September 30, 2014

The Face of Mercy Today Photographic Exhibition

The Face of Mercy Today Exhibition is an invitation to those who visit the International Room at Baggot Street to take a journey through 313 printed photographs mounted on display boards and 800 images cycling through on a digital display.


The Exhibition was formally opened on 25 September by the President of Ireland,  Michael D Higgins 


 L-r:  Adele Howard rsm, President Higgins, Sabina Higgins, Mary Reynolds rsm

The President, accompanied by Sabina Higgins, took the time to learn about and absorb the themes and elements of the stories in the photos. These had been gathered over eight months by the Point Persons of each of the congregations and institutes, a process co-ordinated by the Exhibition's producer and curator, Adele Howard rsm.


President Higgins commenting on one of the images to Adele Howard rsm (L) and Sabina Higgins (R)

The Exhibition has a number of themes;

Among these are traditional works of healthcare - images of acute care in Mercy health systems through to images of the most remote community care and education - a variety of schools and other places of learning where Mercy is actively engaged is also evident in a number of panels. Mercy Spirituality, prayer and reflection can be seen in another area of the exhibition. Panels of images showing the corporal works of Mercy such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless are very affecting.. The variety of expressions of Mercy communities and ministries are shown on a number of panels. Energy, commitment, endeavour and joy are very evident emotions in the actions and encounters on display here.


View of the Exhibition down the length of the International Room

The two large images mounted at a height above the rest of the photographs are particularly striking.The juxtaposition of the elegance and transience of the giant white icebergs floating past St John's Newfoundland, contrasted with the huge solid red majestic rock at the heart of the vast Australian landscape, evoke in the viewer a variety of responses, some of which have been voiced and shared in conversation and in the guest books where all visitors are encouraged to write their reflections. These images from the north and south evoke for some the Mercy foundations in the furthest reaches of the earth, made in a few short years after Catherine's death.


The two large images

Each and together, they remind us of the sheer beauty, majesty, yet utter fragility of our environment. They cause us to pause and to reflect on the words from Psalms 8 and 139 beneath them.

Hundreds of visitors have now been through the Exhibition. The Exhibition will remain open until 6 October. Sisters of Mercy, Members of the Mercy Family, Friends of Mercy and the general public  are welcome at this Exhibition which has been resoundingly well received by all who have viewed it.


 Sisters Mary (L) and Jan (R) Geason at the Exhibition

The invitation to the Exhibition invites visitors to take time to engage with the Mercy story as expressed in this display. A number of visitors have returned for a second 'experience' (as distinct from a second 'look'), have talked about praying with particular images and of images staying with them.


Visiting the Exhibition

There is recognition among visitors that those persons depicted in these images of their everyday life have opened themselves to us; have offered us an opportunity to not only learn about traditional and contemporary works of Mercy in places near and far, but to consider what it is that draws us to Mercy and to reflect on our own commitment. It is certainly a journey.

Messages to: Adele Howard rsm

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