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.
Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

July 28, 2015

By Liz Dossa

Sister Taryn

Sister Taryn

Sister Taryn Stark’s dark eyes glowed with excitement as she talked several weeks before her perpetual profession ceremony. She had prepared for seven years for this day when she would profess perpetual vows—the final step in becoming a Sister of Mercy.

Looking back, her steps toward religious life seem clear and direct. She knew the Mercy Sisters as a young child when her mother, Ruth, a graduate student at the time, was close friends with them. She was baptized at the convent chapel in Burlingame, California, during the Mass when her mother became a Catholic in 1978.

As her mother traveled the world working for the World Health Organization and Catholic Relief Services in Fiji, South Africa and Peru, she always sought out the Sisters of Mercy. Ruth shared a sense of community and vision with the sisters. This example of trying to serve the world’s most needy deeply impressed Taryn. “I grew up with a mother who taught me to treat every creature on earth with respect, all people, even if I have been mistreated by them. Even the spider which might have bitten me.”   Read More »

Año de la Vida Consagrada

July 27, 2015

Por Liz Dossa

Sister Taryn

Hermana Taryn

Los ojos oscuros de la Hermana Taryn Stark brillaban de alegría mientras dialogaba hace siete semanas sobre su ceremonia de profesión perpetua. Ella se había preparado durante siete años para este día cuando profesaría sus votos perpetuos—el último paso para convertirse en una Hermana de la Misericordia.

Retrospectivamente, sus pasos hacia la vida religiosa parecen claros y directos. Ella conoció a las Hermanas de la Misericordia desde su niñez cuando su madre, Ruth, una estudiante graduada en esa época, era buena amiga de ellas. Fue bautizada en la capilla del convento en Burlingame, California durante la Misa cuando su madre se convirtió al catolicismo en 1978.

Mientras su madre viajaba por el mundo trabajando para la Organización Mundial de la Salud (WHO, siglas en inglés) y para Servicios Católicos de Socorro (CRS, siglas en inglés) en Fiji, Sudáfrica y Perú, ella siempre buscaba a las Hermanas de la Misericordia. Ruth compartió un espíritu de comunidad y visión con las hermanas. Este modelo de tratar de servir a los más necesitados del mundo le impresionó profundamente a Taryn. «Crecí con una madre que me enseñó a tratar a todas las criaturas en la Tierra con respeto, todas las personas, incluso si yo había sido maltratada por ellas, también la araña que podría haberme picado».
Read More »

July 24, 2015

By Jean Stokan

Jean Stokan at a deportation policies protest in front of the White House in July 2014.

Jean Stokan at a deportation policies protest in front of the White House in July 2014.

Way too much moves me at levels deep. The wounds of this world can be overwhelming if one’s eyes are wide open to the massive suffering of those made poor, and the spiraling violence and racism destroying precious lives all over the globe, including in our own city streets. I’ve worked in inner city housing projects and in rural Appalachia; I have been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; during the war years in El Salvador, I took religious delegations to sites of massacres perpetrated by U.S. funded security forces. Today, my email inbox is stuffed with reports of human rights violations from Honduras, death squads and all.

The litany goes on. Suffice it to say that I’ve wept buckets. My response is usually to work around the clock in hopes of making some difference in building a more just and peace-filled world. Advocacy, organizing and activism consume me. Yet every now and then a graced moment comes—a touch of the Divine—reminding me that while such frenzied activity is important, other pathways are opened by tenderness and “things of the heart.”   Read More »

July 22, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

Meet Sister Betty Secord, a Sister of Mercy for more than 55 years.

“I had a sense of wanting to serve people,” she remembers about her journey to Mercy. Until recently, she ministered as a case manager, helping women in prison prepare for, and transition through, their release.

She tried to set them up for success after their release: taking them out for a celebratory breakfast; giving them a beautiful bag of cosmetics and hygiene products; connecting them to community resources and housing. This way, “even if they do go back to prison, I think they get a good sense that someone cares about them,” Sister Betty said.

Read More »

July 17, 2015

By Sister Mary-Paula Cancienne, Ph.D

Considering the present condition of Earth’s environment, if St. Francis were here today, he might say to Pope Francis, the chemist, “Finalmente”—something akin to “Oh my God, finally.”

Pope Francis at the foot of an Our Lady of Fatima statue in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/Catholic News Agency

While popes before him have addressed the condition of the overall environment of Earth, which includes the intermingling of the natural world with social life and its structures, Pope Francis dives deep into the thick of it with his encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” He is to be thanked for stepping out so boldly on this topic, which is itself connected to every facet of our lives. Like Francis, we should remember and recognize the many, many women and men who have worked, suffered and even died over the decades as they exclaimed that we need to change how we live, do business and measure economic wealth. Francis concurs with them, and he pulls no punches.

However, there is one area where he does pull a punch, and it will remain problematic until it is dealt with honestly and thoroughly, as it is a significant linchpin in the overall strategy if we are going to move forward in a new direction of hope.

In paragraph 118 Francis rightly claims that we need a new anthropology, asserting that there “can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology.” More so, he claims, “Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world unless, at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.” The difficulty here for Francis is that he leads a global church that continues to not deal with its own “inadequate anthropology,” as it remains rooted in an androcentric (male-centered) worldview with androcentric practices and authority.   Read More »

July 17, 2015

Por Hermana Mary-Paula Cancienne, Ph.D

Pensando en la condición actual del medioambiente de la Tierra, si San Francisco estuviera aquí hoy, tal vez le diría al Papa Francisco, el químico, “Por fin” (algo parecido a “Oh, Dios mío, finalmente”).

Pope Francis at the foot of an Our Lady of Fatima statue in St. Peter's Square

El Papa Francisco delante de una estatua de Nuestra Señora de Fátima en la Plaza de San Pedro Crédito: Daniel Ibañez/Catholic News Agency

Otros papas anteriores han hablado de la condición del medioambiente de la Tierra en general, inclusive la mezcla del mundo natural con la vida social y sus estructuras, el Papa Francisco se mete muy profundamente en el asunto con la encíclica Laudato Si’.  Se le debe agradecer por tomar pasos tan atrevidos sobre este asunto, el cual está ligado a cada faceta de nuestras vidas.  Como Francisco, debemos recordar y reconocer a las muchas, muchas mujeres y hombres que han trabajado, sufrido y hasta muerto a través de las décadas mientras exclamaban que debemos cambiar la manera en que vivimos, hacemos negocios y medimos la riqueza económica.  Francisco está de acuerdo con ellos y lo dice todo.   Read More »

July 16, 2015

By Karel Lucander

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

…You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

–excerpted from “Still I Rise”

Sister of Mercy Lee Ann McNally visits people who are in prison

Sister Lee Ann McNally talks with Miranda, a former client and now an employee at the Center for Women in Transition, Little Rock, Arkansas.

This excerpt from Maya Angelou’s poem in many ways describes the women to whom Sister Lee Ann McNally ministers daily. They are all serving time in jail or prison. Most have been physically, mentally or sexually abused, many since childhood. When Sister Lee Ann meets them, they usually don’t see themselves as victims. Instead, they believe they’re deserving of the vile treatment they have endured. Those are the feelings that led them to commit the crimes that put them in jail. But the Center for Women in Transition in Little Rock, Arkansas, which Sister Lee Ann founded in 2005, gives these women a way to rise up and break the cycle of the only lives they’ve known—lives with drug addiction, prostitution or ongoing abuse.

“They have to do all the work, but we give them tools, insight and education to make the changes that they need to make. We start by trying to help them change the way they think about themselves. When that happens, they change the way they feel about themselves, and then they can change the way they act. If we can help them feel that they deserve to be treated better, then they slowly begin to treat themselves better,” says Sister Lee Ann.   Read More »

July 8, 2015

By Northeast Community Communications

Meet Kristen Soucie, a Mercy Associate. She first met the Sisters of Mercy during her time at Bayview Academy in Riverside, Rhode Island, and later at Salve University in Newport, Rhode Island.  “I thought I’d be a sister,” Kristen remembers, but later felt called to marriage and motherhood. Still, something was missing.

She spent time with Mercy sisters in their ministries. “Once I started working … I knew [association] was my call,” she says.

Read More »

July 6, 2015

By Ryan Murphy, Institute Justice Team

1.Civil Rights then and now: March on Washington in 1963 (top) and 2013 (bottom). Photo via

Civil Rights then and now: March on Washington in 1963 (top) and 2013 (bottom). Photo via

I first learned of the horrific events at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the morning after, when I walked into a room filled with over 300 mourners. What was set to be a second day of the Summit (an interfaith social justice gathering in Washington, D.C.) turned out to be an experience I will never forget. Throughout the room were people who know all too well the pain of losing loved ones due to an ideology of bigotry and hate. I heard from and grieved with young activists who organized the faith community in Ferguson, Missouri; the mother of Jordan Davis, an African-American teen who was shot outside a convenience store for not turning down his music; and Rev. C.T. Vivian, a close confidant and partner of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil Rights Movement.   Read More »

Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

June 30, 2015

By Marissa, Mercy Candidate

On June 20, the Sisters of Mercy came together in celebration and prayer to welcome Marissa as a candidate with the Sisters of Mercy. Marissa will now begin two years living in community as she prepares for life as a sister. Marissa reflects here about her call to Mercy:

Marissa is welcomed into the Sisters of Mercy. From left: Sister Anne Murphy, Marissa and Sister Laura Reicks.

Marissa is welcomed into the Sisters of Mercy. From left: Sister Anne Murphy, Marissa and Sister Laura Reicks.

I came to know Mercy as an undergraduate student at Mount Mercy University [in Cedar Rapids, Iowa]. At first, I ran away from it. When I chose Mount Mercy I had no idea there was a religious community associated with the university, let alone the convent being right there on the campus. When I learned that, I thought the only way to be part of Mercy was to be a nun. I did not come to college to become a nun, so I escaped by telling myself my only purpose there was to attain a degree.     Read More »