Connect With Mercy

Read about how sisters, associates, companions, volunteers, social justice advocates, staff and friends of Mercy live and experience the spirit of responding to the needs of those who are poor, sick and uneducated.
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September 28, 2016

By Sister Catherine Kanick

Sister Catherine Kanick

Sister Catherine Kanick

Does Mercy only mean forgiveness? When Pope Francis proclaimed a Jubilee Year of Mercy, I noticed throughout our diocese a greater emphasis on confession, penance and reconciliation, and more opportunities to do so.

It reminded me of my early years when weekly confession was a must, even as my friends and I “made up” sins to have something to say to the priest! We were reminded regularly of our need to always be aware that we are sinners, with rarely the same emphasis on our goodness.

My thought on our Pope’s proclamation was “are we reverting back to that old mind set?”

This year has been an opportunity for me to look back on my own life’s history from those early years to how my spiritual life today has taken different shape through experiencing God beyond limiting words and understanding.   Read More »

September 23, 2016

By Dr. Marilyn Sunderman, RSM, professor and chair of Theology at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

A statue of Catherine McAuley, holding beautiful Mercy Day flowers, at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

A statue of Catherine McAuley, holding beautiful Mercy Day flowers, at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, it is good to reflect upon how Venerable Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, experienced and embodied mercy in her life.

Catherine knew herself to be the recipient of God’s abundant mercy; furthermore, she knew the same to be the case in the lives of her companions in Mercy and those to whom she and her sisters ministered. Catherine understood that God’s mercy received is to be given to others through acts of merciful love. Catherine’s insistence on union and charity in her Institute was her way of stressing the absolute importance of merciful healing of one another and of responding mercifully to the brokenness of relationships. She encouraged union with God, union among her sisters, union with all persons in God, and union with the whole of creation under God.   Read More »

September 22, 2016

By Emily Reed, digital records archivist at Mercy Heritage Center

Sister Mary Chrysostom Gunn

Sister Mary Chrysostom Gunn

In 1862 five orphaned boys were taken in by the Sisters of Mercy in Brooklyn, New York. The sisters had recently built their convent there on Willoughby Avenue, and already they were needed by their community. The Sisters of Mercy could not refuse to take in the children; they lived by their charism and vow of service.

In 1865 the sisters incorporated and officially established Mercy Home to take in children orphaned by the Civil War. Over the years since then, sisters and staff at Mercy Home have cared for tens of thousands of children, including those who were orphaned; homeless due to wars or the Great Depression; abused; or immigrants with nowhere else to go. At times the agency was called “home” by over 150 children, ages 2 and up, who primarily needed foster care.   Read More »

September 21, 2016

By Sister Judy Carle

mercy grads at Mercy International centreWe all know that a Mercy education is priceless. But every once in a while we get to see its life-shaping effects. Such was a day in my four-month opportunity to be a member of the program staff at Mercy International Centre in Dublin, Ireland—also known as Catherine’s House, the first House of Mercy built by Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, in response to the needs of the poor in Dublin.

Six recent graduates from Mercy High School Burlingame in California were visiting Dublin. I did not know them, but we greeted each other as long lost friends and gladdened in our Mercy roots. They had only one day in Dublin and a very short time to see the house that Catherine built. So I rushed them through, rapidly commenting on Catherine’s story. In the room where Catherine died, we paused for reflection. As I began Catherine’s Suscipe prayer, expecting to be a lone voice, I was overwhelmed as seven strong voices joined me—they knew her prayer and had said it often!   Read More »

September 16, 2016

By Sister Cynthia Serjak


Throughout this Jubilee Year, Mercy people all over the world have been trying to #MakeMercyReal. During the days of preparation for Mercy Day on September 24—which commemorates the day the first House of Mercy was open by founder Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland—we now challenge YOU to #MakeMercyReal wherever you are.

The Sisters of Mercy hold five Critical Concerns: women, anti-racism, nonviolence, care for Earth and immigration reform. Listed here are two or three things you could do for one of these concerns to help #MakeMercyReal.  Everything you do can make a difference in your life and in the life of those around you. Let us know if you are ready to take our Mercy Day Challenge!   Read More »

September 16, 2016

Por Hermana Cynthia Serjak


Durante todo este Año Jubilar, la gente de la Misericordia en todo el mundo han tratado de #EncarnarLaMisericordia. Durante los días de preparación para el Día de la Misericordia el 24 de septiembre – que conmemora el día en que la primera Casa de la Misericordia fue abierta por nuestra fundadora Catalina McAuley en Dublín, Irlanda – ahora te desafiamos a TI a #EncarnarLaMisericordia en donde sea que te encuentras.

Las Hermanas de la Misericordia tienen cinco Asuntos Críticos: mujeres, anti-racismo, no-violencia, cuidado de la Tierra y reforma de las leyes de inmigración.  Listado aquí hay dos o tres acciones que puedes hacer para uno de estos asuntos para ayudar a #EncarnarLaMisericordia.  Todo lo que haces puede hacer una diferencia en tu vida y en las vidas de los que te rodean.  ¡Avísanos si estás lista/o para tomar nuestro Desafío para el Día de la Misericordia!

Read More »

September 13, 2016

By Sister Michon Rozmajzl

This is the fifth reflection in our Music and Mercy series. Read the whole series here.

Sister Michon Rozmajzl

Sister Michon Rozmajzl

I grew up in a very musical family. Everyone sang in the choir. And we sang Mozart at masses at St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha, Nebraska. We had a lot of fun gathered around a piano. There was no TV, if you can imagine. So, when I talk about how Mercy informs my music, I could give a very obvious answer as to how it shapes all that I have done in my life with music.

I have worn and still wear many hats in this regard. For example, my education has been in both music performance and music education. Because of this, my music has brought the Mercy charism to many through its ability to bring enjoyment, ease pain or commemorate a life well lived through such means as:   Read More »

September 7, 2016

By Bronna Butler, Mercy Associate

Liz Dente with Molly, one of the dogs rescued by Liz who had been wandering city streets for seven months.

Liz Dente with Molly, one of the dogs rescued by Liz who had been wandering city streets for seven months.

Liz Dente has a big heart. She has rescued abandoned, often mistreated, dogs and sometimes cats that were left in dumpsters, on freezing-cold street corners and in shelters. Liz and her husband restore the dogs and cats to physical health. And with inspiring patience, Liz nurtures them back to social and mental health, too.

In the year 2000, during a flash of inspiration, she decided to “fill two needs with one deed.” She began to bring the attention-starved canines and felines to McAuley Hall Health Care Center in Watchung, New Jersey, where the residents joyfully welcome them. The moments when residents gently cradle the dogs and cats can melt the coldest heart. It is an unspoken exchange of compassion. Both give their full attention and time to the other.   Read More »

September 2, 2016

By Sister Suzanne Toolan

This is the fourth reflection in our Music and Mercy series. Read the whole series here.

Sister Suzanne Toolan. Credit: Michael Collopy

Sister Suzanne Toolan. Credit: Michael Collopy

I wrote “I Am the Bread of Life” for a San Francisco archdiocesan event in 1964.  I was teaching high school at the time and wrote the song during my free period.  When the bell rang for the next class I decided I didn’t like the music, so I tore it up and threw it in the wastepaper basket.

My classroom was next to the infirmary, where the girls who didn’t want to take tests or were otherwise unprepared for class went for a period or two until they were tracked down by an exasperated teacher. As I left my classroom, a freshman girl came out of the infirmary and said, “What was that?  It was beautiful!” I went back into my classroom, took the manuscript out of the basket and taped it together. It has had a life of its own ever since.   Read More »

August 30, 2016

By Sister Anna Marie Saltzman, director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy

Sister Anna Marie is the director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy. She is pictured here, fourth from the left in the back row, with several of her students.

Sister Anna Marie is the director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy. She is pictured here, fourth from the left in the back row, with several of her students.

Have you ever had an incident that transformed your way of seeing? By the grace of our Merciful God, I have. It occurred at the end of my first full day of retreat. After the evening meal, I decided to take a walk along a trail in the nearby state park. Prior to leaving the retreat house, I sprayed myself with insect repellant to ward off pests and headed outdoors.

I was conscious of my desires to be open to God in whatever way God wanted to communicate. I was also conscious of how “busy” I had been prior to the retreat; the pace and numerous activities that had kept me from processing events and relationships in my life. My mind was on overdrive, and the walk would help me get out of my head.   Read More »