Reflecting on the Experience of Participating in the Wellspring Programme #2 (MIA)
Participants share from their reflections on their experiences in the 2013 Wellspring programme.
Diana Thomas rsm (Sisters of Mercy, Aotearoa New Zealand)
On the first night of our month long course I prayed: ‘May the deepest desires of God for each of us come into being.
The prayer on the first morning this week, our last week, included: ‘… to be aware of the deepest desires of our heart and that we will find you God in our longing.’
The story about an aboriginal woman of Australia who was able to listen, listen deeply, to the sound of deep calling to deep; to recognize the touch of the Holy, using the Dadirri way of listening, inspired and called me towards quiet and stillness and the Holy. A glimpse of ‘Transfiguration’, of God’s compassion, our Mother of Compassion, a way of being with each other and Catherine’s examples of ‘union and charity’ led to a desire to Be in and grow more in love, gentleness, hope and share willingly a listening heart.
The treasure of an ever widening circle of Mercy people, gathered at Baggot Street over the month of June 2013, and the sharing and richness of presentations over that time, will be cherished and held dearly. I have been prompted to ‘see with the eyes of the heart’, to listen and share more willingly. I am led back to the same ministry and to use the words of Dorothy Day: A duty of delight.
A quote from the first week of input remains close: ‘What the caterpillar calls ‘the end of the world’… the Master calls ‘the butterfly’.'
Messages to: Diana Thomas rsm
Theresia Tina rsm (Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea)
It feels like coming to the roots to be refreshed and to be nourished.
The experience of the four weeks has been very enriching, renewing, refreshing and nourishing for me. It was an experience of home coming and I felt I am not a visitor to this place though I came miles away to Dublin.
The program for the four weeks was presented by Marie Chin, Veronica Lawson, Madeline Duckett and Janet Ruffing under the theme of Watering the Roots at the Wellspring of Mercy. Though they had their own topics, they were related and had connections with the relationship of the cosmology with the humans in today’s world and faith. We saw the power of relationship between and among different levels of life and how we as Sisters of Mercy respond to it in our own local communities and reach out.
For us to respond to this challenge of creating a positive divine relationship we have to go deep down again, to draw from the wellspring, the virtues that come with it to make wholes of the broken world.
When we were introducing ourselves in the beginning of the course, I realised that most of the participants had two connections -- Irish connections and Mercy connection. I sat there thinking: The only connection I have is Mercy. I have come to my traditions here at Baggot Street where my ancestor Catherine McAuley lived and here I am on her grounds.
I felt connected with the others in the group from Australia, America, New Zealand, Ireland, Peru and Kenya. We are all from the same seed and all have followed its roots of that tree planted nearly two hundred years ago to be nourished and refreshed from the roots of the wellspring.
I realised that to draw from the wellspring means to dig deeper and go deeper to find the real source, the source that never runs dry and never stops springing out. The wellspring of mercy is ever flowing in every human being from the very depth of every human heart.
The seeds of Mercy that have travelled across the oceans and travelled far and wide have followed its roots back to the original tree to receive its nourishment to be more fruitful wherever the branches are.
I am very grateful to the leaders who initiated the idea for keeping Catherine’s original house as a place for all Sisters of Mercy worldwide. This place connects us physically with others, more than other means of connections we have. I think this is a place that signifies our global connections, not only for Sisters of Mercy but to all people with whom we have connections wherever we are in the world.
Messages to: Theresia Tina rsm
Jeanne Christensen rsm (West Midwest Community, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas)
A privileged time to encounter God and Mercy
In this house, this city, this country of Catherine’s
With my sisters, all daughters of Catherine, companions on the journey
Sharing insights, reflections, information, prayer, presentations;
With my sisters from New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, the United States and missioners returning from Kenya and Peru.
Each of us with our own powerful, mercy-filled story --
No two alike, and yet so similar, so Mercy!
Each of us seeking to know and experience Catherine and our roots at the wellspring of Mercy
Down, down, down deep within ourselves.
Each seeking to encounter our God and our faith roots at the wellspring of Scripture
Deep within ourselves.
Knowing? Oh, yes! Experiencing? Oh, yes! Encountering? Oh, yes!
Deeply and in ways never expected
Privileged? Oh, yes! Renewed? Oh, yes! Challenged? Oh, yes! Grateful? Oh, yes! Awed? Oh, yes!
Living images of our all merciful, loving God
Let us rejoice! Oh, yes!
Julia Upton rsm (Mid Atlantic Community, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas)
The pre-Christian Irish spoke about “thin places,” where this world meets the world beyond—the eternal world.
Mercy International Centre is one of those places for me, and the month I have spent here at the wellspring of mercy with fourteen other Sisters of Mercy from around the world has been a 'bit of heaven' the songs sing about. Together we have prayed and played while using a different lens each week to view our life in Mercy. We have grown in our affection of each other and for our foremothers in Mercy, especially dear Catherine. I have been 'blogging' about this all month.
You can enter into the experience more by traveling along with me at https://stjohns.digication.com/julia_upton_rsm/My_Travels.
Messages to: Julia Upton rsm
Sue France rsm (Sisters of Mercy, Aotearoa New Zealand)
The image that comes to mind when I think back over the four weeks of the programme is that of having my Mercy roots well soaked with water from the well. I come away with a reservoir of shared wisdom and new learnings to nourish me for a long time to come.
As I began the month I had a strong sense of coming home, something which seemed a common experience for many of the participants, Sisters from Australia, Ireland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.
Each presenter led us on a journey into the Mercy story from different perspectives. Each offered a depth of scholarship and insight into being Mercy in our world today, challenging and affirming our experiences as women in the church today. And always there was the invitation to go deeper and deeper into the heart of Mercy and into our own hearts to hear God’s word spoken to us. Being together as a group was such a gift. We came from different parts of the world but we leave knowing we are one in Mercy.
Messages to: Sue France rsm
Patricia McDermott (Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea)
We´ve been graced with a sacred time,
To go deep down into the wellsprings of Mercy.
Here in this sacred place, Catherine´s place,
Where roots of Mercy reach out throughout the world.
And now, we come back, to be centred in God,
Amidst all the tripping about,
To find anew our deep centre, the God of abundance-
Loving compassion, offered to us all.
Here we are: women from around the world,
Flawed but faithful,
Longing to be renewed at our core,
Longing to find new direction.
We´ve been offered a long loving look at reality
In a world shattered by displacement.
We´re women at the cross-roads of life:
Time to choose anew, delve deep,
To be held in the loving compassion of our God.
We have been blessed. We have been graced.
The waters of Mercy have stirred in our souls,
Nourishing us with interconnectedness,
Challenging us into wholeness,
With gratitude in our hearts to live in the NOW.
And a new energy emerges
An energy born of shared stories
And the spark of a bigger story
God´s story, echoing in our hearts
With all the universe
Pulsing through our veins,
So that we dare to speak with those who have no voice;
We dare to believe, despite all the odds;
And we dare to act, one step at time,
So that our world will be more just
And the flow of mercy will ripple through us all.
A foolish dream, you say?
The alternative is to live without a dream:
Live without meaning in our lives.
Comfortable- maybe- but at what cost?
When the fire goes out- we may as well die.
But God says “Come! Drink deep from these wells.”
Awake then, to a new time, to a new way,
Woven in the mantle of Mercy for us all,
And Hope is born once more.
Messages to: Patricia McDermott rsm