February 05, 2013

Mercy E-News Celebrates its 500th edition!


Celebrating the 500th edition of Mercy eNews offers us the opportunity to look back on almost 12 years of a journey.

In the present day world of myriad forms of communication, we take global and instant communication for granted and probably underestimate how radical was the founding vision of MIA in 1992 when it stated that among its objectives were:

  • • To increase the Sisters of Mercy awareness and experience of their global interdependence and to promote solidarity among Sisters of Mercy.
  • • To foster unity of mind and heart among Sisters of Mercy worldwide and to enable people from the different parts of the world to share in experience of mercy charism as it is lived out in different cultures and settings

Obviously this raised the question of global communication and the minutes of May 1996 offer not just an interesting insight into the conversation on this topic but a hint of the newness of the vocabulary and the very initial steps being taken by Sisters of Mercy to enter the arena of the world wide web. Under the heading‘Networking Mercy and Cyberspace’ the minutes state that Australia had just begun a homepage on the Internet. The Americas had a multidisciplinary team in place to prepare one. The dream was that one day there would be an International Mercy page.

In fact in 1996 a new Mercy ministry called Fraynework Multimedia in Melbourne, Australia, named after Ursula Frayne rsm had just been established by Adele Howard rsm. Its purpose was to provide a facility to develop and support the on-line communication needs of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and across the world. One year later it inaugurated the Australian Mercy website and in 1998 MIA Members requested Adele Howard rsm, Director of Fraynework  to establish a Mercyworld website . This website was initially developed as a sub-domain of the Australian site but as the MIA site grew it became an independent site and was hosted with its own domain address: www.mercyworld.org.

There were two re-developments of the site since , the most significant being in 2010.

With a website, the possibilities for communication grew and led eventually to the establishment of a weekly e-News publication. The first issue of Mercy eNews was published on August 13th, 2001. This issue - text only and in email format- was emailed to the100 Sisters of Mercy world-wide who were known to have email addresses! That issue was introduced as "The first regular weekly Mercy email among our group." One focus was" to promote the importance of the web site as a place for informing sisters around the world of current Mercy events."

The first recipients were invited "to contribute the news of your Congregation or Regional Community to the web site in the latest News section... to help build a global sense of Mercy".

Mercy E-news continued to develop in its outreach from its beginning and Fraynework Multimedia continued to be commissioned to develop its design and technical capacity for carrying the Mercy stories across the world each week. The faithful weekly Editor of Mercy E-news, Anne Walsh, has carried this role since then. Working with her have been the numerous Communication Directors across the Mercy world, the Congregation and Institute Leaders and Team members and the MIA Executive Team and Staff members.

As we celebrate the 500th edition of Mercy E-News we know that there are now many, thousands of readers across the 42 countries in which Sisters of Mercy live and minister, and in other parts of the world, who look forward to the news arriving in their email each Wednesday. Readership has broadened significantly from those first hundred sisters to include all members of the wider Mercy network: associates, family members, friends, members of other religious orders, partners in ministry, former congregation members, current and past students, staffs and employees, to name just some of our groups of faithful readers.

The hits for the website are currently ranging between 800,000 and 1,375,000 a month with approximately 30,000 visitors a month! The spikes in the statistics each week coincide with the enews publishing pattern.

Today provides an opportunity for us to once more thank all those who have supported this e-newsletter over the years - you have helped make Mercy E-News a very successful weekly publication.

We renew our ongoing invitation to you to share your Mercyevents, ideas, actions, connections, opportunities, resources and weblinks through the weekly Mercy E-News, and to let others in your Mercy network know of its existence if they don't already receive our enews letter each Wednesday.

Congratulations to the prophetic dreamers, the activists, the supporters, the production staffs and the readers on this wonderful milestone! Ad multos annos!

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA


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