Foundation Day 2003 at Mercy High School, Baltimore
On December 12th, Mercy High School, Baltimore, Maryland, joined the worldwide Mercy community in celebrating Foundation Day, with an assembly of students, faculty, and special guests in the new auditorium. The community gathered to hear remarks by Mary Neven, RSM, former principal of St. Mary’s College, Auckland, New Zealand, who is currently studying at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois.
Mary’s association with Mercy High School began in 1998, when Carol Wheeler, RSM, principal of Mercy, spoke at the Australia/New Zealand Mercy Secondary Education Conference, held in Auckland. In December 1999, when Carol returned to New Zealand for a 4 ½ month sabbatical, her home base was St. Mary’s Convent, Auckland, and she frequently visited St. Mary’s College. Warmly welcomed by staff and students, she found St. Mary’s to be much like Mercy High School, especially in the friendliness of the people and the values most important to the school.
Mary Neven spoke to the assembly of the international significance of Catherine McAuley’s vision and mission, citing especially the need for women’s voices in the struggle to resolve conflict in the world. She noted that in areas where conflict is present, few women are involved at the negotiating tables and observed that women’s voices are needed to ask different questions—to ask “the life-giving, compassionate, Mercy questions.”
She urged students to let their voices be heard, and impressed upon them that no effort is too small in the quest for world peace. She charged students to use their “Mercy Magic” to make our global village a place of compassion and peace, noting that the world needs the compassionate voice of Mercy as never before. The assembly closed with a prayer service, ending with the singing of “The Circle of Mercy,” the song sung in Mercy schools all over the world.
It was a great pleasure for Mercy High School to welcome Mary Neven to the celebration of Foundation Day 2003. Her presence was itself a symbol of the international Mercy connections and the worldwide significance of Catherine’s legacy.
Carol Wheeler rsm