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Mercy e-News
Edition No. 748  |  08 November 2017
Featured Story
Invitation to Commemorate the first World Day of the Poor on Sunday, 19 November

Editor: On Sunday,19 November 2017,  we shall be commemorating the first World Day of the Poor, announced by Pope Francis at the end of his 2015-16 Jubilee Year of Mercy in the document Misericordia et Misera (#MM 21). This day is our next 'pivotal moment for global reflection and action' (MIRP Review p 3).

We invite all members of the Mercy family to join us in 9 Days of Prayer (from Remembrance Day until World Day of the Poor) in preparation for this celebration, using a contemporary version of Catherine McAuley's original prayer for the poor, composed about 1838. The card on which Catherine wrote the prayer—shown here in the graphic, with its crossout and change— is in the MIA archives in Dublin.

Pope Francis’ message for the first World Day of the Poor has been given the title 'Let us love, not with words but with deeds'. Sr Mary Sullivan's reflection presents us with the challenge: 'What are my tangible, daily encounters with the poor?'

Download the Prayer and Reflection (3 pps; PDF)

English: Colour: A4 Paper size ; US Letter size
Spanish: Colour: A4 Paper size ; US Letter size

Messages to:
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Mary Sullivan rsm - Author

Image: © 2017 Mercy International Association. This image is available to any Mercy group that would like to use it to promote the 9 Days of Prayer. Please contact the Editor

Vision in Action
Catherine's Canonisation Cause: Gratitude for Prayers

Editor: The following communication was received by Diane Smyth rsm, Newfoundland contact for the Cause, with permission to share the message with the Mercy world.

'As you know, for almost three years now, my grandson, Arden, has been on the Mercy local and international prayer list. Arden took sick around this time in 2014. On January 7, 2015 he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. He spent over a year and a half in hospital...

Strengthened by all the prayers, Arden is now living a normal life of an eight year old boy...now 12 months cancer-free. Thanks be to almighty God and the Holy Spirit of healing. The Doctors, nurses and hospital staff were amazing, but I truly believe it was finally prayer that brought him through. Even the doctors are calling him their miracle child.

Could you please extend my thanks to all the Sisters of Mercy for the prayers over the past couple of years, and please ask that they offer a prayer of thanksgiving on Arden's behalf.

Messages to: Diane Smyth rsm

Image: iStock. Used under licence

Final Reminders: Remembrance Day Celebrations at MIC

Editor: Members of the Mercy family who are in Dublin on 11 November are warmly invited to join the staff at Mercy International Centre, at 10am for Mass. If you are able to come please let Madeleine know by phone (01) 661 8061 or email by Thursday, 9 November.

A copy of the Remembrance Day Mass leaflet is provided here for those communities and ministries which might like to use some or all of the ritual prayers, songs and readings in your celebrations and in this way, be joined with the celebrations at Baggot Street.

Download the ritual here: A4 Paper size (8 pps; PDF),  US Letter size (8 pps; PDF)

A reminder that all are invited to send in the names of those who have died in the past year so that they can be remembered in a special way at this Mass. Click on this link and fill in this form with names. You can also keep vigil at Catherine's grave here and post your prayer or reflection in our online prayer space here

Messages to: Anna Nicholls rsm - Team Leader Heritage & Spirituality

Reports in 'Further Resources' Section

Most weeks, under the heading 'Worth Reading' in the Further Resources section we have links to one, sometimes two, reports on topics under the thematic issues Displacement of People and Degradation of Earth.

Such reports are usually large and our indicating the number of pages— helpful for those readers intending to download and print —might discourage other readers from opening these files. For that reason we thought it worth pointing out that the Introductions and Conclusions in such reports and/or the Executive Summaries usually provide a very informative high-level overview and summary of the contents which is often all that a general reader needs.

Messages to: the Editor

MIA joins with the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in their prayer for the victims and families of the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, this weekend.

'Once again, we join in prayer as a way to ask our God, “How do I respond?”

We ask our God to touch our hearts with love, heal our brokenness, and turn us away from violence toward peace. How will each one of us answer God’s call to encourage healing?'

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Post your own Prayer or Reflection in our online Chapel

Read More
MIA Reflection Process
Report from 'Springs of Life' Group (ISMAPNG)

Our MIRP group “Springs of Life” was focussed on the problems associated with over usage of the Darling River in New South Wales, especially as it impacted the Indigenous people.

We have continued to be updated about the perspective of the Indigenous people through receipt of their monthly newsletter. We held a special meeting following the airing of a major investigative report on National television which brought to light collusion between irrigators and government officials on allocation of water permits. 

The state government minister responsible was forced to step down. There is now a National Senate inquiry underway which is highlighting the dire consequences for the health of the river, and future sustainability for communities and agriculture.

We have made initial contact with sisters in other parts of the Murray Darling basin who were looking into associated water issues in their MIRP groups.

Messages to: Deirdre McKeough rsm

Image: Aerial view of the Darling River. Tim J Keegan via Flickr CC BY 2.0



Editor: At our invitation, Kathleen Friel rsm, a member of the Westport Cluster, has provided a report on one of the actions from Stage 4: 'to support the local Eco Congregation Committee in our parish'.

During MIRP the cluster recognised the wonderful opportunity a parish initiative was presenting to them as they moved forward with our Mercy process. Sr Kathleen became a member of the parish Eco Congregation committee with the full support of the cluster. Sr Kathleen writes: 'Here was an opportunity to join up with the parish, and as I saw it at the time - the work of the Spirit.'  The cluster included in their Action Plan their decision to support this local initiative.

The report of the work of the parish Eco-Congregation Committee is linked to this item. The activities of the committee will be of interest to those looking for creative and practical ways to take local actions.

Messages to: Westport Parish Eco Congregation Committee c/- Kathleen Friel rsm

We welcome reports from other groups and individual reflections on what you have done to enact your actions since MIRP formally finished. Messages to: Anne Walsh - MIRP Communications Director

Read More
MIA Members News
Religious Formation Conference to Honour Mary Pat Garvin rsm (Americas)

'On Nov. 18 at the closing banquet of the RFC (Religious Formation Conference) Congress (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA) Mary Pat Garvin, RSM will be awarded the 2017 Mary Emil Penet Award – an award that honors an outstanding contribution to the development of formation ministry on the national and international level.  Below is an extract of the script of the award ceremony.

For more than twenty years prior to serving a recently completed term in leadership for her own congregation, Mary Pat worked with national conferences of religious in the United States and abroad... as a consultant, workshop and seminar presenter, and facilitator.  Especially interested in the interplay of spirituality and psychology in promoting a mature living of religious life, she has focused much of her energy on the formation of competent women and men religious capable of meeting the challenges facing their congregations, whether through roles of leadership or as directors of initial or lifelong formation.   A clear recognition of Mary Pat’s generous service to religious life across the globe was the invitation extended to her by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) to offer a keynote address, Graced Companionship: A Metaphor for Religious Leadership Today (PDF), at their triennial assembly in 2013 in Rome...'

The complete script of the award ceremony can be read here (PDF)

Messages to: Mary Pat Garvin rsm

'Sister of Mercy Victoria Vondenberger, director of the archdiocesan Tribunal Office was the recipient of the 2017 Role of Law Award at the annual convention of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA), held Oct. 16-19 in Indianapolis.

Each year the CLSA presents the award to a member in the field of canon law. “The person honored with this award is respected by the members of the Canon Law Society of America as someone who embodies the purpose of the Society, a group of men and women of faith who minister justice and mercy in the church through its legal structures,” explained Father Bruce Miller, CLSA president, at the convention banquet...'

Source: The Catholic Telegraph, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Messages to: Victoria Vondenberger rsm

Image: Sr Victoria with members of CLSA. Used with permission

Read More
Latest Issue of MAST Now Available (Americas)

The latest issue (Vol. 24, No. 2) of The MAST Journal was recently published.  Editor Eloise Rosenblatt rsm reports that the essays in this issue entitled “Emotions in the Psalms,” respond to the invitation of Irene Nowell, OSB in Pleading, Cursing, Praising: Conversing with God through the Psalms (Liturgical Press, 2013) “to tell our story, cry out our pain and give praise to God".

This issue also reprints the scriptural reflections of Sister-homilists given at the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas 2017 Chapter by Sisters Linda Bechen, Joy Clough, Marie Michele Donnelly, Aline Paris and Sue Sanders. More information about the contents of this issue can be found here (PDF).

The MAST Journal is published three times a year by the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology.  To subscribe please contact Julia Upton rsm at uptonj@stjohns.edu or subscribe online on our website.

Messages to: Julia Upton rsm

Scripture with Kathleen Rushton rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand)

Kathleen Rushton rsm shows how the righteous described in the parable of Matthew 25: 31-46 are imitators of Jesus and in solidarity with the whole Earth community. Sr Kathleen writes: 'The balancing act of engaging and
living with the death-resurrection of Jesus enlarges our soul...On any one day or through any one period of our life, we can hope and pray that God leads us to both the resurrection and the valley for there is no other path...'

Download the article here (2pps; PDF)

Messages to: Kathleen Rushton rsm


Mercy Matters

'Sometimes it matters little whether we are ready or not. Sometimes it really matters and today’s gospel parable depicts one of those situations when it is of crucial importance to be prepared....'

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

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

Read More

Mercy High School Choir in Middletown, Connecticut, under the musical direction of Matthew Campisi, has put together a CD of the music of Sister Elaine Deasy. Sr Elaine is the composer of one of the most popular U.S. versions of Catherine McAuley’s Suscipe. A list of the tracks and details of how to order the CD are linked to this item.

Read More

Sacred Heart College is a Catholic, learning faith community in the Mercy tradition that has at its centre the dignity and safety of each person.

Our vision is to grow our Catholic, Mercy community.

Read More

1854: Foundation to Drogheda, Co Louth from Tullamore - M Philomena Ledwit

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

Read More

Instructions for Android and iPhone users

Source: indiatodayintech

Read More

'In relationships with others, actions speak more loudly than words.'

Patricia Pak Poy rsm (ISMAPNG)

Read More
Further Resources

Worthy Playing:

'Bread for the World' by Bernadette Farrell. Listen here (03:29). Purchase from *iTunes; *OCP

Worth Knowing:

Mary Oliver

Fans of Mary Oliver's poetry will be delighted to know that a new publication Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (Penguin) is now available. Mary has personally selected her best work (1963-2017) for this collection. Order from Amazon and all good bookstores

Worth Reading:

Religious Life

Timothy Radcliffe OP addressed the General Meeting of the Conference of Religious England & Wales (COR) in October. His address can be read here (10pps; PDF)

The November issue of 'Update', the monthly newsletter of LCWR is now online. Download it here (12pps; PDF)

- Degradation of Earth

Climate Change

GCCM has produced a prayer guide for each of the days of COP23. The guide can be downloaded from here.  Readers might like to use this guide in conjunction with MIA's invitation to pray the Prayer for our EarthOración por nuestra Tierra as we did during the days of COP21. You might also like to sign the COP23 Interfaith Climate Statement here

The Catholic and Anglican Bishops of North Queensland, Australia have released a joint statement on the Environment: In the Care of Our Common Home: “Sister Earth”. It can be read here.

'The Emissions Gap Report 2017: A UN Environment Synthesis Report'. This new United Nations report says that collectively countries aren't on track to contain global warming to the level set by leaders in the Paris Climate Agreement. Countries have only committed to about one-third of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement's temperature target. View the report here (116pps; PDF). The report has a very useful glossary of terms on pps vii- x, drawn from a number of sources

-Displacement of People

Human Trafficking

The November 2017 (Vol. 15 No. 11) issue of 'Stop Trafficking' is now online. This issue highlights the vulnerability of Indigenous peoples to human trafficking. Read it here (9pps; PDF)


'A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents', a new report from UNICEF, uses the latest data to show that children experience violence across all stages of childhood and in all settings. Access the report here

The Bottom Line:

'We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience.
However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.'

- Pope Francis, Message for World Day of the Poor (para #3) 2017

Send suggestions and contributions for the 'Worth...' section 2017 to: the Editor

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Directors: Sister Denise Fox (ANZ), Sister Sheila Carney (US), Ron Ashworth (US), Susan Clarke (GB), Sister Colette Cronin (GB), Mary Moorhead (IRL), Kevin Hoy (IRL), Sister Margaret Casey (IRL), Sister Scholasticah Nganda (IRL)