Quotations from the Baggot Street Story, 1989 -1994
Some Key lines from the World Mercy Centre Story
'The very first day that I came to the house here, I felt this house doesn’t belong to us at all It belongs to all the Sisters all over the world. Every one of them should have admission to the house, a key to come and go as they please.’
-Sr. Victoire, Superior of Baggot St, 1989
‘How could we expect our lay colleagues to carry the mission forward, when we were letting the very source of inspiration for Mercy mission and formation in the charism deteriorate?
-Mr. Bob Laverty (CEO of Detroit Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan wrote to Sr.M.Concilia Moran (VP for Sponsorship of the Sisters of Mercy Health Corporation)
'In preparation for this meeting (First meeting of Mercy International Steering Committee), I sent a letter to 85 leaders of all the known congregations/provinces asking them to pose this question to their members
If Catherine looked at Baggot Street today, how would she have us use the space?
- Would she see it as a place of pilgrimage, a creative space providing an atmosphere for re-kindling in her world-wide family the spirit which animated the first Sisters of Mercy?
- Would she delight at the thought of our lay colleagues drinking from the wells of our tradition, inspired to become ever more fully a part of the living legacy of mercy in our world, deeply committed to furthering the mission?
- Would she envision a ministry emanating from the first house of Mercy, which responds in a new way to the cries of the poor in Ireland today?
- Would she see it as a place where unity among the world-wide Mercy community might grow with increased awareness of our global interdependence, and a willingness to share our resources in behalf of the whole human family served by Mercy?
- These questions are only "starters" - Please invite all your sisters as well as your lay colleagues to dream about Baggot Street and share their dreams with the Steering Committee via their representative.
'Responses to the question about the possibility of co-sponsoring Baggot St. as a World Mercy centre:
- Yes, if it helps to discover our international identity, connects us to one another and to the movement toward growth happening in the international arena
- Yes, if it is a living heritage center with the dynamic flow of Mercy life-moving our hearts, renewing our energy and sending us out.
- Yes, if it facilitates Mercies from different parts of the world joining in common projects.
- Yes, if it is a sacred site, a focal place to deepen the spirituality of mercy.
- No, if it is simply a monument, a dead museum
- Mary Trainer rsm on calling together the first meeting of Mercy International Steering Committee
‘ A layman spending a little time in the room resided in by Mother Catherine McAuley cannot but be touched and inspired by a sense of place, history and revolution in social and educational science led by women. The fact that Shaw, Wilde, O’Casey, Behan and Swift were born in Dublin is highly publicised nationally and internationally. Without in any way casting any aspersions on their enormous literary contribution to our great heritage, that contribution pales by comparison with the impact Mother Catherine McAuley had and has on the lives of people across the world. As part of the analysis, very serious thought should be given to the means by which her extraordinary contribution to humanity could be publicised and brought to the attention of the world at large. To a layman there could be no better to do it than in Baggot Street.’
-Michael Punch, a consulting engineer, in conversation with Mary Quinn rsm.
'When I visit the Heritage Room I recall Sisters Felicitas Powers and Marian McCArthy and their amazement as Magdalena Frisby arrived with a bundle of precious documents under her arm having come with them from Booterstown on the bus!. Magdalena was in herself an enthusiastic, walking, talking ‘archive’ who sounded like she had grown up with Catherine McAuley, she knew her so well’
-Canice Hanrahan rsm
'The characters portrayed in a story are surely at the heart of it . In an account of the transition of Baggot Street Convent to become Mercy International Centre, many participants could be mentioned, but the dream, the vision, the tenacity and skills to bring it fruition were mainly those of Mary Trainer, from Philadelphia. It is difficult to describe the extent of her involvement and the numerous aspects of the project – legal, architectural, financial, social, structural, archival and historical which were part of the undertaking.'
-Elizabeth McCaver rsm who worked with Mary Trainer at Baggot Street.
‘The challenge we face in the re-development of the Baggot St. space in such a way that the radical response to the cries of the poor, which Catherine McAuley generated when she built the first house of mercy, is rekindled in the global community.’
-(World Mercy Centre Heritage Proposal, Dec. 1990)
‘Would the fruit of our coming together be to discover anew how we are called in a global context to revitalize and reshape Mercy? Here was a living legacy, a wellspring of inspiration through which Sisters of Mercy and their lay colleagues could build a world community in thinking and attitude, in structure, action and depth’.
-(International Steering Committee Report, April 1991)
'The project, we know, was not without struggle – struggle and pain, much of which only you were aware – but you persevered. No obstacle was too great, no detail too small for you to deal with in order to bring this dream to reality. Those of us who have worked most closely with you throughout the project know that it was a labour of love, but not without great cost to yourself. You have given in deep love for Catherine and for Mercy.'
-(Extract from a tribute to Mary Trainer rsm given by Patricia March rsm (Newfoundland) )
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA