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 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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April 25, 2016

By Darren Tamondong and Lauren Miral

Each Monday through Pentecost we will share reflections on Easter through the lens of art, music and poetry from someone in the Mercy family. Darren Tamondong and Lauren Miral are students at Santa Barbara Catholic School, a Mercy school in Dededo, Guam.

Metamorphosis by Darren Tamondong

ButterflyEaster is a celebration in our Catholic church, wherein Jesus resurrected from the dead, and defeated sin and death, so we can be with Him in heaven. The word Easter means “spring” or “new life.” People around the world rejoice and often celebrate with an egg hunt. To me, Easter is very important. It helps me reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice for us.   Read More »

April 25, 2016

Por Darren Tamondong y Lauren Miral

Cada lunes hasta Pentecostés compartiremos reflexiones sobre la Pascua a través de la perspectiva de arte, música y poesía de un/a integrante de la familia de la Misericordia. Darren Tamondong y Lauren Miral son estudiantes en la Escuela Católica de Santa Bárbara, una escuela de la Misericordia en Dededo, Guam.Metamorphosis by Darren Tamondong

ButterflyMetamorfosis por Darren Tamondong

La Pascua es una celebración en nuestra Iglesia Católica porque Jesús resucitó de la muerte y venció el pecado y la muerte para que nosotros pudiéramos estar con Él en el cielo. La palabra Pascua significa «primavera» o «vida nueva». La gente por todo el mundo se regocija y muchas veces celebran con buscar huevos escondidos. Para mí, la Pascua es muy importante. Me ayuda a reflexionar en el sacrificio de Jesús por nosotros.
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April 21, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Martha Hoyle tends to a patient in the lab at A Storehouse for Jesus.

Sister Martha Hoyle tends to a patient in the lab at A Storehouse for Jesus.

A Storehouse for Jesus—a nonprofit offering free medical services, clothing, food and other essentials—began in 1992 as Marie Collins’ mission to help the needy with food and clothing. Today, A Storehouse for Jesus is housed in a 28,000-square-foot building on 10 acres in Mocksville, North Carolina. And as Sister Martha Hoyle, director of medical ministries for the past decade, can attest, nothing has been impossible here thanks to the Lord.

“You worry about ‘Plan A’ meeting ‘Plan B,’ but it always does. Everything comes into being and happens and balances itself out. It has to be God that does it, that makes it all happen,” says Sister Martha.   Read More »

April 18, 2016

By Sister Denise Sausville

Each Monday through Pentecost we will share reflections on Easter through the lens of art, music and poetry from someone in the Mercy family. Sister Denise Sausville ministered on the United States and Mexico border for 14 years with the Mercy ministry, ARISE.

“… light for those shadowed by death” – The Canticle of Zechariah

Sister Denise Sausville

Sister Denise Sausville

Socorro Garcia Hernandez, or Coco, was a single woman who lived with her companion, Lety, in the town of Reynosa, at the northern border of Mexico. Both women were liacas compromitidas, “committed lay women,” who did pastoral work in their local parish.

Occasionally I would stay at Coco’s home when I was working with a community of missionary sisters in the area. One morning when I was praying my Morning Prayer at Coco’s kitchen table, I was moved by words from the Canticle of Zachariah: “light for those shadowed by death.”   Read More »

April 15, 2016

By Sister Judith Schmelz

Sister Judith Schmelz, a Sister of Mercy from Baltimore, Maryland, currently ministers in Guyana. Recently she gave the following reflection at the Sisters of Mercy Latin America and Caribbean Conference in Panama.

Sister Judith Schmelz

Sister Judith Schmelz

I have always loved being a Sister of Mercy. God’s mercy is above all God’s works. It is, in a sense, God’s name; it is who and what God is. And like Jesus, we are God’s merciful love made flesh—expressions of God’s infinite, unconditional, forgiving, passionate love for us. Catherine McAuley [founder of the Sisters of Mercy] somehow grasped intuitively that mercy is a gift given in response to need, neither earned nor deserved. She knew that rendering the merciful service was not an act of beneficence, but one of gratitude to God for mercy received.

In my early years in community, “mercy” was largely synonymous with “ministry”—the good works that we did, God’s mercy filling us and flowing out from us to others. And while that is still true, the focus has shifted. Gradually systemic change and action for justice became much more important in our lives, but even truth and justice are not enough; we are invited to go further. God is always calling us.

I think that never before has our world been more in need of God’s mercy. Never has there been more to fear. Never has change taken place at such a dizzying rate. Never has it required more courage to follow the path of mercy, to love our enemies and to do good to those who persecute us. I think of the people in ISIS who are chopping heads off of those who disagree with them and the challenge that poses. Do we believe that allowing our hearts to be broken, that truly making the world’s pain our own, is what God is inviting us to? When we no longer reach out to the poor, but have become one of them, will we finally recognize that we, too, are powerless and can do nothing, be nothing, without God? Will we then be able to turn all our fears over to this merciful God? God’s call is mysterious; it comes in the darkness of faith. And the most serious call of our lives, I believe, is our call to contemplation, when God says to us, “It is not just your acts and deeds I want; I want your prayer, your love, your whole heart.” We are called to be one with this merciful God!

Fear is all pervasive in Guyana these days—the violence, the murders, the human trafficking, the injustices. At times I ask myself, why do I stay? And I have to answer with another question: why is my life more valuable, more precious than theirs, those who can’t leave who are most vulnerable and most in need of God’s mercy?

And yet, in spite of all the violence and evil, there is so much beauty on our little planet, our home, to take delight in, to enjoy, to cherish and protect. In Guyana I think of the brilliant sunshine, ocean breezes, flowers everywhere, the immense fertility of the soil, and above all in the beauty of the people who are so welcoming and loving, so ready to open their hearts and their homes to those who have less than they, and in the joy and exuberance with which they dance and celebrate. I know I am the poor one, poor and needy, yet rich beyond imagining. I am the one receiving, more than dispensing, God’s merciful love.

Technology is an interesting example of evolution in our culture. Jesus spoke of the fisherman’s net that gathered us all in, and I think God sometimes uses the electronic net to draw us to himself and bind us to one another. One click, and I can be connected with you at the other end of the world, and the space between us shrinks. We are so easily connected with our sisters and can be aware, almost instantaneously, of their crises, their successes, their natural disasters, who is sick, who is dying, who needs our prayers and whatever material resources we can share. We are able to extend our mercy to one another.

I believe that “mercy” is more and more coming to define in a profound way who we are, the women we want to become. God is at work, gradually shaping the way our community will be mercy in the days ahead. Let us walk together, then, knowing that “it is in God’s mercy that we live and breathe and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

April 11, 2016

By Liz Holtz, Institute Justice Team

Each Monday through Pentecost we will share reflections on Easter through the lens of art, music and poetry from someone in the Mercy family. Liz Holtz is a member of the Institute Justice Team. 

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” – S.D. Gordon

Peaceful protest in front of the White House to advocate for an end to family detention.

Peaceful protest in front of the White House to advocate for an end to family detention.

Like other holidays, Easter is a time for celebration. But Easter is also a time to reflect on the broken things in our world, painful though it might be, in need of transformation.  It’s a moment to remember that these broken things can be reborn into something beautiful—a moment for hope.

The work of a social justice advocate, whether the issue be the environment, racism, or education, is rarely beautiful. That’s not to say it’s always ugly, either. Frequently, advocacy is simply tedious. Movies about great activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi have the luxury of using montages to condense weeks and even years of slow, monotonous work into a four-minute scene set to a soul-stirring score. But in reality, these activists (virtually all activists) slogged away for years doing the same tasks (holding rallies, writing letters, writing op-eds) ad nauseam.   Read More »

April 11, 2016

Por Liz Holtz, Equipo de Justicia del Instituto

Cada lunes hasta Pentecostés compartiremos reflexiones sobre la Pascua a través de la perspectiva del arte, música y poesía de un/a integrante de la familia de la Misericordia.  Liz Holtz es una integrante del Equipo de Justicia del Instituto.

«La Pascua desborda belleza, la rara belleza de la vida nueva». – S.D. Gordon

Peaceful protest in front of the White House to advocate for an end to family detention.

Peaceful protest in front of the White House to advocate for an end to family detention.

Como otros días festivos, la Pascua es un tiempo de celebración.  Pero la Pascua es también un tiempo para reflexionar sobre todo lo que está fragmentado en nuestro mundo, aunque sea doloroso, todo lo que necesita de transformación.  Es un momento para recordar que aquellas cosas rotas pueden volver a nacer, para ser algo bello – un momento de esperanza.

El trabajo de un/a defensor/a de la justicia social, sobre asuntos del medio ambiente, racismo o educación, es muy raro que sea bello. Pero tampoco quiere decir que es feo siempre.  Muchas veces, la abogacía es llanamente una tarea pesada.  Las películas sobre los grandes activistas como Martín Luther King, Jr, y Gandhi tienen el lujo de abreviar semanas o aún, años de trabajo lento y monótono en una escena de cuatro minutos con música que anima el alma. Pero en realidad, estos activistas (realmente, todos los activistas) lucharon y lucharon por años con las mismas tareas: realizando manifestaciones, escribiendo cartas, editoriales para los periódicos hasta saciarse.

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