Mercy Day: 'A Day to Rejoice in the Gift of Mercy Transmitted All Over the World'
Editor. Mercy Day at Baggot Street this year was a three-part celebration: Eucharist in the Chapel was followed immediately by the blessing and rededication of the International Room and after lunch, the screening of Pope Francis' Address to the United States Congress.
In between the events there was a very warm welcome, lots of conversation and most generous hospitality to be enjoyed by the 150 or so Sisters and Partners-in-Mercy who were able to be at MIC. To make the day perfect, the sun shone!
Sr Sheila signing in
Madeleine waiting to greet guests
Arriving for the celebrations
More guests arriving
Still more guests
Another group of guests
SR Dolores Magee with her sister Dolores
Celebration of Eucharist in the Baggot Street Chapel
Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio, was the Celebrant of the Eucharist. His arrival at the front door of Baggot Street was greeted with great enthusiasm by some of his fellow Americans -a tour group of Sisters and partners-in-Mercy from Hot Springs, Arkansas. They were amongst a congregation with representatives from many parts of the Mercy world - Newfoundland, Australia, Ireland, Aotearoa New Zealand, the United States, and which included Sisters who had been on mission to other places.
In his homily, Archbishop Brown highlighted Catherine McAuley as a woman with 'an amazing vision'. He reminded us that Mercy Day is a day to rejoice in the gift of mercy which liberates us and to celebrate the works of the Sisters of Mercy now spread throughout the world.. He explored and expanded upon the history of this feast day and connections with the forthcoming Year of Mercy. The homily can be listened to below (12:00)
Although American born, Archbishop Brown has Irish roots with several cousins in the Kilmacduagh parish which is under the patronage of St Colman, and he has a Mercy connection. Sr Emmanuel Kilkelly of New Ross is a relative of the Papal Nuncio.
Archbishop Brown has visited Sr Emmanuel at Southknock, New Ross no fewer than three times since he arrived in Ireland. On his third visit in March this year he presented Sr Emmanuel with the Bene Merenti Medal for her exceptional long and dedicated service to the church and parish of St Mary's and St Michael's New Ross, Co Wexford (pictured below)
Blessing and Re-dedication of the International Room
The re-dedication of the refurbished International Room commenced with a telling by Mary Reynolds rsm of the four stories that are celebrated in the room; the story of the First Mercy classroom, illustrated with the Clare Agnew drawing on the far wall; the story of the Mercy foundations to the five continents on boards around the room, replacing the posters created for the Opening in 1994 with the story of the 44 countries where Mercy has a presence today told on screens in text, image and video; the story of the opening of MIC and the ritual pouring into the rill in the back garden of water from these Mercy lands; the story of the Good Cup of Tea. Tradition holds that in 1841 the International Room was the Community Room. On her deathbed (in the room next door) Catherine instructed her Sisters to enjoy 'a good cup of tea' in this room after her passing. Today, the 'good cup of tea' represents warm hospitality and generosity among the Mercy family.
A sample of the Mercy stories that can be accessed on the big screen was demonstrated by Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm, Assistant Director Heritage & Spirituality..
Following the story-telling and technology demonstration, Archbishop Brown blessed the room and prayers were prayed. The ritual concluded with the poem 'Blessings' from the 'Baggot Street Suite of Poems' written by Mary Wickham rsm (ISMAPNG) and read by her on this occasion.(pictured below) Sr Mary has been leading a retreat at Baggot Street so was present for the Mercy Day celebrations
Screening of Pope Francis' Address to the United States Congress
Arrangements were put in place some weeks ago with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to take a feed of their livestream on our website. What this meant is that for the entire Apostolic Visit to the U.S. and the United Nations( 22-27 September), live streaming coverage of all events of Pope Francis' visit was available on the homepage of our mercyworld.org website, ensuring that Sisters and partners-in-Mercy, wherever they are in the world, had online access to the most extensive coverage available. We were very keen that the Address to the US Congress on Mercy Day and the Address to the UN General Assembly on 25 September, could be viewed live, because of their particular significance, and promoted these through the site, Mercy eNews and our social media channels.
For Sisters interested and able to stay on after the Mercy Day festive lunch- and about 40 chose to do so - the screening of Pope Francis' Address to the United States Congress on the big screen in the newly refurbished International Room was an opportunity to witness together 'history in the making', hearing Pope Francis, the 'Pope of Mercy' speak to us of mercy and justice in our first house of Mercy.
All Mercy Days-wherever and however celebrated- are special and each Mercy Day is special in its own way. This Mercy Day offered us all a shared opportunity to 'rejoice in the gift of Mercy transmitted all over the world' (Archbishop Brown), a reminder that 'Mercy liberates us (Archbishop Brown) an invitation in the address to Congress to respond to the needs of the world and earth with 'hope and healing... peace and justice' (Pope Francis) and in light of the challenges facing humanity, that we also 'pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.' (Pope Francis). In this Pope Francis' words are a reminder of the words in the Letter of Greetings sent to him for Mercy Day from Our World Mercy Leaders - the purpose in establishing MIA is 'to support each other, challenge each other and share our rich mercy resources to help make our world more just, more peaceful and more interconnected...'
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
Some of the Scenes from Mercy Day 2015
Gathered for Eucharist
Ruth Carson and Cecilia Cadogan rsm
Celebrating in Song at Eucharist
Some of the Musicians
Gathering in the International Room
Gathering in the International Room
Archbishop Charles Brown, Mr Tom Kelly
Srs Liz Murphy and Mary Lyons (The Congregation) with Sr Monica Sinclair (ISMAPNG)
Enjoying the conversation
Srs Elizabeth Marrie (NFL) and Dervilla Byrne (The Congregation) with Anne Reid
Srs Patricia Donovan and Carmel Byrne