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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 701  |  07 December 2016
Featured Story

Editor: Throughout 2016 we have been fortunate to publish the long-form writing of many of our Mercy authors. Some of these articles originated as presentations for other audiences; others were originally published elsewhere; the remainder were written for Mercy eNews at our invitation.

We are grateful to:Srs Mary C. Sullivan (Americas), Mary Reynolds (MIA), Cheryl Camp (ISMAPNG), Elizabeth Julian (ANZ), Mary Wickham (ISMAPNG), Helena O'Donoghue (The Congregation), Elizabeth Dowling (ISMAPNG), Marie Farrell (ISMAPNG), Margaret A. Farley (Americas), Sheila Carney (Americas), Brenda Dolphin (The Congregation), Marilyn Sunderman (Americas). Their articles have resonated, nourished, inspired and challenged us over the course of 2016 as we sought to address ‘the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor’ in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The individual articles are linked to this item. The complete collection can also be downloaded. Both formats will remain available beyond this year.

We look forward to bringing our readers more such memorable long-form writing in 2017 and would be delighted to hear from any of our Mercy readership who feel able to contribute in this way as 'the work of Mercy goes on' (MIA).

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


Image: © 2016 MIA

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Vision in Action
Foundation Day: Live-streaming from Baggot Street; Invitation to Share Reports of Your Local Celebrations

The Foundation Day prayer service conducted at Baggot Street on 11 December will be live- streamed here on the mercyworld.org website so that all the Mercy family can join in the celebrations via computer or mobile device.

The Livestream will take place at 3pm on Sunday, 11 December. You can check the time and date the live stream will start in your area by clicking here. The version of the Ritual to be used can be downloaded here:

Single page view (12pps; PDF); Printer ready view (6pps; PDF)

The live stream will be archived here on the mercyworld.org website for later viewing by those for whom the live streaming occurs at an inconvenient hour.

A reminder that reports of local Foundation Day celebrations and end of MIRP celebrations are most welcome for publishing in eNews and on our mercyworld.org website.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Prayer: for Human Rights

This week when we mark Human Rights Day, let us pray for all those who do not enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear or freedom from want. So many people in our world are denied these basic human rights.

God of justice and mercy, inspire us with the courage and conviction necessary to stand up for the rights of all people to dignity and respect. Give us the strength to plead the cause of the oppressed and marginalised among us: refugees and asylum seekers, the trafficked, the exploited, the victims of domestic violence and the violence of being unwanted. Move us to see the needs of our sisters and brothers and our common home and help us to find ways to address these.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Image: iStock. Used under licence

A Day of Prayer with a focus on the plight of refugees and migrants will take place across the United States on December 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Editor: Each week during the Jubilee Year of Mercy we've included a resource in the Mercy Matters section of our weekly newsletter in the form of a book title, a quote, a reflection, a song or a video link.

The complete list (4 pages) of those resources can be accessed on our website and is linked to this item.

Messages to: the Editor

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#16Days16Stories:Trafficked Women and Girls in Their Own Words, the collaborative project of MGA at the UN and Good Shepherd, concludes this week on Saturday, 10 December, Human Rights Day with the story of Teresita.

Messages to:

Angela Reed rsm - MGA Interim Coordinator at the UN
Colleen Cloonan - MGA intern

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Invitation: Send in Your Christmas Greeting for Posting on Mercyworld.org (Reminder)

As we bring this Jubilee Year of Mercy to its conclusion, we invite you to share a Christmas greeting with the global Mercy community

Send in your greetings - text or text and image - by Friday, 16 December. The last issue of Mercy eNews for 2016 will be published on Monday, 19 December.

Messages to: the Editor

MGA Leaflet on SDG #16 Now Available

Editor: Of the 17 global goals, Mercy Global Action (MGA) has so far identified eight as most relevant to the mission of the Sisters of Mercy - Goals: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13,16. Over the next twelve months, we will hear more from Mercy Global Action about each of these goals and how we can take action.

This week MGA has released a leaflet on Goal 16, designed to coincide with UN Human Rights Day (10 December). It can be downloaded here (2 pps; PDF)

This third leaflet is an accompaniment to the MGA leaflet introducing the SDGs (2pps; PDF) and the leaflet addressing Goals 1 and 2 (2pps; PDF).

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director MIA, Mercy Global Action

Editor: The focus of the 2030 Agenda on inclusiveness underscores the need to identify who is being left behind and in what ways. This is what the Report on the World Social Situation 2016 sets out to do. The Report can be downloaded here (PDF).

MIA Reflection Process

This online international graduate certificate is a collaboration with Saint Joseph’s [Mercy] College Maine and the Instituto Laudato Si’ in Granada, Spain.

This certificate is inspired by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and the social teachings of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI...

The certificate enables students to understand Pope Francis’ teaching that we must all discover our vocation of being a “protector” of God’s earth and its creatures, respecting the environment in which we live.

View course outline

Messages to: Request Information

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Report on Stage Four from Puerto Eten, Peru (Newfoundland)

In a spirit of Thanksgiving and Celebration with the 11 members present, closure was given to our reflection process, using the ritual of the medicinal wheel with its 4 elements representing 4 directions, accompanied by a prayer for the healing of the planet and all creatures.

The night ended with each one receiving a card which had on one side hands holding a small plant growing out of the rich Earth and on the back a prayer to protect and sustain this new life.

The shared prayer led us to the table to enjoy a delicious meal of chicken done in a pineapple, raisin and date sauce, warm buns and a comfortable cup of tea. 

The report with the Pilot Plan of Activities for 2017, Evaluation of the Process, Recommendations & Expression of Gratitude, can be downloaded here (PDF)

Messages to: Elizabeth Marrie rsm - MIRP Coordinator Newfoundland

The Capital Group Report on Stages 1-4 (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Two Sisters of Mercy, a Director on Mercy Boards, a Parishioner, an Archdiocesan Family Ministry Advisor and an Interpreter for student who is deaf at St Mary’s College, Wellington, make up this group whose focus issue is The Impact of non-recycled plastic on the environment

A report on each stage of the process can be downloaded here (PDF)

Messages to: Natalie Murphy rsm - Co-coordinator MIRP Aotearoa New Zealand

Standing L-r: Natalie Murphy rsm (facilitator), Philippa Dowling rsm, Lorraine McArthur. Seated L-r: Mary Elizabeth Bayliss, Sue Devereux, Angela Murray

Report from MIRP Group Resident in Ireland (Brisbane Congregation)

From three Sisters from the Brisbane Congregation who live in Ireland - Chris Neylon Mary Daly and Anna Roughan

Our vision was developed against the background of the Beatitudes as we understand the world today.

We commit ourselves:

-To finding ways of limiting the amount of plastics we use by refilling containers.
-To use shopping outlets that sell loose fruit and vegetables etc.
-To keeping our local neighbourhood clean and green by picking up litter on a regular basis.
-To learning to see people and things around as more than physical matter. That all of life is a spark of the Divine.

The Report with the Beatitudes developed by Anna, Mary, and Chris can be read here (PDF).

Messages to: Sandra Lupi rsm - MIRP Coordinator Brisbane Congregation

Image: L-r: Srs Anna Roughan, Mary Daly, Chris Neylon

MIA Members News

Editor: During the launch of the Institute's Sustainable Living Policy on 4 November, 2016.Margaret Adams rsm spoke of her experience of living sustainably.

In this video clip (02:09) we hear Sr Margaret speak about influences on her that helped her develop her commitment to sustainable living. In the article accompanying the clip she outlines what that has meant in practice.

Messages to: Margaret Adams rsm

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Gardens bloomed this summer and fall at sites throughout Pittsburgh Mercy, as people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health conditions learned to plant and tend flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables...

Pittsburgh Mercy staff developed nature-related programs for groups and individuals...

The approach is strengths-based, recovery-oriented and therapeutic, and aims to promote holistic wellness, healthy lifestyle behavior and community inclusion through gardening, according to Benjamin Bishop. A master gardener with a master's in social work, Bishop runs nature-related programming for Pittsburgh Mercy...

Messages to: Linda K Ross - Director of Communications

Image: Buddy R and Laura Stainbrook. Pittsburgh Mercy

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Reading Luke's Gospel With Ecological Eyes: Part 11 - Final (ISMAPNG)

Through a close reading of Luke 1:39-56 Elaine Wainwright rsm draws attention to the ecological context of the meeting of the pregnant women, Mary and Elizabeth.

Read the article online here
Download the article here (2pps; PDF)

Read the series (parts 1-11) online here
Download the series (parts 1-11) here (22 pps; PDF)

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

Editor: We are grateful to Ann Gilroy rsj, Editor Tui Motu, for generously permitting re-publishing of the Lukan series in Mercy eNews this year.

Image: Fra Angelico. Visitation (1433-1434)

Editor: 'As we come to the close of the Mercy Year what can we learn about “courage at the heart of Mercy” from a younger brother from the Muslim community in Kenya?' asks Rose Macharia rsm.

Sr Rose recounts the story of a teenage Muslim boy, Abdi (for short) who, alongside a teacher, stood up to Al Shabaab militants in a bus attack to protect Christians, just days before Christmas 2015. Impressed by Abdi's courage, the Sisters of Mercy in Kenya took up his cause...

Abdi's story is linked to this item.

A video news story can be viewed here (04:48)

Messages to: Rose Macharia rsm

Image: Abdi (in black gray shirt) with Srs of Mercy on Mercy Day 2016

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As we know, 2016 has been a special year in Ireland for commemoration of events leading up to and following on the Easter Rising of 1916 and the founding of the Irish Free state. For this reason I drew your attention to Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the 1916 leaders of the Rising, who, with the other leaders, was executed in the aftermath of the Rising. Like a number of those involved he was a poet, and I included I See His Blood Upon the Rose. But there is another poet of this period who must be reclaimed because of his haunting poem. This remarkable man was in British uniform, however, and was leading the 9th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers through no-man’s-land near Ginchy in the Somme region of France when he was killed...

Messages to: Jo O'Donovan rsm

Image: By Pilgab - Own work (own picture), CC BY-SA 3.0 Memorial in St Stephen's Green, Dublin

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'..this month, as our Mercy world celebrates another Foundation Day, Sisters and partners in mission will gather in venues throughout New Zealand and the Pacific to give thanks for the Year of Mercy and to reflect on the fact that what has been opened and poured out in mercy and love can never be stopped. ‘Kia tuwhera tonu mai nga Kuaha o te Atawhai – keep the doors of mercy wide open’ is the refrain participants will proclaim...'

Source: Imaging Mercy Today

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

Editor: Advent Resources for inspiration, reflection, prayer & action can be found on our website

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Mercy Matters

'The third Sunday of Advent used to be called Gaudete (be joyful) Sunday. It provided a mid-term break within a period of austerity or penance in preparation for Christmas. Advent is no longer celebrated as a penitential period, but rather as a reflective time of expectation and hope...'

-Veronica Lawson rsm

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New Mercy Resource: Bloom

Bloom is a collection of spiritual poetry inspired by the beauty of nature and the ever advancing world around us. Written by Mary Lee rsm (The Congregation), this selection of poems is inspiring, empowering and beautifully evocative.

Bloom will be launched on 11 December

Messages to: Mary Lee rsm

Purchase online

Nigel Westlake - Compassion, Symphony of Songs

Our last listed resource for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. What better way to finish than with Compassion: a song cycle in seven movements, based on a collection of ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts.

Part 1: Watch/listen here (17:03)

Part 2: Watch/listen here (09:37)

Part 3: Watch/listen here (13:52)

Program notes can be accessed here (29 pps; PDF)

Purchase from *iTunes; *Amazon

1869: Foundation to Davenport, Iowa from De Witt - M Borromeo Johnson

1894: Death of M Agnes Graham, Foundress of Ballarat/Colac, Victoria

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

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In life, these things are certain: If a balloon lands on a cactus, it will pop. If you point a fan at a house of cards, the cards will fall. If you happen to drop a piece of toast, it will inevitably land jam-side down.

Until Preposterous

This animated short explores the beauty (and frustration) of the unexpected (51 secs)

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How I love you Mother Earth


Perfectly positioned

You encourage life and sustain it....

- Don Mullan (Ireland)

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Michael Mullink and Michael Vrazel are music ministers at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, where this song was recorded. 'Holy Mary Mother of God' was written for Marian Feast Days such as the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Watch/Listen here (05:54). Purchase on *iTunes Lyrics here

Worth Watching:

Human Rights Day
A reflection on Human Rights Day, 10 December. Watch it here (01:33)

Human Trafficking
'The Philippines and human trafficking.' Problems connected with poverty force most Filipinos to seek jobs outside the country, forming a culture of migration that contributes to human trafficking. Watch it here (08:06)

Worth Reading:

Human Trafficking

Everyone needs to be aware of slavery and know how to fight it. Statement released on 2 December by ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in his message for International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Read it here

Cosmology & the Environment

What Happens When the Ice Disappears? 'In the age of global warming, one thing is certain: There will be less ice and snow. The loss of Earth’s reflective white surfaces will intensify the spiral of global warming …' A photo essay. Read it here

Worth Knowing:

On Monday, 5 December, the UN and partners launched  the Global Humanitarian Overview 2017. A record US$22.2 billion is needed to help 92.8 million people in 33 countries. The Overview can be accessed here

The Bottom Line:

'In the scriptures, Mercy is constitutive of God’s nature. Mercy is what God does for humans because God loves each person God creates. As Pope Francis has noted so beautifully, God’s mercy is a “caress of love.” '

- Marilyn Sunderman rsm, Mercyworks Compassion in Action: Reflections on Mt 25

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2016 to: the Editor

Foundation Day 2016
Human Rights Day
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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)