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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 681  |  27 July 2016
Featured Story

Editor: 30 July 2016 marks the third World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Each year since its inception we have highlighted this day in Mercy eNews because the issue of human trafficking is a focus addressed by all Mercy Congregations and Institutes - a Mercy global action.

In preparation for this year's commemoration, the human trafficking section of our mercyworld.org website has been updated with detailed reports prepared by Catherine Gibbons rsm (The Congregation) MGA Volunteer at MIC.

We invite you to take time this week to read on the human trafficking section of our website about the work your congregation or institute is undertaking in this area; to visit the website of one of the organisations where Mercy Sisters and our partners-in-Ministry are actively engaged, and to pray with us for an end to human trafficking.

For an overview of how women religious have united to address human trafficking, the article by Anne Victory, HM and Ann Oestreich, IHM, members of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT), an organisation to which many US Mercy Sisters, Associates and Colleagues belong, makes for informative reading here

Messages to:
Working Group Against Trafficking in Humans c/- Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action
Catherine Gibbons rsm - Mercy Global Action Volunteer

Image: iStock. Used under licence

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Vision in Action
MIA Prayer Intention: An End to Human Trafficking

'God, rich in mercy, Catherine McAuley reminded us that “If we love You, we will undoubtedly love our neighbor also; they are as cause and effect.”

We pray that our love for You will give us the fortitude to work for an end to slavery for all our sisters and brothers. Give us the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those enslaved in our world today, so that like St Josephine Bakhita, all may be called fortunate. This we ask in your name. Amen'

Source: The MGA Working Group Opposing Human Trafficking Awareness Raising Prayer Service 2015

Download the Prayer Service here: A4 paper size (8pps; PDF); US Letter Size (8 pps; PDF)

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: iStock. Used under licence

MIA Special Prayer Intention: World Youth Day 2016

We pray with our students, parishioners and community members who are participating in World Youth Day 2016 (25 - 31 July  2016 ) in Kraków, Poland.

May the experience of this global gathering on the theme 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy' (Mt 5:7) be a wonderful experience of unity, connection, purpose, inspiration and faith for these young people.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Reflection Process
Meet Sisters & Co-workers from Oklahoma City, Participants in MIRP (Americas)

Standing by the display of fish aquarium and photos of different ocean life, members of the Sisters of Mercy Convent, Oklahoma City and Co-workers show appreciation and concern for our Earth and clean water.  The Sisters gathered for reflection around a display encouraging water conservation, clean drinking water and a clean ocean.  Prayer cards for the Ocean were shared and signs were posted requesting no use of plastic water bottles and to conserve water.  The group consists of 10 Sisters, occasional co-workers and 1 interested Associate who meet on Fridays for reflection.

Download the Prayer Card for the Ocean (PDF)

Messages to: Marianne Comfort - MIRP Coordinator Americas

Image. L-r: Sister M. Emerita Stoulig, Joyce Scott, Sister M. deLima Hoffman, Sister M. Claver Young, Sister M. Charlene Stephan, and Sister M. Elena Gonzalez

Meet the Members of the Religious Sisters of Mercy Philippines MIRP Team (Philippines)

Our MIRP Team is composed of three Sisters, five teachers and five college students of Holy Infant College, Tacloban City, meeting twice a month.

We decided to take pollution as a focal issue for reflection and action, particularly in places where our students and employees and other lay partners in the mercy ministry frequently visit.  The pollution is seen as lack of sensitivity to the cry of the earth and it can cause illnesses which the poor are prone to contract. 

We created the acronym “WARM” which stands for Welcoming the Awareness of our Resources through Mercying.  As we welcome an unfolding awareness of the natural resources we are surrounded with in God’s mercy.

Messages to: Carmela Cabactulan rsm - MIRP Coordinator Philippines

Image: Front L-r: Srs Carmela Cabactulan, Lucy Marie Parena, Marian Ladrera (Congregation Leader) with Staff and Students

Accessing MIRP Stage Three: VOICES

Editor: For the past month, since launching the MIRP VOICES site online, we have kept the VOICES graphic as the central image on the homepage of our mercyworld.org website.

This week we return to our practice of highlighting the weekly eNews Feature article in that central space.

A reminder that the VOICES site can be accessed in a number of ways:
-from the button under 'MIA Initiatives' on the right-handside of the www.mercyworld.org homepage
-by the URLS www.mirpvoices.org and www.mirpvideos.org

Two additional pages have been added to the MIRP VOICES site:

- 'About VOICES' (under Background)
- 'Resources Cited by the Speakers' (under News & Reports)

Messages to: Anne Walsh- Director of MIRP Communications

Meet Members from the Formation in the New Cosmology Circle Participants in MIRP (Newfoundland)

Hope: We hope this process raises our consciousness of Mercy-ing and has a realistic impact individually and globally for justice (with an awareness of its cost).

Back Row: L-R: Linda Maher, Tomi Cleal, Irene Neville rsm, Anne Curtis (Facilitator), Elizabeth Marrie, rsm, Gerri Stapleton

Seated: L-R: Rita Janes and Elizabeth Hanrahan

Missing: Mona Rumboldt, rsm

Messages to: Elizabetrh Marrie rsm - MIRP Coordinator Newfoundland

MIA Members News

The Western Province of The Congregation will host a pilgrimage to St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, Ireland to mark the Year of Mercy. This pilgrimage takes place on Saturday afternoon 6th August  from 3.00- 5.30 p.m.  It will be conducted by Deirdre McKenna rsm and Peter McVerry sj.

The pilgrimage is open to people from anywhere in Ireland, or beyond, should you be able to join us.  All are Welcome. Please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested.

The story of the rebirth and rising of St Mel’s Cathedral from rubble and ashes has a particular significance for us in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.  It reminds us of God’s faithful and transforming love. It will be an opportunity to place all our burdens in the hands of God who consoles, comforts and instils hope...

Messages to: the Western Province Pilgrimage Planning Team c/-Teresina Daly rsm

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"I am a teacher. ... I do so in the hope that my efforts will contribute to the efforts of others who also are trying to get people to think about how we relate to Jews and Judaism, to those who are not 'us' so that when we are faced with having to help, we do not avert our eyes or turn our backs but reach out and help."

Camille D'Arienzo rsm, in her latest conversation column in National Catholic reporter (NCR), interviews Carol Rittner rsm, Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies Emerita and Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies Emerita, Stockton University, Pomona, New Jersey. In the interview Sr Carol traces for us her journey of understanding.

Messages to: Carol Rittner rsm

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Editor: Sisters of Mercy of the Americas are among thousands of Catholic Sisters across the United States signing on to the online LCWR letter to the presidential candidates, 'calling for civility in our discourse and decency in our political interaction that reaches out to others, engages in constructive dialogue, and promotes the common good'.

The target of 4,000 signatures has been exceeded but Sisters in the US can still sign on. You are invited to circulate this link tinyurl.com/htpeqdn to women religious across the US who may also like to sign on.

The online letter is linked to this item.

LCWR Public Statement Calling for Civil Discourse can be read here

Messages to: Annmarie Sanders, IHM - LCWR Associate Director for Communications

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Mater Children's Private Brisbane urological surgeon Dr David Winkle has changed the future for a Ugandan toddler affectionately known as Baby Sam. 

Sam was abandoned at a Ugandan hospital just after birth and suffers from the rare developmental abnormality bladder exstrophy which resulted in his bladder developing on the outside of his body....

Five weeks after surgery, Sam is on the road to recovery with doctors pleased with his progress but aware there will be a need for ongoing care and surgery down the track....

This story aired on tv Channel Ten's The Project on 7 July. Watch the news report here (04:33)

Messages to: Veena Herron - Senior Marketing Communications Officer, Mater Health Services Brisbane

Image: Dr Winkle and Baby Sam

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Mercy Investment Services welcomed  the actions of the US State Department in giving the governments of both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan downgrades to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released on 30 June.

Officials forced more than a million Uzbek citizens to grow and harvest cotton under threat of penalty including loss of work or social security benefits, expulsion from school, and fines. Teachers, medical professionals and other public servants are particularly impacted, and public services such as education and healthcare are severely limited during the cotton harvest. 'Progress towards fulfilling a state’s duty to protect its citizens’ right to freedom from forced labor must start with the state itself not using forced labor. We now urge the US government to use the report rankings to press the Uzbek and Turkmen governments to eliminate state-orchestrated forced labor in their cotton sectors', said Pat Zerega, senior director of shareholder advocacy, Mercy Investment Services.

Messages to: Pat Zerega

Editor: View your country's narrative in the 2016 TIP Report here

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Meet New Faces of Mercy (Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand)

Some of the newer members of the Sisters of Mercy recently gathered for a weekend to share something of their Mercy journey and hopes for the future. They are five young women from five different countries: China, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.  Their professional lives are just as varied and have led them to social work, dermatology, refugee and asylum seeker support work in detention centres, youth work, circus arts, horticulture, pastoral care and hospital chaplaincy.

Mercy theologian Jan Gray (ISMAPNG) presented some challenging sessions on 'Living Vows in the 21st Century'. Sharing their experiences of participating in or leading sessions of the Mercy International Reflection Process in different parts of Australia and New Zealand also proved very interesting. There was further discussion on the questionnaire sent out by Mercy International Centre to the Under 60s and a commitment by the group to the importance of networking across the Mercy world to strengthen our identity as Mercy International.

Messages to: Joan Doyle rsm - Director of Initial Formation ISMAPNG


Image: L-r: Srs Katrina Zhang (Parramatta), Mai Nguyen-Doan (ISMAPNG), Elizabeth Young (ISMAPNG), Jeanette Mathers (ANZ), Michelle Goh (ISMAPNG).

This year, as so many people have been forced to flee their home countries because of wars and extreme suffering, one of our presidential candidates has declared that Muslims should not be allowed in the United States because of their supposed violent actions. In this statement, he labels all Muslims as violent, because of the actions of a few. But as Sisters of Mercy we are committed to the dignity of each person, regardless of race or religion...

Messages to: Kathleen Turley rsm

Learn more about Mercy acting in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors during Ramadan.

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'[T]the hospital community is uniquely positioned to tackle the greatest global health threat of our time: climate change. Within and beyond hospital walls, leaders are needed to address climate disruptions threatening the delivery and sustainability of health care while mitigating the impact climate change has on human health and the environment...

Climate change is real, touching all who share Earth. It has a severe, detrimental impact on human health and the natural world that sustains life. It exacerbates inequality worldwide. The poor, elderly and vulnerable are disproportionately affected. They contribute far less to the climate problem, but they are hit hard...' write Sr. Mary Ellen Leciejewski, op, Rachelle Reyes Wenger, MPA, and Sr. Susan Vickers rsm in the May-June Issue 2016 of  Health Progress, a publication of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Messages to: Susan Vickers rsm -Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Dignity Health, San Francisco

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Mercy Matters

'While the tweets and tirades can easily overwhelm, I still think they’re doing more good than harm: that grieving together online can serve as a contemporary reimagining of an ancient Christian discipline... online media in the wake of tragedy...may, if we allow it, be a modern means of activating an ancient genre: a particular subset of human sorrow.

In the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, it’s called misericordia: often translated as pity, mercy, or compassion...'

Source: Commonweal

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Like food, fashion is a global industry that people have no choice but to take part in, simply because clothes are a necessity. And as with food, many of us in the wealthy world are over-consuming fashion—draining natural resources, polluting rivers with dyes, stuffing our closets, and filling landfills with an unprecedented amount of unwanted clothing...

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1857: St Mary's Hospital, San Francisco - first Catholic Hospital in far-west
1902: Foundation to Toowong, Queensland - M Patrick Potter
1985: Union of Sisters of Mercy of Diocese of Waterford/Lismore - MJ Sheehy

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

Editor: A Video telling the story of St Mary's is this week's featured Mercy resource

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 'Every faithful Jew and every faithful Christian knows that “the earth belongs to God and all that is in it” (Psalm 24)...'

- Veronica Lawson rsm

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Mary Kilgariff RSM, MSN, Liaison for Community health at St Mary's Medical Center, the oldest continuously operating hospital in San Francisco, talks about the rich history of San Francisco and how health care started with the Sisters of Mercy, sponsors of Dignity Health and St. Mary's Medical Center (19:45)

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Sisters of Mercy and our Partners-in-Mercy are actively involved in a number of organisations opposing trafficking in persons.

A list of the websites of these organisations is linked to this item.

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Don't Walk Away (Human Trafficking Song) by Meg Ammons. Watch/listen here (04:35)

Worth Reading:
The August - September issue of Update, LCWR's newsletter, is now online and can be read here (9pps; PDF)

Human Trafficking

The Holy See at the United Nations: Eliminating the trafficking of children and young people, 19.07.2016 can be read here

Worth Knowing:
At last week’s United Nations SDG talks in New York, the SDG Index & Dashboards – Global Report was launched. The purpose of the report is to help countries identify the gaps that must be closed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and to identify priorities for early action

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the UK's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues also released a report 'Leaving no one behind' outlining the actions that governments can take in the first 1,000 days of the SDGs to respond to what poor people want and to deliver for the most marginalised people and groups. Access the report in full (62pps; PDF) report in summary (10pps; PDF) watch the accompanying video (02:39)

Worth Considering:

Sabbatical opportunities

Retirement for Mission Sabbatical (3 March - 8 April 2017) at St Joseph’s Centre for Reflective Living, Baulkham Hills, NSW, Australia. Presenters include Maria Cimperman rscj; Catherine Shelton sosj and Elizabeth Dowling rsm. Download the brochure (PDF)

Sabbatical for Senior Sisters (25 January - 10 March 2017) at Mercy Spirituality Centre Auckland facilitated by Cathryn Wiles-Pickard rsm. Download the flyer (PDF)

The Bottom Line:

' Ending modern slavery isn’t just a fight we should attempt—it is a fight we can and must win.'

- John Kerry, US Secretary of State, Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2016


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)