June 28, 2021

The Mercy Girl Effect Leadership Training 2021

Sr Yvonne and Mercy student participants from Newry, Northern Ireland

The Mercy Girl Effect Leadership Training Programme (MGE) was held virtually during the past week and we welcomed students from across the USA and Ireland as we continued our journey of educating, advocating and deciding on our Action Project for the Academic Year 2021-2022.

During the two-day conference, which has been held at Gwynedd Mercy University for the past 15 years, the student ambassadors followed a similar structure to the one we have used so successfully in the past.

Following the formal welcome and prayer by the MGE Coordinators, Sister Deirdre and Ms Eileen Killeen, the students were introduced to Ms Cathy Johnston who took them through the results of their Myers-Briggs tests.

Each participant had tested and submitted their paperwork for analysis prior to the conference.  Working in individual school groups, the students were given their results and then looked at the composition of leadership styles and discussed how they could best use these skill-sets when carrying the message of the conference back to their schools.  Students then returned to the main conference session and shared ideas, inspirations and lessons learnt.

On day two, Sister Deirdre gave an overview of the workings and history of the Mercy Girl Effect, what we have done as a group, the schools we have built, the scholarships provided, libraries and kitchens refurbished,  and small houses erected.  She then gave an input on how the money raised during the past very difficult year will be used by the Arise, anti-trafficking and slavery organization.  Mr Luke de Pulford from the Arise Foundation gave a vote of thanks from Arise via video link from London and Sister Arpan, one of the frontline Sisters, spoke to the students from the tea-gardens in India and shared how she will use the money donated.  This was a very proud moment for our young ambassadors who, despite many obstacles, off-site schooling and cancellations due to the global pandemic, continued our global outreach, recognizing that we rise by lifting others!

Mercy student participants from Philadelphia, USA

Sister Deirdre’s talk, entitled Girls as Water Carriers, provided up to date information on the situations of girls worldwide.  Because of the pandemic there are worrying signs of regression.  Using UNICEF statistics, she shared some key facts on how girls are missing major portions of their school day, having to walk long distances to gather water.  The UNICEF video, Water doesn’t come from a tap, charts the journey of 13-year-old Aysha who spends about 8 hours fetching water every day in Ethiopia, where she lives.  In fact, 2.1 billion people have no safe drinking water and 4.5 billion have no access to adequate sanitation.

Mercy student participants from Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Sharing a story from one of our Mercy Sisters, Sister Deirdre introduced the students to our 2021-2022 challenge called: Women at the Well.  Using the gospel story of the woman who visited the well when everyone else had left, and where she encountered Jesus, the students were invited to reflect on how people are ostracized today.

The flyer for our challenge was distributed and students in their school groups, and then collectively, shared how they would bring the message of the conference back home and how they would try to educate their student body on Water as a Human Right; Girls as Water Carriers; the fact that 700 children die daily from disease due to a lack of clean water and how we will respond in collaboration with our Sisters on the ground by building and providing wells.

Following Sister Deirdre’s presentation, there was a commissioning ceremony.  Pins and Global Certificates will be forwarded to each student, along with the save the date:

Next Year in Philadelphia

Sunday 26 June – Wednesday 29 June, 2022

Save the date was shared.

PS: Irish students arrive on Friday 24 June and are hosted by families of Mercy Students.

—Ms Eileen Killeen – Mid-Atlantic – Sisters of Mercy

—Sister Deirdre Mullan Northern Province – Sisters of Mercy

Messages to: Deirdre Mullan rsm

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