January 22, 2010

Mercy Outreach To Haiti

The devastation of the earthquake in Haiti has shocked and saddened us deeply and challenged by the Mercy International Association Vision. We ask: how can we use our Mercy resources to respond? Catherine McAuley always made the immediate and necessary response. Paraphrasing her, we have a clear direction: The people of Haiti need help today, not next week.

From our contact with Mercy around the world, we know that help is being given. Several have told us that they have contributed immediate aid through organisations in their own localities.You, no doubt, will be heartened as you read of the active involvement of some Mercy Sisters and Associates on the ground in Haiti. Sr. Karen Schneider’s interview on CNN, describing her experience with the baby rescued from the rubble, encapsulates the germ of hope that we must nurture amidst this scene of desolation. Karen, a paediatrician, has travelled to Haiti with a team of doctors to work in a tent hospital there and working alongside her is Sr. Mary McGrory, who is a nurse. Sr. Betty Scanlon, who serves as Programme Director for Medicines for humanity, makes a very practical appeal for unused/no longer needed/ expired prescription medication. She is part of the relief effort in Haiti. Sr. Mary Jo McGinly, Executive Director of Global Health Ministry who has been leading teams of healthcare professionals to Haiti for many years is urgently appealing for volunteer Anesthesiologists, Orthopedic Surgeons and Trauma Surgeons. Mercy Associate, Maureen Mc McCullough is actively participating in relief efforts with the Catholic Relief Services. Sr. Ellen Flynn, who has spent over 18 years in Haiti, 14 of which were in Port-au-Prince, had just returned back home to the US four days before the earthquake. The centers at which she ministered in Port-au-Prince are now destroyed.

As well as giving immediate practical help, Catherine believed that ‘prayer will do more than all the money in the Bank of Ireland’. Prayer is a Mercy resource we can use to respond to this crisis. What if all Mercy women and men around the world, all the sick in our hospitals and care facilities, all the children and students in our schools and colleges, all those with whom we minister and to whom we minister were invited to join in one great act of prayer focused on the need in Haiti? Furthermore what if each part of our Mercy world decided to mark mid-day each day in this way; then we would know that a constant worldwide circle of Mercy prayer is accompanying those who suffer and those who reach out to them in Haiti. We invite you to do what you can to make this a reality.

While Catherine reached out to those in immediate need, she paid great attention to long-term development and systemic change. In the months to come, the TV and media crews will move on from Haiti to another scene and that is when the world will gradually forget this tragic happening. How can we ensure that this will not happen for us? Some of the relief workers will stay for the long haul and when the crisis recedes will focus on reconstruction and development. Among them will be the organizations with which Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates are actively involved at present and they deserve our support.

MIA also recommends the suggestion made by Sr. Deirdre Mullan of Mercy Global Concern that we consider supporting UNICEF whose efforts are aimed at the children and women, who are the most vulnerable in times of crisis and who need continued and ongoing help to re-build their lives when the crisis has passed. Children under 18 make up nearly 50 per cent of the 10 million population of Haiti. Mercy Global Concern also provides all those associated with the Sisters of Mercy the opportunity to interact with the UN system and to advocate for change that benefits the less privileged. At some point in the future, consideration needs to be given to factors that contributed to making the fallout from the earthquake so catastrophic and to slowing the aid efforts in the immediate aftermath. The UN which is responsible for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti is well placed to address these factors and we are privileged to have the opportunity of contributing a Mercy focus to any such deliberations.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Back to All News