Category Archives: Sister Sheila Carney

A Pandemic for the Birds, with Seeds of Wisdom Abounding

August 21, 2020

By Sister Sheila Carney

A few years ago, a robin family made a home in the rafters of my porch. I was glad to share my space but, having moved in on me, they weren’t nearly so gracious in return. They actually expected me to vacate the premises until they were through with their laying and hatching and fledging season. Any movement I made in the vicinity of the porch was greeted with much flapping and screeching and other efforts to demonstrate their displeasure.

But when mama bird was away getting food, I had more freedom and enjoyed seeing little heads and beaks peeking over the side of the nest. One day, a chick fell out and landed with a thump on the porch. I though surely it would be hurt but, after assessing its situation for a while, it got up, wobbled around a little and then fell off the side. When I went to look, there it was, a few feet below, surrounded by encouraging and comforting grown-up birds who helped it on its way.

The robins came for two years and then moved to a different neighborhood. In an effort to welcome more bird friends, I bought a house for them, but it didn’t attract any buyers. Then, at the beginning of the pandemic, I moved on to bird seed with visions of cardinals and bluejays and other colorful species gracing my porch, offering companionship without the strictures of social distancing. I had barely put out the seed when birds started arriving: starlings—screechy, aggressive, possessive starlings with very poor bathroom habits. Any other visitors were rudely driven away, and my porch was a mess!

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Una pandemia para los pájaros, con copiosas semillas de sabiduría

August 21, 2020

Por la Hermana Sheila Carney

Hace unos años, una familia de petirrojos se instaló en las vigas de mi terraza. Me encantó compartir mi espacio, pero ellos habiéndose instalado en mi lugar, no fueron muy agradecidos. Esperaban que yo abandonara mi propiedad hasta que ellos hubieran completado con su temporada de puesta, incubación y vuelo. Cualquier movimiento que yo hiciera alrededor de la terraza era recibido con muchos aleteos, chillidos y otros atrevimientos para manifestar su desagrado.

Sin embargo, cuando la mamá ave se iba a traer alimentos, yo disfrutaba observando libremente sus pequeñas cabecitas y picos que se asomaban al lado del nido. Un día, un polluelo se cayó y fue a dar de golpe en la terraza. Pensé que definitivamente estaba herido, pero después de examinar la situación por un tiempo, se paró, tambaleó un poco y luego se cayó de un lado. Cuando fui a verlo, allí estaba, alrededor de un metro más abajo, rodeado de pájaros adultos que lo motivaban y consolaban en su caminar.

Los petirrojos regresaron durante dos años y después se fueron a otro vecindario diferente. Con el propósito de acoger a más pajaritos, compré una casa para ellos, sin embargo, no atraje a ningún comprador. Entonces, a principios de la pandemia, comencé a poner alpiste para atraer cardenales, azulejos y otras especies coloridas que adornaran mi terraza, brindaran compañía sin las restricciones del distanciamiento social. Acababa de colocar las semillas cuando los pajaritos empezaron a llegar: estorninos ruidosos, agresivos, posesivos con muy malas costumbres sanitarias. Cualquier otro visitante era expulsado rudamente, y ¡arruinaban mi terraza!

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Patiently Waiting over 30 Years of Being Venerable

April 8, 2020

April 9 will mark 30 years since Catherine McAuley was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II. Below is a reflection written by Sister Sheila Carney for Mercy eNews in 2015 to commemorate the 25th anniversary, along with an update on what has happened in the intervening five years, and what we’re all currently experiencing in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

By Sister Sheila Carney

A stained glass image of Venerable Catherine McAuley

In the years since we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Venerable Catherine McAuley, inspired, as always, by Catherine, we have continued to see the person before us, in their wholeness and brokenness, and have responded in ways that we could. Today, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are challenged as never before by a world wracked with suffering—and by government restrictions of our movements. As we see and hear the world crying out for a merciful touch, a merciful response, we are confined to our homes. The question we are invited to ponder is the same one that we have been carrying for a number of years: Who are we asked to be now for our suffering world?

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Esperando pacientemente por más de 30 años de ser venerable

April 8, 2020

El 9 de abril se cumplen 30 años desde que Catalina McAuley fue declarada venerable por el Papa Juan Pablo II. A continuación, se presenta una reflexión escrita por la Hermana Sheila Carney para Mercy eNews en 2015 para conmemorar el 25° aniversario, junto con lo último que ha ocurrido en los cinco años transcurridos, y lo que estamos experimentando actualmente en medio de la pandemia del coronavirus.

Por la Hermana Sheila Carney

Una pintura de la Venerable Catherine McAuley

En los años desde que celebramos el 25° aniversario de la Venerable Catalina McAuley y como siempre bajo la inspiración de Catalina, hemos continuado viendo a la persona frente a nosotras, en su totalidad y en su fragilidad, y hemos respondido de la forma en que pudimos. Hoy, debido a la pandemia del coronavirus, nos enfrentamos al mayor reto en un mundo devastado por el sufrimiento y por las restricciones impuestas por el gobierno a la libertad de circulación. Mientras vemos y escuchamos que el mundo pide a gritos un gesto misericordioso, una respuesta misericordiosa, estamos confinados a nuestros hogares. La pregunta a la que se nos invita a sondear es la misma que hemos estamos llevando hace varios años: ¿Quién se nos pide que seamos ahora para nuestro mundo que sufre?

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The Pittsburgh Founders

December 21, 2018

By Sister Sheila Carney

They came at the time of the winter solstice when earth was beginning to turn again to the light; on the day when the “O Antiphons” of Advent bid us pray: “O Rising Sun, splendor of Eternal Light and brilliant Sun of Justice, come and light up the darkness concealing from us the path of life.”

Mother Frances Warde (top), Sister Elizabeth Strange (left), Sister Josephine Cullen (right), Sister Veronica McDarby (bottom)

Mother Frances Warde (top), Sister Elizabeth Strange (left), Sister Josephine Cullen (right), Sister Veronica McDarby (bottom)

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Las Fundadoras de Pittsburgh

December 21, 2018

Por Hermana Sheila Carney

Ellas llegaron en la época del solsticio de invierno cuando la tierra empezaba a volverse a la luz; en el día cuando las «Antífonas ‘Oh’» de Adviento nos piden rezar: «¡Oh Oriente, esplendor de Luz Eterna y Sol de Justicia! Ven y alumbra a quienes yacen en las tinieblas y en la sombra de la muerte».

Madre Frances Warde (arriba), Hermana Elizabeth Strange (izquierda), Hermana Josephine Cullen (derecha), Hermana Veronica McDarby (centro)

Madre Frances Warde (arriba), Hermana Elizabeth Strange (izquierda), Hermana Josephine Cullen (derecha), Hermana Veronica McDarby (centro)

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The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 1: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

February 14, 2018

By Sister Sheila Carney

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."Many years ago I had the opportunity to attend the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia. The version of the Lord’s Prayer chosen for the liturgy was from the Aboriginal tradition. Instead of “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” they prayed, “Others have done wrong to us and we are sorry for them today.”

These words tell us how forgiveness works on us. When we are able to forgive, we not only put the past, with its hurts, behind us, but we also find compassion in the space where we had been holding on to our hurts. We extend loving forgiveness to another because “they know not what they do,” or because their regret touches our hearts, or because we don’t want to carry the burden of an unforgiving heart. Perhaps our readiness to forgive comes sooner than the readiness to ask for forgiveness, or the other way around. In either case, the words of Jesus on the cross—”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”-and the words of the Lord’s prayer call us to stretch out our hands to those who have hurt us and help them across the threshold of mercy, that door we have pledged to hold ajar.   Read More »

Las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús – Semana 1: “Padre, perdónalos porque no saben lo que hacen”.

February 14, 2018

Por la Hermana Sheila Carney

A través de esta temporada de Cuaresma, nuestro blog promocionará reflexiones semanales publicadas cada miércoles sobre las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús-las palabras finales de Jesús en la cruz. Miren la serie entera del blog.

Ver e imprimir esta reflexión como PDF.

Meditación

"Padre, perdonales porque no saber lo que hacer."

Hace muchos años tuve la oportunidad de asistir a la celebración del 150º aniversario de las Hermanas de la Misericordia en Australia. La versión del Padrenuestro, escogida para la liturgia proviene de la tradición aborigen. En lugar de “perdónanos nuestras ofensas como perdonamos a quienes nos ofenden”, oraron “otros nos han hecho mal y hoy lo sentimos por ellos”.

Estas palabras nos dicen cómo el perdón funciona en nosotros. Cuando somos capaces de perdonar, no sólo dejamos el pasado atrás, con sus heridas, sino que también encontramos compasión en el espacio donde nos habíamos aferrado a nuestras heridas. Extendemos el perdón amoroso a otros porque “ellos no saben lo que hacen”, o porque su arrepentimiento toca nuestros corazones, o porque no queremos llevar la carga de un corazón implacable. Tal vez nuestra disposición a perdonar venga antes que la disposición a pedir perdón, o al revés. En cualquier caso, las palabras de Jesús en la Cruz -“Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen”- y las del Padrenuestro nos llaman a extender nuestras manos a quienes nos han herido y a ayudarles a cruzar el umbral de la misericordia, esa puerta la cual hemos prometido mantener entreabierta.   Read More »

Remembering Sister Veronica

October 8, 2015

By Sister Sheila Carney

In this illustration from Memoirs of the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy, Sister Veronica McDarby is centered at the bottom, labeled 7.

In this illustration from Memoirs of the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy, Sister Veronica McDarby is centered at the bottom, labeled 7.

In 1843, Bishop Michael O’Connor wrote to the Sisters of Mercy in Carlow, Ireland. He was bound for the newly established Diocese of Pittsburgh, and he asked the sisters if any would accompany him into the unknown for the love of God. Of the 36 members of the community, 35 volunteered!

The lone hold-out was Sister Veronica McDarby, and, her reluctance notwithstanding, she was one of the seven missioned to Pittsburgh. She and six others left Carlow on November 4, braved the Atlantic and the Alleghenies, and arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 20.

Sister Veronica became portress, or doorkeeper, of the convent in Pittsburgh, and she invested herself in that ministry for 40 years. The other founders scoured the byways for those in need, established schools and a hospital and otherwise engaged with the city. All the while, Sister Veronica stayed at the convent, opening the door. A hidden task, a lowly task, we might think.   Read More »

Remembering Catherine McAuley

November 11, 2013

By Sister Sheila C., Vice Postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley’s Canonization

Entryway to the Mercy International Centre

Entryway to the Mercy International Centre

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to be at Mercy International Centre on November 11 – the anniversary of the death of Catherine McAuley. While there was a solemnity about the house, there was also a certain amount of life and laughter as sisters came and went all day. Visits to the garden for a moment at Catherine’s grave were followed by cups of tea, so inextricably connected to this day on which she asked that drinking a “good cup of tea” together be the gesture that comforted the community after her death. I tried to avoid those visits and those cups raised in her memory and to engage in a quiet effort to place myself in the house as it was on that day in 1841. Read More »