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.

September 18, 2014

By Sister Mandy

Serving poor and homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in Middletown, CT. Photo by Bob Walsh

Sister Mandy. Photo by Bob Walsh

During my time in the novitiate I have had the opportunity to experience ministry at Our Lady’s Inn, a women’s shelter in St. Louis, Missouri. I was alone in the kitchen in the morning since I arrive at my current ministry an hour or so before the cook does. I started preparing some side dishes, and while I was cutting up carrots I found my mind wandering through other things. I was not frustrated, but rather amused at how easily I get distracted, even from things I am passionate about, like cooking. As I called my mind back to the present I wondered about what is so spiritual about food. I have often wondered this and occasionally think I might enjoy studying food anthropology. There seems to be a significant connection between us and our food. This moment in the kitchen when I connected with the carrots was a very peace-filled one for me.   Read More »

September 18, 2014

By Amanda LePoire, South Central Communications Department

Debbie Ann Chambers

Debbie-Ann Chambers entered the South Central Community in December 2012

As a second-year candidate, Debbie-Ann Chambers’ life in Mercy has come full circle.

Growing up in Jamaica, Debbie-Ann knew Sisters of Mercy through her mother, who taught at Convent of Mercy Academy with Sister Colette Marie Yap and Sister Marjorie Woods. Both sisters became dear friends to her mother.

Despite her knowledge of the sisters, religious life wasn’t at the forefront of Debbie-Ann’s mind when she began her master’s degree in counseling at New York University in New York City in 2001. However, during her studies, she developed a deep interest in social justice issues and a growing passion for addressing classism and racism. Those issues began to spark questions and growing restlessness.   Read More »

September 16, 2014

By Sister Patricia Talone

This excerpt from Sister Patricia Talone’s article (PDF) is reprinted with permission from Health Progress (September-October 2014), the journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Sister Patricia Talone

Sister Patricia Talone

Some have labeled Pope Francis’ governance as the papacy of mercy, one grounded in that virtue. The Latin word for mercy is misericor­dia, a term with two root words: miseria, meaning wretchedness or misery, and cor, meaning heart. Thus, misericordia denotes “having a heart for those in misery.” It describes a habit of the heart, a way of being, that continually directs one to reach out to people who are suffering.

Closely related to compassion, its sister virtue, mercy indicates an individual who is moved at the deepest level of his or her being, recognizes a profound relationship with all people and acts out of that benevolent and tender heart to alleviate the anguish of others.

What an apt description of Pope Francis.   Read More »

September 12, 2014

By Gary Loncki, Communications Director, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community

The Stearman biplane came to a halt, its single wooden propeller stopped spinning and Sister Matthew B. took off a pair of headphones. The diminutive Sister of Mercy, who turned 91 on September 11, peered over the open cockpit and remarked excitedly to a friend, “It was beautiful!”

Sister Matthew had just completed a half-hour flight over Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 28 as a front-seat passenger in a plane very much like the old Waco biplane she learned to fly in the early 1940s.

“It was so smooth; no problem at all,” said Sister Matthew, who is celebrating her 70th jubilee this year.

Wearing her favorite Mercyhurst College sweatshirt emblazoned with a large “M” on the front, Sister Matthew arrived at Tom Ridge International Airport about an hour before takeoff from North Coast Air on a clear, blue-sky day.

Sister Matthew, 90, gives a triumphal wave after her flight in a 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane. Photos by Gary Loncki unless otherwise indicated.

Sister Matthew, 90, gives a triumphal wave after her flight in a 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane. Photos by Gary Loncki unless otherwise indicated.

Read More »

September 10, 2014

By Betsy Johnson, assistant archivist at Mercy Heritage Center

Betsy examines records with Sister Diann at Mercy Heritage Center.

Betsy examines records with Sister Diann at Mercy Heritage Center.

The Sisters of Mercy have long honored those who came before them by keeping records in community archives. Historic records are stored at Mercy Heritage Center in Belmont, North Carolina, while five community archivists collect and maintain more recent records. Each archivist is committed to caring for these records and helping people use them—to locate information for someone writing a dissertation on Mercy’s influence on nursing, for example, or to find historic photographs of a ministry for a museum exhibit. On other occasions, we provide answers to questions like: “My great-aunt was a Sister of Mercy. Can you tell me about her life?” or “Whatever happened to my favorite teacher, Sister Mary Polycarp?”

From the archives—Two sisters meet Pope John XXIII in January, 1962.

From the archives—Two sisters meet Pope John XXIII in January, 1962.

But how exactly does an archivist find the answers to these questions? Here at Mercy Heritage Center, it usually means a trip to “the stacks” where the records are stored in a special climate controlled area of the building. Although much of our world today is online, the majority of our historic records must be accessed the old-fashioned way—by knowing the unique history of a community and how its files are organized.

Taking the example above, how would we look up information about Sister Mary Polycarp? A request like this one for a former teacher, or a group of former teachers, is especially common for class reunions and similar events. But there are a few big steps we have to take to reconnect Sister Mary Polycarp and her former pupils.   Read More »

September 10, 2014

Por Betsy Johnson, archivista asistenta en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia

Betsy examina los archivos con la Hermana Diann en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia.

Betsy examina los archivos con la Hermana Diann en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia.

Las Hermanas de la Misericordia han honrado por mucho tiempo a aquellas que les precedieron manteniendo registros en los archivos de la comunidad. Se han guardado registros históricos en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia en Belmont, Carolina del Norte, al mismo tiempo que cinco archivistas de la comunidad coleccionan y mantienen registros más recientes. Cada archivista está comprometida a cuidar estos archivos y a ayudar a las personas que desean usarlos—localizando información para alguna persona que escribe una tesis sobre la influencia de la Misericordia en enfermería, por ejemplo, o a encontrar fotografías históricas de algún apostolado para una exposición en el museo. En otras ocasiones, ofrecemos respuestas a preguntas como: “Mi tía-abuela fue una Hermana de la Misericordia. ¿Me pueden decir algo de su vida?” o “¿qué pasó con mi maestra favorita, Sor Mary Polycarp?”

De los archivos—Dos hermanas se reúnen con el Papa Juan XXIII en enero de 1962.

De los archivos—Dos hermanas se reúnen con el Papa Juan XXIII en enero de 1962.

Pero ¿qué tan exactas son las respuestas que una archivista encuentra para estas preguntas? Aquí en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia, generalmente significa el ir a “los estantes” donde se guardan los registros en un área del edificio con clima controlado. Aunque mucho de nuestro mundo se encuentra en Internet, la mayoría de nuestros registros históricos tienen que buscarse de la manera antigua—conociendo la historia singular de una comunidad y cómo se organizaron sus archivos.

Tomando el ejemplo anterior: “¿cómo buscamos información sobre Sor Mary Polycarp?” Una petición como ésta sobre una maestra de antes, o un grupo de maestras anteriores, es especialmente común para reuniones de clase y eventos parecidos. Pero hay que dar unos pasos grandes para reconectar a Sor Mary Polycarp con sus exalumnas/os. Read More »

September 9, 2014

Jay Sullivan, author of "Raising Gentle Men"

Jay Sullivan, author of “Raising Gentle Men”

Raising Gentle Men: Lives at the Orphanage Edge shares the stories of three Sisters of Mercy who ran the Alpha Boys School, a home for boys who had been abandoned, in Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1980s. For two years author Jay Sullivan, a Jesuit volunteer, lived at Alpha; his book brings us into the world of the boys’ school, with all its hope, struggles, triumphs and tragedies.

Raising Gentle Men has been used in classes and programs at seven universities and it is required reading for all freshmen this year at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Jay will be speaking on September 18 along with three people profiled in the book, including Desmond Plunkett (learn more about him below!). In honor of the event, Jay has kindly offered to share an excerpt from his book on our blog.   Read More »

September 5, 2014

By Abby Pivovar, NetCommunity and Special Project Coordinator, West Midwest Community

Sister Carol, MercyCare coordinator

Sister Carol

Saint Xavier University of Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, offers a unique program that provides spiritual direction and continual support for its students, faculty and staff. This program, called MercyCare, which began in 1995, today boasts a growing presence on the campus thanks to the leadership of coordinator Sister Carol M.

“I am not the sole representative of the Sisters of Mercy on campus,” Sister Carol explained. “I have expanded the program and have now recruited 24 Sisters of Mercy and 22 Mercy Associates to be present and engaged in opportunities on site.” With the opening of Mercy Circle (a senior residence for women and men religious) and more sisters moving on campus, it is hoped that others will want to join MercyCare and benefit from such involvement with local youth. Read More »

September 2, 2014

By Sister Kathleen Q.

Yearbook photo of Sister Kathleen from the Dwayne Brathwaite School

Yearbook photo of Sister Kathleen from the Dwayne Brathwaite School

We never know when or how our past will revisit us from an unexpected source!

It was 1974, a heartbreaking time of Catholic school closings, especially in low economic areas. Members of the education office of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, wanted to relocate junior high students from a neighborhood Catholic school to another school quite a distance from where they lived. It would have been the second time in six months these students were being told to relocate.

The parents of these students were not willing to accept the negative emotional and educational impact a second transition would have on their children. Additionally, the distance of the other junior high presented safety and transportation concerns. After many futile attempts to reverse the decision, the parents decided to found their own school, and they invited Sisters Catherine C., Lenore G. and me to staff the school.   Read More »

August 31, 2014

By Phyllis Mueller, intermediate accountant for finance department in Belmont, North Carolina
South Central Community | 5 Years with the Sisters of Mercy

Phyllis Mueller

Phyllis Mueller

After working in the finance department for a music manufacturing company for 20 years, I never imagined I would be back on the job hunt again. Then the company relocated to Indiana, and I accepted a position with the Sisters of Mercy. It just shows you can never tell what the future may hold!

In the corporate world, a new person can be scary. People’s guard goes up because they worry the new person could be there to take their job. With the sisters, I had a much different reception. Everyone was so welcoming and happy to have me there to share the load.  Read More »