“I Love Being a Sister of Mercy”
January 8, 2016
By Sister Jackie Nedd
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.
During preparation for Confirmation, I learned about the lives of the saints and how they dedicated their lives in service to God. We were encouraged by our teacher, Father Rose, to be of service to the people in our community who had special needs. As a teenager I went with my Confirmation class to various nursing homes to help the elderly to do little chores that they had difficulty doing because of medical conditions. We were taught by our Confirmation teachers how to do small acts of kindness with great love. This experience felt good to me and led me to see other ways in which I could love and serve God and others in my community. The stories I learned about Jesus’ life and seeing the needs of the sick in my community inspired me to become a nurse so I could help to heal people who are sick or infirm, like Jesus did.
I was very happy that I was able to renew my commitment to my baptismal promises my parents made for me when I was a baby. The words I heard when I was anointed with the chrism oil during Confirmation were, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and peace be with you.” These words gave me the courage I needed as a young person to accept the responsibility of my faith. I felt I had been anointed for mission, and by saying “Amen,” I committed myself to that special service that God created me for.
All of these experiences made me feel at home with the Sisters of Mercy from the first moment I met them in Guyana. I was inspired by their charism of mercy and hospitality as well as their commitment to serving the poor, sick and uneducated. Their simple acts of kindness made me feel honored and respected as a person. I fell in love with the work that they were doing with the poor and wanted to be a part of their ministry.
Before I could become a Sister of Mercy, I had to go through an intensive formation process. I was living in Canarsie and attending St. Jude’s Parish when I started my formation process in 2007 and moved to live in Richmond Hill Queens with the sisters in 2008 as a candidate. I met once a month with my spiritual director and incorporation minister to discuss my prayer, community and ministry experiences.
At my reception into the novitiate in July of 2009, I was given the name “Sister” and received the Mercy cross and was welcomed by the community to go forth to do God’s work in word and action. As a novice, I lived at the Sisters of Mercy U.S. Novitiate in Laredo, Texas, for my canonical year. This is a special year set aside for men and women religious to learn more about the charism of their religious order, community life, scriptures and church laws.
On March 20th, 2011, I made my first profession of vows within a beautiful liturgy.
Following prayerful discernment, I moved to St. Joseph Convent in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, to live in community while I pursued my nursing degree. Upon completion of my studies, I started preparation for final vows. With the help of my sisters in community and my incorporation minister I was able to put my whole heart and spirit into this preparation.
When I took my first vows on October 11, I promised to remain faithful to my call and choice to be poor, chaste and obedient; to strive for Holiness; and to spend my life in loving service to God’s people with the grace of the Holy Spirit and the gifts that God has bestowed on me.
As a Sister of Mercy I will live a life of prayer balanced with service to the poor, supported by sisters in community. It is my hope that you would pray for me, because I need your prayers and support to fulfill my vows. I ask you to pray that I will be able to love all people unconditionally as God loves, thus revealing the presence of God among us, as Jesus did. Pray that God would continue to use me as an instrument of mercy and peace and grant me the strength and courage to do His will.
I feel extremely blessed and thankful to have celebrated my profession with Sister Cathy Manderfield, my family, friends and all of our sisters at Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Chapel in Watchung, New Jersey. I am also most grateful to everyone who has been a part of my Mercy journey, for your prayers, your presence, congratulatory messages, gifts, love and support.
It is a joy to serve others, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to honor and glorify God’s name. I love being a Sister of Mercy!
On October 11, Sister Jackie Nedd, along with Sister Cathy Manderfield, professed their perpetual vows as Sisters of Mercy. Find out more about becoming a Sister of Mercy.