The Mercy Girl Effect – 10 Years Later!
On Sunday 25th June, students from across the USA and Ireland gathered at Gwynedd Mercy University for the annual Mercy Girl Effect Workshop. During the 4-day gathering, which is open to 4-6 student leaders from Mercy secondary schools, the participants are invited to understand what being a Mercy person means in today’s world. They meet Catherine McAuley; they undertake some assessment of their leadership skills and styles using the Myers Briggs tool and learn how to work as a group when they return to their respective schools.
In addition, the students are given factual exposure right from UNICEF personnel on what is happening globally to girls their age or younger. They also learn from one another and each school presents about their particular school/college or academy. Finally, students make a commitment to a project recognizing that as Mercy people, it is not enough to be compassionate: we must ACT!
You might well be wondering, “What is the Mercy Girl Effect and what does it do? We borrowed our title from the YouTube video called the “Girl Effect” which is well worth watching. It records what happens to a 12-year-old girl in the developing world when she is given the chance of an education. We have drawn wisdom and encouragement from our foundress, Catherine McAuley, who very early in our Congregations’ life knew the importance of education and that poor people need help NOW, not next week!
The United Nations Children’s Organization (UNICEF) where I currently work has been a great source of help to our work as they have been documenting the plight and situation of girls across the globe for the past 40 years. In recent years, they have also been documenting terrorist attacks on girls’ schools. Since 2015, there have been 154 deliberate attacks on schools educating girls.
The Mercy Girl Effect is OUR story and it is special because it is OUR story. It is a story about actual people. Each one of us who belongs to Mercy is, in some way or another, part of this great enterprise. As Sister Helen Amos reminds us: Mercy is more than a noun; it is a gerund. It implies action… Mercying is an ongoing thing and that is why since the days of Catherine McAuley, who was the first Sister of Mercy and inspired by Christ, we do what we do.
Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm