MIJN—Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland
We, the Sisters of Mercy, Newfoundland and Labrador, are pleased to have the opportunity to describe our reality... and to reintroduce ourselves to the global Mercy community. With close to 150 members, and over 70 Associates, we minister not only in urban areas of the province but in many coastal communities that encircle the island and Labrador, and in Peru. With our people, we are very aware of the unique culture of our province, one that has been defined over the centuries by geography, a very challenging environment as well as a very interesting development of a ‘way of life’.
We have made a commitment to alleviate injustice and to continue to reach out in compassion and service to the poor and oppressed, especially women. We attempt to do this through our continued presence to youth, the sick, elderly, poor, prisoners, people with HIV/AIDS, the marginalized and through our sponsorship and contributions to numerous programs/ projects not only here in our island province but in the wider global community.
Today, we are one with our people, as we experience with them a great sense of loss in the collapse of one of the great natural resources of our province – the ground cod fishery and its apparent lack of recovery. This collapse brings with it many other losses including the loss of opportunities for employment; the decline of our population through out-migration, the loss of our youth, resulting in a low birth rate, now the lowest in North America; and the far-reaching impact of all of these factors on our rural communities and the local economy. A second reality of our province relates to our aboriginal peoples and the need to understand, protect, value and respect their connections to the land, their traditions, their culture and their values.
Seven of our sisters, two of them native Peruvians, minister in the coastal and mountain areas of Peru participating in the education of lay leaders in the faith and works of human promotion, and always seeking to promote solidarity and justice. We are fortunate to be part of the Mercy Collaborative Novitiate Program, walking with young women interested in our Mercy way of life.
Having participated in the Second International Conference of Mercy Archivists, with its theme of ‘founding stories’, we are very much aware of, inspired and encouraged by our three founding sisters, Sisters Francis Creedon, Ursula Frayne, and Rose Lynch, who, merely six months following the death of our Foundress, Catherine McAuley, traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to St. John’s, Newfoundland to found the first Mercy foundation in the New World, and the first outside the British Isles.
Prepared by Srs. Mary Tee, Madonna Gatherall, Marcella Grant Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland,