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.

May 27, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

Meet Mary Boiselle. “I have been a Sister of Mercy since I was 16 years old, for 62 years, and they have been the most beautiful, beautiful years of my life.”

Her work at Mercy Connections in Burlington, Vermont, helps open up new opportunities for people who need an education, employment and other services. “It’s always aimed … offering the opportunity so the person can help herself.”



May 22, 2015

By Sister Renee Yann

gold star

Telegram to a “Gold Star Mother,” a mother who has lost a child to war.

After my mother died, it was my sad honor to sift through our home in preparation for its sale. The long years of our family’s story had accumulated in closets, cabinets and a few storage boxes. Among these ordinary reliquaries was one unique spot, reserved for the most precious markers on our ancestral line. It was a 19th century “games table” whose leaf folded and whose top swiveled to reveal a hidden compartment.

Inside this table, in a shallow space spiced with the essence of history, lay the sad and joyful relics of our family. Each was a treasure, but as Memorial Day dawns, I remember one in particular. The telegram had been tear-stained and folded into a three-inch square, almost as if to hold the words inside and prevent them from wounding again. Its message, like so many messages down through the ages, fell like a guillotine on the heart of another “Gold Star Mother”: “We deeply regret to inform you that your son James…”   Read More »

May 21, 2015

By Beth Rogers Thompson, South Central Community communications team

Residents Kensley and her brother, Franklin, greet Sister Carmelita at the end of the day in her office at Catherine’s House. “The children are the joy of my life,” she says.

Residents Kensley and her brother, Franklin, greet Sister Carmelita at the end of the day in her office at Catherine’s House. “The children are the joy of my life,” she says.

Sister Carmelita Hagan’s ring motto states her commitment simply: “Yes.” She chose the word “because it’s all that’s necessary,” she says. “God called and I said yes.”

Growing up in Ireland, she knew in fourth grade that she wanted to become a sister, she says. “Sister Kathleen McNamara [who died in 2002] was from my hometown and was one of my mother’s best friends. She stayed in our home and talked about the Sisters of Mercy mission in North Carolina, which was only 0.5 percent Catholic in those days.”

Sister Carmelita’s path led to New York City, New York, where she lived with relatives and was a clerical worker for 10 months at Union Carbide chemical company. She then moved to Belmont, North Carolina, where she entered the Community in 1963 and professed her perpetual vows in 1970. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Sacred Heart College in Belmont, North Carolina, and a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Fairfield (Connecticut) University.   Read More »

May 19, 2015

by Mercy Investment Services staff

Sisters of Mercy work for equality of women, celebrating their contributions, advocating for their rights and speaking out against gender discrimination.

Sisters of Mercy work for equality of women, celebrating their contributions, advocating for their rights and speaking out against gender discrimination.

Glacial: that’s how participants at a board diversity summit in 2011 described the progress on increasing the number of women on U.S. corporate boards.

To address this lack of diversity, business leaders, investors, corporate governance experts and others formed the Thirty Percent Coalition. To close the gap between the number of women and men serving in these key leadership roles on U.S. corporate boards, the Thirty Percent Coalition aims to have women compose at least 30 percent of the board members at U.S.-based publicly listed companies by the end of the year.

Why 30 percent? At the time of the summit, the number had been nearly stagnant for five years—less than 15 percent. Additionally, a number of European governments have moved toward mandating or recommending that women compose 30 percent of the board.

Shareholders are actively using their voice to make this happen, with moderate progress. For example, in 2014, women held 19 percent of board seats at S&P 500 companies. Twenty-seven percent of S&P 500 boards have one female director. The Thirty Percent Coalition has been contacting companies in both the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 to help them increase their diversity. See the Catalyst report for more information.   Read More »

May 15, 2015

By Oliverio Barragan      

  Oliverio Barragan is a senior at Cristo Rey High School in Sacramento, California, co-sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits. He presented this speech at a school event and kindly gave permission to share it here in excerpted form. Congratulations to Oliverio and his fellow classmates who will be graduating on June 13!

Class of 2015

Cristo Rey’s Class of 2015 will graduate on June 13.

My journey at Cristo Rey has been filled with many wonderful memories, challenging obstacles and questions, but most importantly, it has been filled with the presence and goodness of many amazing individuals. Cristo Rey is much more than a school—it is mi familia. I have been part of this family for four years now, and now that I am a senior, I can look back at these years with gratitude, shock, amazement and curiosity, and possibly find a meaningful message.   Read More »

May 15, 2015

Por Oliverio Barragan

Oliverio Barragan es un estudiante de la Escuela Secundaria Cristo Rey en Sacramento, California, patrocinada por las Hermanas de la Misericordia. El presentó su discurso en un evento escolar y bondadosamente dio permiso para compartirlo aquí en forma resumida. ¡Felicitaciones a Oliverio y sus compañeros/as de clase quienes se graduarán el 13 de junio!

Class of 2015

La Graduación de la Clase 2015 de Cristo Rey será el 13 de junio.

Mi caminar en Cristo Rey ha estado colmado de muchos recuerdos maravillosos, dificultades retadoras y preguntas, pero lo más importante, ha estado colmado con la presencia y bondad de muchas personas extraordinarias. Cristo Rey es más que una escuela—es mi familia. He formado parte de esta familia desde hace cuatro años, y ahora que estoy en mi último año de secundaria, puedo recordar estos años con gratitud, conmoción, asombro y curiosidad, y posiblemente encontrar un mensaje significativo.
Read More »

May 13, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

Meet Sister Jude Kapp. She remembers vividly when the mother of one of her former students approached her at the school. The student, Leanne, had a father who had been deployed to Kuwait during her time in Sister Judy’s classroom.

“I want to thank you,” the mother said. “When her father was away, Leanne always knew everything was going to be OK when she was in your class.”

Read More »

May 8, 2015

As we pray for the community of Baltimore, Maryland, we know the healing and reconciliation needed will extend far beyond restoring order in the streets. We stand in solidarity with the community and continue to commit ourselves to confronting issues of racism in our own hearts. The cry of those who are suffering both the physical and spiritual wounds caused by poverty, racism and violence must be heard and tended by us all.

Two members of the Mercy community share their reflections below.

The Spark of Baltimore

By Sister Larretta Rivera-Williams

Afflict the comfortable

Rally and march in Baltimore on May 2 after the state’s attorney announced that six Baltimore police officers would be prosecuted in the death of Freddie Gray.

How can a country such as the United States of America have even been characterized in print as having a city (Baltimore, Maryland) with 15 neighborhoods with lower life expectancies than North Korea?  It makes me wonder what the life expectancy might be in neighborhoods of other metropolitan cities across the United States.    Read More »

May 7, 2015

By Karel Lucander


Sister Sharon Euart on the balcony outside the offices of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square. From left to right: Rev. John Vaughan; Sister Sharon; Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; and Rev. Phillip Brown, SS.

In 1998, Sister Sharon Euart broke bread with St. John Paul II. She and three others talked and enjoyed lunch with him at his home in Vatican City. Years later, she would have an opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict XVI as well. Someday, she hopes to meet Pope Francis. As executive director of the Resource Center for Religious Institutes in Silver Spring, Maryland; a former executive coordinator of the Canon Law Society of America in Washington, D.C.; and associate general secretary of the USCCB, the law has led Sister Sharon to meet and work with key leaders in the church, including popes and bishops.

“I like to help people understand the law and see it as a friend; to see it as helpful rather than hurtful. The law is created to protect the rights of people–understanding it and how it is applied helps us to see that. It can be something useful and something freeing. The law doesn’t change often in the church, but there can be modifications. Pope Francis, for example, is looking at the circumstances of people today around issues related to marriage annulments and trying to understand them in the context of the current law to see if modifications or changes might be needed. When you consider it was more than 1,900 years until the laws were even codified in a book (1917), changing the law doesn’t happen frequently, and a lot of thought and consultation go into it when it does happen,” she says.   Read More »

May 5, 2015

By Johna Peterson, Mercy Associate

Johna (fourth from right, wearing hat) with her classmates from Accademia Lingua Italiana Assisi. “We were studying the conjunctivo, but I was too distracted by the beauty of Assisi!” she said.

Johna (fourth from right, wearing hat) with her classmates from Accademia Lingua Italiana Assisi. “We were studying the conjunctivo, but I was too distracted by the beauty of Assisi!” she said.

I wrote this song during a visit to Assisi, Italy, in 2007. It was written when I saw the cross of San Damiano in the lovely side chapel of the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi. This was a very moving experience for me. A long kneeler extended along the front of the chapel below the cross. A line of people extended the length of the chapel, waiting to kneel before the cross. The prayer [pregheira, in Italian] of St. Francis had been placed across this kneeler in various languages. I happened to kneel before the words of Francis in Italian. I began to hold these words before me. They begin: “Most high and glorious God, illuminate the darkness of my heart.” I was reading the words of this prayer of St. Francis very slowly, absorbing them deep within me. Read More »