June 10, 2014

The Mercy Leadership Programme and Dublin Pilgrimage (ISMAPNG)

Baggot St Beckoned….and many women and men, religious Sisters and their lay colleagues have responded.

The experience will live with me forever. It will allow me to grow as a person and gives me confidence to lead in the way of Mercy. Mercy school principal.

                         Participants in the 2014 Mercy Ethos programme outside Coolock House

In 2001 the former Melbourne Congregation and Mercy Education Ltd saw the need to offer Sisters and their lay colleagues working in ministry the opportunity for some in-depth formation in Mercy history, heritage and ethos. Since then eleven programs have been conducted giving over 290 people the opportunity to participate in a life changing formation experience. Even though the number of Sisters is decreasing, Mercy ministry continues to increase with many lay women and men taking up leadership. Sponsorship of the programme now rests with the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

It has been both a privilege and an inspiration being in Dublin, the time spent in Catherine’s house, the walking tour and Coolock have been real highlights for me providing and ‘encounter’ that will infuse every aspect of my work from this week on. Mercy educator

The Mercy Leadership Program and Dublin Pilgrimage is designed to provide an opportunity for formation in the founding story of Mercy and inspiration for leadership in Mercy mission today. The six day module in Dublin is a key component of an ongoing strategy to offer formation and support for ministry board directors, principals, deputy principals, executive staff, senior managers and mission leaders. The presence and participation of a number of Sisters of Mercy in each group is important as all in ministry strive to understand how best to lead the mission of Mercy today.

….space for us to walk with Catherine. I have been inspired by the faith, fun and friendship shared by the early Sisters and have reflected on how these factors shape my own life in Mercy. Mercy school principal.

We are blessed to have presenters including Mary Reynolds rsm, Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm, Aine Barrins rsm and Anne Reid at MIC provide inspiring insights into the history and heritage of Mercy through story, exploration of Catherine’s life and work at Baggot St, visits to significant sites such on the streets of Dublin, Coolock House, St Teresa’s Church and George’s Hill. Along with the inspiring founding stories the week spent in Catherine’s House provides an extraordinary experience of welcome and hospitality where we find a ‘home’ as pilgrims.

The main thing that stays with me is the stories, so many stories and the way Mercy still draws on, and is nourished by these stories today. Mercy Archivist.

Our participants come from various roles in the health, aged care, education, community development and welfare ministries. Apart from the inspiring and challenging input and discussion they value time and space for quiet and reflection to further nourish the spirit. Each day there are opportunities for guided reflection, prayer and space to just be. The day at Glendalough including a guided reflective walk with the Sisters ministering at the Hermitages provides a much needed opportunity for deep personal reflection.

The pilgrimage was exactly the right balance of ‘time to be still’, intellectual challenges and spiritual enrichment. Mercy school deputy principal.

For Mercy leaders understanding how to apply this inspiration and ethos for leading in Mercy ministries is challenging. Sessions presented by Dervilla Byrne rsm and Maria McGuiness rsm on leadership in Mercy, mission and values offer the opportunity to tease out the implications and challenges for contemporary ministry. The staff at MIC are in the unique position of knowing what’s happening on the global scene and so a session on ‘Mercy in a Global Context’ with Denise Boyle FMDM (Assistant Director, Global Action) calls participants to think beyond their own current situations.

I feel sure this experience will significantly shape my approach to my future in Mercy and with time, I feel sure there will be more answers and most likely more questions. Executive staff member Mercy Health.

It has been an unusually affecting experience – one I will treasure. Mercy Board Director

Messages to: Carmel Crawford - Institute Mercy Ethos Co-ordinator ISMAPNG

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