Pomp, Circumstance and Mercy Charism

June 9, 2014

By Sarah E., Class of 2014 at Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo, New York

The following is the excerpted text of the graduate baccalaureate reflection by Sarah Emmerling, a senior at Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo, New York. The reflection captures the essence of Mercy charism, with a focus on service to those who are most vulnerable. 

Sarah was a member of the 110th graduating class from Mt. Mercy.

Sarah was a member of the 110th graduating class from Mt. Mercy.

Good evening. My name is Sarah E. I have attended this school for the past four years and I can honestly say it feels as though this part of my life has flown by. … Nurtured by our dedicated teachers and mentors, [my classmates and I] developed into a group of young women who value character and promote spirituality. We united together to celebrate each other and everything we have to offer. Our faith has been enriched and our spirituality deepened.

Catherine McAuley built the House of Mercy to serve as a school for girls and a shelter for the homeless. It opened in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827. Mother McAuley displayed an unyielding desire and a firm commitment to help others. She put the needs of others before her own and taught us the importance of sacrifice. She also fought injustice by educating young women and protecting the poor. After being advised by the Archbishop of Dublin to start a religious congregation, she founded the Sisters of Mercy. This is our heritage. 

Right from the onset of freshman year at Mt. Mercy, students learn about the founding of the school. … It was so touching to see how genuinely they cared, just another example of how Mercy is more than a school, it’s a community of people all committed to cultivating growth of traditional Christian values. The student body regularly participates in an activity known as Prayer Partners. Students write down their intentions on slips of paper and they are delivered to the Sisters who include them in their prayers.

… Over the four years at Mt. Mercy, students are required to complete 100 hours of service. The vast majority of my class has completed well above this minimum requirement. … Not only has it inspired us individually, but it has also brought us together, teaching us to put each other’s needs before our own, distinguishing our role in the Mercy tradition.

Sarah speaks to her classmates, family and friends

Sarah delivered the baccalaureate address on May 27, 2014.

… Through the Service Club, I have been privileged to work with the Zonta organization, a group of women committed to enhancing the standing of women all over the world. … This popular school club further illustrates the school’s commitment to reaching out to the less fortunate. Personally, the Zonta organization has opened my eyes to the many needs that exist within the community.

… The greatest gift we have received is friendship. These past four years I have developed lasting bonds with classmates that I know will always support me. They have become such an important part of my life and have inspired me to be the best I can be. I am so grateful to these friends and to all the teachers who have shaped me over the past four years. As we venture forth into the future, we hold firmly to the values, beliefs and experiences we take from this place. I am confident that we will each take the mission of Mercy beyond these halls. In doing so, we will leave our mark on the world and continue the Circle of Mercy. Even after we leave, no matter where life takes us, we will always have a piece of Mt. Mercy in our hearts.

WATCH: a video from Mount Mercy Academy graduates thanking their benefactors:

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