Search Results for: Becoming a Sister of Mercy

Reflections on Becoming a Catholic Sister

Every woman hears God’s call uniquely. Read our stories of how we became Sisters of Mercy.

Integrating the Vows

October 16, 2019

By Sister Marissa Butler

What started as an ordinary morning visit to the gym ended as a powerful Mercy moment. While putting away my belongings, another gym member was stuffing a backpack, soiled blanket and half bag of cheerios into the next cubby.

He looked familiar. I assumed our paths must have previously crossed at the gym. Throughout my workout, my eyes kept following him. I started to leave, but instead stood by the door interiorly conflicted. The young man was sitting on the floor against a wall, charging his phone. I felt the need to respond, but how? Being a daughter of Catherine McAuley, I imagined what she would do. I heard her voice tell me to offer something to eat, and also to pray for him so his soul was fed, as well.

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Why Are We Called? To Make Mercy Real

March 13, 2019

By Sister Victoria Battell

How, you might ask, did a woman from Sunderland, in the northeast of England, end up doing mission work at Maria College in Albany, New York?

Sister Linda Bechen (left), Marian Standeven (center) and Sister Victoria Battell (right)
Sister Linda Bechen (left), Marian Standeven (center) and Sister Victoria Battell (right)

I believe I was called originally for a different reason from why I’m still in the Sisters of Mercy. I was first drawn to the life of the sisters, the rhythm of prayer and community that I encountered when I entered, in 2005, at home in the U.K. As part of my formation, I was asked to go to Laredo, Texas where the Institute novitiate was located at that time.

I had just made first vows and spent a few months with the community there, living and praying. That was my real initiation into the life of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and it was their expression of religious life and the chance to see their lives from the inside that drew me to them.

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It’s Not About Me

July 11, 2018

By Sister Marissa Butler

Sister Marissa speaks with one of the classes at Blessed Sacrament

Sister Marissa speaks with one of the classes at Blessed Sacrament

I have never been one to like having my picture posted places. Yet, being in formation with the Sisters of Mercy has led to my photo being in newsletters, on Facebook and on posters that are accessible to large groups of people.

My home parish—Blessed Sacrament, in Waterloo, Iowa—has been incredibly supportive of me. When I found out there was a poster of me in the church, I was surprisingly at peace with it. I remembered that my story, in whatever way it is shared, is not about me. It is about God. It is about God using my story to speak to others.

I prayed with this for a while and asked God if there were other ways He wanted to use me. God was quick to respond, because not long after talking to Him I got the idea to visit all the classes at Blessed Sacrament School. Though I was comfortable sharing my story with adults, I had no clue how to talk to a fifth-grader or speak the language of a five-year-old! But I let go of my worries and decided that if my time at the school left an impression on even one child, then it would be well worth it.

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“I Want to Show Joy”—My Journey to Become a Sister of Mercy

November 6, 2017

By Sister Colleen O’Toole

On July 22, 2017 the Sisters of Mercy came together in celebration and prayer as Sister Colleen O’Toole professed first vows as a Sister of Mercy in the chapel at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. She currently ministers as a kindergarten aide in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Colleen reflects here on her journey to Mercy.

What first attracted you to the Sisters of Mercy?

Sister Colleen O’Toole prepares to profess her first vows on July 22 in Erie.

When I was a Mercy Volunteer in Detroit, I worked at Mercy Education Project where I was a GED math teacher for women, and I helped in the after-school program. There were several sisters who also worked there. I didn’t live with any sisters, but they were very supportive of the volunteers and took us out and showed us around. I was very attracted to how authentic the sisters were in their relationships with each other and with the people they served.

In what ways have you grown?

As I have deepened my commitment to Mercy, I find myself becoming more authentic, more honest to my inner self. A friend once told me that “what is attractive to you about other people is what you desire for yourself,” and I think that’s certainly true for me!

Describe what you like most about being a Sister of Mercy?

I love the other sisters; getting to know such a diverse, joyful group of women has been a gift. I love the opportunities to gather with them. … I am constantly grateful to be in such a kind community.

What were your thoughts as you professed first vows?

As I walked down the aisle I saw so many sisters I knew, and I thought of all the times I’ve spent with them and remembered, when I first entered, how it was a chapel full of strangers. It was a very strong moment of community for me. 
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My Students #MakeMercyReal to Me

September 20, 2017

By Meg, Mercy candidate

Meg is a Mercy candidate—one of the steps to become a Sister of Mercy—living in Guyana.

Meg (left) with Sister Sarita Vasquez during a retreat for new members in Belize.

Throughout my journey as a candidate in the past year, I have been touched and humbled by Mercy in many ways. The primary way has been through my students. I teach science at a public secondary school which takes in many of the lowest performing students in the area. A majority of these students come from broken homes, and most already feel defeated in their ability to succeed in life before they step into the school compound. Their lack of confidence and insecurity with academics contributes to some very interesting behaviors in the classroom.

I entered this ministry coming from an experience of teaching at a private, Catholic high school which served students from a middle-to-upper economical background. My experiences and expectations of teaching in a secondary school were deeply challenged by this new ministry, which called me to step into the shoes of my students. Sometimes, I didn’t even know where to begin this process of stepping into their shoes; it was so different from my realities! However, as I began to ask my students about their interests, their families, their homes and their dreams, I got a better glimpse of their lives. The common theme among most students was a lack of stability in their homes and a lack of people to serve as positive role models in their lives. Many had failed in school so many times that by this point in their education, they did not feel competent at anything, and, in a way, believed they never could be.   Read More »

Be You, Be Mercy! Reflections on Mercy Challenge

June 14, 2017

By Amy, Brittany and Alyssa—2017 Mercy Challenge participants

“True mercy is, so to speak, the most profound source of justice. … Mercy that is truly Christian is also … the most perfect incarnation of ‘equality’ between people.” – St. Pope John Paul II

Amy works with two residents at Misericordia.

From May 21 to 26, three young women and four Sisters of Mercy gathered in Chicago, Illinois, for Mercy Challenge. Mercy Challenge provides an opportunity for young women discerning religious life to get to know the diversity of the spirit of Mercy. During the week, the sisters and discerners live together in community and engage with a local ministry. The 2017 Mercy Challenge participants engaged in ministry at Misericordia, a Chicago community for persons who are differently abled.

The witness of mercy at Misericordia is revealed through a model of quality of life, connection, responsibility and spirituality. During our week as discerners and sisters we volunteered at different areas across this 600-resident campus. Accompanied by the residents and staff we worked in the gardens, bakery, laundry, coffee roaster and packaging, art department, recycling, skill development center and classrooms. Daily prayer and mass enriched and strengthened the community to serve and learn from one another.   Read More »

God Had My Attention

May 22, 2017

By Sister Jenny Wilson

Sister Jenny with her former student, Moses, in 2016.

Sister Jenny with her former student, Moses, in 2016.

It is February 2003, and I have been in Guyana for just a few months serving as a member of Mercy Volunteer Corps (MVC). There are many Sisters of Mercy visiting for a conference. I meet some of the sisters and then go home to the volunteer house. I am unaware of how that meeting will have anything to do with my future.

A few months before leaving Guyana in 2005 a few sisters came over to our volunteer house to visit. That morning a small voice from somewhere suggested that maybe I should think about becoming a sister. I promptly pushed that voice away and went on with my day. That night while visiting, the sisters began to tell their vocation stories. I listened patiently while inside I was thinking: “Are you serious God?” I could not ignore how my story had threads of similarities with theirs. Whether I liked it or not, God had my attention. Read More »

The Day I Became a Sister of Mercy

May 9, 2017

By Sister Kristine Violango

Sister Kristine during the singing of the Litany of the Saints. Credit: Claire Khu.

Sister Kristine during the singing of the Litany of the Saints. Credit: Claire Khu.

Saturday, April 22, marked the big day that I’ve been waiting for: I became a full-fledged Sister of Mercy after 11 years of formation and some intensive process and preparation.

In my hometown in Gingoog City, Northern Mindanao, Philippines, at Sta. Rita de Cascia Parish, together with sisters, family, relatives, friends and parishioners, I solemnly professed my perpetual vows with much joy and thanksgiving to God, despite the loss of my Aunt Nenen (my father’s older sister) who had passed away the day before. However, I felt her presence during the ceremony.

That was a twofold blessing: a blessing of surrender to God and a blessing of dedicating myself to God and community. I was trembling with joy when the Litany of the Saints was sung. I felt that all the angels and saints were there.

Find out more about becoming a Sister of Mercy.

Sister Kristine is blessed by Fathers Semeon, Illah and Richie (left) and Sister Pat McDermott, Institute president. Credit: Jose Bollozos

Sister Kristine is blessed by Fathers Semeon, Illah and Richie (left) and Sister Pat McDermott, Institute president. Credit: Jose Bollozos

Sister Kristine kneels before the splendid altar at Sta. Rita de Cascia.

Sister Kristine kneels before the splendid altar at Sta. Rita de Cascia.

Joy and Compassion: My Journey to Become a Sister of Mercy

March 9, 2017

By Sister Barbara Freemyer

I am from Independence, Missouri. I come from a Catholic family including my parents, five brothers and one sister. I am number six out of seven, and I have 18 nieces and nephews and more than 10 great-nieces and great-nephews!

Sister Barbara Freemyer (1982), a few years after she entered the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Barbara Freemyer (1982), a few years after she entered the Sisters of Mercy.

We lived around the corner from my grade school, the Mercy Convent, so I grew up with the Sisters of Mercy who taught me in grade school as well as high school. I watched these joyful women minister to the families and students as they joined in the parish activities that surrounded me on a daily basis. I was able to pay attention at an early age to what was occurring around me—the joy and compassion that I witnessed. I knew that God was going to ask something different of me. I did not know what it would be, but I seemed to know it was not going to be marriage.

A Family that Prays Together

My family was very active within parish life. My brothers all served at the Liturgy. I began to wonder why I could not serve on the altar! We prayed together as a family and we spent time praying the rosary, even with my grandparents. My mother had a deep devotion to Mary, and we would talk about that relationship.

I went on to high school where I became even closer to the Sisters of Mercy as teachers. Again, their compassion and joy kept me coming back to my own question as to how I might serve. My heart continued to speak to me about ministry while I went on with my life of dating and being active in high school.   Read More »

Life with Mercy Adds Up to Joy

January 19, 2017

By Beth Rogers Thompson

1.Mark Paterniti, senior accountant at Mercy Administration Center, delivers checks for processing to Sister Joann.

Mark Paterniti, senior accountant at Mercy Administration Center, delivers checks for processing to Sister Joann.

Although Sister Joann Ury grew up Catholic and had only one lay teacher during 12 years of Catholic school in Ottawa, Ohio, she didn’t seriously consider religious vocation until later in life.

“The sisters [Sisters of the Most Precious Blood] talked to us in high school about vocations, and I thought about it,” she says, “but the term ‘discernment’ was never used back then; it was all about sacrificing. Where’s the joy?”

Instead, she began a career in accounting and married a broadcast journalist. After he died 17 years later at age 43, she overheard someone at a prayer meeting talking about vocations. “I thought, if not now, it’s going to be too late.”

By then, she had held several accounting positions and even had started her own bookkeeping business in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the couple had moved from Ohio, hoping the warmer climate would be better for her husband’s health.   Read More »