July 28, 2005

Mercy International Association to Assume Proactive Approach in 2005-2006

The Board of Directors of Mercy International Association (MIA) held its annual meeting from May 9-16 in Handsworth, Birmingham, England. The leaders of the nine Mercy congregations throughout the world gathered at St. Mary’s Convent to review MIA’s work during the past year, discuss plans for the future, and elect officers for the coming year.

The MIA Board selected Denise Fox (New Zealand) and Dolores Magee (England) as president and vice president, respectively. Committee Liaisons are: Helen Harding (Newfoundland), Mercy International Centre; Nerida Tinkler (Australia), Mercy International Justice Network; Marie Chin (Americas), Mercy Global Concern, to be followed by her successor in leadership; Denise Fox (New Zealand), MIA Communications; and Patricia Bell (Great Britain), Archives. Sister Ethel Bignell will continue as MIA administrator until October 31, 2007. The congregation leaders proceeded to Dublin, Ireland, for the MIA annual membership meeting on May 16 at Mercy International Centre. Members set in motion a process for visioning future directions for MIA in light of the experience of the last 12 years and the contemporary call to global mission.

“The best thing about the meeting,” said Sister Marie Chin (ILT), “is that we were able to talk to each other about Mercy life and charism in our world today and the worldwide phenomenon of reconfiguration. Reconfiguring our life in Mercy is MISSION.”

Following are highlights of the past year’s activities:

  • Release of the CD-ROM Mercy and Justice Shall Meet which is distributed internationally.
  • Publication of the book Leaven for Good in a Hurting World by Mercy Global Concern, which addresses the justice issues today from a global perspective and the need for systemic solutions.
  • Seminars and workshops on Mercy global concerns and advocacy.
  • Creation of Mercy International Research Commission (a sub-committee of the Archives Committee) to encourage the ongoing scholarly treatment of the resources of the Sisters of Mercy worldwide and to promote the dissemination of such research for the benefit of the membership, their associates and partners in ministry.
  • The tenth anniversary celebration of Mercy International Centre in July 2004.
  • Facilitation of four multicultural experiences at Mercy International Centre which brought 40 sisters from different cultures to Baggot Street.
  • Increased promotion of Catherine McAuley’s canonization cause and awareness of her life, vision and virtue.
  • Collaboration among the Mercy International Justice Network point persons and Mercy Global Concern to end all forms of violence against women and children, and racism.

During the next 12 months, the MIA will adopt proactive strategies to give attention to the deeper issues and trends of the times that are the context of the Mercy mission. Specific project goals and strategies are:

  • Mercy International Centre—promote the vision and charism of Mercy through programs and strengthen facilities with the coordinated implementation of a maintenance plan.
  • Mercy International Justice Network—develop international analysis, solidarity and action that addresses violence against women and children, and racism
  • Mercy Global Concern—ensure a Mercy voice in the United Nations (UN) processes; raise Mercy awareness of the potential for collaborating internationally to address global social and economic issues by attending UN conferences and encouraging Mercy input into UN processes.
  • MIA Communications—find ways to promote effective global communication within and among Mercy entities through updates on www.mercyworld.org; broader distribution of the Mercy and Justice Shall Meet CD-ROM; and publication of the Mercy World newsletter.
  • Archives—protect and preserve documentation of the Mercy story to serve as an inspiration for the Mercy mission.
  • Canonization—promote Catherine’s life and vision in ways that lead to her being declared a canonized saint.

Photo caption: MIA Board of Directors (left to right): Back row—Sisters Helen Harding (Newfoundland), Nerida Tinkler (Australia), Breege O’Neill (Ireland), Lourdes Amascual (Philippines), Denise Fox (New Zealand), Dolores Magee (Great Britain Federation) and Patricia Bell (Great Britain Institute); front row—Sisters Marie Chin (Americas) and Evelyn Gallagher (Great Britain Union). Life size sculptures of Venerable Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and Sister Juliana Hardman, first Superior of St. Mary’s, Handsworth, are by Philip Jackson, FRBS FRSA.

By Celine A. Quinio (Institute of the Americas Communications Office)

This article is reprinted with permission from VITA, the monthly newsletter for Members and Associates of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas (volume 14, No 6) June 2005.

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