July 20, 2017

The Journey Continues: Day 3 of YML Pilgrimage 2017

We all awoke to find what we thought would remain a blue sky day. However, with rain forecast for midday, once again the programme was re-ordered so that the members of Group B who would be walking in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley today could do so this morning. They were not long back back before the rains came.

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

  • Arriving for Day Three

Upon arrival into Baggot Street this morning the pilgrims gathered in the Chapel for Opening Prayer on the theme 'Thin Places'. In the Irish culture 'thin places' are where the eternal world and the physical world we inhabit meet. Catherine's House can be considered a 'thin place' for Mercy people. Here in this house she built and where she lived Mercy people visiting from all over the world feel a very deep connection.

Reading of Scripture passage

Focus: candles representing each of the
continents on which there is a Mercy
presence
 The cairn of individual stones
interspersed with tea lights

Keynote talks by Michele O'Kelly rsm and Angela Reed rsm were repeated again today for the groups that had not heard these yesterday.

Following prayer time the pilgrims in Group A headed off to the International Room to hear Michele O'Kelly rsm give her talk on Mercy and Leadership while the others headed off on the walk.

Sr Michele's talk began with the students experience - an analysis of the Ariana Grande 'One Love Manchester' concert and the leadership shown by Ariana in organising this benefit for the victims of the 'Manchester bombing. She contrasted that behaviour with the belief system and actions of Salman Ramadan Abedi, the Manchester bomber. She spoke of examples of leadership in the Christian tradition - that shown by Jesus and then by Catherine and what their examples call us to be.

Sr Michele's message: 'Mercy,' she said 'turns power into love and service'. Download Sr Michele's keynote address here (PDF)

After Sr Michele's keynote those present at each talk formed into 2 smaller groups to break open the content in her workshop. Following discussion on the issues raised in the talk about followers, leaders, values, failure, team work... students were once again set the spaghetti rods, stickytape and marshmallow challenge - a practical experience of leadership and teamwork. This time they were only given two marshmallows and one of the marshmallows had to be on the top of the structure they built!

Michele O'Kelly rsm Angela Reed rsm

Sr Angela Reed's keynote was entitled 'Make Mercy Your Badge of Honour'  and it focussed on the issue of human trafficking. Her talk was in four parts: her personal story; Values in Justice Pursuit; Cathy's Story (a victim of human trafficking in the Philippines) and Justice Work at the UN.

Day 7:Cathy- No one can treat me like a dog from MercyWorld on Vimeo.

Sr Angela spoke of 3 life skills/attitudes we need to have: a sense of hope, critical thinking skills and a merciful heart.

Said Sr Angela: 'To have hope without critical thinking is to be naive and blissfully ignorant, but to have critical thinking without hope is to be cynical and depressed'. Download Sr Angela's keynote address here (PDF).

3 workshops followed to unpack the content of the talk. These were conducted by Ruth Kilcullen and Ashling Murray from MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts to Counter Child Prostitution and Trafficking in the Hospitality Sector), Denise Boyle fmdm and Betty Lacey (Mercy Global Action) and Angela Reed rsm (MIA at the UN - Mercy Global Action).

Material used in workshop run by
Denise Boyle fmdm and Betty Lacey

Activity in Ruth Kilcullen & Ashling
Murray's workshop

The four workshops were repeated today with the pilgrims from group B rotating through these. Yesterday we reported on the Mime and Art workshops.

The Discernment workshop was conducted by Jean Evans rsm and Terry Saetta rsm. It was about how to take the long term view, making good choices and the choices we make. The Mindfulness workshop was conducted by Trish Walsh rsm who is also facilitating the pilgrimage. 'The practice of mindfulness' said Sr Trish, 'is simply being aware of what is happening right now'. The exercises she led the pilgrims and chaperones through illustrated the truth of this statement.

L-r: Mary Forde rsm (chaperone),
Jean Evans rsm, Terry Saetta rsm
 Trish Walsh rsm facilitating

The closing process today incorporated the closing prayer which included within it the well-known text from Joanna Regan rsm: 'Gracious God, by courageous, contagious concern for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the poor, the sick and the uneducated, Catherine McAuley broke through the impossibilities of her time. She animated many to walk with her. She animated others at the centres of wealth, power and influence to share in her efforts. She connected the rich to the poor, the healthy to the sick, the uneducated and skilled to the uninstructed, the influential to those of no consequence to do the work do God on earth. We pray in our time to do the same. Amen.'

It was followed by the singing of the Suscipe. All were in full voice.

The night before the pilgrimage ends is traditionally a social evening, usually a talent show where pupils from each school group display their music or dancing skills and expertise. This year we decided to do something different and arrange  a céilí - an evening of traditional Irish dancing. The name céilí comes from the word 'le cheile' meaning 'coming together'.

The Irish Dance Party describe what they do as 'a great way for students to be introduced to Irish music, dance and culture in a really fun and interactive way' and we can attest that's correct.

We'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

  • Ceili

 One day more!

The programme runs until tomorrow night. You are invited to follow online the life and energy of these days with our daily updates on the mercyworld.org website, on Facebook @mercyinternationalassociation and @mercyleaders and on Twitter using the hashtags @mercyworldwide and #YML2017.

Messages to: YML Communications Team: Elizabeth McNamee rsm and Anne Walsh


The walk in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley is an essential aspect of the 'Come Home to Catherine' week long programme offered annually at MIC to Sisters, Associates, Colleagues and Co-workers. It will be offered from 15-19 October 2018. Students walked an amended version of the complete walk.
Register for it here.

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