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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 720  |  10 May 2017
Featured Story

Editor: Thousands of visitors walk through the doors of Baggot Street each year, including Sisters and Associates, tourists and tradespeople, students, and staffs from Mercy ministries. All of these are to be expected. Then there are the surprises...

An unexpected visitor recently was Jim Bolger, an Irish thoroughbred racehorse trainer and breeder, whose grandmother was a first cousin of Vincent (Ellen) Whitty (1819 -1892), leader of the founding group of Sisters of Mercy to Brisbane. Jim's brother had inherited the farm in Wexford and invited Jim to take away any item of interest to him. Among the treasures there he found a prayer book 'Imitation of the Sacred Heart' inscribed in ink 'For Miss Whitty February 17th 1875' which he felt would properly belong at Mercy International Centre and for which we are grateful.

Today we recall and give thanks for the foundation of Sisters of Mercy in Brisbane. It was in the evening of 10 May, 1861, that the ship 'The Yarra Yarra' steamed up the Brisbane River; on board after 5 months on the high seas from Ireland on 'The Donald McKay' were Mother Vincent and her five young companions, the first women religious to set foot in the infant colony of Queensland, Australia.

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Catherine Reuter rsm - Congregation Leader, Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation


Image: Jim Bolger and Áine Barrins rsm in the Heritage Area at Baggot Street, photographed in front of another Mercy treasure - an emu egg clock. The emu egg clock originated in Australia and was brought to Ireland by boat in 1871. Vincent Whitty returned to Ireland that year to recruit additional young women for the mission of Mercy in Australia. She brought with her the clock that is decorated with two emu eggs and gifted the Baggot Street community with this treasure.

Additional photos of the prayer book are linked to this item.

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Vision in Action

'The Problem with Plastic' is the topic of part 8 of this 12 week series.

Each week's reflection includes:

  • Excerpts from Pope Francis (primarily from the encyclical Laudato Si')
  • A video clip that you can watch (just hover your cursor and click the link to watch)
  • An opportunity for action and prayer reflection

Download Part 8: A4 Paper Size (PDF); US Letter Size (PDF)

Previous issues are linked to this item.

Messages to: Bridget Crisp rsm - MGA Intern at the UN

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MIA Prayer Intention: MIA Donors, Benefactors and Friends

We pray with thanks for the generosity of our donors, benefactors and friends. We are grateful for their prayerful and financial support and their encouragement and practical assistance in collaborating with us in the works of Mercy, now and into the future.

A special Mass for our donors, benefactors and friends will be celebrated in the chapel at Baggot Street on 14 May at which the leaders of all the Mercy Congregations, the MIA Board and Team will participate.

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

During 12-16 May there will be a number of important events at MIC with the MIA Finance Committee meeting, the MIA Board meeting, the AGM & MIA Members meeting.

Please keep the participants and their deliberations in your prayers.

MIA Members News
Mercy Opposition to Border Wall along the USA-Mexico border (Americas)

On 28 April, the Sisters of Mercy Extended Justice Team joined 38 national faith-based organizations and 41 state & local faith-based organizations and congregations, including Mercy regional communities, in a letter to all members of Congress urging them to 'oppose any efforts to build a wall or other barrier across our southern border'. Instead, signatories asked Congress to appropriate funding that supports their shared faith principles and reorients the Department of Homeland Security’s strategies 'toward more sensible and humane solutions that are informed by and to the benefit of border communities'.

The text of the letter can be read here (PDF)

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Extended Justice Team

The idea of ‘The Mercy Contemplative Circle’ was introduced to the Province on the Feast of the Epiphany, Nollaig na mBan, January 6th, 2011, with the wholehearted approval of our Provincial Leader and the technical support of the secretarial staff of the Mercy South Central Provincial Office...

The scope of the Circle widened as others showed interest. Some Sisters were already committed to contemplation in the form of Centering Prayer, as taught by the Thomas Keating School of Prayer and from time to time an Associate, friend, colleague or co-worker expressed interest in the Circle...

Messages to: Leonie Boland rsm -South Central Province

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One hundred and sixty years to the day, the Academy of St Mary Immaculate has celebrated their foundation with the unveiling of a statue of their first Principal, Mother M Ursula Frayne.

On Monday, April 20, 850 people including Sisters, students, teachers and representatives of Mercy Education Ltd gathered for a twofold celebration; a celebration of the life of a remarkable woman, Ursula Frayne, and a celebration of the history of a unique College.

Messages to: Mary Moloney rsm - Principal

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An Ecological Reading of Matthew's Gospel: Part 4 (ISMAPNG)

Elaine Wainwright rsm shows how the central proclamation of Matthew's Gospel 10:1,5-13 invites us into a new relationship with the heavens and Earth. Sr Elaine writes: ' We must befriend, engage with, care for and love the heavens, the Earth and all the materiality that constitutes them in the new universe that is emerging and to which this gospel calls us.

Download the article here (2pps; PDF)

Messages to: Elaine Wainwright rsm

The Wisdom of Ruth (The Congregation)

Editor: Soul Waves Radio supplies over 30 local and community radio stations throughout Ireland with news, reaction stories and features. Topics are of a religious and social nature. The Congregation gives support to this charity (CHY no. 13042) and Marie Stewart rsm is Chair of the Soul Waves Radio Board.

At the AGM on 28 April, Ruth Patterson, Presbyterian minister and Director of Restoration Ministries, was a keynote speaker. A recording of her talk is included here in two parts:

Part 1: Ruth Patterson talking about love and forgiveness. Listen here (13:34)

Part 2: Ruth Patterson continues her wisdom looking at the importance of the "sacrament of encounter." Listen here (13:52)

Soul Waves has a weekly newsletter which keeps readers updated on weekly interviews.

Messages to: Suzanne Ryder rsm

Image: Ruth Patterson. Source: Soul Waves Radio



The Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Mercy Extended Justice Team are among 248 leaders from across faith traditions and 168 faith-based organizations who are signatories to a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly, urging him to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS), currently set to expire in July 2017, for at least 18 months for Haitians in the United States.

In the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the U.S. government committed to protecting Haitians already in the United States.

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Extended Justice Team

Download a copy of the letter here (12pps; PDF)

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Mercy Matters

'The scam works by sending users an innocent looking Google Doc link, which appears to have come from someone you might know. But if it's clicked then it will give over access to your Gmail account — and turn it into a tool for spreading the hack further.'

Source: The Independent

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' "Take from my heart all painful anxiety” is a gospel-inspired prayer. It is the prayer of Catherine McAuley, the first Sister of Mercy...'

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

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

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The Brisbane Sisters of Mercy is a group of Catholic women religious. As followers of Jesus, we understand our mission as participating in God's mission of mercy...

We are compelled by God's spirit and our tradition to work, both individually and corporately, to bring about a more just and compassionate world...

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'Transfer money, search more accurately, or engage with your appliances: tips and tricks to enhance and customise the world’s most popular webmail service'.

Source: The Guardian

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'Fidelity to our past helps us to develop new life in the spirit of the original vision.'

Jan Geason rsm (ISMAPNG)

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1861: Final profession of first Irish Sisters

1861: Foundation to Brisbane, Queensland from Baggot St - M Vincent Whitty

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Further Resources

Worth Playing:

'Holy is His Name' ( My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord) by John Michael Talbot. Watch/listen here (03:33). Lyrics here Purchase on *iTunes; GooglePlay

Worth Reading:

Pope Francis

Two scenes from Pope Francis’s revolution of tenderness by James Carroll in 'The New Yorker'. Read the article here

Religious Life

Presentation of the Trinity Washington University/CARA Study: International Sisters in the United States at UISG headquarters, Rome, 4 May. Watch presentations and reflections here. The study is available in both English (16pps; PDF) and Spanish (16pps; PDF)


The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic addressed a consultation conference on Monday, 8 May, preparing the way for an international agreement on migration and human rights. Read the article here

Cosmology & Eco-justice

'Peru’s first autonomous Indigenous government wins major victory taking on oil companies.' Read the article in 'The Independent' here

Why is the energy transition necessary? A joint statement by scientists, Indigenous people, and people of faith. The draft statement can be read here

'The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it'. An extract from Clive Hamilton’s 'Defiant Earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene'. Read it here

South Sudan

A special briefing from the International Crisis Group on the roots of the crisis in South Sudan and the measures necessary to prevent further deterioration. Read the 8-page report here

Worth Watching:

Cosmology & Eco-justice

Climate Justice: The Struggle for Our Common Home. Mary Robinson's Keynote Address given at Loyola University Chicago on 16 March (The Baum Lecture) can be watched here (51:11)

Bottom Line:

'Remembering the great crowd of female friends of God and prophets opens up possibilities for the future; their lives bespeak an unfinished agenda that is now in our hands; their memory is a challenge to action; their companionship points the way.'

- Elizabeth A. Johnson csj, feminist theologian

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

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