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.

January 21, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

Meet Sister Beth Fischer, a Sister of Mercy for 33 years. She currently ministers as the director of community and civic engagement at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Sister Beth talks about the “fourth vow” Sisters of Mercy take—in addition to poverty, chastity and obedience, they also take a vow of service to those in need. In the month of January, Poverty Awareness Month, what kind of commitment can you make to those in need? How can you show mercy?

Mother Teresa’s Prayer for the Poor

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and Joy. Amen.

Sister Beth is a Sister of Mercy in the Northeast Community. Learn more about how you can support sisters in the Northeast Community.

Watch other videos in our “Mercy Is” series.

January 16, 2015

By Sister Pat K.

When groups of sisters lived in houses commonly called communities, few situations disturbed the union and charity that prevailed more than windows and pets. The window controversy stemmed from individual preferences for or against fresh air and sadly, it was in the chapel that differences were most evident. Windows were opened, closed, reopened and reclosed many times in the course of a morning meditation and many grimaces and deep sighs accompanied the action.

Pets were another matter. A canine pet was seldom introduced as “our” dog; he/she was Sister X’s or Sister Y’s dog but the phrase often added was “but we take care of him/ her”—this said with raised eyebrows and eye-rolling. With innocuous names like Pacis and Lady, one might have expected better behavior, but more often Pacis barked her head off on the slightest provocation and Lady was, to put it quite indelicately, a slob.

The classic tale, when pet stories come up, is the one about Sister Euphrasia’s bird. A parakeet with typical plumage, Petie was distinguished from all others of his species by his one and only leg and permanently disagreeable disposition. Despite these handicaps, Euphrasia loved him dearly and, thinking everyone else should too, installed him in the community room. When she thought he needed a little freedom, she opened his cage and Petie had the run of the place. He had great fondness for alighting on people’s heads, an odd sensation at best but, given his one leg, a bit creepy. The entire household beat a hasty retreat from the community room when Petie was on the loose.   Read More »

January 15, 2015

By Karel B. Lucander

To an impressionable 13-year-old girl, the first glimpse of her high-school principal in traditional habit floating up an ornately carved school stairway was intriguing. Who was that vision and what did she do? Soon enough, young Suzanne Stalm would discover the answer to that question as well as being showered with the kindly attention of her teachers, also Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Suzanne (center) consults with Sister Beth Higgins (left), community life coordinator of Mercy Convent, and Greg McGill, retirement convent administrator. 

Sister Suzanne (center) consults with Sister Beth Higgins (left), community life coordinator of Mercy Convent, and Greg McGill, retirement convent administrator.

Now, fast-forward nearly 50 years. More than intrigued, Sister Suzanne Stalm followed in their footsteps, entering the Sisters of Mercy at age 18 on September 8, 1965, professing first vows in August 1968 and making final vows July 29, 1973.

“As I reflect back, I see a very shy and frightened child with a little courage grow into an adult who knows how very much God loves her. When we made final vows, we chose a quote to go inside our rings. I chose the words ‘yes forever’ as the obvious expression of what I was doing. But mostly I held in my heart that God had already said ‘yes forever’ to me,” says Sister Suzanne. Read More »

January 14, 2015

By Sister Judy C. and Sister Gloria M.

December 13, 2014, marked the 50th anniversary of Sisters of Mercy traveling from Burlingame, California, to minister in Acora, Puno, Peru, on the edge of Lake Titicaca—located at an altitude of 12,500 feet in the southern Andes Mountains.

names 64-2009

Mercy’s history in Peru began in 1964. To honor the 50th anniversary, sisters held signs with the names of those who went to serve in Peru during those years.

In 1964, the Sisters of Mercy responded to the call of Pope Saint John XXIII, who asked that religious communities send 10 percent of their membership to Latin America. We were young and inexperienced and were fortunate to work closely with the fathers and sisters from the Maryknoll religious community who were called and trained for mission work. Through education, pastoral work, social work and health care, we ministered with the Aymara people—the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains—and learned a great deal from their rich heritage and wisdom rooted in a culture that predates that of the Inca Empire.

Several years after we arrived, young Aymara women were asking to join the Sisters of Mercy and in 1989 we received our first candidate: Sister Carmen Rosa C. This year marked not only the 50th anniversary of our work in Peru, therefore, but also Sister Carmen Rosa’s Silver Jubilee—25 years as a Sister of Mercy.

There was something else to celebrate, too—Sister Biviana E. made her final vows as a Sister of Mercy.   Read More »

January 14, 2015

Por la hermana Judy C. y la hermana Gloria M.

El 13 de diciembre de 2014 marcó el 50º aniversario de las Hermanas de la Misericordia quienes viajaron desde Burlingame, California para servir en Acora, Puno, Perú, al borde del lago Titicaca, situado a una altitud de 12.500 pies en las montañas de los Andes del Sur.

names 64-2009

La historia de la Misericordia en Perú comenzó en 1964. Para homenajear el 50º aniversario, las hermanas sostuvieron señales con los nombres de aquéllas que sirvieron en Perú durante esos años.

En 1964, las Hermanas de la Misericordia respondieron a la llamada del Papa San Juan XXIII, quien pidió que las comunidades religiosas enviaran el 10 por ciento de su pertenencia a América Latinoamérica.  Éramos jóvenes y sin experiencia, y tuvimos la suerte de trabajar en cercana colaboración con los padres y hermanas de la comunidad religiosa de Maryknoll que fueron llamados y capacitados para el trabajo de la misión.  A través de la educación, el trabajo pastoral, trabajo social y atención de la salud, servimos con los Aymara—las personas indígenas de los Andes—y aprendimos mucho de su rico patrimonio y de la sabiduría enraizada en una cultura que existía antes del Imperio Inca.

Varios años después de que llegamos, jóvenes mujeres Aymaras estaban pidiendo unirse a las Hermanas de la Misericordia y en 1989 recibimos nuestra primera candidata: la Hermana Carmen Rosa C.  Este año marcó no sólo el 50º  aniversario de nuestro trabajo en Perú, sino también el Jubileo de Plata de la Hermana Carmen Rosa – 25 años como Hermana de la Misericordia.

Había algo más que celebrar también – la Hermana Biviana E. hizo sus votos perpetuos como Hermana de la Misericordia. Read More »

January 13, 2015

By Sister Denise S.

Black Lives Matter

Eric Garner and Michael Brown Ferguson protests in Seattle on December 6, 2014. CC Scottlum 2014

This article was written in response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on August 9, 2014.

I am a white person, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I have understood myself as white, and been treated as white.  This article is mainly about white.

It was 1972. Two white teens were apprehended by police officer after robbing the cashier’s box at a golf range in Olivette, Missouri. One of the young men bolted and was shot in the back by one of the police officers. He died from the bullet wound. The young man was 18 years old, and the son of a well-known physician and former university professor. I knew the family. The case went all the way to the State Supreme Court. The police officer never did jail time.

I am writing this not so much to say whether the policeman in this case was right or wrong, or if Darren Wilson, the shooter in the Michael Brown case, is right or wrong. Rather, I want to ask, “Why didn’t the white community rise up in protest over the tragic death of this young white man at the hands of the police?” Of course, the media sensationalized the story, but the fact remains, there was no outcry on the streets. Only the parents continued to pursue this case. Why didn’t the white community rise up?   Read More »

January 9, 2015

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Communications Specialist

This is the first in a series of profiles of sisters living with serious illness.

Sister Patricia F. was sent home from the hospital to die in early August. She had metastatic ovarian cancer compounded by bowel and stomach blockages and opted for hospice over chemotherapy and other invasive treatments. The local funeral director and three priests came to see her to help her prepare for her final journey.

But then something happened. Sister Pat had no sooner made peace with her illness and surrendered to the God with whom she has walked in Mercy for 63 years, when she began to feel better.

(Blog continues below)

Sister Pat relaxes by her “wall of love” while wearing a special feather necklace. “This feather reminds me of what it is that I strive for, to be a feather on the breath of God,” she says. Photo by Catherine Walsh/Northeast Communications.

Sister Pat relaxes by her “wall of love” while wearing a special feather necklace. “This feather reminds me of what it is that I strive for, to be a feather on the breath of God,” she says. Photo by Catherine Walsh/Northeast Communications.

Four weeks after she left the hospital, Sister Pat walked into her surgeon’s office for a follow-up appointment and watched him do a double-take. “He kept saying, ‘Look at you! Look at you! What’s happening with you?’” recalls Sister Pat with a laugh. “He said, ‘Even though I was born and brought up Catholic, I’m not a very good one at this point. But this looks to me like this could be divine intervention.’”

Christine, a colleague of Sister Pat’s, talks about the impact of Sister Pat’s illness on her five-year-old son.

Sister Pat’s first reaction to her newfound wellness was to celebrate her 80th birthday with friends at two elegant luncheons and a three-day trip to Ogunquit, Maine. So what if she had to eat pureed food at first and depend on others for her care? “When I first came home from the hospital, I thought it was my responsibility to prepare to die, and that’s what I did for about three weeks,” she muses. “Then when I realized that death wasn’t imminent, I decided to engage myself in living.”

Her doctor’s new instruction to her—“Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing!” —was one she took to heart. When friends offered to treat her and Sister Chris, her roommate and friend, to a trip to Bruges, Belgium, in October, she accepted and had a wonderful time. Since then, she’s tried to do one new, out-of-the-ordinary activity a month, including going to plays in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City, New York, and going on a retreat at Mercy Center in Madison, Connecticut.   Read More »

January 9, 2015

Por Catherine Walsh, Especialista en Comunicaciones del Nordeste

Este artículo es el primero de una serie de perfiles de las hermanas que viven con enfermedades graves.

La Hermana Patricia F. fue enviada del hospital para morir en su casa a comienzos de agosto. Ella tenía cáncer de ovario propagado y agravado por obstrucciones en el estómago e intestino; optó por el hospicio en vez de la quimioterapia y otros tratamientos invasivos. El director del funeral de la localidad y tres sacerdotes llegaron para ayudarla a prepararse para su viaje postrero.

Pero entonces sucedió algo. La Hermana Pat, tan pronto como había hecho las paces con su enfermedad y se había entregado a Dios con quien ella había caminado en Misericordia por 63 años, empezó a sentirse mejor.

1.La Hermana Pat se relaja cerca a su «pared de amor» mientras luce un collar especial de plumas. «Estas plumas me recuerdan que es para lo que me esfuerzo, ser una pluma en el aliento de Dios», dijo. Foto por Catherine Walsh/Comunicaciones del Nordeste.

La Hermana Pat se relaja cerca a su «pared de amor» mientras luce un collar especial de plumas. «Estas plumas me recuerdan que es para lo que me esfuerzo, ser una pluma en el aliento de Dios», dijo. Foto por Catherine Walsh/Comunicaciones del Nordeste.

Cuatro semanas después que había dejado el hospital, la Hermana Pat entró a la oficina de su cirujano para una cita de seguimiento y vio como él tuvo que mirarla dos veces. «Él continuó diciendo, ‘¡Mírese! ¡Mírese! ¿Qué le está sucediendo?’» recordó la Hermana Pat con una sonrisa. «Él dijo, ‘Aunque nací y fue criado católico, no soy muy bueno en este momento. Pero me parece que puede ser una intervención divina’».

La primera reacción de la Hermana Pat a su nuevo bienestar fue celebrar su 80º cumpleaños con sus amigas con dos almuerzos selectos y un viaje de tres días a Ogunquit, Maine. Y ¿qué importa si ella tendría que comer puré al comienzo y depender de otras por su cuidado? «Cuando recién llegué a casa del hospital, pensé que era mi responsabilidad prepararme para morir, y eso fue lo que hice por casi tres semanas,» reflexionó ella. «Luego, cuando me di cuenta que la muerte no era inminente, decidí participar en la vida».

La nueva instrucción de su doctor— «¡Continúe haciendo lo que sea que esté haciendo!» —fue algo que ella tomó muy en serio. Cuando sus amigas le ofrecieron invitarla con la Hermana Chris, su compañera y amiga, a un viaje a Brujas, Bélgica, en octubre, ella aceptó y tuvo una experiencia maravillosa. Desde entonces, la Hermana Pat ha tratado de realizar algo nuevo, una actividad fuera de lo común al mes, que incluye ir al teatro en Boston, Massachusetts y en la ciudad de Nueva York, como también ir a un retiro en el Centro de la Misericordia en Madison, Connecticut. Read More »

January 7, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

This is the first in a series of “Mercy is…” videos that will be shared every other Wednesday throughout the coming months.

Meet Sister Isoline Duclos, a Sister of Mercy since 1949.

Sister Isoline says she tries to “be like Catherine” McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, in her life and ministry. “I feel more and more each day that God just pours his love into every one of us, and all we have to do is be there.”

What does “mercy” mean to you? Have you felt God’s love pouring into you today? As we look ahead to the new year, 2015, how will you share God’s love with others?

Sister Isoline is a Sister of Mercy in the Northeast Community. Learn more about how you can support sisters in the Northeast Community.

December 31, 2014

By Sister Hannah-Mary O.

New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. cc license (BY 2.0) image shared by Christopher Michel

New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. cc license (BY 2.0) image shared by Christopher Michel

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on health: a better diet, more exercise, fewer indulgences. But how about resolving to do something about the health of our world?

Social justice advocacy may seem daunting but there are many ways to get involved. As religious education director at St. John the Evangelist Church in Carmichael, California, I strive to address the following challenges:

Poverty: Historically, sometimes, those families who attend religious education/Children’s Faith Formation (CFF)/CCD classes are considered less important than those who attend Catholic schools. My team and I strive to provide all possible experiences for our children such as:

  • We encourage them to actively participate in liturgies as readers, choir-members, ushers, gift-bearers and altar-servers etc. We are proud to say that they do a great job!
  • We raise awareness of the less fortunate by collecting new socks and other items for those who are economically poor.
  • Parents/guardians are invited to become lectors, commentators and Eucharistic ministers. Many grandparents also work with our St. Vincent DePaul program which helps hundreds of poor people every week.

Nonviolence: We train our students and families to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ in their homes, classes, schools and neighborhoods by responding in nonviolent ways when tempted to do otherwise.

Catherine McAuley quoteRacism: One way that we raise awareness of the giftedness of all God’s people is by ensuring that our liturgical activities are as representative as possible of various races and cultures.

Women: We strive to have a balanced number of girls and boys represented in our liturgical & other activities.

Earth: Both in ministry and at home I do my bit for the earth by being mindful of recycling, keeping as much plastic and paper as possible out of the garbage can, for example, and striving not to waste water.

What challenges are you helping to address in your home, work and parish?