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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 703  |  14 December 2016
Featured Story

Editor: In Mercy eNews Issue # 636 (26 August 2015), the International Canonisation Committee announced their intention to organise a 'Write a letter to Pope Francis' campaign. The following week (2 September 2015) Sheila Carney rsm, Vice-postulator Americas, provided helpful suggestions for the content of the letter. Today we hear from Brenda Dolphin rsm, Postulator, what then unfolded.

'The first impetus for some initiative on the part of the postulation in relation to Catherine’s cause and the Jubilee of Mercy came from the associates of Great Britain. In response to their request that something be organised, it was agreed to invite people from around the world, who are associated in any way with the Sisters of Mercy to take part in a “Write a letter to Pope Francis” campaign.

The content of the letter was intended to thank Pope Francis for the initiative of the jubilee year of Mercy, to introduce him to Venerable Catherine McAuley as a model par excellence of what it means to live the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and to indicate how appropriate it would be if she were to be beatified in this year of Mercy...'

Messages to: Brenda Dolphin rsm - Postulator

Image: © 2016 MIA

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Vision in Action

Editor: The Mercy family— near and far— gathered in person and online on Sunday, 11 December, for a prayerful experience of Foundation Day at the front door of Baggot Street and in the Chapel. The celebration marked the 185th Anniversary of the founding of the order, the closure of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the official ending of the Mercy International Reflection Process and our commitment to 'keep the doors of mercy open for the desperate and the disruptive, the stray and the strange, the wounded wise and the child too soon old' (Mary Wickham rsm, ‘Ends and Ongoings’)

Representatives from the four Irish Provinces and Friends of Mercy were physically present at Baggot Street while Sisters, Associates, partners-in-Ministry and partners-in-Mercy from other parts of the mercy world—including New Zealand, Australia, United States, England, Poland, Scotland, Canada, Kenya and Ireland— participated via Livestream and shared a response online...

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Image: L-r: Mary Reynolds rsm, Executive Director MIA and Helen Diviney rsm, International MIRP Coordinator

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MIA Prayer Intention: Peace

Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace, observed 1 January, has now been released. In the message sent to world leaders, entitled 'Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace',  the pope calls for an 'active nonviolence'.

As we read reports of yet more bombings this past week— in Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo, twin bomb attacks in Instanbul, bombing in Mogadishu, capital of Somali — along with the ongoing assaults on Syria and Mosul, let our prayers and actions continue to be for peace.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

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

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Each week in Mercy eNews, in the Further Resources section, we publish a video clip of a hymn or song that is inspiring, reflective or prayerful.

The complete playlist from 2016, listed week by week in the order in which it has been published, is linked to this item.

Messages to: the Editor

Image. iStock. Used under licence

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#16Days16Stories: Trafficked Women and Girls in Their Own Words (Book)

Editor: The 16 Stories featured online over 16 days (25 November-10 December) are those told in 'I have A Voice: Trafficked women- in their own words'.

This book is no longer in print having sold out but it can be downloaded as a PDF. It will be of particular interest to those wishing to learn more about the Life Course perspective.

Download the book here (88pps; PDF)

Messages to:
Angela Reed rsm - Interim Coordinator MGA at the UN

Mercy eNews: Important Dates

This is the second last issue of Mercy eNews for 2016. The final issue of Mercy E-news for 2016 will be published on Monday, 19 December.

The first Issue of Mercy E-News for 2017 will be published on Wednesday, 25 January, 2017.

Please send your contributions to the Editor for the first issue of Mercy News 2017 by Friday, 20 January, 2017.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA Reflection Process
Report from Groups in Ard Bhride, Castlebar (The Congregation)

Two groups of Sisters from the Western Province had four meetings in Ard Bhride, Castlebar between February 2016 and November 2016 on the Worldwide Reflection Process for the Year of Mercy.

Messages to: Sheila Curran rsm - MIRP Coordinator The Congregation

Image: Group 1: From front centre –right. Srs Paschale McMoreland, Rita Conway, Máirin Ni Mhurchu, Bernadette McNally, Ita Walsh, Máire Naughton, Dolores Gallagher, Eva Walsh, Teresa Kilcourse, Kathleen Mullarkey, Mary Kelly, Anne Farragher, Canice Burns, Brigid Blewett, and Mary Feeney

Baulkham Parish Group 1: Trafficking and related Sex Offences Stages 3 & 4 Report (Parramatta Congregation)

Upon reflecting on the topic and related issues in the light of the scriptural texts, Catholic social teaching and real life stories participants reached a new understanding of the suffering and exploitation of sex workers and those involved in other sexual irregularities...

Consequently, there was an attitude change in the group from judgment of such people to compassion and a desire to do all possible to raise awareness of this issue and its many causes and to support ACRATH and those suffering from sex-related abuses...

Download the report (PDF)

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

Image: Photo some of the MIRP group with members of the Sex Crime group from NSW Police Force who were invited to give a talk

Reports from MIRP Groups: Received & Published

These are the last MIRP group reports that will be published in Mercy eNews in 2016. Since 17 March this year, 110 group reports from various stages of the process—a small sample of the many received—as well as resources and other support material have been published in the MIRP section of Mercy eNews.

Thank you to all our group facilitators, report writers and photographers for your work with Congregation and Institute MIRP Coordinators to provide reports of each stage of the process. These reports have enabled all members of the Mercy family to 'meet' each other, hear from each other and share our concerns and hopes for the Earth and the Earth Community during this Jubilee Year (and beyond). Coming together in this way has certainly strengthened the bonds between us.

Reports from MIRP Groups: Looking Ahead

In late March 2017, the Guiding Team and Coordinators will meet in person to review the process and look at the actions proposed at the regional and global levels. The outcomes of that meeting will be shared locally and in Mercy eNews.

Over the course of 2017, MIA hopes that the outcomes of local, national, regional and global actions will be shared through Mercy eNews. We hope also to hear from groups who have committed to keep meeting, as well as from those who have determined to come together to review their progress on their actions.

2017 holds great promise!

Messages to: Anne Walsh - MIRP Communications Director


MIA Members News

Editor: Reports of celebrations held in Craughwell (Ireland); in four centres in Aotearoa New Zealand ( Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent; by the Northeast Community in the United States, and at the Mercy Hub in Melbourne, are linked to this item.

We welcome your report and look forward to publishing it.

Messages to: the Editor

Image: Enjoying the festivities are (from left) Sister Pat Flynn, Patricia Healy, Sister Maureen Mitchell, Mercy Associate Hope Darigan at the Northeast Community’s administrative offices in Cumberland, Rhode Island, USA

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Editor: Lourdes Flores, director of ARISE support center in McAllen, Texas, co-sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of South Central and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and JoAnn Persch, a Sister of Mercy and executive director emeritus and co-founder of the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, were both interviewed for an article in Global Sisters Report on the campaign rhetoric by President-elect Donald Trump regarding immigrants.

The article is linked to this item.

Messages to:
Lourdes Flores c/- ARISE
JoAnn Persch rsm c/- Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants

Image: iStock. Used under licence

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A Call to Mercy: Online Graduate Certificate Available in Mercy Spirituality (Americas)

Georgian Court University - the Mercy University of New Jersey - is once again offering an Online Graduate Certificate in Mercy Spirituality, combining formal academic coursework, spiritual reflection, and thoughtful dialogue with students and faculty from around the world.

The program is inspired by Mercy values such as justice, respect, integrity, service and compassion. It is ideal for people engaged in Mercy-sponsored works, affiliated ministries and organisations, or interested in further exploring Mercy.

The Program is designed to be completed in 18 months. It commences in January 2017 and has students enrolled from four countries so far!

Download the flyer (PDF) and the application form (PDF)

Messages to: Mary-Paula Cancienne rsm - Faculty Leader

Scripture with Kathleen Rushton rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Kathleen Rushton rsm began writing scriptural articles for Tui Motu magazine in 2009 and since then has shared her passion and scholarship month-by-month. In her final article for 2016 she interprets Matthew 2:1-12 reflecting on the Magi’s visit to the newly-born Jesus in Bethlehem.

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

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

Editor: We are grateful to Ann Gilroy rsj, Editor Tui Motu, for generously permitting re-publishing of Sr Kathleen's series on Scripture in Mercy eNews this year.

Image: Adoration of the Magi. Sandro Botticelli. Wikimedia Commons

'...Two former school leaders were honored on Mercy Day at the Hapeville elementary school. Mercy Sister Sally Condart, a former principal, and Mercy Sister Kathleen Lyons, a teacher and parish administrator, were guests of the school community on Friday, Nov. 18, as it celebrated the Sisters of Mercy legacy...

As part of a new enrichment building completed in August, an anonymous donor dedicated an area as the Mercy Conference Room to recognize the contributions of the Sisters of Mercy...

Messages to: Lauren Albright - Institute Communications Office

Image: Sister of Mercy Sally Condart, far right, shares some remarks with the audience on hand Nov. 18 for the blessing and dedication of the school’s Mercy Conference Room behind her. Standing with Sister Sally are (l-r) former St. John’s pastor Father Richard Morrow, former parochial vicar Father Steven Yander, Sister of Mercy Kathleen Lyons, and former parochial vicar Father John Adamski.

Michael Alexander/Georgia Bulletin, Archdiocese of Atlanta. Used with permission

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In recognition of Catherine McAuley Westmead's 50th year, the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta have proudly established the Sr Patricia Linder Visual Arts Scholarship.

This scholarship recognises Sr Patricia’s talent and passion for Visual Art. Her father Eugene Lindner was a noted artist who encouraged and influenced Sr Patricia’s keen interest in Visual Arts and her talent as a painter.

Messages to: Jacqui Hamilton - School Development Officer

Image: L-r: Ms Finnerty (Visual Arts Coordinator), Mary-Louise Petro rsm (Congregation Leader), Bianca Liclican (Yr 11 Student), Maria Lawton rsm (Congregation Vicar), Barbara McDonough rsm, Laetitia Richmond (Principal)

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Whilst many governments have gone to great lengths to diminish the role of faith and religion in public affairs, the UN has developed a very constructive interface with faith leaders...

Faith-based organisations such as Religious Congregations often enjoy higher levels of trust from the community, better access and broader local knowledge, all of which are important assets in programme design and delivery, including in complex and insecure environments...

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm -Partnering Religious Congregations with UNICEF

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As the Year of Mercy Closes, We Look Back! (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Four Southland catholic primary schools met in September in 2016 to celebrate the Year of Mercy  and Mercy Day, 24 September, at St Thomas Aquinas's school, Winton. The other three schools were St Mary's Gore, Sacred Heart, Waikiwi and St Patrick's, Nightcaps. All of these schools were founded by the Sisters of Mercy...

Next, everyone including  pupils, teachers, parents and special guests, Sister Mary Crowe and Sister Maria Goretti  all entered the beautiful church which was packed out!   The theme was Mercy.  The participation was 100%. The singing fantastic...

Download the report here (PDF)

Messages to: Ann Kennelly  - Southland Young Vinnies Coordinator

Mercy Matters

1874: Death in Bermondsey, England, of M Clare Moore, 'one of the outstanding co-founders of the Sisters of Mercy, and a remarkable, though unrecognized, contributor to the mission of the Catholic Church in England' (Mary C. Sullivan rsm)

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 “World Song Map” looks like a classic Mercator projection, but with song titles instead of place names. “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is there, and, a little to the south, so is “LA Woman.”'

Mouse over places to find out their new (song) names.

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Patricia Fox rsm (ISMAPNG) is among the contributors of chapters to this volume, the outcome of a conference on 'Rediscovering the Spiritual in God’s Creation', held in 2015 in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia.

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'How Tos' for the Holidays

Editor: In our last technical tip for 2016 we offer ways and means to complete some of those tasks that have been on the long finger...

How to: Organise your music collection
How to: Organise your photos
How to: Scan old photos
How to: Clean up gmail

For 2017:

How to: Organize Your Inbox to Be More Productive

“Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline...are the custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity.
-Pope Francis, 7 December 2016

These past 12 months, Mercy Sisters, Associates, staff and friends have shared artwork celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We are invited to view, pray with and reflect upon these diverse and powerful expressions of art in the online galleries on the Institute website.

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Supporting Elected Women Religious Leaders in a Time of Global Transition

Don Bisson fms and Mary Waskowiak rsm

15-17 January, 2017

Join a community of others embarked on the leadership journey – and be empowered for personal growth and transformation.

Details are linked to this item

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

Mi Alma Esta Sedienta / My Soul Is Thirsting by Tony Alonso. Listen here (04:19).

NB: All the songs and hymns we've listed in 'Worth Playing' during 2016 can be accessed on this page here

Worth Reading:


After gathering in Nigeria from 27-29 November, representatives from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network released a statement entitled 'A Pilgrimage of Water Justice in Africa.' Read it here


An estate in Ireland has revealed plans to create a redwood grove that will be the largest of its kind outside California. The initiative serves as a testament both to Ireland’s heritage and its commitment to fighting global warming. Read more here


ACRATH (December 2016)
Canadian Religious Conference (Fall 2016)
LCWR Update (December 2016

The Bottom Line:

'May the religions be wombs of life, bearing the merciful love of God to a wounded and needy humanity; may they be doors of hope helping to penetrate the walls erected by pride and fear.'

- Pope Francis, Address to Representatives of Different Religions, 3 November 2016

 Resources for Year of Mercy
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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)