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.

February 5, 2016

In August, Sister Justine “Tina” Geiger went on a medical mission trip to Nigeria in West Africa. In this question-and-answer interview, Sister Tina, a native of Budd Lake, New Jersey, shares about her experience as a medical missionary in Nigeria.

A group photo of the medical mission team.

A group photo of the medical mission team.

Describe your current ministry.

I have been co-director of Catholic Rural Ministry for the Oil City Deanery of the Erie Diocese (Pennsylvania) for the past four years. We serve 19 parishes and religious education programs, four elementary schools, one regional high school and two college campuses as well as a maximum-security men’s prison. Basically, our ministry is one of presence, spiritual enrichment, vocation awareness and assisting families in need.   Read More »

February 4, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Virginia with her 7th grade religion class at Our Lady of the Rosary School. The students are preparing for their Confirmation.

Sister Virginia with her 7th grade religion class at Our Lady of the Rosary School. The students are preparing for their Confirmation.

“At the beginning of this year, the kindergarten teacher was taking the students through the building so they could meet the teachers and not be frightened. They introduced themselves and I introduced myself. When it came time to leave my office, the last little girl waved at me and said, ‘Goodbye, Mrs. God.’ She had this big smile on her face. I was scared to death—what about when they find out the truth!” remembers Sister Virginia Frazee, catechetical coordinator and teacher at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Dayton, Ohio.

After serving as a science and math teacher at Our Lady of the Rosary School for the past 10 years, Sister Virginia recently transitioned to teaching sixth and seventh grade religion classes and helping with preparations for the Sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and First Communion. With 109 students in this K-8 school, “It is large enough to be viable and small enough to be a family. The older and younger kids know each other; it’s a close group,” she says.   Read More »

January 29, 2016

By Abigail Pivovar, West Midwest Community Development

Sister Frances felt a calling to help children develop their relationship with God.

Sister Frances felt a calling to help children develop their relationship with God.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus addresses his disciples, saying, “Anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” His words often ring true to those blessed to witness the spontaneity and depth of a child’s faith. Sister Frances Gerhard, who is a coordinator of Catechesis of Good Shepherd, is truly amazed by her experiences in fostering faith formation in children over the past 12 years.

“Children who are two or three have a natural relationship with God. They have no problem accepting a Divine presence that they cannot see or hear. They learn through the heart and then let their head come in,” Sister Frances said. “The clarity of their faith in God is not encumbered by rationality. God doesn’t have to behave in logical ways for them.”   Read More »

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January 27, 2016

By Mercy Associate Lori Williams

Lori and Kelly Williams

Mercy Associate Lori Williams (right) with her daughter, Kelly, a second-year Mercy candidate.

When Pope Francis announced his intent to proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, I was very excited. Everything in my life seemed somehow rejuvenated with affirmation and came into a renewed focus and clarity. Over the past month, I’ve been reflecting on my journey thus far into the “Mercy world.”

I’ve been a Mercy associate for only one year; however, my call to a deeper understanding of Mercy started a long time ago. I can’t really say there was a specific moment or experience. It was more like a constant tugging on my heart. As I was growing up, I was always concerned about the needs of others, especially the kids who didn’t seem to fit in or who had problems at home. Although I didn’t define it as such at the time, I wanted to show them mercy in some way as it was simply the right thing to do. I sought out opportunities to become involved with social justice issues in my teen years through school events and church activities. In high school I thought I could be called to religious life, but God had other plans.   Read More »

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January 24, 2016

Por la Asociada de la Misericordia Lori Williams

Lori and Kelly Williams

Asociada de la Misericordia Lori Williams (derecha) con su hija, Kelly, candidata de la Misericordia de segundo año.

Cuando el Papa Francisco anunció su intención de proclamar un Año Santo de la Misericordia, yo estaba muy emocionada.  Parecía que todo en mi vida de algún modo había rejuvenecido con un enfoque y claridad renovada. Durante el mes pasado, he reflexionado sobre mi caminar hasta ahora hacia el «mundo de la Misericordia».

He sido una asociada de la Misericordia por un año solamente, sin embargo, el llamado a una comprensión más profunda de la Misericordia empezó para mí hace mucho tiempo.  No puedo indicar un momento ni una experiencia específica, era más como un tirón constante en el corazón. Mientras yo crecía, siempre me preocupaba por las necesidades de los demás, especialmente los niños que no parecían encajar o que tenían problemas con sus familias.  Aunque no lo expresaba así, yo quería mostrarles misericordia de alguna manera, porque parecía correcto hacerlo.  De adolescente, buscaba oportunidades para involucrarme en asuntos de justicia social a través de eventos en la escuela y actividades en la iglesia.  En la preparatoria, pensé entrar a la vida religiosa, pero Dios me tenía otros planes.   Read More »

January 22, 2016

By Sister Deborah Kern

Members of the delegation to Honduras with youth from Casa Alianza, a program that works with youth on the streets.

Members of the delegation to Honduras with youth from Casa Alianza, a program that works with youth on the streets.

For several years I have wanted to visit and listen to the stories and experiences of some of the people who touch Mercy through our sisters in Honduras. In December 2015, I was able to make that visit as part of a six-day delegation, organized through the Institute Justice Office.

Simply, this visit changed my life. I “woke up” in Honduras! Now that I am awake, everything looks different.

In the United States we hear countless news stories of drugs, violence and guns in Central America. We hear that women and children, fleeing the terror of ruthless criminals, are a threat to our national security. We are told that the U.S. military presence in Central America is an effort to protect U.S. citizens from violence and the social deterioration of drugs. In the voices of the people of Honduras I heard the rest of the story.    Read More »

January 22, 2016

Por la Hermana Sister Deborah Kern

Members of the delegation to Honduras with youth from Casa Alianza, a program that works with youth on the streets.

Miembros de la delegación a Honduras con jóvenes de Casa Alianza, un programa que trabaja con jóvenes de la calle.

Por varios años, he querido visitar y escuchar las historias y experiencias de algunas de las personas que palpan la Misericordia a través de nuestras hermanas en Honduras. En diciembre 2015, tuve la oportunidad de realizar esa visita como parte de una delegación de seis días, organizada a través de la Oficina de Justicia del Instituto.

Esta visita cambió mi vida simplemente. ¡«Desperté» en Honduras! Ahora que estoy despierta, todo parece diferente.

En los Estados Unidos escuchamos innumerables noticias de las drogas, la violencia y las armas en Centroamérica. Oímos que las mujeres y los niños, que huyen del terror de los delincuentes despiadados, son una amenaza para nuestra seguridad nacional. Nos dicen que la presencia militar de EE.UU. en Centroamérica es un esfuerzo para proteger a los ciudadanos estadounidenses de la violencia y el deterioro social de las drogas. En las voces del pueblo de Honduras, escuché el resto de la historia.    Read More »

January 15, 2016

By Sister Patricia McCann

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the March on Washington, August 28, 1963.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the March on Washington, August 28, 1963.

The annual observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day invites us once again to reflect upon racism, which remains a critical concern in American life, and to explore what we can do to eliminate it.

In 1979 the United States Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter on racism entitled “Brothers and Sisters to Us.” Thirty-seven years later racial inequality, bigotry and misunderstanding continue to be part of the fabric of American life.

The opening lines of the pastoral frame the situation which prompted the bishops to speak: “Racism is an evil which endures in our society and in our Church. Despite apparent advances and even significant changes in the last two decades [e.g., 1960s and 70s], the reality of racism remains” (paragraph 1).   Read More »

January 11, 2016

By Sister Mary Pendergast

Burrillville police approach the protestors, who were planting tulips. Credit: Pia Ward

Burrillville police approach the protestors, who were planting tulips. Credit: Pia Ward

The Sisters of Mercy joined a spirited group of young people, frack activists from Pennsylvania to Vermont, activist Tim De Christopher and representatives from Fossil Free Rhode Island, Burrillville Against Spectra Energy (BASE) and Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG) in a community resistance aimed at the fracked gas industry.

Burrillville, a rural town in Rhode Island, is a regional center for fracked gas, delivered to the northeastern United States from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  The town is home to two major interstate fracked gas pipelines, a fracked gas power plant and two toxic fracked gas compressor stations. As part of the Spectra Energy expansions, one of these compressor stations would be quadrupled in size. In addition, a mammoth new $700 million fracked gas power plant has been proposed for the town by Invenergy, a Chicago corporation.   Read More »

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

January 8, 2016

By Sister Jackie Nedd

Sister Jackie (right) with Sister Cora Marie Billings.

Sister Jackie (right) with Sister Cora Marie Billings.

I grew up in a Christian home and learned the gospel values from my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, who incorporated these values into the fabric of their lives. My parents always read or told me stories from the Bible and encouraged me to be charitable and to love my brother and sisters. When I was about six years old I learned how great God’s love is for me and how God gave up His son, Jesus Christ, for me to have everlasting life. The question about how I can repay God for his love to me started to form in my little mind. As I prepared for my First Communion, I learned about the Ten Commandments and heard God’s call to love and serve Him and my neighbors. I prayed for the grace of the Holy Spirit to love others the way God loves me. I looked to my parents for examples of how to love God and saw how very hospitable, charitable and compassionate they were towards others and how committed they were to their faith. We faithfully attended Sunday Mass and the Advent Novena at Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church at home in Guyana.   Read More »