March 29, 2010

Where Sisters of Mercy Minister: Romania (8)

Sisters of Mercy have been present in Romania since 1990 when Mary Rose Christy rsm (member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas) was moved by a television programme that revealed the horrors experienced by children in orphanages there. She relocated to Romania and worked in an orphanage for four years. During her time ministering in an orphanage, she discovered that many of the children had parents who were still alive. She then established an association to help at-risk families keep their children. This association is Romanian-American Association for the Promotion of Health, Education and Human Services and it provides a variety of programmes to address poverty. Less than 2% of the children served through this association end up in orphanages. In 2005, she received an award for her work in Romania, and the San Francisco Chronicle featured an article on her. Click here to read the article. In more recent years Mary Rose has returned to the United States because of health reasons.

Mary Aloysius Kiernan rsm (member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Union of Great Britain) began ministering in Romania in 1992 and has established connections with the civic and religious community in Dundee, Scotland, who support her ministry with material and spiritual resources. She ministers to abandoned or ill children and elderly persons and many of her projects are financed through the Lawside Romania Fund, a charitable organization in the UK. Through it, some families with inadequate housing have been provided with new homes, and multitudes of others are protected from the cold with blankets, hats, jumpers (sweaters), and finances for heating. Senior citizens in need receive ‘Meals on Wheels,’ a Mercy home called Nazareth house has been established for abandoned children in Bucharest, and orphans and other youth are provided assistance with their education. In addition, Mary Aloysius expresses care, love, and interest to hundreds of people through home visitation to economically poor families and hospital visitation at a Budimex Children’s Hospital. The website for Lawside Romania Fund includes Aloysius’ reflections on the stories of some of the children and families with whom she journeys; it is found at: and

Additionally, Rose Carmel McNamara rsm (member of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy [Great Britain]) ministers in Romania. She moved to Bucharest in October 2000 after having a holiday in Romania earlier that year at which time the problems of the marginalized in that country impacted her greatly. She began working with children who were HIV+ to assist them with English and to provide social outings for them. She and a Daughter of Charity colleague, Germaine Price dc, obtained the permission of parish priests and the bishop and proceeded to establish several Saint Vincent DePaul Conferences to provide outreach to the economically poor. They provided oversight to these conferences for as long as they were needed until the conferences were each sufficiently self-reliant. Rose Carmel then established an Association of Our Lady of Mercy in which volunteers spread Mercy to families and elderly persons who are economically poor. They respond to the needs of approximately 150 seniors and 25 families in providing health, education, clothing, and food according to the respective needs. Read More on her background. Rose Carmel received a prestigious Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the Bucharest Business Weekly newspaper in 2007. Coverage of that award was in a 2007 edition of Mercy World E-News (see the feature article here.)

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