November 19, 2014

Mercy Volunteer Corps - Living in a Counter-cultural Way

Mercy Volunteers choose to live a life dedicated to the service of people who are poor and marginalized. They choose to break societal norms. They choose to step outside this model of perpetuating success and live in a counter-cultural way. These educated, successful, mostly young adults are consciously making the choice to live a life of mercy alongside people who are poor, sick, uneducated, and marginalized.


        Mercy Volunteers 2014

This year, Mercy Volunteer Corps welcomed forty two individuals who have embodied the Spirit of Catherine McAuley in their desire and recognition that they have the power to create a more just and merciful world. They are serving in thirty three different service sites across seven U.S. states and Guyana, South America. These volunteers work in the fields of education, health care, and social services in low-income communities with people who otherwise would not have access to these services.

Each of the volunteers commits to living a life in solidarity with the population they are serving. The volunteers receive small personal and community food stipends, commit to living in community with other volunteers, and work to grow in their spirituality both as a community and as an individual. Mercy Volunteers often take witness to the grave injustices of our world and work to find solutions, both temporary and permanent.

Mercy Volunteers work to teach underprivileged children in Guyana, care for the sick and elderly in Savannah, and fight for clean water rights in Detroit. They are a group of dedicated individuals who, like Catherine, have worked to not only identify the needs of people who are poor but also to walk alongside them as they work to find a resolution together.


        Volunteers and Sisters participating in the NY Climate Change rally

Being a Mercy Volunteer is not simply a year long commitment. This year of service influences the volunteers to commit to leading lives of advocacy for people who are underprivileged. Mercy Volunteers have proven day after day that they are willing to be those advocates both in justice and in mercy. They have chosen a life that makes the needs of others a priority.

Since its inception in 1978, Mercy Volunteer Corps has welcomed almost one thousand volunteers who have contributed more than two million service hours. MVC welcomed the first volunteer at St. John’s School in Hialeah, Florida under the founding director, Sister Ellen Cavanuagh, RSM (Merion, Pennsylvania). Throughout the last thirty six years, MVC has served across the United States, Central and South America.

This past year alone, Mercy Volunteer Corps welcomed new service sites in Hartford, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As the number of volunteers continues to increase and discussions of growth nationally and internationally continue, MVC recognizes the potential to serve more impoverished communities. Through this growth, the staff has recognized the importance Catherine McAuley’s mission has played in this organization. She is a constant reminder to each staff member of why they must strive to serve those who are poor and marginalized. It is through the witness of her unwavering courage and strength that this organization moves into the future with hope and excitement for all of the potential that Mercy Volunteer Corps holds.


      A 'circle of Mercy'

Mercy Volunteer Corps has been blessed with the opportunity to provide volunteers with the resources and support to make a global impact. MVC has watched as their volunteers have pushed the boundaries of injustice and met the growing needs of society. As this organization continues to share Catherine’s journey, humor, and spirit with the volunteers, they are continuously thankful for the incredible love and support from the Mercy Community.

Mercy Volunteer Corps, and all of its’ successes, has only been possible through the Sisters of Mercy and for that, Mercy Volunteer Corps is ever grateful.

Messages to: Elizabeth MacNeal - Communication Specialist Mercy Volunteer Corps

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