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.

September 29, 2014

By Sister Melinda H.

A family in front of their home on stilts in Punta Gorda, Belize. cc license (BY 2.0) flikr photo shared by R. Barraez D’Lucca

A family in front of their home on stilts in Punta Gorda, Belize. cc license (CC BY 2.0) flickr photo shared by R. Barraez D’Lucca

There is nothing that excites me more than to visit a new place that before was simply a spot on a map in the World Atlas. So I was very excited last spring to be a passenger on a cruise ship called Liberty of the Seas, with one of our destinations including Belize City, Belize.

The cruise was a gift from my niece, her husband and my sister in celebration of my 50th Jubilee. In Belize we would be exploring Cahal Pech, an ancient Mayan archaeological reserve. But it turns out what I experienced emotionally in Belize far surpassed all I saw.

After the boat docked, we continued our journey by bus to Cahal Pech, traveling through much of the country. Our guide told us about the topography and the history of Belize: the lush tropical rainforests, the mountains in the north, the growth of the Creole culture and, sadly, the great poverty. His own family had been very poor, he said, but they received much support from a local organization that ensured those in need had food, shoes, clothing and shelter.   Read More »

September 26, 2014

By Sister Diane G.

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Diversity, inclusivity, determination, excitement and hope were all evident on the streets of New York City, New York, on Sunday, September 21, 2014, as an estimated 300,000 people from everywhere and every walk of life gathered to participate in the People’s Climate March.

At 8:00 am four Sisters of Mercy from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area boarded one of the 18 buses transporting participants to New York for the march. As soon as we were seated folks began passing and sharing food as well as petitions from various organizations. We passed several full buses on the turnpike, also on their way to the March. All the excitement and camaraderie made the journey seem short.

At 85th Street in New York, some 500 buses filled with participants disembarked their passengers. Our group was to meet at 58th Street so we started walking. Attracted by our purple shirts and Mercy logo, many people approached us thanking us for being present and then telling us stories of their personal Mercy connections through schools and parishes. As we approached Fordham University, a young woman ran up to us excitedly and told us that she had graduated from a Mercy sponsored school in Michigan and now attended Fordham. She was followed closely by her sister who echoed the same message. It was so wonderful to meet so many touched by Mercy and willing to share their experiences with us.   Read More »

September 25, 2014

By Alexis and Lynesha, Mercy Volunteer Corps volunteers

Two Mercy volunteers in Erie, Pennsylvania, recently attended a Take Back the Site prayer vigil in honor of Travon Green, a 20-year-old victim of homicide. Take Back the Site helps to bring God’s peace and comfort to the victim’s family and friends; to restore God’s peace to the place where violence has taken place; and to put forth a message of nonviolence to the community. The volunteers’ reflections speak to the power these vigils hold in a community stricken with grief.

A photo from the Take Back the Site vigil for Travon.

A photo from the Take Back the Site vigil for Travon.

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September 23, 2014

By Lauren Gerth, Administrative Assistant, Mercy Center St. Louis

Staff at Mercy Center approach the bright balloon

Staff at Mercy Center approach the bright balloon. All photos by Lauren Gerth

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, once wrote in a letter, “I would like to tell you all the little cheering things that God permits to fall in our way.”

Such a “cheering thing” fell in our way on Friday, September 19, at Mercy Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Last weekend was the Great St. Louis Balloon Race, which means that teams of hot air ballooners were out and about in the city. On Friday morning one of those teams landed (quite unexpectedly) in the fields at Mercy Center. Read More »

September 22, 2014

By Sister Renee Y.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

“EQUINOX” - the beautiful heft of the word! Four malleable vowels and two steely consonants, softened slightly by a third. On the fulcrum of a middle “i”, “eqi” pushes for balance against the pressure of “nox”, whose mass bears winter’s weighted threat.

However we may read the word, it spells “change“. Trees put away their lithesome summer greens, like sleeveless tops folded on September’s shelf. Slowly, they wrap within autumn’s deep gold and umber sweaters, trimmed in fragile magenta.   Read More »

September 18, 2014

By Sister Mandy

Serving poor and homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in Middletown, CT. Photo by Bob Walsh

Sister Mandy. Photo by Bob Walsh

During my time in the novitiate I have had the opportunity to experience ministry at Our Lady’s Inn, a women’s shelter in St. Louis, Missouri. I was alone in the kitchen in the morning since I arrive at my current ministry an hour or so before the cook does. I started preparing some side dishes, and while I was cutting up carrots I found my mind wandering through other things. I was not frustrated, but rather amused at how easily I get distracted, even from things I am passionate about, like cooking. As I called my mind back to the present I wondered about what is so spiritual about food. I have often wondered this and occasionally think I might enjoy studying food anthropology. There seems to be a significant connection between us and our food. This moment in the kitchen when I connected with the carrots was a very peace-filled one for me.   Read More »

September 18, 2014

Por la Hermana Mandy

Serving poor and homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in Middletown, CT. Photo by Bob Walsh

Sister Mandy. Photo by Bob Walsh

Durante mi tiempo en el noviciado, he tenido la oportunidad de ser parte del ministerio en Our Lady’s Inn, un hogar para mujeres en St. Louis, Missouri. Estaba sola en la cocina en la mañana porque llego una hora antes que la cocinera. Empecé a preparar unos platos para acompañar y mientras cortaba las zanahorias, mi mente empezó a deambular por otros caminos. No estaba frustrada, sino un poco entretenida por lo fácil que es distraerme, aún de las cosas que me apasionan, como cocinar. Me volví a enfocar en el presente y me pregunté por qué será que la comida es tan espiritual. Muchas veces me he preguntado lo mismo y a veces pienso que me gustaría estudiar la antropología de la comida. Parece que hay una conexión significativa entre nosotras/os y nuestra comida. Este momento en la cocina cuando me conecté con las zanahorias fue lleno de paz para mí. Read More »

September 18, 2014

By Amanda LePoire, South Central Communications Department

Debbie Ann Chambers

Debbie-Ann Chambers entered the South Central Community in December 2012

As a second-year candidate, Debbie-Ann Chambers’ life in Mercy has come full circle.

Growing up in Jamaica, Debbie-Ann knew Sisters of Mercy through her mother, who taught at Convent of Mercy Academy with Sister Colette Marie Yap and Sister Marjorie Woods. Both sisters became dear friends to her mother.

Despite her knowledge of the sisters, religious life wasn’t at the forefront of Debbie-Ann’s mind when she began her master’s degree in counseling at New York University in New York City in 2001. However, during her studies, she developed a deep interest in social justice issues and a growing passion for addressing classism and racism. Those issues began to spark questions and growing restlessness.   Read More »

September 16, 2014

By Sister Patricia Talone

This excerpt from Sister Patricia Talone’s article (PDF) is reprinted with permission from Health Progress (September-October 2014), the journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Sister Patricia Talone

Sister Patricia Talone

Some have labeled Pope Francis’ governance as the papacy of mercy, one grounded in that virtue. The Latin word for mercy is misericor­dia, a term with two root words: miseria, meaning wretchedness or misery, and cor, meaning heart. Thus, misericordia denotes “having a heart for those in misery.” It describes a habit of the heart, a way of being, that continually directs one to reach out to people who are suffering.

Closely related to compassion, its sister virtue, mercy indicates an individual who is moved at the deepest level of his or her being, recognizes a profound relationship with all people and acts out of that benevolent and tender heart to alleviate the anguish of others.

What an apt description of Pope Francis.   Read More »

September 12, 2014

By Gary Loncki, Communications Director, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community

The Stearman biplane came to a halt, its single wooden propeller stopped spinning and Sister Matthew B. took off a pair of headphones. The diminutive Sister of Mercy, who turned 91 on September 11, peered over the open cockpit and remarked excitedly to a friend, “It was beautiful!”

Sister Matthew had just completed a half-hour flight over Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 28 as a front-seat passenger in a plane very much like the old Waco biplane she learned to fly in the early 1940s.

“It was so smooth; no problem at all,” said Sister Matthew, who is celebrating her 70th jubilee this year.

Wearing her favorite Mercyhurst College sweatshirt emblazoned with a large “M” on the front, Sister Matthew arrived at Tom Ridge International Airport about an hour before takeoff from North Coast Air on a clear, blue-sky day.

Sister Matthew, 90, gives a triumphal wave after her flight in a 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane. Photos by Gary Loncki unless otherwise indicated.

Sister Matthew, 90, gives a triumphal wave after her flight in a 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane. Photos by Gary Loncki unless otherwise indicated.

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