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.

October 7, 2014

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. —Matthew 25:35

Sisters Betty, Mary and Holly are proud to be able to support families in need each month by donating freshly grown produce to the local food pantry.

Sisters Betty, Mary and Holly are proud to be able to support families in need each month by donating freshly grown produce to the local food pantry.

Sadly, one in six families across the United States does not always know where they will find their next meal. And while Benson, Vermont, a rural town of about a thousand people, is no exception, a few dedicated Sisters of Mercy are working to change that.

Like much of Vermont, Benson has seen increases in poverty during the recession. Nearly a quarter (22.3 percent) of families with children lives below the poverty line and 14.5 percent of the population has received food stamps in the last year. For female heads-of-household with children under 18, the poverty level has increased to 45 percent (U.S. Census Bureau FactFinder).These statistics mean that rural Vermonters not only need help feeding themselves or their families, but that they also have limited or no access to nutritious foods, leaving them with few options except inexpensive, processed foods high in fat, sugar and salt.   Read More »

October 6, 2014

By Sister Kay O.

Sister Kay (left) rides a horse bareback with a fellow teacher

Sister Kay (left) rides a horse bareback with a fellow teacher

I’m a city girl who loves nature, partly because I don’t get enough of it. Cities have cement and street lights, not enough trees and not enough grass. It’s too light to see most of the stars at night. Buildings block the sunset. Car fumes taint the air. When I was a child I often romanticized country life with pictures of green fields, colorful flowers and blessed freedom. I hadn’t really thought about how far away grocery stores and neighbors would be or how much work it would take to plow a field, clean out the henhouse or milk the cows.

Fortunately I had been disabused of my romantic notions by spending part of a summer on my cousins’ farm in central Nebraska. I watched cousin Gladys kill chickens by cutting off their heads in the morning. By noon, parts of those chickens landed on my dinner plate. That’s when I lost my appetite as well as my illusions. But one notion stayed with me: country people are so pragmatic they probably don’t appreciate the gorgeous nature that’s all around them.   Read More »

October 2, 2014

By Sister Donella Hartman (Administrator, Mercy Center St. Louis) and Dawn Stringfield (Executive Director, Mercy Conference and Retreat Center)

A memorial for Michael Brown in Ferguson cc license (BY NC 2.0) flickr photo shared by peoplesworld

A memorial for Michael Brown in Ferguson cc license (BY NC 2.0) flickr photo shared by peoplesworld

If anyone thought there was no racial tension in Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri, all he/she had to do was watch the television. It is where this community’s – and even this country’s – eyes have been glued over the past month watching the unfolding story of the deadly shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the aftermath of violence, destruction and military-like law enforcement response amid cries for justice and healing. There were so many scenarios reported by news commentators and witnesses that it was clear that it would take months for the truth of the situation to unfold and even longer for justice to prevail.   Read More »

October 2, 2014

By Karel B. Lucander

Every day, Sister Helen Amos works with hospital management, nurses, doctors and patients at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. Her main focus is to help the staff “extend the mission of Catholic healthcare by delivering the highest quality of care in a compassionate manner.”

Sister Helen Amos (left), executive chairperson of the board at Mercy Health Services, Inc., in Baltimore, Md., talks with Cherylena Brown, an employee at Mercy Medical Center.

Sister Helen Amos (left), executive chairperson of the board at Mercy Health Services, Inc., in Baltimore, Md., talks with Cherylena Brown, an employee at Mercy Medical Center.

As executive chairperson of the board at Mercy Health Services, Inc., Sister Helen Amos’s full-time ministry weaves together the warm, intrinsic spiritual values upon which the medical center was founded and cold financial realities it needs to continue to thrive and grow: capital donations. As someone holding a high-ranking executive position in Catholic healthcare, Sister Helen wants to make one thing clear: “The work that laypeople are doing in Catholic healthcare is just as much a work of the church and extension of the mission of Jesus as it is for the religious. What the Sisters of Mercy started here in 1874 and nurtured is still alive in what everyone working here does.”   Read More »

September 29, 2014

By Sister Melinda H.

A family in front of their home on stilts in Punta Gorda, Belize. cc license (BY 2.0) flikr photo shared by R. Barraez D’Lucca

A family in front of their home on stilts in Punta Gorda, Belize. cc license (CC BY 2.0) flickr photo shared by R. Barraez D’Lucca

There is nothing that excites me more than to visit a new place that before was simply a spot on a map in the World Atlas. So I was very excited last spring to be a passenger on a cruise ship called Liberty of the Seas, with one of our destinations including Belize City, Belize.

The cruise was a gift from my niece, her husband and my sister in celebration of my 50th Jubilee. In Belize we would be exploring Cahal Pech, an ancient Mayan archaeological reserve. But it turns out what I experienced emotionally in Belize far surpassed all I saw.

After the boat docked, we continued our journey by bus to Cahal Pech, traveling through much of the country. Our guide told us about the topography and the history of Belize: the lush tropical rainforests, the mountains in the north, the growth of the Creole culture and, sadly, the great poverty. His own family had been very poor, he said, but they received much support from a local organization that ensured those in need had food, shoes, clothing and shelter.   Read More »

September 26, 2014

By Sister Diane G.

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Diversity, inclusivity, determination, excitement and hope were all evident on the streets of New York City, New York, on Sunday, September 21, 2014, as an estimated 300,000 people from everywhere and every walk of life gathered to participate in the People’s Climate March.

At 8:00 am four Sisters of Mercy from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area boarded one of the 18 buses transporting participants to New York for the march. As soon as we were seated folks began passing and sharing food as well as petitions from various organizations. We passed several full buses on the turnpike, also on their way to the March. All the excitement and camaraderie made the journey seem short.

At 85th Street in New York, some 500 buses filled with participants disembarked their passengers. Our group was to meet at 58th Street so we started walking. Attracted by our purple shirts and Mercy logo, many people approached us thanking us for being present and then telling us stories of their personal Mercy connections through schools and parishes. As we approached Fordham University, a young woman ran up to us excitedly and told us that she had graduated from a Mercy sponsored school in Michigan and now attended Fordham. She was followed closely by her sister who echoed the same message. It was so wonderful to meet so many touched by Mercy and willing to share their experiences with us.   Read More »

September 25, 2014

By Alexis and Lynesha, Mercy Volunteer Corps volunteers

Two Mercy volunteers in Erie, Pennsylvania, recently attended a Take Back the Site prayer vigil in honor of Travon Green, a 20-year-old victim of homicide. Take Back the Site helps 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. The volunteers’ reflections speak to the power these vigils hold in a community stricken with grief.

A photo from the Take Back the Site vigil for Travon.

A photo from the Take Back the Site vigil for Travon.

Read More »

September 23, 2014

By Lauren Gerth, Administrative Assistant, Mercy Center St. Louis

Staff at Mercy Center approach the bright balloon

Staff at Mercy Center approach the bright balloon. All photos by Lauren Gerth

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, once wrote in a letter, “I would like to tell you all the little cheering things that God permits to fall in our way.”

Such a “cheering thing” fell in our way on Friday, September 19, at Mercy Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Last weekend was the Great St. Louis Balloon Race, which means that teams of hot air ballooners were out and about in the city. On Friday morning one of those teams landed (quite unexpectedly) in the fields at Mercy Center. Read More »

September 22, 2014

By Sister Renee Y.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

“EQUINOX” - the beautiful heft of the word! Four malleable vowels and two steely consonants, softened slightly by a third. On the fulcrum of a middle “i”, “eqi” pushes for balance against the pressure of “nox”, whose mass bears winter’s weighted threat.

However we may read the word, it spells “change“. Trees put away their lithesome summer greens, like sleeveless tops folded on September’s shelf. Slowly, they wrap within autumn’s deep gold and umber sweaters, trimmed in fragile magenta.   Read More »

September 18, 2014

By Sister Mandy

Serving poor and homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in Middletown, CT. Photo by Bob Walsh

Sister Mandy. Photo by Bob Walsh

During my time in the novitiate I have had the opportunity to experience ministry at Our Lady’s Inn, a women’s shelter in St. Louis, Missouri. I was alone in the kitchen in the morning since I arrive at my current ministry an hour or so before the cook does. I started preparing some side dishes, and while I was cutting up carrots I found my mind wandering through other things. I was not frustrated, but rather amused at how easily I get distracted, even from things I am passionate about, like cooking. As I called my mind back to the present I wondered about what is so spiritual about food. I have often wondered this and occasionally think I might enjoy studying food anthropology. There seems to be a significant connection between us and our food. This moment in the kitchen when I connected with the carrots was a very peace-filled one for me.   Read More »