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 20, 2016

By Sister Lorraine La Vigne, LMFT

Pope Francis embraces a baby in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Catholic News Agency/Alexey Gotoviskyi.

Pope Francis embraces a baby in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Catholic News Agency/Alexey Gotoviskyi.

As a marriage and family therapist (MFT), I read with interest what Pope Francis has written in Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), his apostolic exhortation on the family that was released on April 8. In my practice I have found many struggling with where life has brought them and feeling alienated by a church that seems to have little compassion or understanding for them and their situations.

This document seems to offer some hope as Pope Francis reminds clergy not to “waste pastoral energy denouncing” and “to make room for the conscience of the faithful.” These could be reassuring statements for my clients. Such statements carry with them a respect as well as a trust and understanding that serious decisions in complex situations are made with careful discernment and consultation.   Read More »

May 19, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Nancy and Holy Angels’ resident Lorraine assist a customer at Cherubs Candy Bouquet in Belmont, North Carolina.

Sister Nancy and Holy Angels’ resident Lorraine assist a customer at Cherubs Candy Bouquet in Belmont, North Carolina.

Holy Angels in Belmont, North Carolina, provides specialized, round-the-clock care for children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities and delicate medical conditions. In an environment fostering loving and compassionate care, opportunities for dignified living, and innovative learning programs, Holy Angels empowers people who have capabilities as well as challenges. Sister Nancy Nance is vice president of community relations for this nonprofit ministry.

“They sent me to Holy Angels when I first entered the Sisters of Mercy … They say I was the worst volunteer they ever had,” says Sister Nancy. “I put in my three weeks when Regina [Moody], the CEO here, asked if I would come and take photos for their annual report. I thought to myself, ‘Sure, I can go down there, snap a few photos and be out of there in an hour.’ But something happened when I looked through the camera lens. For the first time, I could look beyond the disabilities and see the person for who they really were and are. That changed my whole perspective. There is so much beauty inside of them and they are all so special. Some of the sisters who have known me since those early days have said, ‘We couldn’t get you to go to Holy Angels, and now we can’t get you to leave!’”   Read More »

May 16, 2016

By Pam Butts, Mercy Associate

Pam prepares to listen to the heartbeat of a young patient.

Pam prepares to listen to the heartbeat of a young patient.

Recently, I was invited by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity to join their spring medical mission team to Palenque, Chiapas, in the country of Mexico. Hundreds of vitamins, topical creams, antibiotics (in short supply) and other medications have been donated by U.S. pharmacies, private clinics and doctor offices. These are sent to the Franciscan sisters’ clinic each year. The medical team consisted of three medical doctors, three registered nurses, a nurse practitioner, seven young Sisters of St. Francis who functioned as pharmacists, a dentist and his wife, and several interpreters.   Read More »

May 13, 2016

By Sister Moira Flynn

This is the last in our series of Easter reflections. Read the whole series here.

 

photo-1442570356633-6f94cdd73a48I would like to share an experience I had yesterday. It involved the serious problem affecting so many public and private employees left without work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, given our government’s harsh neoliberal policies.

I was traveling by train from Bella Vista to the capital, Buenos Aires. It was the second time I have seen women bent over in their seats, sniffling and trying their best to hide their tears; but we, the rest of us, can tell the feeling of uneasiness that overwhelms and unites us emotionally.   Read More »

May 13, 2016

Por la Hermana Moira Flynn

Esta es la última reflexión de nuestra serie de Pascua. Lean toda la serie aquí.

 

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Quiero compartirte mi experiencia de ayer. Tiene que ver con el serio problema de tantos empleados públicos y privados que están quedando sin trabajo, en Buenos Aires, Argentina dada la política neoliberal cruda de nuestro Gobierno.

Viajando en el tren, hacia Buenos Aires desde Bella Vista, ya era la segunda vez que había visto a mujeres, sentadas-agachadas-que se suenan la nariz y vemos que quieren disimular su llanto como pueden. Pero los demás nos damos cuenta que una sensación de incomodidad nos inunda y nos solidariza emocionalmente.   Read More »

May 9, 2016

By Jean Santopatre, director of campus ministry at Lauralton Hall

Each Monday through Pentecost we will share reflections on Easter through the lens of art, music and poetry from someone in the Mercy family.

Viola, Jean’s mom.

Viola, Jean’s mom.

I couldn’t help but think of the Passion of Christ when I watched my mother, Viola, during the last three months of her journey through Alzheimer’s. During these months, I had the most amazing spiritual conversations with my mom. Although she was in and out of “being present” during this time, all of a sudden she would call out, “Abba, Abba, Father, Father.” Her words reminded me of Jesus calling out to his Father, “Abba, Abba, why have you forgotten me?” Did my mother feel forgotten by God, or was she seeing God? I can’t be sure, but I like to believe that God was present with her, and she was seeing God’s face and Jesus was by her side.

As the days passed on, I paid close attention to her body language, eyes and soft whispers. I knew the Lord was with her. As her frail body began to wither away, her face illuminated a soft white light. She radiated love and some days she was totally at peace. The presence of the Holy Spirit at work through her was apparent. I saw the face of God in my mother’s face.   Read More »

May 5, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Carole Temming prays with Carol Adele Kelly, a patient at Mercy Health-Anderson Hospital.

Sister Carole Temming prays with Carol Adele Kelly, a patient at Mercy Health-Anderson Hospital.

“My 88-year-old father underwent robotic aortic valve replacement surgery, and I called Sister Carole to let her know and ask her to keep him in her prayers. Lo and behold, she came to Good Samaritan Hospital a few hours after his surgery. After greeting and checking on my siblings and me, she placed a prayer shawl over my father, gathered us around his bed, led us in a beautiful conversation of prayer and fed us the Eucharist. The cardiac team quietly backed away and allowed her presence, as she actually came in just past the peak of a semi-crisis where his blood pressure had plummeted to the 30s and they determined he needed an increase in IV fluids. By the conclusion of our prayer, his blood pressure stabilized in the 90s, prompting Jane Whalen, a member of the cardiac team to quip, ‘Wow, they brought in the big guns!’ And of course she kept in contact following up afterward.”

This account by Sharon Sanker appeared in the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) parish newspaper, Heart Beat. Yet it reads like hundreds of accounts by fellow IHM parishioners and others in Anderson, Ohio, citing Sister Carole Temming’s compassion, patience and loving care—along with her ability to make them laugh. Known for telling jokes, at her own retirement reception she couldn’t resist leaving attendees with one last giggle: “When you go to bed tonight, take a ruler with you. Then you can measure how well you slept.”   Read More »

May 2, 2016

By John Kyler, director of campus ministry at Mother McAuley High School

Each Monday through Pentecost we will share reflections on Easter through the lens of art, music and poetry from someone in the Mercy family.

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 2: 4)

BreadI recently had the opportunity to sort bread at a local Catholic Charities food pantry. While this task is not overly exciting, it is necessary to go through and organize all the incoming bread donations. In addition to rotating bread on the shelves and playing the, “Is this mold or artisan bread?” game, I also assembled a tray of breads and pastries for guests to enjoy as part of their meal. In the sorting area there was a large bin of delicious-looking items, so naturally I gave them to people to eat. I later found out that particular bin was full of donations for the local zoo. In a very explicit way, what was rejected was chosen.   Read More »

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April 29, 2016

By Rejeanne Keeley

Rejeanne with her dog, Pixie.

Rejeanne with her dog, Pixie.

I believe that to comfort the sick or the dying is the greatest work of mercy. Death is a gift. I don’t think death is a bad thing. It’s the most wonderful thing that we’re all waiting for. That’s what mercy is all about—to be with people when their souls leave them. Some theologians may disagree, but for me, the souls of those who die go right to their eternal reward in Heaven.

For most of my nursing career, I worked in nursing homes where I companioned many people when they were sick and dying—not only lay people, but also many Sisters of Mercy as they came to the end of their lives on Earth. As a trained nurse I knew the power of medicine, but as a Sister of Mercy, I also knew the greater power of presence and prayer. It’s the last breath that unlocks the body and frees the soul.   Read More »

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April 29, 2016

Por Rejeanne Keeley

Rejeanne with her dog, Pixie.

Rejeanne con su perro, Pixie.

Yo creo que consolar a enfermos o a moribundos es la más grande obra de misericordia.  La muerte es un regalo.  No creo que la muerte sea algo malo. Es lo más maravilloso, es lo que estamos esperando.  La misericordia tiene que ver con todo esto – estar presente con las personas cuando sus almas las dejan.  Algunos teólogos no estarán de acuerdo conmigo, pero yo pienso que las almas de las personas que mueren van directo a su recompensa eterna en el Cielo.

La mayor de mi carrera como enfermera, trabajé en hogares de ancianos y acompañé a muchas personas cuando estaban enfermas y moribundas – no solamente laicos sino también a muchas Hermanas de la Misericordia – cuando llegaron al final de su vida en la Tierra.  Como enfermera entrenada, sabía del poder de la medicina, pero como Hermana de la Misericordia, conocía también el gran poder de la presencia y la oración.  Es el último respiro que abre el cuerpo y libera el alma.  

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