Connect With Mercy

April 3, 2014

Por la Hermana Suzanne D.

Sister Suzanne with a child at The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service

Hermana Suzanne

En julio de 1993, comencé mi ministerio en el Servicio de Salud de la Familia «Las Hermanitas» the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSAFHS), con la Hermana Donna C. Ella y yo servimos como enfermeras de la comunidad con las hermanas de varias congregaciones, todas cooperando en el contexto de nuestro carisma sublime de la congregación para servir a las personas que viven en la pobreza al margen de la sociedad, en su mayor parte familias inmigrantes mexicanas indocumentadas.
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April 3, 2014

By Karel B. Lucander

Sister Anne Henehan meets with Emmanuel Torres Garibay, one of six seminarians she currently mentors at the House of Formation in the Diocese of Little Rock, AR. Photo courtesy of Omar Galvan

Sister Anne Henehan meets with Emmanuel Torres Garibay, one of six seminarians she currently mentors at the House of Formation in the Diocese of Little Rock, AR.
Photo courtesy of Omar Galvan

Sister Anne Henehan wore many hats before becoming a Sister of Mercy at age 45. She lived and studied in Spain, and was a Fulbright scholar teaching at a university in Slovenia. She also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) at a boarding school in Texas, led an ESL adult education program for immigrants in Michigan, and even taught in Zacatecas, Mexico.

But while attending a four-day silent retreat at a Jesuit house in fall 1996, she had a revelation about considering religious life. Within a couple months, she began looking into the Sisters of Mercy because “I knew they were ‘out there’ in terms of social justice.” A pre-candidate for two full years (January 1997-99), Sister Anne continued working while completing her preformation. Her Jesuit priest friend John Koeplin, whom she dubbed “the nudger” and who originally planted the idea that she considers religious life, presided at the masses for both her first and final vows.

“At first I thought, what: Me a nun? And I wondered: Am I good enough? Am I brave enough? Is this what God wants me to do? As someone who was not a religious, I thought you had to be better than other people to be a priest or nun. Then you learn, no, they are just answering this particular call from God.”

“It totally caught me by surprise,” she adds. “It reinforced for me that God will bring you forth into what you are supposed to be doing. I went to Catholic grade school, high school, and college, but becoming a sister was not on my radar back then. I was an active single Catholic. A lot of people are doing other things in the world and then receive the call from God.”

Today, Sister Anne, now 60, is an academic mentor and teaches ESL in the House of Formation of the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas. The house is dedicated to discerners to the priesthood and also seminarians who still are pursuing their undergraduate studies. There are currently six candidates living there, from ages 18 through their early 20s, and she helps them from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with reading as well as writing and grammar skills. She adapts her schedule around theirs, and cites flexibility as key to this ministry.

“I have gifts to bring, but the way that I offer them changes according to what the students themselves need. I am working with men who are balancing going to the university and living on a stipend in the seminary. I have a chance to really get to know them as men of faith as well as college students. It’s a small but effective ministry,” she says.

The scripture passage to which she turns often is Isaiah 58:11: “… the Lord will renew your strength … and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

“I like the image and it sustains me,” Sister Anne says.

When she is not at the House of Formation, she enjoys reading, walking outside and being in nature, and practicing the art of calligraphy.

“The paper, ink and pencils bring me to a place of peace and creativity,” she adds.

April 2, 2014

By Sister Ruth N.

Sister Ruth

Sister Ruth, who helps care for HIV/AIDS patients

“Caring for the sick” is the fifth Corporal Work of Mercy in our Lenten blog series. Read the rest of the Lenten blogs here.

Nestled in the valley of a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, The Wright Center for Primary Care, our HIV/AIDS clinic, is a medical home for many. Known mostly through word of mouth, we provide a place which helps patients face their challenges in an environment of strength and compassion.   Read More »

April 2, 2014

Por la Hermana Ruth N.

Hermana Ruth

Hermana Ruth

“Cuidar a los enfermos” es la cuarta Obra Corporal de Misericordia en la que nos enfocamos durante nuestra serie del “blog” de Cuaresma. Lee el resto del blog de Cuaresma aquí.

El Wright Center, nuestra clínica de VIH/SIDA sirve como hogar de salud para muchas personas, ya que provee un lugar donde se ayuda a los pacientes a enfrentarse a sus desafíos en un ambiente de fortaleza y compasión. Nuestra clínica está situada en medio del valle de un pequeño pueblo en el nordeste de Pensilvania y se ha dado a conocer mayormente al regarse la voz entre la gente. Read More »

March 28, 2014

By Kerry Weber, Mercy Associate

Kerry Weber’s recently released book “Mercy in the City” inspired our Lenten blog series focused on the Corporal Works of Mercy. “Shelter the homeless” is the fourth work in that series. Read the rest of the Lenten blogs here.

New York City, home to the homeless shelter and site of Kerry Weber's other stories in "Mercy in the City"

New York City, home to the homeless shelter and site of Kerry Weber’s other stories in “Mercy in the City

In one of the most powerful passages in Dorothy Day’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness, she speaks of the wonderful evolution of the Catholic Worker movement and writes about how many surprising, God-filled moments came about while “we were just sitting there talking.” She writes of people moving in and out of the house and says, “Somehow the walls expanded.” I can’t help but think that here she writes not only of the willingness of the community to take on and take in guests, but also of the walls of the heart growing in kind. Because that is how our hearts are meant to work: just when you think your heart is full to the point of breaking, it adapts and grows and learns to love more than you ever thought you could.

And yet this path of love and mercy often can be a difficult one to travel. Our works of mercy must be rooted in relationship, but that can be a challenge. In an effort to delve more deeply into the works of mercy, I decide to stay as an overnight volunteer at a homeless shelter. I would spend the night in a church basement with more than a dozen men I’d never met, and I had no idea what to expect.   Read More »

March 28, 2014

Por Kerry Weber, Asociada de la Misericordia 

El libro recientemente publicado de Kerry Weber «Mercy in the City» (La Misericordia en la ciudad) sirvió como inspiración para nuestro blog de la serie cuaresmal orientada a las Obras Corporales de la Misericordia. «Da albergue a la gente sin hogar» es la cuarta obra de esa serie. Lea el resto de los blogs cuaresmales aquí.

La ciudad de Nueva York, hogar del albergue para la gente sin hogar y otras historias en “Mercy in the City” de Kerry Weber.

La ciudad de Nueva York, hogar del albergue para la gente sin hogar y otras historias en “Mercy in the City” de Kerry Weber.

En uno de los pasajes más impresionantes de la autografía de Dorothy Day, La larga soledad, ella relata la maravillosa evolución del movimiento de Acción Católica y escribe sobre muchos momentos sorprendentes, llenos de Dios que ocurrieron mientras «sólo estábamos sentadas conversando». Nos cuenta de personas que se movilizaban dentro y fuera de la casa y añade, «De alguna forma las paredes se expandían». No puedo evitar pensar que aquí ella escribe no sólo de la voluntad de la comunidad de recibir y acoger a los huéspedes, sino también de las paredes del corazón creciendo en bondad. Porque así es cómo nuestros corazones deben obrar: cuando piensas que tu corazón está repleto al punto de quebrarse, se adapta y crece y aprende a amar más de lo que alguna vez pensaste que podrías.

Y aún este camino de amor y misericordia a menudo puede ser difícil de andar. Nuestras obras de la misericordia deben estar enraizadas en la relación, pero puede ser un desafío. En un esfuerzo de profundizarme más en las obras de la misericordia, decido quedarme como voluntaria nocturna en un albergue para personas sin hogar. Pasaría la noche en el sótano de una iglesia con más de una docena de hombres desconocidos, y no tenía idea de que esperar.

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March 27, 2014

By Sister Patricia G.

“Shelter the homeless” is the fourth Corporal Work of Mercy in our Lenten blog seriesRead the rest of the Lenten blogs here.

“The Poor need our help today, not next week.” —Catherine McAuley

I felt God’s love awakening my heart

Celebrating her graduation from Breakthrough, an education program for the homeless, with a shared embrace

Celebrating her graduation from Breakthrough, an education program for the homeless at Mercy Haven, with a shared embrace

In 1970 I was an elementary teacher trying to make religion come alive for ten-year-olds. Our school sat in a high-to-middle income environment and we watched people roam aimlessly down our main street. Some were talking to themselves, others disheveled, many looking for help. In my third year I couldn’t just teach the Corporal Works of Mercy and not live them out there on the streets.

We had a growing population of persons victimized by New York State’s closing of psychiatric hospitals. So, after three years of teaching, to my surprise, the pastor agreed to my changing from school teacher to pastoral work. His “yes” to my idea would change me for evermore in ways I had not planned. Feeding the hungry and housing the homeless would be front and center for the rest of my days.   Read More »

March 27, 2014

Por la Hermana Patricia G.

“El pobre necesita nuestra ayuda hoy, no la próxima semana.” —Catalina McAuley

Sentí que el amor de Dios despertó mi corazón

En 1970, era maestra de educación primaria tratando de hacer que la religión estuviera viva en los niños de diez años de edad. Nuestra escuela estaba ubicada en un entorno de ingresos altos a ingresos medios y veíamos a la gente vagar sin rumbo por nuestra calle principal. Algunos hablaban consigo mismos, otros andaban desaliñados, muchos buscaban ayuda. En mi tercer año, no podía sólo enseñar las Obras Corporales de la Misericordia sin vivirlas afuera, en las calles.

Teníamos una población creciente de personas que habían sido víctimas del cierre de los hospitales psiquiátricos en el Estado de Nueva York. Consecuentemente, después de tres años de enseñar, para mi sorpresa, el pastor aceptó mi cambio de maestra de escuela a trabajadora pastoral. Su «sí» a mi parecer, me cambiaría para siempre en maneras que no había planeado. Alimentar al hambriento y dar albergue a las personas sin hogar serían el frente y el centro por el resto de mis días.
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March 26, 2014

By Marianne Comfort, Education Coordinator, Institute Justice Team

“Shelter the homeless” is the fourth Corporal Work of Mercy in our Lenten blog seriesRead the rest of the Lenten blogs here.

Marianne Comfort in front of the White House advocating for Planet Earth

Marianne Comfort in front of the White House advocating for Planet Earth

I’ve volunteered at a men’s overnight shelter, helped find funding for a hospitality center for those who have nowhere else to go during the day and arranged services for Iraqi and Burmese refugees soon after they arrived in the United States.

Those experiences came immediately to mind when I thought of the call to shelter the homeless. And then I got to thinking about a rally I attended recently protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.   Read More »

March 26, 2014

Por Marianne Comfort, Coordinadora de Educación, Equipo de Justicia del Instituto

Marianne Comfort in front of the White House advocating for Planet Earth

Marianne Comfort frente a la Casa Blanca abogando por el Planeta Tierra.

Fui voluntaria en un albergue nocturno para hombres, asistí en la recaudación de fondos para un centro hospitalario para personas que no tenían dónde ir durante el día y coordiné los servicios para refugiados iraquíes y birmanos al llegar a los Estados Unidos.

Recordé esas experiencias inmediatamente cuando pensé sobre el llamado para albergar a las personas sin hogar. Y después pensé acerca de la manifestación contra el oleoducto Keystone XL.
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