Global Contemplation on the Integrating Poster: 'Mercy and Faith Traditions'
During the last week of July 2020, the vision statement of Mercy International Association came alive as “the inspiration and energies of the Sisters of Mercy, our associates, colleagues and partners worldwide” were gathered in a reflection on “Mercy and Faith Traditions.” This theme was month one of segment two of Mercy Global Presence, a segment which focused on Mercy in varied expressions. For the first time in our history, members of the Mercy family in more than twelve countries gathered by Zoom in three regional conversations to move more intentionally into the reality of Mercy Global Presence. Young and old, women and men, associates and partners in mercy sat at three tables of Mercy and shared experiences of learning from world faith traditions and indigenous religions. Coordinators from each institute and congregation facilitated the conversations. Anne Walsh and Adele Howard rsm enlivened the technology.
A poster which echoed paintings and a poem, words from the Quran, prophetic voices from students and indigenous peoples, and images of diverse faiths was the touchstone for global contemplation on right relationships, richer appreciation of our own house of faith, personal/community/social transformation, and a sense of the sacredness of all life (human and other-than human). For three moments in time, “the longings and efforts of the entire Mercy family” echoed through English and Spanish voices and the profound resonance of the Maori word, whakawhanaungatanga (right relationship).
Over two hundred participants listened, shared life experiences, spoke prophetically, imagined new ways of Mercy, and delighted in the ways in which global and indigenous religions connect Mercy, creation of the cosmos, and Earth. The greetings and the chatting that the participants shared in the presence of each other were touching. In the midst of a global pandemic and worldwide protests about exclusion, this was a welcomed expression of a Mercy worldview rooted in an integral ecology which hears the cries of Earth and the Poor, sees them as one, and answers with passion and justice. God spoke, “My mercy embraces all things,” and we promised, “To be your mercy.” Mercy International Association birthed new depth and richness during this July week. Catherine’s words found new and hope-filled meaning, “The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing. . . the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us.”
Elizabeth Davis rsm, Berneice Loch rsm, Anne Walsh
Messages to: Guiding Team