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.

August 26, 2016

By Sister Claudette Schiratti

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

For me, mercy, music and ministry are inseparable.

I have been making music since I was five years old. I experience and view the world through the audio lens of music.

Sister Claudette at an organ recital she gave while earning her master’s degree at the University of Kansas.

Sister Claudette at an organ recital she gave while earning her master’s degree at the University of Kansas.

I have been a Sister of Mercy since I was 19. I resisted the call to Mercy, but have found great joy and received much mercy in the community of Mercy. I am in awe of the varied gifts possessed by each Sister of Mercy. Through the years, God and Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, have called a motley group of women together—and now men also as Mercy Associates—for service to the Church and the world through the Works of Mercy, using the variety of gifts of each person.

I am grateful for the call to Mercy which centers me and makes me aware of issues of peace and justice. Mercy calls me to have an attitude of mercy and do actions of mercy. It is a joy for me to develop, with an attitude of mercy, the musical abilities of people in parish and diocesan ministry; to develop skills through music lessons; and to relate music to life through interactions, relationships and performing.   Read More »

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August 22, 2016

By Martha Tedesco, principal of Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky

Martha Tedesco Believe

Martha Tedesco in her Assumption High School office, which members of the faculty and staff decorated–including the sign with Martha’s favorite word.

My mother named me quite accurately. I am a Martha in the truest biblical sense. Like Martha in Luke’s Gospel, I am a doer and take great pride in all that I can juggle and accomplish, particularly in the service of others. I’ve been this way all my life. So, even when I was a little girl, I dreaded the Sunday Gospel reading of the story of Mary and Martha because I knew that at its close Jesus calls Mary the “better one.” And who was I to argue with Jesus?

As I grew older, I began to understand that Jesus was encouraging Martha to balance her action with Mary’s contemplation and that doing so brings wholeness. But there was still one problem. I am a chronic believer. Optimistic. Hopeful. Positive. “Believe” is my favorite word. It calls me to believe in myself and in others, and for this Martha, that means I can’t help but believe that I can do all things—or should be able to do all things. As a result, sometimes my faith was difficult to sustain, especially when things happened beyond my control.   Read More »

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August 22, 2016

Por Martha Tedesco, directora de la Preparatoria Asunción en Louisville, Kentucky

Martha Tedesco Believe

Martha Tedesco en su oficina de la Preparatoria Asunción, decorada por el profesorado y personal – inclusive con el letrero con la palabra favorita de Martha.

Mi madre me nombró con bastante precisión.  Yo soy una Marta en el sentido bíblico más verdadero.  Como Marta en el Evangelio de Lucas, yo soy una persona que hace y tomo orgullo en todo lo que puedo realizar y cumplir, de manera especial, al servicio de los demás.  Así he sido por toda la vida.  Por eso, aun de niña, me daba pavor la lectura del Evangelio los domingos que era la historia de María y Marta, porque sabía que al final, Jesús dice que María escogió «la mejor parte.»  Y ¿quién era yo para discutir con Jesús?

Cuando crecía, empecé a entender que Jesús le animaba a Marta a balancear su acción con la contemplación de María y que el hacerlo lleva a la totalidad.  Pero todavía había un problema.  Yo soy una creyente crónica.  Optimista.  Llena de esperanza.  Positiva.  «Creer» es mi palabra favorita.  Me llama a creer en mí misma y en los demás, y para esta Marta, eso significa que yo creo que puedo hacer todo – y debo hacer todo.  Como resultado, a veces era difícil sostener mi fe, especialmente cuando ocurrían cosas fuera de mi control.   Read More »

August 18, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Kathy attends the dedication of Mercy Health’s new home office in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April 2016.

Sister Kathy attends the dedication of Mercy Health’s new home office in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April 2016.

Cancer is a diagnosis no one wants to hear. As chief mission and values officer for Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 2013, and with decades of experience in health care, Sister Kathy Green has observed the disease often. But in January 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself and began a personal battle with the insidious illness that influences her perspective and her ministry.

“When you have an experience with cancer, you have a greater sensitivity to others having the experience and a natural inclination to reach out to others undergoing the same things,” she says. “The Sisters of Mercy and my colleagues have also been incredibly supportive. There is something to be able to witness to the fact that you can manage to live with burdens and still give of yourself and find joy in the day,” she says.   Read More »

August 17, 2016

By Johna Peterson, Mercy Associate

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

I began to write music in my 20s. I was a Sister of Mercy at the time, and I later became a Mercy Associate. I was influenced by the music of Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan,  a good friend of mine. Her music was very prayerful, and it was the first time I heard music that was both liturgical and beautiful.

My own philosophy about music is that it begins in silence, and that it moves us into silence. I also believe that writing music is an act of mercy. As a hospice nurse, I do a lot of hands-on work, providing tender, loving care to people as they are dying. And that is an act of mercy. But writing music is an act of mercy also. It soothes people, and it also soothes the musician.

Listen to Johna’s powerful reflection on music and mercy—which incorporates excerpts from her work and beautiful visuals—in the video below.

Johna previously shared a reflection for her song “Pregheira.”

August 11, 2016

By Christine Convery, Mercy Associate

Christine Convery is a Mercy Associate who lives in Commerce, Michigan. She, along with her brother, Patrick Convery, and sister, Elizabeth Spencer, recently attended World Youth Day (WYD), held in Krakow, Poland, July 25-30. The following is her reflection about the experience.

Christine (center) with her siblings Patrick (left) and Elizabeth (right)

Christine (center) with her siblings Patrick (left) and Elizabeth (right)

When the sun came up over Campus Misercordiae, I sat up and looked around after a sleepless night on the cold, damp, uneven ground. Hundreds of thousands of my fellow pilgrims were sprawled out on the ground in every direction.

The flags which they had been waving around the city of Krakow all week hung still from their poles. After a week of travel, touring, catechesis, Mass and prayer, we all lay in vigil, awaiting our final event together—and with Pope Francis—before being commissioned back to our home countries on our Catholic mission of mercy.   Read More »

August 10, 2016

By Sister Bonnie Woods

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

Sister Bonnie at the harp.

Sister Bonnie at the harp.

Music and mercy are both gifts from God.  I feel that I am blessed in having a music root and a mercy root within me.  My music root began in the womb, I’m sure, with my mother and grandmother singing to me and my mother playing the piano.  Following my mother, I took piano lessons from ages 6 to 18.  In the novitiate I was mandated to continue piano and learn the organ to play for liturgies.  I know now that I was a perfunctory musician, playing daily up to and through my first 2 mission assignments, but I was playing always out of local need and not with much feeling.  It was not surprising, then, that I abandoned playing music for decades, but continued to love music of all types.

My mercy root was planted in high school by Mercy sisters and transplanted into a larger container when I joined the community in 1960.   I learned mercy from the goodness and kindness of all our sisters including my classmates.  I grasped a deep grounding of mercy from Sister Margaret Farley, perhaps my most influential teacher.  She said: “Mercy is love for those in need.  And it is necessary to have experienced mercy to be able to be merciful.”  And she said, “The love of the giver is not only more important than the gift of the lover; it is itself the greater gift.”   Read More »

August 8, 2016

By Patti Kantor, Communications Manager, Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community

Margretta (left) and Patti (right). Though the sisters look like twins, they are one year apart.

Margretta (left) and Patti (right). Though the sisters look like twins, they are one year apart.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has a devoted Sister of Mercy fan who will be cheering him on as he competes in Rio de Janeiro.

Sister Margretta Dwyer first saw Phelps in action in 2008 while she served as a volunteer at the Olympic Swim Trials held in Omaha, Nebraska. Sister Margretta had a “birds-eye view” of the trials during which Phelps qualified for the Beijing Olympics.

Watching Phelps compete, she knew she was witnessing sports history in the making. “After just a few races, you could tell he was a great swimmer, with his long arms and long body,” she said. Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals in three Olympiads. He also holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals with 19 (as of August 8).   Read More »

August 2, 2016

By Sister Katie Mindling

Catherine holds #MakeMercyReal wristbands at Trocaire College. Photo by Pam Jablonicky.

Catherine holds #MakeMercyReal wristbands at Trocaire College. Photo by Pam Jablonicky.

Some would think that teachers have the “summer off,” yet those who know better are aware that they are gleaning the best from their experiences, keeping up with educational trends and insights from professional publications and circles, and designing ever-new ways of orchestrating opportunities for learning for the students scheduled to begin a new academic year with them.  For those dedicated to teaching, year-round preparation is paramount and discovering ever new ways to facilitate learning and growth in the students is ongoing.

As a teacher of high school students, these weeks find me reviewing the best of last year’s lessons and designing new approaches to integrate technology for the coming year.  Among the many summer teaching-related activities that fill my days, I am writing letters of recommendation for numerous rising seniors; monitoring make-up assignments for a student who had the challenge of having osteo-sarcoma; visiting the classroom of a graduate who is now a teacher at a summer Catholic experience in a local parish; offering guidance to a sophomore who is finishing up course requirements because of having had to take a medical leave from school last year; following the adventures of four students who are doing international service projects for Amigos de las Américas in Latin America; and mentoring teachers who will be new next year and are doing their preparations now.   Read More »

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July 29, 2016

By Sister Diane Guerin

Sister Diane Guerin recently celebrated her 50th year as a Sister of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The following is a reflection she shared at her celebration.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Doors can be closed to isolate or exclude, or doors can be opened to invite and include.

In your lifetime, how many doors have been opened to you—bidding you to cross the threshold to find a new space, a better opportunity, a healing presence?

How many doors have you opened for another?

Doors of mercy are myriad.

Venturing forth one finds joy, compassion, laughter, presence, pain and suffering. Read More »