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.

June 30, 2014

By Br. Joseph Martin Hagan, O.P.

Note: This blog is shared with permission from “Dominicana”, a blog run by the Dominican Studium of the Providence of St. Joseph. Read the original blog here.

Staff members Brother Joseph Martin and Sister Joan R. smile with houseguest Kenny outside the McAuley House in Providence, Rhode Island, which provides food, clothing, shelter and more to vulnerable members of the community.

Left to right: Staff members Brother Joseph Martin and Sister Joan R. smile with houseguest Kenny outside the McAuley House in Providence, Rhode Island, which provides food, clothing, shelter and more to vulnerable members of the community.

Last Sunday marked the 190th anniversary of a small act with great consequences. On June 22, 1824, an Irish woman named Catherine McAuley used her recently received inheritance to lease a plot of land in Dublin. With this land, Catherine and her co-workers constructed a house where they would care for poor servant girls and homeless women. After three years of construction, Catherine opened what she called a “House of Mercy” on September 24, 1827, the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. In 1831, Catherine and two co-workers professed religious vows and founded the Sisters of Mercy. During her lifetime, Catherine worked tirelessly to expand the Sisters of Mercy, and within a few decades, the Sisters spread worldwide, serving the world’s poor and destitute.   Read More »

June 26, 2014

By Karel B. Lucander

Women who have suffered from trauma, from physical and sexual abuse, or the disease of addiction need a safe space to transition into a new life. Oftentimes, they are unemployed, homeless and separated from their children and families. Moving forward begins with the help of someone like Sister Beth Heizer, a counselor at Marian House, Inc., in Baltimore.

“The mission of Marian House is to provide a safe, sober and loving environment that challenges women to respect and love themselves, confront emotional and socioeconomic issues, and transition to stable and independent lives,” says Sister Beth. “Marian House is similar to the House of Mercy that Catherine McAuley founded on Baggot Street—we give women a place to develop themselves and become more independent.”   Read More »

June 25, 2014

By Donna Meyer, director of shareholder advocacy, Mercy Investment Services

cc license (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo shared by Lesley Looper

cc license (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo shared by Lesley Looper

Recently, I hosted lunch for a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who manages CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic in Houston, Texas, and the management staff of one of Houston’s federally qualified health centers. We discussed how these two organizations could collaborate to increase the number of children vaccinated in Houston.

The lack of access to vaccines is just one example of the disparity in health care across the United States. A recent healthcare scorecard released by the Commonwealth Fund paints a bleak picture of the country’s health care system. Of the 50 states, Texas—the second largest state—ranked 44 out of 50 based on the scorecard’s indicators: access and affordability; prevention and treatment; avoidable hospital use costs; healthy lives; and equity. Even while Texas shows a need for improvement, the situation is even direr in other Southern states. Mississippi ranked the lowest for all the indicators.   Read More »

June 24, 2014

By Liz Dossa

Sister Rebecca

Sister Rebecca ensures that those who are under- or uninsured get the health services they need.

About ten years ago, the mayor of West Milford, West Virginia, asked Sister Rebecca F., “If I build a clinic, will you come and run it?” Sister Rebecca, who had ministered in healthcare and medical education in Michigan, Iowa and Florida, took on the new challenge. In 2002, the Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic opened its doors to the working poor and elderly. The clinic was named for the first female to practice medicine in the state.   Read More »

June 20, 2014

A young girl in the Philippines stands with a fruit

A young typhoon survivor in the Philippines receives fresh fruit from a relief package.

What takes longer to rebuild: a home, or a grieving heart? A school, or a broken spirit?

Typhoon Haiyan—called Yolanda in the Philippines, which bore the brunt of her destruction—made landfall on November 8, 2013, ravaging a northwesterly course across the Visayan Islands. Over 6,000 lives were lost, with 1,061 people still missing and 28,689 people injured. In total, 4,095,280 persons were displaced in the most destructive storm to ever hit the Philippines (source:   Read More »

June 18, 2014

By Sister Alicia Z.

Sister Alicia, who ministers with migrants in Florida, holds a child in her hands

Sister Alicia grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but felt called to serve migrant workers in Florida after witnessing their poverty firsthand.

I have ministered to migrant farmworkers in rural Auburndale, Florida, for the past 30 years. On June 10 I bore witness to their plight to Florida legislators on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., advocating for an overhaul of our broken U.S. immigration system. The advocacy day helped me and others express our concerns to congressional staffers, and the vibe felt positive.

That same evening House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost the primary race for his seat in Virginia, later resigning from his leadership position, creating an uncertain climate for promoting bipartisan immigration legislation and bringing it to a vote. It seems our efforts cannot overcome the fickleness of politics. Where does that leave the victims of all this—our immigrant sisters and brothers?   Read More »

June 18, 2014

Por la Hermana Alicia Z.

Hermana Alicia creció en Brooklyn, Nueva York y se sintió llamada a servir a trabajadores migrantes en Florida después de presenciar su pobreza.

Yo he servido a migrantes campesinos en el área rural Auburndale, Florida durante los últimos 30 años. El 10 de junio yo di testimonio de su situación a legisladores de Florida en Capitol Hill en Washington, D.C. abogando por una revisión y cambio general de nuestro fallido sistema deinmigración. El día de abogacía me ayudó a mí y a otros a expresar nuestras preocupaciones al personal de los/as congresistas y se sintió una energía positiva.

Esa misma noche, el líder de la mayoría republicana en la Cámara de Representantes, Eric Cantor perdió las elecciones primarias y su escaño en Virginia, renunciando más tarde y creando un clima incierto para promover legislación bipartidista en cuanto a inmigración y llevarla a un voto. Parece que nuestros esfuerzos no pueden superar el oscilante clima de la política. ¿Dónde deja eso a las víctimas de todo esto – los inmigrantes? Read More »

June 17, 2014

By: Carol H., Mercy Associate

Carol is a regular volunteer for MUST Ministries, which serves families and individuals in eight counties of the northern metropolitan arc of Atlanta, Georgia. She founded MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program to ensure children who rely on free school lunches would not go hungry during the summer vacation. This year the program aims to distribute 250,000 sack lunches, feeding 6,000 children each day.

Carol smiles for a photo

Carol has been a daily volunteer at MUST Ministries for nine years.

Hope is trusting that something will be fulfilled. When a child waits in hope, it involves nurturing the moment. Ida waited every day for the small, green tomato to grow and redden. Her family had but one tomato plant to last the summer months. Ida come eagerly every day to meet our MUST Ministries van that brought lunches to children in the trailer parks. Because she was the oldest child, she took care to count the brown sacks, making sure the small children had theirs first. One morning, as the van pulled up the long hill, we saw Ida waiting by the side of the road. Her two small hands held an object as delicately as we would hold a Communion wafer. With care, she approached us, opening her hands to display a small, red tomato. Her excited voice offered the story of the gift: “For so long, I have waited for it to grow; it is our first on the plant, and we want you to have it to say thank you for our lunches.”  Read More »

June 10, 2014

By Sister Pierre D.

Sister Mary Paul C., a Sister of Mercy, sprinkles holy water at a Take Back the Site service held in February, 2014. Reprinted with permission from Times Publishing Company, Erie, PA. Copyright 2014

Sister Mary Paul C., a Sister of Mercy, sprinkles holy water at a Take Back the Site service held in February, 2014. Reprinted with permission from Times Publishing Company, Erie, PA. Copyright 2014

In 1999, after the brutal murder of a 5-year-old girl, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, started a ministry called Take Back the Site. Their mission was to bring God’s peace and comfort to the victim’s family and friends; to restore God’s peace to the place where violence has taken place; and to put forth a message of nonviolence to the community.

Today, the program has grown to include sponsorship from the Sisters of Mercy—New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania as well.   Read More »

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.  Read More »