Mercys in Philadelphia Celebrate 150th Anniversary
Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia Celebrate 150th Anniversary with Sold-Out “Circle of Mercy” Concert at the Kimmel Center
More than 500 performers participated in the “Circle of Mercy” Concert on Monday, October 18, 2010, in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,500 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA.
“Tonight is a celebration of God’s mercy poured out on our world and on each of us,” says Sister Christine McCann, the president of the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas which includes Philadelphia. “A celebration of gratitude for the vision and fidelity of the past that still motivates and sustains in the present, a celebration of courage that continues to draw Sisters of Mercy, our associates and colleagues over and over again to the place where mercy is most needed, and a celebration of hope that the blessings of the past will lead to a future marked by the same generosity and service of those who went before us.”
The concert, which included historical vignettes that told the stories of the original 10 Sisters of Mercy who arrived in Philadelphia in 1861, featured singers, dancers, and musicians from the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, Keystone Mercy, Project H.O.M.E., Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary School, Mercy Vocational High School, Merion Mercy Academy, Waldron Mercy Academy, St. Dorothy School, St. Helena School, and St. Jude School.
Among the 2,500 audience participants were Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop Timothy Senior, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, and the President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Sisters Mary Waskowiak, RSM, and the members of the Institute Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy – Sisters Patricia McDermott, RSM, Eileen Campbell, RSM, Ann Curtis, RSM, and Linda Werthman, RSM.
The choirs joined together in the finale to sing “Circle of Mercy,” a song written by Sister Jeannette Goglia, RSM. Sister Renee Yann, RSM, researched the early history of the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia and wrote the script for the vignettes. “The entire Mercy family joined together to celebrate the great legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and how it has unfolded over the past 150 years,” Sister Renee says.
“The concert was a wonderful celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Presence of the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia,” says Sister Christine McCann. “The musical performances and the stories of the first Sisters of Mercy inspired and uplifted all who attended this special event.”
The concert is just one of several 150th Anniversary events. The anniversary celebrations began on August 22, 2010, with Solemn Vespers at the Convent of Mercy in Merion, PA. On September 25, 2010, a two-part Speaker Series featured Sister Marilyn Lacey, RSM, of the West Midwest Community. A Benefactor’s Liturgy was held on Sunday, October 10; a Mass for Deceased Sisters and Associates was held on Sunday, November 13. On November 20, 2010, a Mercy Day of Service will be held throughout Philadelphia at various ministries with Sister of Mercy connections. Part Two of the Speaker Series will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2011 and will feature Sister Mary Aquin O’Neill, RSM, a Sister of Mercy from the South Central Community. The Anniversary events will culminate with a Closing Liturgy on Sunday, September 25, 2011, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
The Sisters of Mercy are an international community of Roman Catholic women religious who respond to the needs of persons who are poor, sick, and in need of education, with compassionate service. In the Mid-Atlantic Community, which primarily encompasses the states of New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania, 1,040 sisters and 947 associates continue the work of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, by serving God through committing their lives and resources to respond to human needs and to change unjust systems that fail to support the full dignity of all persons.
For more information, contact Debbi Della Porta
Director of Communication
Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic Community
610-664-6650, ext. 527