November 24, 2019

The Mercy Girl in Buffalo, New York

Deirdre Mullan rsm (Centre) with staff and students of Mount Saint Mary’s Academy in Buffalo, New York

Sister Deirdre Mullan (the Congregation) was the keynote speaker at Mount Saint Mary’s Academy in Buffalo, New York recently to launch the LAUDATO TREE project, which is the Mercy Girl Effect challenge for 2019-2020.

Speaking to the students, Sister Deirdre reminded them that as Mercy women they each have been given the gift of Mercy and this year encouraged the faculty and students to learn about the Great Green Wall and become part of this global effort.

The Great Green Wall (GGW) is not made of concrete or barbed wire fences. The Great Green Wall” of Africa is an African led project with an ambition of gigantic proportions. Thirteen countries are cooperating in building the “wall” of drought-resistance trees (mostly Acacia) from West to East Africa – just under the southern edge of the Sahara desert.

The overall goal of the project is to fight the effects of climate change by reversing desertification.  The GGW initiative provides many benefits. Forecasts suggest that the 13 countries involved will sequester as much as 250 million tonnes of carbon through its evolution, contributing to a reduction of greenhouse gases. The wall will also contribute to the global social order by reducing the need to migrate because of food scarity and hunger and hopefully will reduce conflict and unrest that inevitably accompany the displacement of peoples.

The Mercy schools who are part of the Mercy Girl Effect are using the Laudato Tree Project to inspire, challenge and contribute to the wall. The Laudato Tree project was inspired by “ Laudato Si”, Pope Francis 2015 letter on the environment, and promotes its key message that “everything is interconnected and interdependent”.

The Great Green Wall, of which the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a key player in partnership with the African Union.

During her address the girls asked great questions about the purpose of the wall and were already well informed about our collective responsibility to care for and protect our fragile planet.

Each of the students present committed to promote the Laudato Tree Project recognizing the fact that we are one global family. 

  • The hardships faces by subsistence farmers in Sudan, Brazil of Haiti are our problems too.
  • The struggle of a woman in Nigeria, Peru or Papua New Guinea to find food to feed her children is our struggle too.

We have an ethical duty towards each other to overturn an economic system that feeds the wants of the rich over the needs of our vulnerable brothers and sisters.

The Students at Mount Saint Mary’s get this and know that when the Mercy schools assemble in Philadelphia in June, we will have more to share about our collective Mercy Effort through our Tree project by Planting Trees and seeding HOPE.

For more information about the Mercy Girl Challenge and the Laudato Tree Project, contact Sister Deirdre Mullan at

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