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.

July 22, 2016

By Sister Kathleen Turley

silhouette mosqueDuring the month of Ramadan, three friends invited me to join them at a Ramadan Iftar Dinner at the Masjid Al-Islam Mosque in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. I was pleased to accept the invitation because I knew very little about the Islam religion.

This year, as so many people have been forced to flee their home countries because of wars and extreme suffering, one of our presidential candidates has declared that Muslims should not be allowed in the United States because of their supposed violent actions. In this statement, he labels all Muslims as violent, because of the actions of a few. But as Sisters of Mercy we are committed to the dignity of each person, regardless of race or religion.   Read More »

July 21, 2016

By Karel Lucander

When a little boy in her pre-kindergarten class asked Sister Jean Marie Hobbs how many children she has, she told him, “I have thousands of children.”

Sister Jean Marie with several of her students.

Sister Jean Marie with several of her students.

“The children are so funny, sometimes they’ll call me ‘Mommy’ and then they’ll laugh and say, ‘I forgot, I mean Sister.’ Now that my hair is gray, they’ll sometimes call me Granny or Grandma,” she says. “At this age, they are always telling me that they love me, and I tell them that back.”

Sister Jean Marie began teaching in 1967. Her ministry since 2012 has been teaching pre-kindergarten at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Baltimore, Maryland. Most of her career has been with pre-K children, but she has taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade in Virginia, Maryland and an inner-city school in Washington, D.C. She also worked briefly at St. Mary’s Home for girls and boys in Savannah, Georgia. Her accordion-style teaching experience–moving up and down the primary grades–has provided a seasoned perspective on the best ways to prepare 4-year-olds for school.   Read More »

July 15, 2016

By Lori Williams, Mercy Associate

Ecumenical Advocacy Days, held April 15-18 in Washington, D.C., joined together over 650 faith advocates, including Sisters of Mercy, Mercy associates and Mercy co-ministers. A key component of the conference was lobbying on Capitol HilL. Lori, a first-time lobbyist, shares her experience.


Lori (second from right) stands with Congressman Carter (center) and other lobbyists.

Empowered! This is how I would best describe my feelings when I returned from my first experience as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. It was affirming, and it was exhilarating! I cannot be sure if I made a difference, but I know this opportunity made a difference to me. Over those few days I felt a connection to something greater than myself. It is really quite amazing to see democracy in action!  This participant from Savannah, Georgia, had an up-close and personal experience with the rights and privileges of living in a free country. I can honestly say I was well prepared for my first lobby experience. I was very impressed with how organized and focused it was for everyone who was in attendance at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) Conference.   Read More »

July 6, 2016

By Sister Cynthia Serjak

photo-1448275917012-45a8dfb184cbIn this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are reflecting on the deeper, still-unfolding meanings of Mercy, as well as its relation to other Christian virtues—hope, love, justice, etc. In John 8 Jesus promises that we will know the truth and be freed by the truth. Reflecting on this passage, it occurred to me that one way to come to know truth is through practicing mercy.   Read More »

July 6, 2016

Por la Herman Cynthia Serjak


En este Año Jubilar de Misericordia, nosotras estamos reflexionando sobre los significados de la Misericordia más profundos que aún continúan desplegándose, así también como su relación con otras virtudes cristianas — esperanza, amor, justicia, etc. En Juan 8, Jesús promete que conoceremos la verdad y la verdad nos hará libres. Al reflexionar sobre este pasaje, se me ocurrió que una manera de llegar a conocer la verdad es practicando la misericordia.
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July 1, 2016

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Community Communications Specialist

Sister Patricia Pora and a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Portland, Maine, talk after Mass. Credit: Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald.

Sister Patricia Pora and a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Portland, Maine, talk after Mass. Credit: Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald.

Driving all over Maine to minister to Hispanic immigrants, who number nearly 20,000 and live in every county in this vast state, Sister Patricia Pora is propelled through 60- to 70-hour weeks by a special sense of mission. As a U.S. citizen raised in Chile, she knows what it’s like to be an immigrant. As a Sister of Mercy who has assisted thousands of newcomers—particularly those who are poor—in their struggles over the last decade, she seeks to show the “human side of the immigrant face” to the people of Maine and beyond.   Read More »

June 28, 2016

By Elsa Valdiviezo, translation manager for the Sisters of Mercy

Elsa proudly displays her citizenship papers.

Elsa proudly displays her citizenship papers.

What a joy to give thanks for so many blessings received! I have so much to be thankful for and celebrate, especially in this Jubilee Year of Mercy!

Starting the year, at the end of January, right after the biggest snowstorm in Washington, D.C., of 2016, I was shoveling my way out to attend the Oath Ceremony to finally become a U.S. citizen!

My friend and I set out to Baltimore, Maryland, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office for the Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Suddenly, in the middle of the trip, I felt like I was in a dream. I started to ask: “Is this real? Are we truly going there? Is this actually happening?” My friend just smiled back gently and kept on driving and talking. It was a very long-treasured and awaited dream indeed—almost 25 years, following a series of long processes which revealed the broken and ineffective immigration system in need of so much reform in this country. But, I never gave up. I kept on trying, persevering in spite of the odds, in the midst of fears and doubts, uncertain of what might work or not, and when. I learned what living with the unknown means, waiting for so long. It was painful when hearing about raids. It hurt deeply when listening about people deported, the broken dreams of families. It was difficult living in this country without the chance to leave because the processes may not permit. Having an “alien number” was also very uncomfortable. I understand why people keep coming to this country and risk all to come to look for a better future and life.   Read More »

June 28, 2016

Por Elsa Valdiviezo, coordinadora de traducciones para las Hermanas de la Misericordia

Elsa proudly displays her citizenship papers.

Elsa exhibe su certificado de ciudadanía.

¡Es un gran gozo dar gracias por tantísimas bendiciones recibidas! ¡Tengo muchísimo por agradecer y celebrar, especialmente en este Año Jubilar de la Misericordia!

Al comenzar el año y a fines de enero 2016, justo después de la nevada más grande en Washington, D.C. ¡tuve que palear más nieve aún para poder salir y asistir a la Ceremonia de Juramentación, y por fin hacerme ciudadana americana!

Mi amiga y yo salimos para Baltimore, Maryland a la Oficina de Inmigración para la Ceremonia de Naturalización. De pronto, a medio camino, me sentí como en un sueño. Empecé a preguntarme: «¿Es esto verdad? ¿Estamos de veras yendo a esto? ¿Está realmente ocurriendo esto?» Mi amiga sólo sonreía y continuaba manejando y hablando. Era como un sueño muy largo y muy esperado – a propósito casi 25 años, después de una serie de largos procesos que revelaron el fallido e ineficaz sistema de inmigración que necesita tanto de reforma en este país.  Sin embargo, nunca me di por vencida. Seguí intentando, perseverando a pesar de los obstáculos, en medio de temores y dudas, con la incertidumbre de lo que podría funcionar o no, o cuando. Aprendí lo que significa vivir con lo desconocido, esperando por tanto tiempo. Era doloroso escuchar de las redadas…de la gente deportada, los sueños de familias: destruidos. Era difícil vivir en este país sin la oportunidad de salir debido a los procesos, si no lo permitían. Era incomodo también tener un «número de extranjera». Comprendo muy bien porque la gente sigue viniendo a este país y lo arriesga todo para encontrar un mejor futuro y una mejor vida.

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June 24, 2016

By Christine Somers, Mercy Associate and Director of Campus Ministry at Misericordia University

Kamar and Hozaifa Mando play next to their older brother, Abdulrahman. Credit: Aimee Dilger/Times Leader

Kamar and Hozaifa Mando play next to their older brother, Abdulrahman. Credit: Aimee Dilger/Times Leader

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Mercy has been made real in the lives of a Syrian refugee family that came to our community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

It started when one of the students from our Critical Concerns Committee at Misericordia University heard about the plight of refugees on television and asked to start a collection on campus. We then learned that there was a local refugee family right in our community. We sent our students to deliver some canned goods, clothing donation and toiletries. What was about to happen next was totally unexpected.   Read More »

June 17, 2016

By Marianne Comfort, Institute Justice Team

Reflection group on Laudato Si’ in Belize: Sister Sarita Vasquez, Associate Marta Mitchell, Anita Zetina (Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercy Center), meteorologist Frank Tench, Sister Carolee Chanona, entrepreneur Molly Doley and Sister Caritas Lawrence.

Reflection group on Laudato Si’ in Belize: Sister Sarita Vasquez, Associate Marta Mitchell, Anita Zetina (Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercy Center), meteorologist Frank Tench, Sister Carolee Chanona, entrepreneur Molly Doley and Sister Caritas Lawrence.

A year ago, I was joining in the celebrations of the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and its strong messaging about the need to respond to the “cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” Now it’s time to celebrate how the themes of this important document are being lived out

Lots of people report eliminating purchases of bottled water, recycling and composting more, using fewer disposable products, preparing more meatless meals, and buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Those are worthy immediate responses, but Pope Francis is challenging us to take more radical action. His critique of societies that prioritize financial markets and corporate profits over the needs of Earth and all people calls for an overhaul of our way of life. And that only comes out of deep prayer, reflection and discernment about what is truly ours to do individually and collectively.   Read More »