Connect with Mercy

Sharing With My Mother — Mother’s Day Reflections from Sister Kelly Williams

May 12, 2018

What does it mean for a mother when her daughter enters religious life? How does a mother influence or respond to her daughter’s decision to take vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and service? With Mother’s Day on the way, we spoke with Sister Kelly Williams who reflected on the many ways she and her have shared a life of Mercy.

Sister Kelly Williams and her mother Lori Williams

Sister Kelly Williams and her mother Lori Williams

Sister Kelly Williams grew up in the midst of Mercy, quite literally. Sisters of Mercy lived on her street as a child, and after being home-schooled by her mother, Lori, she attended a Mercy high school, St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah, Georgia. Lori, coincidentally, joined the faculty at St. Vincent’s the same year.

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Compartiendo con mi madre — Reflexiones de la Hermana Kelly Williams por el Día de la Madre

May 12, 2018

¿Qué significa para una madre cuando su hija ingresa a la vida religiosa? ¿Cómo influye o responde una madre a la decisión de su hija de profesar votos de pobreza, obediencia, castidad y servicio? Con el Día de la Madre en camino, hablamos con la Hermana Kelly Williams, quien reflexionó sobre las formas en que su madre la inspiró a servir a Dios y al mundo como Hermana de la Misericordia.

Hermana Kelly Williams, RSM y su madre Lori Williams

Hermana Kelly Williams, RSM y su madre Lori Williams

Hermana Kelly Williams creció en medio de la Misericordia, literalmente. Las Hermanas de la Misericordia vivían en la misma calle que ella cuando ella era niña, y después de ser educada en el hogar por su madre, Lori, ella asistió a una escuela secundaria de la Misericordia, St. Vincent Academy en Savannah, Georgia. Lori ingresó casualmente al cuerpo docente de St. Vincent el mismo año.

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Bienvenidas, bienvenidos a la Familia de la Misericordia — Reflexiones de la Hermana Mary Kay Dobrovolny por el Día de la Madre

May 12, 2018

¿Qué significa para una madre cuando su hija ingresa a la vida religiosa? ¿Cómo influye o responde una madre a la decisión de su hija de profesar votos de pobreza, obediencia, castidad y servicio? Con el Día de la Madre en camino, hablamos con la Hermana Mary Kay Dobrovolny, quien reflexionó sobre las formas en que su madre la inspiró a servir a Dios y al mundo como Hermana de la Misericordia.

De izquierda a derecha: el padre de la hermana Mary Kay (John Dobrovolny), la madre de la hermana Mary Kay (Mary Ann Dobrovolny), la tía de la hermana Mary Kay (hermana Pat McDermott, RSM) y la hermana Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM

De izquierda a derecha: el padre de la hermana Mary Kay (John Dobrovolny), la madre de la hermana Mary Kay (Mary Ann Dobrovolny), la tía de la hermana Mary Kay (hermana Pat McDermott, RSM) y la hermana Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM

Las vocaciones religiosas no son una novedad en la familia extensa de la Hermana Mary Kay Dobrovolny. Su tía es la Hermana Patricia McDermott, RSM, presidenta de las Hermanas de la Misericordia de las Américas. Esta familiaridad, sin embargo, no impidió que los padres de Mary Kay, Mary Ann y John, fueran tomados por sorpresa cuando ella anunció inicialmente sus intenciones de ingresar a la vida consagrada.

Su madre Mary Ann fue educada en escuelas de la Misericordia y estaba familiarizada con la vida religiosa, con su propia hermana en la misma orden; sin embargo, el temor de una madre de «perder» a su hija para la Iglesia se apoderó de ella.

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Aprendiendo de su ejemplo – Reflexiones de la Hermana Taryn Stark por el Día de la Madre

May 12, 2018

¿Qué significa para una madre cuando su hija ingresa a la vida religiosa? ¿Cómo influye o responde una madre a la decisión de su hija de profesar votos de pobreza, obediencia, castidad y servicio? Con el Día de la Madre en camino, hablamos con la Hermana Taryn Stark, quien reflexionó sobre las formas en que su madre la inspiró a servir a Dios y al mundo como Hermana de la Misericordia.

Hermana Taryn Stark con su madrina, la Hermana Rose Davis, RSM y su madre Ruth

Hermana Taryn Stark con su madrina, la Hermana Rose Davis, RSM y su madre Ruth

El caminar de la Hermana Taryn hacia la vida religiosa comenzó con la conversión de su madre al catolicismo mientras Taryn era niña. Su madre, Ruth, enfermera, era amiga de varias Hermanas de la Misericordia. Mientras Taryn crecía, ella acompañaba a su madre en varios viajes patrocinados por la Misericordia a Perú para proporcionar atención médica. Ruth finalmente fue recibida en la Iglesia en la capilla de la Misericordia en Burlingame, California, y Taryn fue bautizada allí el mismo día.

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Welcomed into the Mercy Family — Mother’s Day reflections from Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny

May 10, 2018

 

What does it mean for a mother when her daughter becomes a Sister of Mercy? How does a mother influence or respond to her daughter’s decision to take vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and service? With Mother’s Day on its way, we spoke with Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny who reflected on her mother’s influence and continued connections to Mercy.

From left to right – Sister Mary Kay's father (John Dobrovolny), Sister Mary Kay's mom (Mary Ann [McDermott] Dobrovolny), Sister Mary Kay's aunt (Pat McDermott RSM), and Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny RSM) celebrating Pat’s 50th Jubilee and Mary Kay’s 25th Jubilee as Sisters of Mercy. October 2016.

From left to right – Sister Mary Kay’s father (John Dobrovolny), Sister Mary Kay’s mom (Mary Ann Dobrovolny), Sister Mary Kay’s aunt (Sister Pat McDermott, RSM), and Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM celebrating Sister Pat’s 50th Jubilee and Sister Mary Kay’s 25th Jubilee as Sisters of Mercy. October 2016.

Religious vocations are not a novelty in Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny’s extended family. Her aunt is Sister Patricia McDermott, RSM, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. This familiarity, however, didn’t stop Mary Kay’s parents, Mary Ann and John, from being caught off guard when she initially announced her intentions to enter consecrated life.

Her mother Mary Ann was educated in Mercy schools and was well-acquainted with religious life, with her own sister in the same order, but nonetheless a mother’s fear of “losing” her daughter to the Church crept in.

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Learning From Her Example — Mother’s Day Reflections from Sister Taryn Stark

May 8, 2018

What does it mean for a mother when her daughter enters religious life? How does a mother influence or respond to her daughter’s decision to take vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and service? With Mother’s Day on the way, we spoke with Sister Taryn Stark who reflected on the ways her mother inspired her to serve God and the world as a Sister of Mercy.

Sister Taryn Stark with her Godmother Sister Rose Davis, RSM and her Mother Ruth

Sister Taryn Stark with her Godmother Sister Rose Davis, RSM and her Mother Ruth

Sister Taryn’s journey to religious life began with her mother’s conversion to Catholicism while Taryn was a child. Her mother, Ruth, a nurse practitioner, had befriended several Sisters of Mercy. While Taryn was growing up, she accompanied her mother on several Mercy-sponsored trips to Peru to provide medical care. Ruth was eventually received into the Church in the Mercy chapel in Burlingame, California and Taryn was baptized there the same day.

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Helping co-workers turn Mercy charism into action

May 3, 2018

By Amanda LePoire

After years in education, Sister Marilynn Wittenauer is helping Mercy co-workers put the Mercy charism into action outside their workplaces.

Sister Marilynn Wittenauer and Sharon Neumeister, director of Community Health and Access for Mercy Neighborhood Ministry, prepare packages of toiletries and essentials. Staff at Mercy Neighborhood Ministry distribute the packages during their outreach efforts in the St. Louis community.

Sister Marilynn Wittenauer and Sharon Neumeister, director of Community Health and Access for Mercy Neighborhood Ministry, prepare packages of toiletries and essentials. Staff at Mercy Neighborhood Ministry distribute the packages during their outreach efforts in the St. Louis community.

For the past nine years, Sister Marilynn has served as the co-worker volunteer coordinator for Mercy Neighborhood Ministry (MNM) in St. Louis, Missouri. The ministry connects economically poor people with health and social service resources. In 2008, the director of MNM wanted to connect Mercy co-workers interested in volunteering with agencies needing assistance. Sister Marilynn stepped into the role, and today, more than 750 co-workers have volunteered.

“It’s a real credit to co-workers,” Sister Marilynn says. “After putting in a full day’s work—for most, not sitting behind a desk—they have to be really committed to wanting to serve.”

Sister Marilynn meets with area agencies to determine their needs and how Mercy co-workers can help. She publicizes the opportunities to co-workers and then schedules the volunteers, now with the help of an online system developed by the Information Technology Department of the hospital that MNM is connected to. She also follows up with thank-yous and a reflection tool for volunteers.

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Mercy and Poetry — Writing as Part of a Balanced Life

April 30, 2018

By Liz Dossa

This is the sixth reflection in our Poetry and Mercy series as part of National Poetry Month
Read the whole series here.

How is there time for writing poetry in a busy Mercy life? For two Sisters of Mercy who are also poets living at Marian Life Care Center in Burlingame, California, writing poetry has been part of their lives for many years.

Sister Maria Juanita—Poetry as Part of Prayer

Sister Maria Juanita van Bommel began writing at a workshop for teachers during the summer of 1969. “They told us to write something and I wrote ‘Tell Me’ about Point Lobos [a coastal area of California],” she said. The windswept coast inspired her.

She begins the poem: “Whispering cypresses tell me what you know of this region bleak and bare.”

Sister Maria Juanita with her book Reflections

Poetry was not her main occupation. Her ministries included many years as a teacher in elementary schools, ministering to people who are homeless through social services and in shelters, tutoring English-language learners and ministering to prisoners in the Santa Clara county jail.

Poetry is a natural part of her prayer now. She recalls an intense period of writing when she was confined to a wheelchair for a few months after a fall. Sitting in one place caused her to notice small things, such as the spider web outside her window. She wrote a poem about it.   Read More »

Misericordia y poesía — La escritura como parte de una vida equilibrada

April 30, 2018

De Liz Dossa
¿Hay tiempo para escribir poesía en una intensa vida de Misericordia? Para dos Hermanas de la Misericordia que también son poetisas y viven en el Centro Marian Life Care en Burlingame, California escribir poesía ha sido parte de sus vidas por muchos años.

Hermana María Juanita — Poesía como parte de la oración

Hermana María Juanita van Bommel comenzó a escribir poesía en un taller para maestras/os durante el verano de 1969. «Nos dijeron que escribiéramos algo y yo escribí ‘Háblame’ sobre Punto Lobos [una zona costera de California]», dijo ella. La costa azotada por el viento la inspiró.

Hermana María Juanita van Bommel

Ella comienza el poema: «Susurrantes cipreses díganme lo que saben de esta región sombría y desnuda».

La poesía no era su ocupación principal. Sus ministerios incluían muchos años como profesora en escuelas primarias, sirviendo a personas sin hogar a través de servicios sociales y en los refugios, tutoría de estudiantes de la lengua inglesa y sirviendo a presos en la cárcel del Condado de Santa Clara.

La poesía es parte natural de su oración ahora. Ella recuerda un intenso periodo de escritura cuando estaba postrada en una silla de ruedas durante unos meses después de una caída. Sentada en un solo lugar la hizo darse cuenta de pequeñas cosas, como la telaraña fuera de su ventana. Ella escribió un poema sobre el tema.   Read More »

Mercy and Poetry—Stop, Look in a New Way, Listen to Your Heart

April 24, 2018

By Sister Grace Leggio Agate

This is the fifth reflection in our Poetry and Mercy series as part of National Poetry Month. Read the whole series here.

Sister Grace Leggio Agate

Sister Grace Leggio Agate

As a poet I have been shaped by prayer and contemplation, nature, life circumstances; by the people who have touched my life, a sense of wonder and a sense of humor.

I believe poetry is important today because poetry is a process that causes us to think, feel,
experience and respond in a more contemplative way of being. One is not able to read poetry quickly. Engaging poetry, one is called to stop, to look in a new way and to listen to how our heart is engaged. We are in need of folks who are willing to be so engaged so we will be able to meet each as companions on our life journey.

A Poem by Sister Grace

Sister Grace shared the following poem for the blog:

Miriam of Nazareth

Assent,
 I gave along ago
Becoming mother to God’s
    I am.
Joseph and I, gave assent
 and lived in the knowledge
 that we were parenting
   God’s own Son.
His birth, a mysterious miracle
 as are all births.
His accompanied
 by a stable, a star,
 shepherds, kings
 and flight.
Obeying the Law,
 we presented Him.
Two holy ones.
 who prayed and waited
Tell us they know
 He is I am.
One gives a disturbing message.
 Only now do I know the meaning.
Simeon’s words come true.
 For a sword has pierced me through
It’s pain, unbearable.
Anna’s comfort,
 I keen for now.
My son, came born
 into the ways of God;
Healing, feeding, giving drink,
 opening the meeting tent
 for those considered outside
 God’s mercy.
Misunderstood,
 His words and works
 twisted by those fearful of change;
 twisted by those in power,
 forgetting from whence their own power comes.
Crucified,
 hung out in glory and pain
 rejected by those who might have known better.
His closest friends
 scattered by fear.
I am here my Son,
 I know not the reason for your cross.
No more than I understood your
 coming to me.
I trusted then
 and now I witness again
 in trust this time of agony.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.