A Poem for Mercy Day 2020

September 23, 2020

By Kathy Schongar, Mercy Associate


Mercy Day will come this year with a global pandemic twist:
without festive Community dinners; without joyful reunions
and jubilant celebrations to mark milestones in Mercy…

Mercy Day will come this year
without chapels and church pews filled to capacity,
alive with shared songs of joyful praise and prayerful gratitude,
with deep humility and grace.

Mercy Day will come this year with face masks, social distancing
and an abundance of caution that will challenge us
to think beyond the boundaries we once knew.
Trusting in Providence to guide us in adapting to a new world view,
Mercy moves boldly into the vast unknown…

Mercy Day will come this year because our world is groaning
with fear, poverty, racism and social upheaval.
Amid the scourge of COVID-19 and political posturing and divisive discord
the need for Mercy in our time is great.

Mercy Day will come this year because Catherine’s vision endures.
Her courage inspires us. The same Spirit that stirred in her heart
whispers to us across time and eternity fanning the embers of faith,
warming weary hearts with the gift of hope.

Mercy Day will come this year, warm hugs replaced by a virtual embrace
through glass windows or across autumnal lawns.
We will gather on Zoom or Skype and keep each other safe.
The light of Mercy will shine through air-hugs and phone calls,
letters and cards, car parades and cups of steaming tea shared.

Mercy Day will come this year, as it always has, to gather us in,
to hone our vision, to refresh our resolve, to remind us that
Love, the source of all goodness, fuels us.
God is with us, even in these unprecedented times.

Mercy Day will come this year to nourish our individual hearts
and to fill the coffers of our collective spirit
as we strive to meet ever-evolving contemporary needs
with unique solutions and creative ministries.

Mercy Day will come this year in a new and very different guise.
In classrooms and boardrooms, in hospitals and nursing homes,
in homeless shelters, on city streets and country lanes
we will see and serve Mercy with new eyes
as we step with conviction and confidence into a new reality.

Like Catherine and the women of Mercy who paved the way for us,
we go forward, face to the wind, “centered in God.”
The work of Mercy goes on…


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  1. Carolyn McDonnell

    Thank you, Kathy. Your poem is a great help for us to focus on the reality of Mercy Day this year. It is very thoughtful of you to guide our minds in making that shift from the style of the former way, yet not one bit less celebratory in Catherine’s way.

    In Mercy, and joy for the feast day,

    Carolyn McDonnell
    Mercy Associate


  2. Barbara Nelson

    Your poem is so well written. Thank you for taking the time to help us reflect on the most important things we are facing in todays world…You are an inspiration for all of us. Happy Mercy Day…


  3. Louise Foisy

    As the lone Sister of Mercy in rural Claremont NH, I found it joyous to share Mercy Day with you and in your meaningful poem.


  4. Mary Daly RSM

    Thank You for gathering us in such a meaningful expression of Mercy.


  5. Debbie swiss

    Beautiful thanks .


  6. Margaret Downing RSM

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight, and for languaging the reality of this particular year.


  7. Leah Deans Davis

    Wonderful poem. I have been blessed to have participated in many Mercy days! Kept us centered on our mission!


  8. Mary Reilly

    What a beautiful prayer/poem for our time. I am fortunate in that I am attending an outdoor Mercy Day Mass today.
    Thank you for these timely words.


  9. Ruth Kelly, RSM

    Thank you for sharing our uncommon yet common experience of Mercy Day 2020.
    Blessings!


  10. Richard Mary Burke

    Dear Kathy,
    Thank you ever so much for sharing your beautiful reflections!
    Blessings always –


  11. Eleanor Guerin

    Kathy, how lovely. A wonderful piece to ponder this weekend. Thank you.