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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 665  |  06 April 2016
Featured Story

Thirty-nine Sisters, Associates and partners-in-Mercyfrom Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Peru, Samoa, Tonga and United States of America— have just concluded the final leg of our global Mercy pilgrimage with their attendance in Rome for Divine Mercy Sunday.

'We are having an extraordinary time here in Rome - a most moving experience,' wrote Mary Reynolds rsm on Saturday evening.

The Mercy group were in Rome from Friday, 1 April until Tuesday, 5 April. On Saturday they walked (pictured) to the Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica, praying the Rosary and singing the Suscipe en route. Once inside the Basilica there were opportunities for adoration and reconciliation. That afternoon and early evening, along with tens of thousands of other pilgrims, the Mercy group attended testimonies and music and a prayer vigil at St. Peter's Square with Pope Francis present. On Sunday they were at the 10.30 am celebration of Mass with Pope Francis.

On Monday, the final day, the pilgrims visited the Church of St. Pudenziana where the original painting of Our Lady of Mercy is held. In the 19th Century, as a sign of approval and benediction of the new congregation, Pope Leo XIII gifted the Sisters of Mercy with an oil painting reproduction of this image which is hung in the Baggot Street chapel.

Gathered at the painting the pilgrims recommitted their lives in Mercy 'and to the commitment symbolised in this pilgrimage and the entering through the Holy Door'. A copy of the ritual of commitment and closure can be downloaded here. 'It was a wonderful close to a wonderful pilgrimage, ' shared Sr Mary.

Images from the Roman leg of our global Mercy pilgrimage are linked to this article.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

L-r:  Mary Reynolds rsm, MIA Executive Director (Ireland), Diane Smyth rsm (Newfoundland) carrying the Mercy cross and Brenda Dolphin rsm, Postulator (Ireland), lead the pilgrims on Procession to the Holy Door

Photo: Rayleen Giannotti rsm (Americas)

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Vision in Action

Mercy Global Action at the UN is delighted to introduce our issue brief on fracking and human rights in English and
en español

This tool can be used to help identify and contextualize the process of fracking, its impacts on people and Earth, and prescriptions of international human rights law. The 4-page document succinctly defines both fracking and human rights law and then briefly explores fracking’s impacts on key components of the human rights to health, water, food, housing, access to information, and to public participation as outlined by international law...

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

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Victims of the Easter Sunday Pakistan Bomb Blast

74 people - at least 24 of them children - were killed and  362 were injured when an Islamist suicide bomber struck at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park with the apparent aim of targeting Christians enjoying Easter celebrations in a public park. Most of those killed in Lahore were Muslims.

We pray for all the victims of this terrorist attack, for their families, friends, colleagues and communities. We join with Pope Francis in condemning this violent outburst and echo his words that 'violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace'.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: A view of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan

MIA wishes to thank the planning groups, writers, photographers, videographers, musicians, translators, researchers, featured ministry personnel, communications staff and all who assisted in any way in developing the 24 Stations of Mercy for our prayer and reflection over the past month (3 March - 3 April).

We are enriched and inspired by the experiences we have all shared in the creative unfolding of the Face of Mercy in our Congregations and Institutes and in our World today.

The Stations of Mercy will remain accessible to all members of the Mercy family from the highlight button on the right-hand side of the mercyworld.org homepage.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

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Accessing Mercy Global Action News

Editor: To assist website visitors in accessing previously published Mercy Global Action (MGA) posts from the home page, a highlight button has been added to the MGA column/section below the last item displayed on the homepage. Clicking on this 'Read more of our News' button will take you to the index of all previously published Mercy Global Action items.

In addition to this update, the 'Read more of our News' button now automatically appears at the bottom of each Mercy Global action post and, if clicked, will take you to the index of all previously published Mercy Global Action items.

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

MIA Reflection Process

Trailers for: a challenging exploration and critique of the global aid industry and the complexities of ending poverty (Poverty, Inc); the rise and rise of international urban agriculture (Plant this Movie); the threats facing the rainforest in Peru (The Rainforests are Under Threat), how planting a seed can save someone’s life (Can you Dig This) and the story of the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history (Return of the River) are five of the ten recently released movie and documentary trailers added to the Resources pages on the MIRP microsite to assist groups in naming an issue of focus. For those who haven't seen them, six movie trailers were posted on the site last December. These are also well worth checking out

MIRP groups interested in issues around the broad category of water might care to watch the newly produced 'Our Water, Our Future'. You can download the 07.28 minute film for free from this site

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Communications Director MIRP

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MIRP for the Damascus College Ballarat, Victoria Community (ISMAPNG)

The entire Damascus College community is engaged in this process that involves a series of gatherings and data collection strategies that will impact firstly on teachers and staff members, then on students and their families. The key questions to set the focus will be put to students and to families through a TA process early this (second) term. As the year progresses, the invitation will become stronger and the need for reflection that leads to action, more intense.

'We will be deciding on a community action that is liberating and sustainable and unwavering.'

Messages to: Tony Haintz - Assistant Principal - Catholic School Culture

OLMC Parramatta: Academic Staff Engage in MIRP (Parramatta Congregation

OLMC Parramatta has eleven voluntary MIRP groups underway among the staff - 3 groups among the Support Staff and 8 groups among the Academic staff.

Pictured here with Valda Dickinson (second from the end on the right) are (l-r): Isabella M, Sheila I, Roisin L, Shinwon L, Christine H, Kathy B, Sainaz S, Sheila P, Jennifer Mc, Marie W, the members of group 8 whose focus issue is Sexism and Racism. The group hopes that education in the school/families will raise compassion: towards people from different cultures, towards women and towards animals.

Valda Dickinson rsm is the facilitator of this group. Each group at OLMC has a different trained MIRP facilitator.

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

Sacred Heart Geelong Staff Members Engaged in MIRP (ISMAPNG)

Our MIRP group at Sacred Heart College Geelong is a combination of Mercy Professional Learning members—a three year program for our POL 3 and 4 holders— and those voluntarily wishing to join the group. Many of these volunteers are teachers working towards Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic School. We also have four Sisters of Mercy who chose to work with us- Srs Margie Abbott, Linda Hewitt, Jean Mc Gonigal and Joan Wilson.

We are working as one group although at our Stage 2 meeting we may split into two.

Our Focus is 'Our Throw Away Society"'. We will look at human/social and other than human areas.  This focus allows the inclusion of the diverse ares of interest that came from our group- displaced persons (inclusive of refugees, the homeless, those with mental illness, our indigenous brothers and sisters), rubbish and material consumerism- clothing, food, goods.

We will work with Naomi Klein's book 'This Changes Everything- Capitalism vs The Climate' and documentary , as one resource.

Messages to: Sharon Gillett - Deputy Principal Mission, Staff and Middle Years

MIA Members News

Editor: The White House Easter Egg Roll has been an American tradition since 1878. This year more than 35,000 parents and children gathered on the South Lawn on Easter Monday for activities including games, stories and the traditional egg roll.

That same day demonstrators gathered in front of the White House to call on the Obama administration to put an end to the detention of immigrant families. Eileen Campbell rsm, Vice president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas was one of the speakers at the demonstration. 'If we are as good as we say, we ought to be sharing. If we’re this country with great resources, the greatest security, I don’t think we should be afraid of women and children,' said Sr Eileen.

Messages to: Eileen Campbell rsm

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Editor: 'Poems on Spring are quite common,' writes Jo O'Donovan rsm, 'but the glory of this Hopkins poem is in the way in which his imagery and language is not just descriptive:  it also attempts to bring about in us the awakening of  spring.

For our readers in the northern hemisphere where, according to the calendar at least, Spring commenced on 20 March, the poem is timely. For us all, this, the sixth in the occasional series by Sr Jo, is a pleasure in its own right.

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm

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Awakening the Encyclical: Associates and Sisters Inspired to Care for Our World (Americas)

Mercy Associates and Sisters gathered for a weekend workshop titled 'Awakening the Encyclical' at the William J. Kelley Retreat Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, on 4 March 2016. Sister Rose Marie Tresp led the interactive workshop by leading a discussion on unpacking Laudato Si ... Participants learned about the environment, spirituality, global poverty, technology, and culture. The encyclical stimulated widespread discussion on how to better care for our world.

During the session on culture and poverty, attendees participated in an exercise called 'The Privilege Walk'. Associates and Sisters started on the same line. The facilitator instructed participants to move forward or backward based on how they identified with a societal privilege or disadvantage. At the end of the exercise, participants had a visual understanding of advantages afforded by societal privilege.

Click here to learn more about 'The Privilege Walk' (03:58).

Messages to: Rose Marie Tresp rsm

Image: Rose Marie Tresp rsm facilitates 'The Walk of Privilege' with workshop participants. Front left:  Martha Milner rsm and Associate Ingrid Robinson advance forward

'For Mercy Sr. JoAnn Persch, the words "family" and "detention center" are contradictions, a description that masks what the centers really are: jails.

As executive director of the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, Chicago, Persch oversees five programs that she says provide a much truer family-friendly setting for asylum-seekers...

"They can call it whatever they want, but it's a jail," Persch said. "There's no reason to be locked up. What bothers me most is that this is being done under the private prisons, so they are making money on the backs of these poor moms and kids, which is just wrong."...'

Messages to: JoAnn Persch rsm

Editor: The Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI), co-founded by Sr JoAnn and Pat Murphy rsm is this week's featured website

Image: Sr JoAnn was the recipient of the 2015 Loyola University Chicago Martyrs Award

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New Chapter 2017 Member Engagement Materials Now Available (Americas)

The Institute Chapter Planning Team (ICPT) invites you to engage with us once again as we journey toward our 2017 Institute Chapter (Buffalo, New York: June 19-29, 2017).

1. Synthesis of feedback from the first member engagement process (September 2015-January 2016)—shared by the ICPT in this brief, bilingual video.(05:54)
2. Introduction and invitation into the second member engagement process. This process contains two questions for individual reflection and two questions for communal reflection. 
3. A timeline and process for moving towards our 2017 Chapter.

Items 2 and 3 are available in the same PDF file.

Though the member process specifically concerns Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, all are invited to read and engage with the reflection materials.

Messages to: The Institute Chapter Planning Team (ICPT) c/- Lauren Albright - Institute Communications Office

‘Angels, roll the rock away!
Death yield up thy mighty prey!
See, He rises from the tomb,
Glowing with immortal bloom.'

- Thomas Scott, The Risen Lord

Doors are so significant for all of us in this Year of Mercy. As we celebrate this Easter Season the ‘door’ of the tomb has been opened for us inviting us to face our own ‘entombed’ areas...

Messages to: Martha O'Connor rsm c/- Annette McCartan rsm - Web Administrator

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Mercy Matters

The Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants is a non-profit, faith-based organization of staff and volunteers called to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of all individuals and communities affected by immigration detention, deportation, and post-detention through pastoral care, advocacy, public witness and other activities.

We deeply appreciate your emotional, spiritual, and charitable support.

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No event of particular significance is recorded in the 'Mercy Through the Years Calendar' as having taken place on 6 April. We know, however, that the Works of Mercy continued to be carried out and so we remember on this day Catherine and all our Sisters, Associates and Co-workers who have given their lives in service to others.

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

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'Simon Peter has a higher profile in this final chapter of John’s gospel than in the first twenty chapters. It is as though the author responsible for the final edition of John’s gospel wants to bring Peter to prominence in line with the traditions found in the other gospels...'

- Veronica Lawson rsm

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Cartographer Andy Woodruff has created a beautiful series of maps that shows what is across the ocean from you when you're standing on beaches around the world. For instance, according to Andy, 'In the northern reaches of Newfoundland, near the town of St. Anthony, is the Fox Point Lighthouse... If you face perpendicular to the right bit of rocky coastline there and gaze straight across the ocean, your mind’s eye peering well beyond the horizon, you can see all the way to Australia.'

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Mercy communities and ministries thinking of ordering a Large Wooden Mercy Cross (Walnut wood with laser-engraved, gold filled inner cross), please note the change of contact details for Dorothy Thum rsm who is responsible for the crosses.

Sr Dorothy is now to be reached at: dorothy_thum@mercy.com

Details of the crosses are listed in the resources section on the mercyworld.org website and are linked to this item.

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Jesus the Resurrected Gardener

'In John’s gospel ... incarnation, death and resurrection are linked with re-creation. Jesus is the Gardener!...

John 20 concludes by referring to the believers “of all times” (Jn 20: 30-31), in other words, the Church. We are called to enter into God’s creative process for in "the Christian understanding of the world the destiny of all creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ." (Laudato Si’ par 99).. We are to be Gardeners in the work of re-creation'

from Jesus The Resurrected Gardener, first published in Tui Motu, April 2016 (2pps; PDF)

Messages to Kathleen Rushton rsm

Image: element from Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalen c 1500. Juan De Flandes. Source: Web Gallery of Art

Further Resources

Worth playing:

'Where Have You Hidden, Beloved' based on the Song of the Soul and the Bridegroom by John of the Cross. Sung by John Michael Talbot. Watch/listen here (04:05)

Purchase on *iTunes *GooglePlay

Worth Reading:
Addressing Human Trafficking

Ann Oestreich, IHM asks: 'Can environmentalists end human trafficking?' Her article, the April posting on  the US Catholic Sisters Against Trafficking website, references and draws from Kevin Bates' (co-founder of the organisation, Free the Slaves) latest book 'Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide and the Secret to Saving the World'.

Cosmology and Eco-justice

U.S.Catholic online has republished 'For God so loved the cosmos' by Elizabeth Johnson CSJ in its latest issue. If you didn't read it when first published, enjoy it here this time.

'4 reasons why climate change can’t be solved without religion' by Linda Woodhead and Antje Jackelén

Worth Watching:

In light of our global Stations of Mercy pilgrimage, the trailer of the documentary 'The Original Image of Divine Mercy', released last month in the US, makes for interesting viewing. Watch it here (04:21). For more information about the documentary, visit this website

The Bottom Line:

'The Gospel is the book of God’s mercy... in which the signs of Christ’s disciples – concrete acts of love and the best witness to mercy – continue to be written. We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women of today. We do this by practising the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life. By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation. Thus continues the great work of Jesus on Easter day...'

- Pope Francis, Homily at Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday 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)