United in Spirit We Gather: A Ritual for Mercy Day
Celebrating together during the Global Pandemic-
'A virtual experience for some, Real Prayer for All.'
Prepared by Mary Wickham rsm (ISMAPNG)
This is a splendid and resonant day, September 24th…a date that echoes through the centuries.
It holds two connected meanings for us:
The first, an ancient Feast, Our Lady of Ransom, the Mother of Mercy, derived from the vision and ministry of St Peter Nolasco to liberate slaves in the 13th century.
The second, remembrance of a newly built house in 19th century Dublin beginning its first day as a home, derived from the vision of Catherine McAuley, to free the needy from ignorance, subjugation and disease.
We may call this confluence of two realities a coincidence of history, or we may claim it as a providential sign of the way of the Spirit. We rejoice at the inspiration given to us by two women who were devoted to Jesus: Mary of Nazareth and Catherine of Dublin.
How blessed are we to have been endowed with the name Mercy, and to spend our lives discovering its meaning.
The Feast Our Lady of Ransom emphasised Mary’s role as conscience, as liberator and protector and one who calls us to action. Gradually the feast focused on her more maternal aspect, Mary as the one who reveals Mercy- literally in the person of her child Jesus, but also in her living, her ongoing discipleship, and her witness to the major events of the life of Jesus.
We join in song now
as we reflect on the life of Mary, Mother of Mercy…
(Sing of A Lady by Liam Lawton)
We move our focus now to the second woman of mercy
who invites our attention and our devotion, Catherine McAuley of Dublin....