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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 675  |  15 June 2016
Featured Story

Editor: Today sees us midway through Laudato Si' Week (12-19 June), planned in celebration of the first anniversary of the release of the encyclical Laudato Si' which can 'serve as guidelines for the Church and the World, in the care of our common home' (Cardinal Parolin).  As shared in Mercy eNews previously (Issue #669, 4 May 2016), the GCCM anniversary site offers very helpful resources for those engaged in the early stages of the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP), as well as for all who are interested in exploring the encyclical. Our MIRP microsite offers a wealth of rich resources on the encyclical for personal reflection and education, drawn from a variety of sources and presented in multiple formats.

Today we publish on our website reflections on the significance of Laudato Si' from Margaret Twomey rsm (The Congregation) and Patricia Powell rsm (ISMAPNG).

'The hallmark of Laudato Si is its lyrical and spiritual tone making it a deeply personal document. It invites us to deepen and broaden our sense of the divine in all of creation,' writes Margaret Twomey rsm. 'A bold statement coming out of the appreciation of a new cosmology or understanding of reality based on contemporary scientific discovery... a call to ecological conversion writ large', says Patricia Powell rsm.

Readers of Mercy eNews are invited to post your comments online in response to these reflections and to the encyclical, having now lived with it for twelve months.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: Laudato Si' 1st Anniversary © MIA 2016. MIA would be delighted to have this logo used by Mercy Congregations and Institutes, communities and ministries in promotion of this day, this week, the encyclical. Email: the Editor.

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Vision in Action

Free trade is usually defined as the absence of tariffs and quotas, allowing each country to specialize in the goods it can produce cheaply and efficiently relative to other countries.  Trade agreements can affect a huge range of laws and programmes that determine how our economies work, how we grow and sell food and who benefits – or loses. 

In the 1990s, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was formed to harmonise cross-border regulations on everything from cars to pharmaceuticals and to cut tariffs in order to promote the free flow of goods and services around the world. While Trade agreements were seen as a panacea for global poverty, there was always a fear that lower tariffs would favour the rich and powerful while crucifying small producers struggling to compete in an unprotected environment...

Messages to: Betty Lacey - Researcher Mercy Global Action

Image: Khalil Bendib. Used under licence

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Resources for World Refugee Day: 20 June

'Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again.'
-Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has organised a petition to be delivered to UN headquarters in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting on 19 September. Add your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility.

Some new/recent resources that could be used for marking this day:

'He was alone.' Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) sings a track that mixes the fear and desperation of child refugees with hopeful dreams of rainbows, white horses and a return home. Watch/listen here (03:49)

'Still The Most Shocking Second A Day'. Ad from Save the Children (UK) which imagines a young British girl fleeing war in the U.K. and embarking on a dangerous journey. Watch it here (01:56)

The dangerous boat ride to Greece through the eyes of a Syrian refugee girl | UNICEF. Watch here (03:15)

'The Sea Cemetery: In Memory of Syrian Refugees.' A floating cemetery has been created in memory of thousands of Syrian refugees that have drowned on their perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Visit here (01:33)

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

As a Mercy Community we pray with those in need of prayer

God of love and mercy, touch with your healing power and restore to full health: Anne Kelly rsm, Nadine A MeGee 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

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MIA Prayer Intention for the Coming Week: Prayer for the Earth

Our shared prayer throughout and until the conclusion of the International Reflection Process (8 December 2015 - 12 December 2016) is the prayer for the Earth: English; Spanish

As we celebrate the first anniversary of the release of Laudato Si', in this Laudato Si week, let us do so with renewed commitment and energy to take greater care of the Earth and of each other, particularly the vulnerable and marginalised.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Special Prayer Intention: Victims of Orlando, Florida, Nightclub Mass Shooting

Mercy International Association joins our Sisters, Associates and partners-in-Mercy in the United States in prayers and heartfelt sympathy with the relatives, friends and community members for the deceased and wounded victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.

We also hold in our prayer all whose lives have been changed forever by recent acts of senseless violence in their neighbourhoods and all who have been affected by the gun deaths in the US this year.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Come Home to Catherine (2) in 2016

Mary Trainer rsm (Americas) and Anne Reid (Ireland) will facilitate the August programme, an opportunity to pray with Catherine in her places and spaces, and to walk in her footsteps through the city of Dublin reflecting on her life and ministry. There will be input and time to reflect on and reconnect with Catherine, the tender woman of mercy who continues to inspire and journey with us towards God.

Cost: €570 (residential) €390 (non-residential).

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

MIA Reflection Process
Members of Maine Group Share Progress on MIRP (Americas)

At our last meeting we continued to discuss non-violence and ways to promote it.

Nancy Innes shared a Pax Christi book on alternatives to violence. It has a parent/child workshop that we might be able to do at St. Anne's.

Jackie shared about Rosenberg's Non-violent communication workshop and book. She did the workshop at UNE here in Portland many summers ago.  Technique is good. You need to practice with others to grow in use.

We had a general discussion of the many ways we experience violence today: the pipeline/fracking, poisoned land/air in low income areas, language in politics,

Positives - Mercy Farm, Ecology position in Northeast, effort at group meetings to use recycled materials

Ellen wonders what we could do for education at our hospital....

We will each seek Mercy writings and gospel support for our issue as we continue to consider project.

Image: Standing. L-r-:Cindy McCormack, Sr. Ellen Turner, Sr Jackie Moreau
Front: Sr Patricia Pora, Nancy Innes. Nancy and Cindy are St Anne parishioners

Messages to: Marianne Comfort - MIRP Coordinator Americas

Meet the MIRP Members at Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation Office (Brisbane Congregation)

A group from the Brisbane Congregation Office have met now on three occasions, each time engaging with and reflecting upon the words of Pope Francis in both the Prayer for our Earth and the messages contained in Laudato Si’ – On Care For Our Common Home. 

After raising a number of diverse and varied issues, our conversation led us back to the words of our prayer ‘A Prayer for our Earth’ and our Office mission statement and values.  From here our discussion and focus turned toward the dignity of the human person in particular … ‘the abandoned and forgotten of this earth’. 

Appreciating ‘the abandoned and forgotten of this earth’ is a wide focus area for consideration, the group intends to become more informed over upcoming weeks with the view of narrowing our focus even more.  Some early examples from our discussion included: elderly people suffering isolation and loneliness; women, men and children whose lives changes through unexpected misfortune or circumstance; those without shelter and warmth this winter.

Messages to: Sandra Lupi rsm - MIRP Coordinator Brisbane Congregation

Image: Front Row. L-r: Liz Orupold, Kerrie Breen, Sr Mary Lawson
Back Row. L-r:Trish Dyson, Susan Duggan, Katrina Shears, Nicola Gaylor, Alice-Anne Boylan, Louise Moncrieff

MIA Members News

'Sister Helen Amos likes to tell the story about the magnet on her refrigerator that instructs her to “do one thing today that scares you.” Her audience will laugh at the all-too-human insight, but perhaps it’s also reassuring to imagine that something of this world might scare her — few of the many challenges she has faced in her lifetime seem to have done that.

Surely no Baltimorean has demonstrated the combination of compassion and leadership that has defined Sister Helen’s career — both during her 57 years as a Sister of Mercy and the decades she has spent leading Mercy Medical Center...'

Source: The Baltimore Sun

Messages to: Helen Amos rsm

Editor: Mercy Medical Center Baltimore is this week's featured Mercy website

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Reading Luke's Gospel With Ecological Eyes: Part 5 (ISMAPNG)

In the fifth part of the series published in Tui Motu, Elaine Wainwright rsm interprets the story of Martha and Mary, pointing out the time, space and social aspects woven into the narrative.

Martha and Mary's story in Luke’s Gospel (10: 38–42) 'focuses predominantly on human interrelationships. So while an ecological reading will be attentive to those relationships, it will also seek to hear the voice of the other-than human that may be present in the storytelling, even if only subtly,' writes Sr Elaine.

Download the PDF here
Read Parts 1-5 online here

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

Editor: a PDF of the complete series will be published in Mercy eNews in December 2016

Image: Christ at the home of Mary and Martha. Henry Ossawa Tanner 1905. Public domain

In Ireland this year we are celebrating the centenary of the 1916 Rising. From the richness of materials available so much can be gleaned, but of the many aspects of Rising 1916, some of which are controversial, I wish to single out one truth, that  the Rebellion’s  main  leaders – Patrick Pearse, Thomas McDonagh and Joseph Mary Plunkett – were not men at arms but  writers, poets and visionaries of a literary bent, who were steeped in the Catholicism of their time. Many of us who were schooled in  mid 20th century would have learnt  Plunkett’s well-wrought poem by heart. Did we know then what we were learning? Did we ask who Plunkett was?  Did we wonder how a  tubercular twenty-three year old could write such a mystical and sacrificial poem on Christ?...

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm

Image: Joseph Mary Plunkett. Wikipedia. Public Domain

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The latest and largest document to come from Pope Francis is his book, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), which is his considered response to two gatherings of the World Synod of Catholic bishops, held in 2014 and 2015 and devoted to family life and love.

Of special interest for any who are involved in Mercy’s ministries is a section in Chapter Eight of the pope’s book, where he talks about how pastors are to accompany and care for people whose lives are compromised in their efforts to love. It’s a section called “The logic of pastoral mercy”, and as the title suggests, Francis writes to strike a balance between maintaining the highest ideals without dimming the light and truth of the Gospel and, at the same time, supporting and encouraging those who reach beyond failure and breakdown towards a wholeness that is sometimes hard to achieve...

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

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Mercy Matters

'When leaders fail, you need look no further for the cause than mercy,' says Jim Bright, professor of career education and development at ACU. 'When people fail, mercy is too often seen as an optional response, in the gift of the more powerful, and too often confused with weakness and leniency.

This misconception is not only fundamental but it is guaranteed to derail individuals, leaders and organisations. It is time to put the 10-point business case for mercy...'

Source: Brisbane Times

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Catherine McAuley had a dream and she was confident that God’s merciful work would endure through each of us. Our doctors, nurses and staff and the service they provide our patients are the most important elements in living out our mission. Each day, we are reminded of the values inspired by the Sisters of Mercy and their vision – they are our gifts – and each day we continue to put these gifts to work and bring them to life in all that we do.

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A special issue of Scarboro Missions magazine for the Year of Mercy (24pps; PDF). Amongst the articles can be found the following:
-'The quality of mercy in Judaism' -Rabbi Miriam Margles (p10)
-'A Christian understanding of mercy' -Murray Watson (p12)
-'The concept of mercy in Islam' - Dr. Hamid Slim (p14)

The issue also includes Sr Mary Wickham's poem 'Mercy is' (p22)

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1898: Ministry began in workhouse, Mullingar, Co Westmeath - M Raphael O’Reilly

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

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Inspired by this episode of The West Wing, James Talmage and Damon Maneice created The True Size. This web app lets you drag-and-drop different countries on a world map and see how they shrink or grow on a standard Mercator Projection map.

For all who love maps and for students of geography.

NB: Fans of The West Wing can listen to an episode by episode discussion of the seven season series. The podcast is available from iTunes and on The West Wing Weekly website

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'The mention of prayer in Luke is always a signal that something momentous is about to happen...'

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Further Resources

Worth playing:

In celebration of Laudato Si'  week :Canticle of the Sun (Marty Haugen) Reflection by Michelle Sherliza OP. Watch/listen here (03:30).

Worth Reading:

Poverty and Hunger

Pope Francis urged increased commitment to the fight for Zero hunger in his Address to the Executive Board of the UN World Food Programme in Rome, 13 June: 'We need to “de-naturalize” extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face!.' . Read the text here

Worth Knowing:

Global Day of Demanding Justice for Berta Cáceres, 15 June

Srs Rose Marie Tresp and Deborah Kern and Jean Stokan, Director of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team are interviewed in an article published this morning in Global Sisters Report. Read it here


Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's report -provides background and recommendations in preparation for the high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, to be held on 19 September 2016. Access the report here (27 pps; PDF)

The Bottom Line:

'...there is much to be learned from Catholic Social Thought, I think, for the present situation. Pope Francis in Laudato Si', that has rightly been compared with Rerum Novarum, has added yet another topic, that was long overdue, forcefully: the ecology combined with an in-depth reflection on the need for and the ambivalence of technical progress. Without it life— not to speak of a decent life— is not possible for the about 7.5 billion humans inhabiting the planet...

What is most admirable in Laudato Si' is that despite its realism it does not create an atmosphere of despair...'

-Ingeborg Gabriel, Head of the Department Social Ethics at the University of Vienna/Austria and Vice President of Justice and Peace Europe, 'From Rerum Novarum (1891) to Laudato Si’ (2015)– Catholic social teaching as a reference to social and ecological welfare'. Keynote speech on the Occasion of the 125th anniversary of Rerum Novarum. 3 May 2016 (7pps; 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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