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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 671  |  18 May 2016
Featured Story
Meet the Members of Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School, Kellyville, NSW, Mini Vinnies MIRP Group (Parramatta Congregation)

Editor: We have welcomed the opportunity each week this year to 'introduce' readers of Mercy enews to the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) groups from member congregations and institutes. We look forward to continuing to do so and to sharing their stories at each stage of the reflection process.

What has become evident from these accounts is that group membership is extraordinarily varied within and across groups. It includes Sisters, Associates, partners-in-Ministry (such as academic and support staff in schools; students; health- and aged-care staff). There are partners-in-Mercy, such as parishioners, neighbours, friends, members of other faith traditions and at least one interfaith group.

Membership both crosses decades and comprises similar ages. The oldest known group has an average age of 90+, while the youngest group (pictured above) comprises a Year Six group (final year of First Level/primary school) from Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School in Kellyville – a north western suburb of Sydney. These students are are part of a larger Mini Vinnies group of 33 students, all of whom meet every 3 weeks in the Learning Centre at the School. Their focus is 'to reflect and explore some key issues of homelessness especially in our surrounding area'.

Messages to: Valda Dickinson rsm - MIRP Coordinator Parramatta Congregation

Image: Back row L-r: Emma G,  Ewan, Isabella, Ava, Emma C
Front Row L-r: Mia, Kiara, Antoinette Doyle rsm, Angelene
Photo supplied and used with permission

Vision in Action

Global Sisters Report (GSR) is focusing a special series on mining and extractive industries and the women religious who work to limit its damage and impact on the environment, health, and social issues. Pope Francis last year called for the entire mining sector to undergo "a radical paradigm change". Sisters are on the front lines to effect that change.

Áine O'Connor rsm and Angela Reed rsm were interviewed by Global Sisters Report for this article which also features the work of the NGO Mining Working Group, a coalition of NGOs promoting human and environmental rights at the UN to which Mercy belongs and which Sr Áine convenes.

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

Editor: The GSR special series on mining is a helpful resource for MIRP Groups looking at the area of Mining. Access the GSR series here

Read More
MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Fill Us With Your Spirit

'Jesus, you promised us the Spirit to be our advocate and guide. Recognizing your fidelity and our many needs, we pray:

~ Fill us with your Spirit, and send us forth to serve you.

That we may be renewed in heart and mind:

That we may see you in your people who are poor:

That we may speak the truth in love:

That we may make wise choices for the common good:

That we may work to bring about a new heaven and a new earth:

That we may be credible witnesses to your mercy'

Source: Mercy Prayer book

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Editor: A reflection for Pentecost by Camilla Hunt rsm (GB Union) can be accessed here

MIA Reflection Process
Forthcoming: Tierra Sagrada (Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust)

Tierra Sagrada (Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust) is the name of a worldwide, multi-faith day of prayer & action for the planet on 12 June and a call for world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise.

12 June marks six months after the Paris Climate Agreement and joins in the celebration of International Environment Day (June 5) and the first anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis' Encyclical "Laudato Si'" (June 18).

Suggestions for how to join in can be found on the website: English ; en español

Messages to: Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust

Editor: Climate Change talks, the first since Paris, are underway in Bonn, Germany with experts meeting to work out a detailed plan on how governments are to report and monitor their national plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Read more here



Meet the Members of Group B Bathurst, NSW, Australia (Central A - ISMAPNG )

We meet at Rahamim Ecology Centre, Bathurst and are co-facilitated by Sally Neaves, Sustainability Educator at Rahamim and Patricia Powell rsm, Rahamim's Acting Executive Director.

After a great deal of sifting, we named our focus as ‘Ecology’, in the sense of awakening and remembering that we are all interconnected and that all issues we try to solve (human or natural world issues) stem from the basic illusion of separation or lack of awareness of connectedness.

Messages to: Adele Howard rsm - MIRP Coordinator ISMAPNG

Image: Back row. L-r: Helen Bergen, Paula Smith rsm, Roz Townsend, Michael Cutts, Elesha Elbourne.
Front row. L-r: Robert McAlary, Fr Paul Devitt, Ann-Maree O’Beirne rsm, Hedy Bryant, Pat Cutts,  Patrick Bradbury

Three groups met in Brisbane on 14 May to engage in Stage 2 of the MIRProcess. We revisited Stage 1 and set the scene for the people who were attending for the first time.  We situated the analysis against the backdrop of the Anthropocene, the new geological era which takes its name from the dominance of humans over even geological processes.  We asked ourselves if humans are controlling the world!

We constructed our problem trees, individually, as a small group, and then shared our insights with one another in the whole group.  One theme which emerged loudly was society’s obsession with “stuff”-with acquiring it regardless of the cost to others, of going to war for it, of making political decision based on it, of basing our very identity on having more and more of it.   As one group said, “We want the biggest and the best, and then we throw away the rest”.  People and Earth itself are sacrificed in the pursuit of stuff...

Messages to: Mary Tinney rsm -  Key Facilitator Northern Community ISMAPNG

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Meet the Members of the Wooloowin, Brisbane Group (Brisbane Congregation)

Seven Sisters of Mercy who live in the Wooloowin area [an inner-north suburb of Brisbane] form the Wooloowin  Group .Their facilitator is Sr Joan MacGinley

The issue the group has chosen is the effects of coal seam gas mining in the Darling Downs agricultural region.

Messages to: Sandra Lupi rsm - MIRP Coordinator Brisbane Congregation

Image: Seated from left: Srs Elizabeth Pointing, Patricia Plint, Christine Gabbett,  Joan MacGinley
Standing from Left: Srs Margaret O'Donoghue, Mary Murphy and Mary O'Donoghue absent from the picture is Dolores Creevey

MIA Members News

'Ten years after the sale of Mercy Hospital to UPMC was set in motion, the mission of Pittsburgh’s Sisters of Mercy has transitioned — not to something new — but back to its 1843 origins: walking the streets to provide aid to the sick and needy.

The literal manifestation of that is Operation Safety Net, the internationally acclaimed effort by internal medicine physician Jim Withers and a group of volunteers to tend to Pittsburgh’s homeless, taking medical expertise to those who huddle in the doorways, on heating grates and under bridges.

But that is only the iceberg tip of a Pittsburgh Mercy organization that no longer has a hospital but still serves the needy in more than 60 locations, from subsidized apartments and private homes, to one of 12 walk-in clinics, in the mobile medical unit or at the family health center on the South Side...'

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Messages to: Linda K. Ross - Director of Communications Pittsburgh Mercy

Read More

A festive celebration was held on 21 April in Manchester, New Hampshire, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Manchester Immigration Project, which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy of the Northeast Community. Sisters, adult learners from diverse countries and cultures, former students, children, staff and supporters came together to recognize all that the Project has accomplished.

Since 2006, about 400 persons from nearly 30 countries have participated in English classes organized by the Sisters of Mercy, and over 100 have become U.S. citizens...

Messages to: Manchester Immigration Project c/- Alice Poltorick - Director of Communications Northeast Community

Image: Anastasia Smith rsm, a founder of the Manchester Immigration Project, and Adama Jallah, who hails
from Sierra Leone.

Read More
Support the Sign-on Letter to Women in the US Senate to co-sponsor S. 1968 (The Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015) (Americas)

 US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) are asking for a concerted effort to achieve a legislative goal, to urge all twenty  women Senators to co-sponsor S. 1968 (The Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015.)

Please click on this link to read the letter and sign-on by 10 June

This letter is open to endorsement by Catholic Sisters, Associates, colleagues, co-workers, friends, family members, students and allied organizations.

Messages to: USCSAHT c/- Jeanne Christensen rm - USCSAHT Legislative Advocacy Work Group

On Friday 22 April, the sod was turned for McAuley College, Beaudesert [some 91 kilometres (57 mi) south of Brisbane], the newest Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. 

Pam Betts, Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education acknowledged the presence of the Sisters of Mercy saying ...' the Sisters of Mercy have been a presence here in Beaudesert for more than a century. In naming the college after Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, their presence will continue to inspire and guide. We are very grateful to the Sisters for their ongoing interest in this new venture and for their willingness to be involved in whatever way they can.'

Messages to: Mary Lawson rsm - Brisbane Congregation Leadership Team

Image: L-r: Srs Rosaleen Carroll, Bernadette Ahearn and Mary Lawson at the blessing of the McAuley College Beaudesert site

Read More
Mercy Matters

CREA (Center - Reflection-Education-Action) is a social economic research and education organization headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. A small organization, CREA works in partnership with other organizations around the world as well as with members of the CREA Collaborative.

CREA works on a spectrum of issues, all based upon our belief in the inherent dignity of each and all human beings, individually or in family and community.

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On 11 May Google announced new updates to its app, Google Translate. These include:

-iOS users now joining Android users in being able to use its Offline Mode (52 language packages you can download in advance for use without data or Wi-Fi includiung the newly added Filipino language pack).

-Chinese has become the 29th language available for instant visual translation—focus the camera on the text you want to translate, and the app transforms the characters (both simplified and traditional) into English.

Download from the App Store (iOS)

Download app on Google Play


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We all Need Mercy

'We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it's necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and—perhaps—we all need some measure of unmerited grace.

- Bryan Stevenson, 'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption'

1950: Dedication of Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy, Albany

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

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'The opening sentence of today’s gospel touches something very deep in human experience. Jesus tells his disciples: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”...'

- Veronica Lawson rsm

Read More

'Tender Courage: A Brief Sketch of the First Sister of Mercy' by M. Joanna Regan rsm (Americas) was published in 1978 by Gwynedd-Mercy University (then College) to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Catherine McAuley.

Copies can also be purchased in person or online for 3 euro plus postage from the MIC Gift Shop.

Read More
Further Resources

Worth Reading:

UISG (International Union Superiors General)
Program, Speakers bios, Presentations and Table sharing given at the UISG Assembly, Rome, 9- 13 May 2016 on the theme 'Weaving Global Solidarity for Life' are available online here


The issue of May Update (newsletter) can be downloaded here (11pps; PDF)
Copies of Summer 2016 Occasional Papers on 'Living Transformation' available for order by 1 June

Cosmology and Eco-justice

-Fracking: 'New Fracking Study Finds Children at Greater Risk of Respiratory Health Problems'. Read the article (includes link to the Study) here

-Plants: 'The State of the World's Plants', a report put together by botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, England,represents a status report on our knowledge of global vegetation as it stands in 2016, revealing that one in five of the world's plants is at risk of extinction from a range of factors, including climate change and land cover change. Visit the site here. Download the report here (PDF)

-Flooding: To mark the start of Christian Aid Week, a new report launched on Monday by the charity highlights the world cities most at risk from future coastal flooding. 'Act Now Or Pay Later: Protecting a billion people in climate-threatened coastal cities', shows that more than a billion people are set to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060 through a combination of sea level rise, storm surges and extreme weather. Read the report here (16 pps; PDF)

Opposing Human Trafficking

The May issue of Stop Trafficking!, the newsletter co-sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, focuses on labor trafficking and forced labor. Read it here (8 pps; PDF)

Worth Playing:

'Spirit of Life' by Carolyn McDade. Video reflection for this Pentecost Season by Michelle Sherliza op here (02:45)

Worth Knowing:

Elizabeth A Johnson CSJ. New works:

'Turning to the Heavens and the Earth: Theological Reflections on a Cosmological Conversion: Essays in Honor of Elizabeth A. Johnson'  by Julia Brumbaugh (Editor), Natalia Imperatori-Lee (Editor), Mary Catherine Hilkert OP (Foreword) . Liturgical Press.  Paperback – 15 May, 2016. Description. Reviews etc here

'The Strength of her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women' by Elizabeth A Johnson (Author, Editor). Orbis Books. Kindle and Paperback - 8 June, 2016. Description and Table of Contents here

Worth Watching:

Naomi Klein: 'Let them Drown - The Violence of Othering in a Warming World', the  Edward W Said London Lecture, 4 May 2016. Focus: 'The climate crisis and the central role that systems that rank the relative value of humans – including but not limited to white supremacy, patriarchy and Orientalism – have played in creating and deepening that crisis.' Watch it here (48:04).

The Bottom Line:

'I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.'
- Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), 16th President of the United States

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)