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.

September 10, 2014

By Betsy Johnson, assistant archivist at Mercy Heritage Center

Betsy examines records with Sister Diann at Mercy Heritage Center.

Betsy examines records with Sister Diann at Mercy Heritage Center.

The Sisters of Mercy have long honored those who came before them by keeping records in community archives. Historic records are stored at Mercy Heritage Center in Belmont, North Carolina, while five community archivists collect and maintain more recent records. Each archivist is committed to caring for these records and helping people use them—to locate information for someone writing a dissertation on Mercy’s influence on nursing, for example, or to find historic photographs of a ministry for a museum exhibit. On other occasions, we provide answers to questions like: “My great-aunt was a Sister of Mercy. Can you tell me about her life?” or “Whatever happened to my favorite teacher, Sister Mary Polycarp?”

From the archives—Two sisters meet Pope John XXIII in January, 1962.

From the archives—Two sisters meet Pope John XXIII in January, 1962.

But how exactly does an archivist find the answers to these questions? Here at Mercy Heritage Center, it usually means a trip to “the stacks” where the records are stored in a special climate controlled area of the building. Although much of our world today is online, the majority of our historic records must be accessed the old-fashioned way—by knowing the unique history of a community and how its files are organized.

Taking the example above, how would we look up information about Sister Mary Polycarp? A request like this one for a former teacher, or a group of former teachers, is especially common for class reunions and similar events. But there are a few big steps we have to take to reconnect Sister Mary Polycarp and her former pupils.   Read More »

September 10, 2014

Por Betsy Johnson, archivista asistenta en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia

Betsy examina los archivos con la Hermana Diann en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia.

Betsy examina los archivos con la Hermana Diann en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia.

Las Hermanas de la Misericordia han honrado por mucho tiempo a aquellas que les precedieron manteniendo registros en los archivos de la comunidad. Se han guardado registros históricos en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia en Belmont, Carolina del Norte, al mismo tiempo que cinco archivistas de la comunidad coleccionan y mantienen registros más recientes. Cada archivista está comprometida a cuidar estos archivos y a ayudar a las personas que desean usarlos—localizando información para alguna persona que escribe una tesis sobre la influencia de la Misericordia en enfermería, por ejemplo, o a encontrar fotografías históricas de algún apostolado para una exposición en el museo. En otras ocasiones, ofrecemos respuestas a preguntas como: “Mi tía-abuela fue una Hermana de la Misericordia. ¿Me pueden decir algo de su vida?” o “¿qué pasó con mi maestra favorita, Sor Mary Polycarp?”

De los archivos—Dos hermanas se reúnen con el Papa Juan XXIII en enero de 1962.

De los archivos—Dos hermanas se reúnen con el Papa Juan XXIII en enero de 1962.

Pero ¿qué tan exactas son las respuestas que una archivista encuentra para estas preguntas? Aquí en el Centro de Herencia de la Misericordia, generalmente significa el ir a “los estantes” donde se guardan los registros en un área del edificio con clima controlado. Aunque mucho de nuestro mundo se encuentra en Internet, la mayoría de nuestros registros históricos tienen que buscarse de la manera antigua—conociendo la historia singular de una comunidad y cómo se organizaron sus archivos.

Tomando el ejemplo anterior: “¿cómo buscamos información sobre Sor Mary Polycarp?” Una petición como ésta sobre una maestra de antes, o un grupo de maestras anteriores, es especialmente común para reuniones de clase y eventos parecidos. Pero hay que dar unos pasos grandes para reconectar a Sor Mary Polycarp con sus exalumnas/os. Read More »

September 9, 2014

Jay Sullivan, author of "Raising Gentle Men"

Jay Sullivan, author of “Raising Gentle Men”

Raising Gentle Men: Lives at the Orphanage Edge shares the stories of three Sisters of Mercy who ran the Alpha Boys School, a home for boys who had been abandoned, in Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1980s. For two years author Jay Sullivan, a Jesuit volunteer, lived at Alpha; his book brings us into the world of the boys’ school, with all its hope, struggles, triumphs and tragedies.

Raising Gentle Men has been used in classes and programs at seven universities and it is required reading for all freshmen this year at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Jay will be speaking on September 18 along with three people profiled in the book, including Desmond Plunkett (learn more about him below!). In honor of the event, Jay has kindly offered to share an excerpt from his book on our blog.   Read More »

September 5, 2014

By Abby Pivovar, NetCommunity and Special Project Coordinator, West Midwest Community

Sister Carol, MercyCare coordinator

Sister Carol

Saint Xavier University of Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, offers a unique program that provides spiritual direction and continual support for its students, faculty and staff. This program, called MercyCare, which began in 1995, today boasts a growing presence on the campus thanks to the leadership of coordinator Sister Carol M.

“I am not the sole representative of the Sisters of Mercy on campus,” Sister Carol explained. “I have expanded the program and have now recruited 24 Sisters of Mercy and 22 Mercy Associates to be present and engaged in opportunities on site.” With the opening of Mercy Circle (a senior residence for women and men religious) and more sisters moving on campus, it is hoped that others will want to join MercyCare and benefit from such involvement with local youth. Read More »

September 2, 2014

By Sister Kathleen Q.

Yearbook photo of Sister Kathleen from the Dwayne Brathwaite School

Yearbook photo of Sister Kathleen from the Dwayne Brathwaite School

We never know when or how our past will revisit us from an unexpected source!

It was 1974, a heartbreaking time of Catholic school closings, especially in low economic areas. Members of the education office of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, wanted to relocate junior high students from a neighborhood Catholic school to another school quite a distance from where they lived. It would have been the second time in six months these students were being told to relocate.

The parents of these students were not willing to accept the negative emotional and educational impact a second transition would have on their children. Additionally, the distance of the other junior high presented safety and transportation concerns. After many futile attempts to reverse the decision, the parents decided to found their own school, and they invited Sisters Catherine C., Lenore G. and me to staff the school.   Read More »

August 31, 2014

By Phyllis Mueller, intermediate accountant for finance department in Belmont, North Carolina
South Central Community | 5 Years with the Sisters of Mercy

Phyllis Mueller

Phyllis Mueller

After working in the finance department for a music manufacturing company for 20 years, I never imagined I would be back on the job hunt again. Then the company relocated to Indiana, and I accepted a position with the Sisters of Mercy. It just shows you can never tell what the future may hold!

In the corporate world, a new person can be scary. People’s guard goes up because they worry the new person could be there to take their job. With the sisters, I had a much different reception. Everyone was so welcoming and happy to have me there to share the load.  Read More »

August 31, 2014

Por Phyllis Mueller, contadora del departamento de finanzas en Belmont, North Carolina
Comunidad Sur Central | 5 Años con las Hermanas de la Misericordia

Phyllis Mueller

Phyllis Mueller

Después de trabajar en el departamento de finanzas de una compañía de producción de música por 20 años, nunca me imaginé que tendría que buscar trabajo de nuevo. Sin embargo, la compañía se mudó a Indiana y yo acepté un puesto con las Hermanas de la Misericordia. ¡Demuestra que uno nunca sabe lo que puede traer el futuro!

En el mundo corporativo, una persona nueva puede ser alarmante. Los demás se preocupan que la persona nueva les va a quitar el trabajo. Con las hermanas, ellas me recibieron de manera muy distinta. Todas/os estaban muy contentas/os de que yo estuviera allí para ayudar con el trabajo. Read More »

August 30, 2014

By Colleen Maher, director of development for Merion and Dallas, Pennsylvania
Mid-Atlantic Community | 18 Years with the Sisters of Mercy

Colleen has worked with the Sisters of Mercy for over 18 years!

Colleen has worked with the Sisters of Mercy for over 18 years!

What I noticed immediately in working with Mercy was that I was not just an employee; I was a co-minister of the mission of Mercy. I was partnering with, rather than working for, the sisters. One day in my first year as director of development, I visited three sisters who were ministering in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a very poor area. We had to talk about money, which was tight. But they had a quiet passion, an intense commitment, and an absolute certitude that their work was God’s work. Financial issues certainly would not hold them back from doing what they needed to do. “God will give us the tools we need,” they told me. “And you are one of those tools.” Read More »

August 30, 2014

Por Colleen Maher, directora de desarrollo para Merion y Dallas, Pennsylvania
Comunidad Medio Atlántico | 18 años con las Hermanas de la Misericordia

Colleen has worked with the Sisters of Mercy for over 18 years!

Colleen Maher

Cuando empecé a trabajar con la Misericordia, me di cuenta de inmediato que no era solamente una empleada – era colaboradora en la misión de la Misericordia.  Estaba trabajando con las hermanas, no para ellas.  Un día en mi primer año como directora de desarrollo, visité a tres hermanas que servían en la parte Norte de Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, un lugar muy pobre.  Tuvimos que hablar sobre el dinero, que hacía falta.  Ellas tenían una pasión calmada, un compromiso intenso y la certeza absoluta de que su trabajo era el trabajo de Dios.  Los asuntos de finanzas seguramente no las detendrían en hacer lo que tenían que hacer.  “Dios nos dará las herramientas que necesitamos”, me dijeron.  “Y, eres una de esas herramientas”. Read More »

August 29, 2014

By Colleen Gregg, director of Mercy Center in Auburn, California
West Midwest Community | 15 years with the Sisters of Mercy

Saturday mornings at Mercy Center Auburn are busy times for me, as many retreats are taking place at our Center. One morning, I remember rushing from one group to the next to give a welcome and orientation. As I left one group, they began to pray in song. It was so lovely, yet I had more groups waiting! I began walking at a high speed when in the hallway I heard more music, men’s voicing singing in harmony. Then at the other end of the center, another group broke out in song. “I need to just slow down,” I said to myself. The air was filled with sacred music, and I felt so blessed.

Colleen-Gregg

Colleen smiles at her desk at Mercy Center in Auburn, California

Read More »