about further next week to narrow it down more before embarking on Stage 2.

Messages to: Marianne Comfort - Facilitator (who took the photograph) and MIRP Coordinator (Americas)

On Saturday, 5 March 2016, thirty-three Sisters of Mercy gathered in Adelaide to engage in Stage 1 of the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP). We started the day with the God of Mercy Chant by Gina Ogilvie and the Prayer for the Year of Mercy written by Bill Patenaude for the Global Catholic Climate Movement. A brief overview of MIRP and the 4 stages of the process and a Powerpoint of quotes from Laudato Si’ with stimulating images on the theme: Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor, beautifully led the group into a prayerful reflective process...

Messages to: Duyen Nguyen rsm - Key Facilitator Community South A (ISMAPNG)

Image: L-r: Srs Denise Coen, Claudette Cusack, Marie Britza, Rosemary Day and Mary Harvey

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Meet Members of the Galway Cluster Group No 1 (The Congregation)

We are nine Sisters of Mercy meeting at the Mercy Community house in Craughwell, Galway, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday 8 February, Monday 11 April and Monday 23 May. Our focus is "ironing out" issues.  Our focus area of interest is on Displaced Persons. Our facilitator is Helen Diviney rsm.

Image: Front row. L-r: Srs Eileen Walsh, Breda Fadden, Enda O’Donnell, Bríd Scully

             Back row. L-r: Srs Aíne Barrins, Helen Diviney, Evelyn Horan
             Absent from photo: Srs Breege O'Neill, Catherine McInerney

Messages to: Sheila Curran rsm - MIRP Coordinator The Congregation

MIA Members News

The genealogical research website Ancestry.com is making 10 million Catholic parish records from Ireland — some dating to 1655 — available online to help people trace their Irish heritage.

Innformation includes baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records from more than 1,000 parishes in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Note: Ancestry.com is a commercial organisation with all that implies re giving your online details. However, it might be of interest to some readers that the company is offering access to the records in the featured collection for free until 17 March 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Be mindful that after the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry World Explorer paid membership.

A guide with 10 tips for finding Irish ancestors has been provided by Ancestry.com (8pps; PDF)

Messages to: the Editor

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Mary Aquin O'Neill writes: 'There is a passage in Robert Wilkin's excellent book, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, that I find intriguing. He writes that once, while praying in the Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, England, he caught sight of something.

. . . I noticed several large medallions set in the stone floor at the front of the apse. From where I was sitting I could see that one was prudentia, then I noticed temperantia and fortitudo. I knew there had to be a fourth, justitia, and after the service I went to the front of the church. To my surprise I noticed there were five, not four, medallions. The fourth was indeed justitia but the fifth was misericordia, mercy. Whoever designed the cathedral understood that the four cardinal virtues did not say everything Christians believed about the moral life...'

from her article in 'Global Sisters Report'

Messages to: Mary Aquin O’Neill rsm

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Sisters Urge Reason, Reform on Immigration Issues (Americas)

Rose Weidenbenner, a Sister of Mercy in the South Central Community in McAllen, Texas, and a social worker with ARISE, is one of seven Sisters, all leaders on immigration issues, who participated in a video roundtable discussion on 4 March in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Faith in Public Life and NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice lobby, and in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy and the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Watch the video here (51:00). Read the transcript here.
Read the article by Global Sisters Report.

Messages to: Rose Weidenbenner rsm

Editor: ARISE is this week's featured Mercy website

Editor: Great writing (of course) in The New Yorker and a great story.

In 1985, Chris Mullin, then a student at St. John’s University New York, led the basketball team to the Final Four. He went on to enjoy an illustrious athletic career. Last spring, he returned to St John's as head basketball coach. Last month, sitting in the stands were two Mercys who hadn't been to the basketball since 1985 - 88 year-old Sr Mercedes and 94 year-old Sr Terence, two of his greatest fans...

Messages to: Srs Mercedes and Terence c/- Julia Upton rsm

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Mercy Matters
Holy Year of Mercy Retreat Events

'Exploring Paths of Mercy: Thomas Merton, Francis of Assisi and Our Own'

Mark this extraordinary Jubilee Year with Lourdes Wellness Retreat team: Marianne Hieb rsm, Helen Owens osf and Jonathan Montaldo.

There are 4 retreats on offer:

San Alfonso Retreat Center by the Sea, Long Beach, NJ, USA

27-30 June and again 26-29 September 2016. Download the flyer here (PDF)

Hotel Giotto, via Fontebella, Assisi

28 October - 4 November or Retreat intensive: 31 October - 4 November. Download the flyer here (PDF)

All costs are in US dollars

Editor: Are you drowning in email? From time to time we publish advice on dealing with email in the hope that it will help our readers address challenges you encounter with email.

Here are some more practical ideas for coping with the deluge.

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Pope Francis: 'Mercy which “forgets”'

'May Lent prepare our hearts to receive God’s forgiveness – but let us receive it and then do the same with others: forgive heartily. Perhaps you never even greet me in the street, but in my heart I have forgiven you. In this way, we get closer to this thing so great, so Godly, which is mercy. Forgiving, we open our hearts so that God’s mercy might come and forgive us, for, we all have need of pardon, need to ask forgiveness. Let us forgive, and we shall be forgiven. Let us have mercy on others, and we shall feel that mercy of God, who, when He forgives, [also] ‘forgets.’” '

-Pope Francis, 'Divine mercy forgives and forgets',1 March 2016

1911: Foundation to Aurora, Illinois from Council Bluffs - M Magdalene Bennett

1922: Independence and Dubuque unite, Motherhouse at Dubuque, Iowa

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

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Today's Mercy Quote

'Often burnished as gold in the fire, Catherine came forth…more compassionate, more possessed by God.'

-M Joanna Regan

ARISE is a community based program that works with colonia families to strengthen their communities. Located in four colonias in South Texas, each ARISE center responds to the specific needs of the community.

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Further Resources

Worth playing:
So familiar to so many of us, but what other song could we recommend on St Patrick's Day eve? Here then is Shaun Davey's wonderful version of the 'Deer's Cry' (from the prayer attributed to St Patrick), from the CD 'The Pilgrim', sung superbly by Rita Connolly.
Watch/listen here (04:05) Purchase on *iTunes *GooglePlay

Worth Watching:
Informative and entertaining

Was St Patrick Irish? Find out here on the History channel program (02:06)

The Bottom Line:

'Justice is a deep component of love. Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar, describes justice as finding out what belongs to whom and returning it. When the goodness of creation, when the abundance of God's goodness is missing, Justice demands to be made known and made effective. Service, Mercy-style, proclaims God's justice to a world, too often eager to wring out, as in: desiccate, or dry up, the wonder of God's Mystery that saturates every person and every thing. Service, to the Sisters of Mercy, IS Mercy, and mercy in the Hebrew sense of rachamim, another Hebrew word for mercy. Rachamim is womb-like love - a very passionate response to where Mystery is being denied the possibility of revelation so that new life may come about. Mercy­-Justice also looks at what is and has become worn and tired, and breathes new life into what had been thought to be barren. Catherine McAuley describes this sort of Mercy as Charity: Our charity should be cordial. Now cordial means something that refreshes, invigorates...'
Maureen Crossan 'Stepping up to Catherine McAuley's dance called "Right and Left" - Higher Education and Service-learning, Mercy style' (2003) p.7/22 (PDF)

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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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)