January 24, 2011

This year at Mercy International Centre

New Year Greetings.

As we start a new year, we look forward in hope to the blessings it will bring. For the Mercy world this is a special year since it marks the 180th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation and the 170th of Catherine’s death.

The Register at Mercy International Centre which records the names of women, starting with Catherine, who made profession in the Congregation since 1831 numbers over 55,000. In these 180 years Mercy has circled the globe and is present today in 46 countries. There are currently almost 10,000 Sisters of Mercy and in partnership with them there are tens of thousands of men and women who are co-workers and associates of Mercy world-wide. While we can echo Catherine in saying ‘we have been deficient enough and far, very far from cooperating generously with God in our regard’, we can, nevertheless, in the spirit of the Magnificat rejoice that the Lord has done great things through Mercy over the decades. This will be a year when MIA will celebrate our Mercy story and provide opportunities for engaging with the ever evolving charism and spirit of Mercy.

On September 24th. we will formally open the new library at MIC which holds some of the Mercy story. We are also endeavouring to review and update the Bibliography of works by and about Sisters of Mercy which is found on our Mercyworld website. and we will be seeking your support on this during the year. A couple of small publications are planned – a ‘coffee table’ book associated with the display boards in the heritage room of MIC and a reflection booklet on selected work of the artist Clare Augustine Moore, rsm. We also eagerly and joyfully anticipate the publication and launch of the biography of Catherine McAuley, which Sr. Mary Sullivan, rsm is completing.

Our privilege and responsibility in this 180th anniversary year is to keep alive the founding spirit of Catherine. For some this spirit will be nurtured and revived by visiting the Mercy heritage at Baggot Street, either to engage in pilgrimage, partake in a programme, enjoy a tour or just avail of the hospitality of this home space.

In August we expect to welcome an international gathering of up to 150 young people on pilgrimage to Baggot Street – the theme of the pilgrimage ‘A journey undertaken in light of a Story’ - will focus on being a young Mercy leader in the world today.
In July we are offering a full month programme on ‘Watering the Roots’ – a renewal programme for Sisters on Mercy spirituality and mission.

There are a number of ‘Come Home to Catherine’ programmes throughout the season, one of which caters specifically for Sisters preparing for Final Profession. These programmes offer an opportunity to pray with Catherine in her places and spaces and to walk in her footsteps through the city of Dublin, reflecting on her life and ministry.

The Mercy feast days – September 24th, November 11th and December 12th will be marked by special programmes and celebrations.

Several pilgrimages of lay partners in ministry from the US ,Australia and New Zealand will also be welcomed to Baggot Street at various times throughout the year. Mercy Associates and Circle of Mercy members will come in March for a day of reflection on ‘The Lay Expression of Mercy’. Two Australian relatives of Catherine have indicated that they will visit – we expect Richard O’Leary, (great-great- great grandnephew of Catherine) in July and another relative Ross McAuley in September.

The 180th anniversary is primarily a time to re-commit to the needs of today in the spirit of Catherine who reached out to the poor of Dublin of her day. Joanna Regan, a Sister of Mercy, has suggested that If Catherine had lived today: ‘instead of the cries of the poor children of Dublin haunting her dreams, the cries of a suffering world would have troubled her sleep. She would no doubt have turned her energy to global interrelationships of rich and poor, knowing that as long as in any country the poor, the sick, the uneducated are oppressed or marginated, the light of the Gospels is dimmed, and peace and justice in the world remain elusive ideals’.

The newly constructed Mercy world website is a wonderful medium that facilitates us in turning our energy to global interrelationships of rich and poor. Already it carries several micro sites that highlight the cries of a suffering world and has a ‘Take Action’ section that provides an avenue to means of support that includes advocacy, volunteering, prayer and in some cases financial aid. This year, through Mercy E-News, case studies of Mercy engagement with current day global needs will be presented and your engagement with these will be welcomed. The Mercy Global Concern section is part of this site. Mercy Global Concern brings the Mercy Spirit to the United Nations and is the mechanism by which all those associated with the Sisters of Mercy can advocate for the less privileged and make explicit preferential options within a huge network of international bodies.

An Assistant Director of MIA Global Action is currently being recruited - this new role will facilitate an enhanced MIA Global Action programme in the coming year.

The 170th anniversary of Catherine’s death is also a very significant celebration this year. The instruction that Catherine gave regarding the sisters having a ‘good cup of tea’ together after she had gone has captured the imagination of Mercies over the years and has become an iconic image of care and hospitality. We plan to mark the 170th anniversary (11/11/11) by an international ‘good cup of tea’ day asking all our Sisters, Associates, Partners in Ministry and all those ministered to by Mercy to partake in a sponsored cup of tea event. We invite them to donate the proceeds to Mercy International Association in order to support its mission of keeping alive the founding spirit of Catherine among peoples of the world in need of God’s compassion and Mercy.

We hope that many will make a visit to Baggot Street in this special year. If you would like any further information on our planned events or if you wish to plan a special event or programme outside those advertised on our brochure, please contact us and we will be happy to facilitate you.

Messages to Mary Reynolds rsm - Director MIA

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