May 20, 2014

Mercy Through the Years... the Origins of the MIC Calendar

On desks, in offices, on bedside tables and in all manner of places in all parts of the Mercy world can be found the 'Mercy Through the Years Calendar', the current page open to display the date, the events in the Mercy story that occurred on this date and a quote to reflect upon and draw inspiration from.

'I knew we didn't know one another's stories,' said Ursula Gilbert rsm (ISMAPNG) who was a member of the First Team at Baggot Street and among the group who put the calendar together. 'It was the beginning of MIA and the whole idea of internationality was just emerging. We wanted to widen the vision of Mercy around the world, so we sent around the world asking them [congregations] to tell us interesting parts of their history to make a calendar that we could sell at MIC to tell the world our Mercy stories. We also asked around the world for Mercy artists to send us their works and we got about twelve [illustrations].'

The artists of the calendar were Srs Lucille Ciafre (Americas), Anna Mary Daly, Anne McMillan (ISMAPNG) and Moira Sheedy (ISMAPNG). 'Most of the illustrations were created by Moira,' said Ursula. 'If you look at the images, many of them have the initials "M.B.S" on them for Moira Bernadette Sheedy. Moira was coming to Baggot Street as a volunteer and every night after her volunteering was done she drew for the calendar.'

Sisters sent in dates and events and quotes were drawn from a range of Mercy sources: from the Letters, Retreat Instructions and Familiar Instructions of Catherine; quotes from individual Sisters; from Mercy writers such as Angela Bolster rsm (RIP) and Carmel Bourke rsm (RIP) from other publications and journals such as MAST (Americas) and Listen (ISMA).

'There are errors in the calendar which came about because we were a little rushed and I would like to see these corrected and ommissions included,' said Ursula. 'But the calendar has brought enjoyment to many Sisters and I know many use it for prayer.'

'I quite like what I wrote in the Acknowledgements: "We hope that the story of the works of mercy extending throughout the world and indicated on each page of the calendar will serve as a link to strengthen the bonds of The Circle of Mercy'.

The Mercy Through the Years Calendar is no longer in print. The key elements - dates and quotes - are incorporated into the mercyworld.org website. These are searchable. We invite you to post online ommissions, corrections and additions of key events since the calendar was published in 1995. We also invite you to contribute quotes from Mercy people and their writings.

Messages to: Ursula Gilbert rsm (ISMAPNG)
Corrections to: the Editor

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