Connect with Mercy

October 20, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Lisa Atkins helps serve the free, hot Thursday night dinner to motel residents (many of them actually homeless) in northwest Arkansas.

Sister Lisa Atkins helps serve the free, hot Thursday night dinner to motel residents (many of them actually homeless) in northwest Arkansas.

They are homeless, single moms or working poor. Sister Lisa Atkins and the Mercy Hospital Community Health and Benefit team are working hard alongside others to administer holistic care for them all. She and the team try to bring about change for those who feel invisible or who fall between the cracks and cannot obtain medical treatment or other fundamental services. Ironically, their world in Rogers, Arkansas, is near the prosperous world headquarters of several well-known, Goliath corporations.

“There are so many companies here and a significant amount of wealth. The wealthy are getting wealthier and the poor are getting poorer,” says Sister Lisa. “In this area, those really suffering are hidden from view.”   Read More »

Mercy on the border

October 18, 2016

By Betty Krogman, Mercy Associate

This reflection is part of our Mercy on the Border series. Read other Mercy on the Border reflections here

The Immigration Immersion Experience group featuring Betty in the center.

The immigration immersion experience group, featuring Betty in the center.

Oh, how I love the Sisters of Mercy. They are out there! And they have been out there in this dysfunctional world, acting for justice and offering mercy, ever since Catherine McAuley brought in destitute women from the streets of Dublin and gave them a home. I am a Mercy Associate because of their example of taking risks and trusting in the Lord. I am a Mercy Associate because I believe that one must be rooted in prayer, have a spirit of compassion, be committed to the common good, and be willing to act on those beliefs.   Read More »

October 17, 2016

By Sandy Meyer, front desk clerk and hospitality coordinator at Mercy Conference and Retreat Center in St. Louis, Missouri

During a Mercy Day event held recently in St. Louis, Sandy Meyer shared this reflection on her role serving others as a new Mercy coworker.

Sandy at the front desk at Mercy Center in St. Louis.

Sandy at the front desk at Mercy Center in St. Louis.

When I was asked to reflect about how I “Make Mercy Real,” my initial thought was: Me? Are you kidding? No way! I’m one of the newest employees at Mercy Center, and I probably know far less about “Making Mercy Real” than other folks who have been here much longer. But, almost immediately after that initial thought came another one. I remembered a quote by St. Teresa of Calcutta that I read in an article, published just a couple of weeks before on the day she became a saint:

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” ―Mother Teresa  

Read More »

October 17, 2016

Por Sandy Meyer, recepcionista y coordinadora de hospitalidad del Centro de Retiros y Conferencias de la Misericordia en St. Louis, Missouri.

Durante un evento del Día de la Misericordia celebrado hace poco en St. Louis, Sandy Meyer compartió esta reflexión sobre su función de prestar servicios a otras/os como una nueva compañera de trabajo de la Misericordia.

Sandy at the front desk at Mercy Center in St. Louis.

Cuando se me pidió reflexionar acerca de cómo «Encarno la Misericordia», mi respuesta inicial fue: ¿Yo? ¿Está bromeando? ¡De ninguna manera! Soy una de las empleadas más recientes del Centro de la Misericordia, y probablemente sepa mucho menos acerca de «Encarnar la Misericordia» que otras personas que han estado aquí mucho más tiempo. Sin embargo, casi inmediatamente después de mi pensamiento inicial vino otro. Recordé una cita de la Hna. Teresa de Calcuta que había leído en un artículo, publicado dos semanas antes del día en que se convirtiera en santa:

«Que nadie se despida de ti sin sentirse mejor y más feliz. Sé la expresión viva de la bondad de Dios: bondad en tu rostro, bondad en tus ojos, bondad en tu sonrisa». ―Madre Teresa

Read More »

October 14, 2016

By Amelia Laing

In honor of the Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis has called, the Sisters of Mercy have been highlighting people who make mercy a part of their day. Today, we meet Katayoon Montazemi, an employee of Mercy Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981.

Mercy Housing KatayoonMontazemi“I had no intention of going into affordable housing,” says Katayoon Montazemi. “My background was in commercial real estate management.”

But when Katayoon volunteered to help lease homes at Mercy Housing in Los Angeles, California, in 2014, she was hooked. “I fell in love with Mercy’s mission and affordable housing,” she says.

“It was the day after Thanksgiving when we had 29 families signing their lease on the same day, and giving them their keys … even now, talking about that moment brings tears to my eyes, and I get goosebumps. For some of them this was a second chance in life, and for some others this was the first time being able to afford living in a place they could call home. The tears of joy and their genuine gratitude as each family received their keys to their apartment made that Thanksgiving holiday for me the most meaningful Thanksgiving. I realized then that this is where I belong, this is what I want to do.”   Read More »

October 11, 2016

By Sister Rita Parks

photo-1431620828042-54af7f3a9e28This is a story told by the woman who lived it.  She told it not too long before her death many years ago, yet it remains a delightful—and a bit astonishing—tale of how, as the writer of Paul consoled the fledgling Christian community in Rome, “all things work together unto good.”  Moreover, it speaks once again of the reminder to the Hebrews of how often we “entertain angels unawares.”

It happened almost a century ago.  Consistent with the history of this immigrant nation, two Sisters of Mercy were among those journeying from Ireland to the United States; their intent was to recruit young women to join them in expanding the ministry of mercy in the comparatively young country.  Traveling to a Pennsylvania town, they were welcomed into the home of an Irish family whose young daughter seemed to be just the kind of person they were looking for.  While enjoying the hospitality, they offered this young woman the opportunity to join the Sisters of Mercy community in Portland.   Read More »

October 6, 2016

By Karel Lucander

Sister Carol Louise with her eighth-grade students at St. Clement School.

Sister Carol Louise with her eighth-grade students at St. Clement School.

Engaging middle school students can be a challenge, but it’s one that Sister Carol Louise Inderhees relishes. She has kept academics alive for 45 years, since she began her teaching ministry. Currently, she teaches seventh- and eighth-graders in an accelerated language arts/literature class at St. Clement School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she also serves as a mentor for beginning teachers. Staying open to change is one of the toughest facets of her ministry.

“As a teacher, I have to be open to developing classes that will challenge yet not frustrate the students. Students need to know upfront the expectations and that I will challenge them to reach not only academic goals but also their own personal goals. While flexibility and adaptability are important, teaching from an understanding heart is an essential component. Students need to know they are cared for as unique individuals and that, together, we are partners on their academic journey,” she says. “A former student attested to this when she stated, ‘… I had a guide, a teacher, a coach who set me on my path … step by step, into the stars, the moon, the clouds, and the sun … and so I fly now not alone but with my teacher.’”   Read More »

October 5, 2016

By Sister Mary Jo Baldus

This is the sixth reflection in our Music and Mercy series. Read the whole series here.

Sister Mary Jo with one of her students, Elizabeth.

Sister Mary Jo with one of her students, Elizabeth.

My story is music, and mercy in action is best described by me as “a song that sings itself.” As a practicing music therapist, I witness the power of music everyday in my ministry. Music takes you places most in need of Mercy.

Here are some examples from my ministry. In the skilled care wing of a local hospital, harp music echoes through the hallways as I play “You Are My Sunshine” for a hospice patient, who has requested this song every time I visit him. In a respite care center for children, the children with special needs delight in the structured activities which the music provides. Another hospice patient in his home requests “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” his favorite song. His family and friends sing along with the harp. Eight women who live in a group home that I visit delight in singing and playing rhythm instruments along with the harp. In an assisting living home, residents struggling with memory loss surprise themselves by singing all the words to “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “Hey Good Lookin.’” They comment that singing these songs really brings back memories. And then there’s a home where a young woman is waiting to sing her favorite song.  I strum my guitar to “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in a special key, and she keeps the beat with her entire body.   Read More »

September 29, 2016

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Community Communications Specialist

From left, Father Mkayel Fenyanos, superior of Lebanon’s Monastery of St. Anthony of Qozhaya; Sister Therese Antone; and Father Hady J. Mahfouz, president of the country’s Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.

From left, Father Mkayel Fenyanos, superior of Lebanon’s Monastery of St. Anthony of Qozhaya; Sister Therese Antone; and Father Hady J. Mahfouz, president of the country’s Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.

As chancellor and former president of Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, Sister Therese Antone has long believed that education is crucial to creating a just world. Over the years, she has extended her education ministry internationally to Africa, Russia and, most recently, the Middle East.

The granddaughter of Syrian immigrants who was born in Central Falls, Rhode Island, Sister Therese has an interest in the Middle East that is personal as well as professional.  A member of the board of trustees of Lebanon’s Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), a private Catholic university founded by the Lebanese Maronite Order, she has traveled to Lebanon twice in the last two years. Her mission: to help the university strengthen its standing at home and worldwide through accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Her board ministry at Holy Spirit University is “a work of Mercy,” says Sister Therese. “This important work supports the university’s mission to prepare young Christians in the region to assume leadership positions in their chosen professions.”   Read More »

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September 28, 2016

By Sister Catherine Kanick

Sister Catherine Kanick

Sister Catherine Kanick

Does Mercy only mean forgiveness? When Pope Francis proclaimed a Jubilee Year of Mercy, I noticed throughout our diocese a greater emphasis on confession, penance and reconciliation, and more opportunities to do so.

It reminded me of my early years when weekly confession was a must, even as my friends and I “made up” sins to have something to say to the priest! We were reminded regularly of our need to always be aware that we are sinners, with rarely the same emphasis on our goodness.

My thought on our Pope’s proclamation was “are we reverting back to that old mind set?”

This year has been an opportunity for me to look back on my own life’s history from those early years to how my spiritual life today has taken different shape through experiencing God beyond limiting words and understanding.   Read More »