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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 711  |  08 March 2017
Featured Story

International Women’s Day 2017 has chosen the theme BE BOLD FOR CHANGE.

When I thought about the theme for this special day celebrated by women around the globe and contemplated all that is happening in our world, I was drawn to Edwina Gateleys poem, inviting “we the people” to live with HOPE, despite the darkness and despair that seems to be all around us. Edwina says:

There is a heaviness permeating our globe,
and we, it seems,
are stumbling in this dark place,
blinded by its shadows and
longing for a spark of light...

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm

Download the article: A4 Paper Size (6pps, PDF); US Letter Size (6pps; PDF)

or Read online (linked to this item)

Image: iStock. Used under licence

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Vision in Action
Mercy in Joint Statement to Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61)

Editor: The Priority theme of the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) – the annual gathering of States to address critical issues related to gender equality and women’s rights — is 'Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work'.

CSW61 will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and the Sisters of Mercy have submitted a joint statement on the priority theme. Access it here: English; en Español (4 pps; PDF)

Further information about CSW61 can be found here:
Brochure: English; en Español (8 pps; PDF)
CSW61 in focus (stories, photo essays, video, infographic, social media and more)

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

MGA Leaflet on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 Now Available

Editor: To coincide with International Women's Day, Mercy Global Action has produced a leaflet on SDG Goal #5, 'Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls'. The leaflet can be downloaded here (2pps; PDF).

This fourth leaflet is an accompaniment to the MGA leaflet introducing the SDGs(2pps; PDF), the leaflet addressing Goals #1 and #2 (2pps; PDF) and the leaflet addressing Goal #16.

MGA has identified 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13,16) as most relevant to the mission of the Sisters of Mercy. A leaflet on Goal #6 will be released through Mercy eNews on World Water Day, 22 March.

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Director Mercy Global Action

Registration for the fourth biennial Pilgrimage of Young Mercy Leaders, secondary school students (18 July- 21 July 2017) closes Friday week, St Patrick's Day, 17 March. Pilgrimage organisers are reminded that registrations must be received by Mercy International Association on or by that date (either electronically or by postal mail).

Materials for registration can be downloaded from our website page here and are linked to this item.

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

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Editor: The Mercy Mid-Atlantic Spiritual Life Committee (Americas) is pleased to offer this prayer for Lent.
Messages to: the Spiritual life Committee c/- Mary Ann Nolan rsm

- Staff at Image journal have collected a handful of poems, visual art, essays, short stories, and Good Letters reflections that resonate with this liturgical season. Access the collection here

- Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent. This literary companion for Lent was first published in 2015 and has been re-released with updated dates. This diverse range of ways writers have imagined the season can be accessed here

Messages to: the Editor

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On 18 August last year, I wrote an article in Mercy enews, titled ‘Do Trade Agreements Matter?’ This piece covered the background behind two trade agreements: CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and TPP (The Trans-Pacific Partnership).  While the CETA agreement is between the EU and Canada, TPP is a trade agreement being negotiated between twelve nations in the Pacific Rim namely United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Japan.

There has been growing opposition to CETA since its inception, as many believe it poses a major threat to individual country’s democracy, public services and the environment...

Messages to: Betty Lacey - Researcher Mercy Global Action

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MIA Prayer Intention: Needs of Women and Children

The recently released Fifth Anniversary Women’s Global Prayer Guide, published by the Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community, features 31 days of prayer for women’s empowerment from contributors across six continents.

In addressing issues facing women and girls in the countries of their writers, these prayers seek the good health, safety, general well-being, empowerment and advancement of women and girls  around the world.

Mindful that today is International Women's Day, we are invited to use these prayers this month to pray for abundant life for all women and children but particularly those in need.

Download the Prayer Guide here (32 pps; PDF)

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

MIA Reflection Process
Mercy Part of GCCM Initiative '#Mercy2Earth'

The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), of which MIA is a founding member, has launched a campaign to get people to read and take action on the Pope's message to 'Show Mercy to our Common Home', which was launched on 1 September 2016, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

The campaign has two moments: Lent with its Mercy 2Earth Examen (March 1-April 13) and #Mercy2Earth Weekend, April 22-23, when 2 important celebrations take place, Earth Day (April 22) and Mercy Sunday (April 23).

MIA supports this initiative.  Over the coming weeks we will share our plans for the #Mercy2Earth Weekend as we continue to discern together globally our shared response to 'the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor'.

Messages to: Anne Walsh - Communications Director MIRP

Stage 4 Report from Portland Maine Group (Americas)

Our Portland Maine discussion group made up of Sisters Ellen Turner, Patricia Pora and Jackie Moreau and St. Anne Gorham parishioners Cindy McCormack and Nancy Innes chose to focus on creating peace.  We decided to host a ‘Bridging Worlds Pot Luck’ February 25 at St. Anne’s Church.

A flyer was placed in the parish bulletin inviting people to come meet some of our immigrant or refugee families.  We asked all to reflect on their family traditions and bring a favorite family dish to share.  Our bingo card given to each attendee included questions like favorite song, favorite TV show, what makes you laugh, makes you sad, worries you.  People used colored post its to place answers under appropriate topic.  Volunteers came up and shared some of the answers.

We found we have lots in common...

Read the report here (PDF)

Messages to: Marianne Comfort - MIRP Coordinator Americas

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

Report from Offaly/North Tipperary MIRP Group (The Congregation)

Topic: Homelessness going from the homeless people on the streets in our local towns to the millions of people who are migrants and refugees.

Over the months of the MIRP process we learned a lot about the life situations of people who are homeless at a human level and at a systems level.  Through prayer and theological reflection we grew in awareness with our unhelpful attitudes, our fears and biases and came to understand better the pain of being without a home; we also felt a deep call to take some action in response to what we learned and experienced...

We would like to see MIA place a particular emphasis on highlighting the plight of people who are homeless, migrant or without a country and joining with other organisations in advocating for these people.        

Download the report (PDF)

Image: Ellen Seery, Patricia Greene, Mary McGrath, Kathleen Curtin, Nora Hartigan, Helen Kennedy & Willie Keane. Anne Hannon, Rita Corry, Patricia O'Donovan and Noirin Long are not in the picture and we are also conscious of Maire Hearty who started the process with us and Roberta Delaney who was with us at the start and who died on December 10th 2016, May she Rest in Peace. (Photo taken by Marie Stuart)   

Messages to: Sheila Curran rsm - MIRP Coordinator The Congregation

Report from He Waka Tiaki Team (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Participants: 4 He Waka Tiaki staff, including 1 Mercy Sister

Meetings: All over 2 days

Focus: Recycling – the never-ending spiral of life being transformed

Key Insights from our reflection:

-We are called as a mission team to widen Mercy’s circles, to embrace and celebrate diversity among ourselves, and to model how mercy is constantly received and shared - atawhai atu, atawhai mai.
-The spiral continues to be an image of how we need to work: as the current chapter statement notes, in the South Pacific context, Mercy comes to life in the unfolding spiral of reflection and action.
-Commitment to Te Tiriti means a cherished place for tikanga Maori in our thinking and planning, with respect for the changing seasons and for Earth’s resources.
-Our conversation included an image from North American Indians, of someone riding a horse backwards into the future - the human and other-than-human in close relationship; and early human artists picturing the spiral as a gateway to the other world.

Download the report (PDF)

Messages to: Natalie Murphy rsm - Co-coordinator MIRP ANZ

Image: Teresa Anderson rsm, Dennis Horton, Sanjay Theodore, Kay Ryan

MIA Members News

'For a religious congregation to be prophetic today, its members need a capacity for hearing the cries in our world that reach God’s ear. They also need a special brand of courage, which allows them to make a stand which does not necessarily win them friends in high places, a stand which is to some extent counter-cultural - not a vote-winner or  crowd-pleaser, but which is adopted because it is morally right.

Pope Francis gives us a clue as to what it means to be prophetic today when he insists that we should be building bridges, not walls, ready to welcome refugees as our brothers and sisters. He is also speaking prophetically when he denounces human destruction of the environment as sinful, and calls on us to work at caring for the common home we share with all other creatures...'

Source: Imaging Mercy Today

Messages to: Katrina Fabish rsm - Congregation Leader

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Thomas Merton pointed out that, “spiritual practice is not about an idea or a concept of God. It is about seeking the experience of presence”. I feel it was this search for “an experience of presence” that finally moved me to visit Iona that cold remote Hebredian Island where Columba and his band of monks lived in exile almost a fifteen hundred years ago.

In due course, due to their example and life style, this tiny Island would become a centre of learning and a beacon of Christian teaching and practice that would extend its influence throughout the British Isles and beyond...

Messages to: Kathleen Fitzgerald rsm

Image: The newly reconstructed Abbey of Iona... the cobbled pathway at the lower right hand corner of the picture is part of the Street of the Dead

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Scripture with Kathleen Rushton rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand)

In this month's reflection Kathleen Rushton rsm interprets John 9:1-41 showing how the man born blind came to believe in Jesus. Sr Kathleen writes, 'In his physical absence, Jesus is present in the experience and witness of this poor, marginalised man who has grown in faith, become a disciple of Jesus openly and has been “put out of the synagogue” (Jn 9:22; also Jn 12:42; 16:2)'.

Read the article online here

Download the article here (2pps; PDF)

Messages to: Kathleen Rushton rsm

Faith-based groups across Australia are uniting to call on the Australian Government to participate and support the UN negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons this year. The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea is among the religious orders which have endorsed this initiative.

Messages to: Barbara Bolster rsm - Institute Leadership Team

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Mercy Matters

The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time. The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, education, health and political criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups...

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Passport for Humanity is a new pocket booklet written by Carol Rittner rsm (Americas) and Deirdre Mullan rsm (The Congregation). It provides reflections and actions for today’s context, marked by polarization and competing freedoms amid a growing refugee/immigration crisis.

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Second Sunday of Lent Year A (Matthew 17:1-9)

'Last week’s gospel invited us into a confronting habitat, namely the wilderness. This week, we follow Jesus and three of his companions to a mountain and eventually a cloud-covered mountain...'

Listen to the Gospel read by Fr Eamonn O'Connor (Ireland)

Read the Reflection on the Gospel by Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG)

Seeking more Mercy facts

No events of particular significance are recorded in the 'Mercy through the Years' calendar as having taken place on this day. 

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

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Desde 1963, Casa Mc Auley pone al servicio de empresas, grupos y organizaciones toda su infraestructura en un espacio destinado a la capacitación, formación y recreación; inmerso en un ambiente ideal de paz en contacto con la naturaleza.

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'What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?'

- Pope Francis, 5 March 2017

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

For International Women's Day: 'Woman's Spirit by Karen Drucker. Video by Michelle Sherliza op. Watch/listen here (04:06). Purchase on *iTunes; *Google Play

For Lent: 'Open My Eyes Lord' by Jesse Manibusan. Watch/listen here (02:53)

Worth Checking Out:

International Women's Day

To mark the day - the fourth annual Voices of Faith event entitled, 'Stirring the waters: Making the impossible possible' will take place in the Vatican. Speakers include Simone Campbell SSS (Network) and Marie Dennis (Pax Christi). Program will be live-streamed. Details here

Worth Reading:

Cosmology & Eco-justice

Vatican academies hosted a workshop on biodiversity and its threats 'How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend' from 27 February - 1 March. In a final statement 'Extinction is Forever: How To Avoid It', participants wrote that overconsumption and distribution of wealth are responsible for 'huge strains on the earth’s capacity to function sustainably'. They continued: 'Ending extreme poverty, which would cost about $175 billion or less than 1% of the combined income of the richest countries in the world, is one major route to protecting our global environment and saving as much biodiversity as possible for the future.' Read the Statement here

It is twelve months since the shooting death of Honduran environmental campaigner Berta Cáceres when the world's attention was drawn to killings of activists who stand up to protect the natural world.  Berta's death is probed in this first of a 3-part series. Read it here

Human Trafficking:

The March issue of 'Stop Enslavement' is now available. This month's issue looks at how ordinary citizens and computer specialists assist victims of human trafficking via the internet. Read online or download the newsletter (9 pps; PDF)

Death Penalty

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, on Wednesday, 1 March reaffirmed that life is sacred from conception to natural death in a meeting at the UN Human Rights Council on the death penalty. Read the article here

Children of Syria

Six years of violence and bloodshed have spawned a mental health crisis among Syria's children whose impact will be felt for decades, according to the report 'Invisible Wounds' just released by the international charity Save the Children. Article here. Read the report here (34pps; PDF)

Worth Acting:

Human Trafficking

The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking would like to reach out to seafood companies that are engaged in cleaning up their supply chains to label their packaged products. This will help eradicate human trafficking and give people the choice to buy slave-free seafood. To do this, we need your help and ask that you fill out this short 5-question survey. A flyer has been developed to help you share the request . Download it here (PDF)

The Bottom Line:

'Across the world, too many women and girls spend too many hours on household responsibilities—typically more than double the time spent by men and boys...This shapes the norms of relative disadvantage and advantage, of where women and men are positioned in the economy, of what they are skilled to do and where they will work...'

- Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. Message by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on International Women's Day, 8 March 2017 - in English; en Español

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 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)