June 04, 2014

Point Persons at Work Preparing for the 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Point Persons share with us all how preparations are proceeding for local celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of Mercy International Association.

Great Britain


There is a maxim to “act locally and think globally”. In preparing for the MIC celebrations, we in Great
Britain have been challenged and tasked to think globally about our Mercy reality.

We met at St Mary’s Convent, Birmingham and are shown surrounded by the tools of the task.

When I agreed to be the Point Person for the Union of the Sisters of Mercy and, then read the remit, I was delighted to realise I would need to call on the expertise of others.

On my right is Sister Angela (Moroney), ever willing to share her IT skills, and on my left Sister Helen (Ryan ) a member of the Federation who brings a breadth of Mercy outreach ministry to every gathering.

Our need to “act locally” is just beginning. Information about the celebrations, the programme and the registration form have been circulated to all communities and the last mailing carried the invitation to begin planning local celebrations/gatherings. We have many creative people among our members and I am sure we will hear of plans for some inspiring local celebrations that will include youth and adults Associates, parishioners, co-workers and friends.

- Philomena Bowers rsm



l-r: Srs Margaret Duffy, Marion McCarthy
When I was asked to be the point person for the Institute I knew I needed help. I found that support in Sr. Marion McCarthy, who was one of the first sisters to minister at MIC. It is a great blessing that Marion lives very near me and was most generous in her sharing her knowledge and many skills.

What is this celebration really about? To me the significance is that Mercy Sisters from all over the world have been enabled to be in touch with each other through the physical place where Catherine responded to her personal vocation. Modern media has eased the communication to the extent that sitting in London I can have instant responses to my questions from the other side of the world. The sun never sets on our Mercy ministry!

To prepare the prayer ritual from Great Britain we travelled to the house where Catherine stayed as she made her last foundation. We joined with sisters from the Union and Federation at Handsworth, Birmingham - surely a most fitting venue. Naturally we were offered more than a comfortable cup of tea!

We are using our webpage and monthly newsletter to keep our sisters up to date with developments and to invite them to be creative in celebrating the anniversary. Some of our recent Leaders are going to Baggot St for at least some of Mercy Week.

- Margaret Duffy rsm 

The Congregation

Greetings from the Congregation which comprises the seven provinces of South Africa, U.S.A., Kenya and Ireland (4).

Since February 2014 we have been actively engaged in the preparations for the 20th Anniversary celebration of MIA. Our job description as ‘points persons’ seemed very daunting but thanks to the willingness and cooperation of the many Sisters who have generously engaged with the various tasks we are making steady progress.
The ritual ‘Celebrating Mercy Day’ is well in hand: In its creation we have called on the many talents and gifts of various Sisters – artists, musicians, poets, photographers, technicians, along with those who designed the prayer service. Make sure to tune in on 24th September, 2014.

Gathering images for the ‘Face of Mercy’ across the Congregation is near completion. This was a mammoth undertaking. Our meeting with Adele Howard rsm and Ailish O’Brien rsm, and the conference call with all involved, helped to clarify and ease any anxiety about this undertaking. Thanks to the Provincial Teams in each of the provinces and those to whom they have delegated the assignment, the challenge is well in hand and we are looking forward to receiving all the photographs in the next week.

       L-r: Srs Adele Howard (ISMAPNG), Margaret Farrell and Breda Coman meeting at the Mespil in April over a
       good cup of tea

The programme of events for MIA 20th Anniversary Celebration has been circulated to all our Sisters with advice to book early and many have done so. We use our monthly internal newsletter Mercy@live for regular updates.
Communication of the celebrations to the Congregation will be ongoing along with how best to encourage local celebrations. It is hoped that the MIA 20th Anniversary Celebration will be a truly universal lived experience of Mercy today, involving as many of us as possible.

- Breda Coman rsmMargaret Farrell rsm

Australia & PNG


Across ISMAPNG we are sourcing images from ministries that tell of the face of Mercy Today. Where professional images are available we are requesting that they be offered for use in the Exhibition in May. We are also organising the taking of new images to reflect the diversity and ongoing expression of our works and our lives in Mercy.

As the coordinator of the Point People for the Photographic Exhibition, I have enjoyed regular conference calls with the three other Congregations during which we share our experiences and our progress. We have worked through the technical and creative details of the Face of Mercy Today photographic exhibition and, as the other congregational reports show, arrangements for the taking and coordination of these photographs are well underway.

Our next conference call will be about arrangements for the Prayer Ritual. Our theme in the Australian region for the leadership in Prayer on Friday 26 September is the MIA focus area of Trafficking in Human Persons.

- Adele Howard rsm


Brisbane Congregation

I am inspired as I engage in this task by the knowledge that it was our Kath Burke rsm, in her role at the time as President of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy Australia, who encouraged Sisters of Mercy across Australia to support the development of the Mercy International Association.


L-r: Mary Lawson rsm, Point Person for the Brisbane Congregation, with Gaelle Rahme, from the Congregation Office, choosing from Ministry photos which may be suitable for inclusion in the Face of Mercy Today Exhibition

Preparations here include visits to our Ministries to discuss the need for photos and the criteria for the photographic display. There has been a very positive response from Ministry leaders, all wanting to contribute to this display. The recent celebration of the Jubilees of the Sisters provided a wonderful, joyous opportunity to engage a professional photographer to capture many moments of ‘the face of Mercy’.

The next challenge is to collect the signed consent to use the selected photographs.
Bookmarks with the mercy e-news website address are being distributed at every opportunity. I carry bundles with me to every gathering I attend.

Three Sisters from the Brisbane Congregation are attending the celebrations in September.

- Mary Lawson rsm


North Sydney Congregation

The North Sydney Congregation has been busily organising photographer Peter Casamento's visit to Sydney to capture our photographs for the "Faces of Mercy" exhibition in MIA in September. In the week of 10 June Peter will be travelling around the ministries, convents and associated organisations such as Monte Sant Angelo, The Mercy Foundation and the Mater Hospital to capture the Sisters and lay people involved in the works of Mercy of the congregation. We have a range of people involved in the photographs including the Sisters, students, teachers, administrators, surgeons and mothers and babies. We hope to really capture the breadth and depth of the 'Mercy-ing' going on within and around our Congregation in North Sydney. Here I am (on left) with Sr.Bernadette Mansour (on right) working out the timetable of the photographs at the Mercy Foundation.

- Kate Anderson


Parramatta Congregation

I am employed by the Sisters of the Parramatta Congregation as the Mission Animator so when I was asked to be the Point Person I felt very privileged. It dovetails nicely into my work.

In the various activities of Mission Animation, I can call on the Sisters at any time and they are always generous in their response. Again this is the case with the various tasks associated with our contribution to the MIA 20th Anniversary Celebrations to be held in September. Fortunately, we had some beautiful photos recently taken for our new website so that has been a real help in getting our display ready.


                              L-r: Anne Ferguson, Margaret Jones rsm and Mary-Louise Petro rsm

Srs Mary-Louise Petro and Margaret Jones from the Congregation’s Leadership Team are excitedly planning for the week of celebrations in Dublin.

- Anne Ferguson


In the Americas, we have a meeting scheduled at the Institute office on June 9th to work out a communications plan to involve our sisters and associates in various dimensions of the celebration. Sue Carroll, Director of Communications is collecting photographs from around our Institute for the Face of Mercy today exhibit and our leadership team is developing criteria for the selection of our representatives to the celebrations. A small choir from Carlow University will record music to accompany the prayer service for September 23rd.


The attached photograph pictures Sheila Carney, RSM and Carey Libertini, a colleague at Carlow University, as they work on the music for the prayer service.

- Sheila Carney rsm

Aotearoa New Zealand

Today’s technology has an amazing capacity to bring people together. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, as far from Dublin as one can get, we rely on that. Even though we are so far from Catherine’s House, our Sisters and companions are growing in their awareness of the forthcoming celebrations.

As Point Person from New Zealand I have invited many of our Sisters and companions to participate so we have group preparing our on-line liturgy for 28 September. I have seen the first draft which our team has put together and which is now being digitised by Anna Nicholls rsm (our techie whizz!). As well, we have people visiting our facilities and convents photographing Mercy in different situations. Soon these images will be being prepared for the Face of Mercy Today photographic exhibition in the International Room at Baggot St. There are small inserts going into local newsletters and ideas are spreading. I am in frequent conversation with people about what we might be doing.


       Here I am (on right) with Natalie Murphy rsm (on left) from our leadership team preparing some material.

Unfortunately the celebration dates in Dublin are right across our Chapter dates so, although we will not be present in Ireland, we will be availing ourselves of this wonderful technology to participate from afar each day.
Ad multo annos, MIA!

- Stephanie Kitching rsm



The Newfoundland mission from Baggot Street was established in St. John’s on June 3, 1942. The founders were Sisters Ursula Frayne, Rose Lynch and Francis Creedon. The celebration of 150 years of the Newfoundland foundation happened in 1992 and brought Sisters of Mercy from all over the world to St. John’s.

At that 1992 assembly a significant milestone in the foundation of Mercy International occurred. This historic event happened one day during the festivities! The document that brought Mercy International into being was signed by Sister Mary Paschal, Great Britain and Sister Patricia March, Newfoundland. The two copies were then entrusted to Sister Paulina of the Philippines to be brought to Sister Mary Carmella in the Philippines for the final signature.

Other Mercy leaders had earlier signed: Sisters Kath Burke of Australia, Judith of New Zealand, Regina Kelly, Ireland, Mary Waskowiak, Americas. The concept of Mercy International arose from the vision instigated by the Irish Mercies, especially Sister Mary Sebastian, with the serendipitous presence of Sister Mary Trainor who was in Dublin when the idea was born. She, with an international steering committee, spear-headed and coordinated the project that ensured that Mercy would be a world-wide reality that would bloom into Mercy International Centre and Mercy International Association with out-reach into the world of hospitality, spirituality, heritage and culture, social and eco-justice, and communications.

Now more than twenty years later we are among Sisters of Mercy from all continents of the world who are preparing to celebrate together the 20th anniversary of Mercy International. We have a large committee and are diligently working to meet the standards set out by MIA to provide a prayer with a focus on environment and that may be used by sisters and associates worldwide on September 27. We are collecting photos to portray the Face of Mercy. This is project that is engaging nearly all Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland, directly and indirectly. We all want to look our best and to show our best “face” to the world! Our work is preparing us for a grand 20th anniversary celebration of Mercy International in September, here and abroad! We are delighted that Sisters Patricia March and Monica Hickey, two devoted MICers, as well as Anne Curtis, Mercy colleague (Irish-born but Newfoundland-claimed) will be at Baggot Street for the celebrations!

- Sheila O'Dea rsmDiane Smyth rsm

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