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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

February 26, 2021

For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Erencia Saipweirik

“Meek” is defined in one dictionary as enduring injury with patience and without resentment. It also says that meekness is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. We often think meekness is synonymous with weakness, but the third Beatitude tells us otherwise.

Like the other Beatitudes, this one is about Jesus himself, the meek one. Jesus must have considered meekness as one of his most treasured qualities, for he tells us to learn from him, who is meek and humble of heart.

For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration

Being meek, according to Jesus, is not to lack courage; it is not to be weak or to be a pushover. Meekness is not a lack of confidence in judgement, and it is not cowardice. It is not indifference, nor is it a go-along-to-get-along kind of attitude. To be meek is to have controlled strength, controlled power. Meekness is like a cool breeze that brings refreshing air to one’s face, even though we know a full-force wind can do catastrophic damage. It is a comforting medicine that brings relief and healing, although to abuse medication can cause great harm. It is a wild animal that is tamed and trained to be useful or helpful where once it was dangerous.

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Blessed Are They Who Mourn, for They Will Be Comforted

February 23, 2021

For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Diane Swanson

Inevitably, we all feel the pain of loss. Disease, old age, death. Anger, hurt, betrayal. Separation, the unfamiliar. We become frightened, anxious. 

I think of Luke 2:41–51: “Each year, Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, and when Jesus was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom. After they completed its days, as they were returning, Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it. After three days of searching, they found him in the temple. ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety. …’” The passage ends, “His mother kept all these things in her heart.”


For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration.

I believe Jesus did, too. I believe Mary and Joseph must have shared with Jesus their journey to Bethlehem, some of the circumstances surrounding his birth, the need to travel to Egypt, their fear when they thought they had lost him. 

Jesus experienced the depth and fullness of human emotion. He understood their fear and anxiety.  

What can be learned from fear and anxiety? 

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Ash Wednesday: The Slow Journey Towards the Future

February 16, 2021

For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Theresa Lowe Ching

Our Ash Wednesday reflection begins as follows:

“Even now, says the LORD,
    return to me with your whole heart,
    with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
    and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
    slow to anger, rich in kindness,
    and relenting in punishment.”

(Joel 2:12–18)


For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration.

In a similar vein, Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM, in her book, Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems and Reflections for Every Season, writes: “It is essential that we are reminded often that each human being is our sister or our brother. It is the message that Jesus taught so long ago. It is an ageless teaching and we are always in need of re-learning and living the message. Lent is a good time to re-enter the heart of this teaching.”

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Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit: A Letter from Jesus

February 9, 2021

For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.


By Sister Lillian Jordan

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

Years ago, I had just begun my public life, after having been baptized by my cousin John in the Jordan. Peter, his brother Andrew, and James and John—the sons of Zebedee—had responded to my call and had left everything to accompany me on my mission to teach, to heal and to preach the Good News of God’s reign.

A large crowd gathered, curious to see who I was and what I was doing. In response, I climbed a nearby hillside and began to preach. I longed to touch their hearts and teach them about my unconditional love. I yearned to show them the attitudes of spirit that could guide their lives and bring them peace. The heart of my sermon that day, and the path to life, has come to be called the Beatitudes.


For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration.

The first, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” is foundational to discipleship. It calls you to count nothing as your own, to empty yourself of self-centeredness, and, in simplicity and humility, to recognize that the gifts you are given are given to be shared. Living well the first Beatitude is to intentionally, prayerfully turn your heart to being filled with my Spirit, alive and active in you, shaping you to be all you can be for my people—all people.

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Easter Sunday

April 11, 2020

By Sister Patty Cook

Once upon a time our Institute of Mercy was “founded on Calvary,

there to serve a crucified Redeemer.” 

So said our Catherine.

So said our Holy Rule.

Ah, but that was then: the nexus, the Calvary moment,

a Good Friday that was never a Bad Friday.

Then, immediately after Calvary and the tomb,

came the explosion beyond boundaries.


Mary of Magdala was the first, a solo witness,

at the dim dawn of the day,

with hardly enough light to determine what was lurking,

who was there in the shadows.

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Jesus Takes Up The Cross

The Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Stations: Jesus Dies, Is Taken Down from the Cross and Placed in the Tomb

April 7, 2020

By Sister Helen Amos

Years ago, at an Ash Wednesday Mass, the homilist made a lasting impression on me by observing that Lent is meant to interrupt us, to stop us in our tracks and direct our focus to mysteries that run beneath the preoccupations of our daily routines. So, this year as usual, we began the holy season signing our foreheads with ashes and being reminded of the dust-to-dust nature of our earthly journey.

Now that Lent is drawing to a close, the liturgy offers us not ashes but palm branches as symbolic accompaniment to the Gospel account of Jesus’ final days on Earth. This, too, should stop us in our tracks: The passion and death of Jesus are not pious abstractions but historical facts. Our belief in the incarnation, coupled with the reality of Jesus’ death on the cross, reveals that God is with us as a fellow traveler, sharing our finitude, our dust-to-dust destiny. Having been schooled in the primacy of the resurrection, we may be tempted to give the stark fact of Jesus’ death less attention than it deserves.

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Are You a Member of a Community of Conscience?

April 3, 2020

By Sister Jeanne Christensen

The readings for the Palm Sunday liturgy are familiar to all of us. Most familiar is Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Because of my advocacy against human trafficking, the analogy between untying the donkey and colt and untying or unbinding persons who are trafficked is real.

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Jesus Takes Up The Cross

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of his Clothing

March 31, 2020

By Sister Rita Valade

When I pondered the Tenth Station of the Cross as a child, I recall shuddering at the humiliation of being naked in front of everyone. Was it not enough to beat Jesus? Why did the mean soldiers do that? As I matured, my sensibility dulled to the humiliation of being stripped. I guess I moved into a more metaphorical interpretation of being stripped of my various facades and defenses. However, whenever I hear of refugees being stripped of their belongings, prisoners stripped and water-boarded, women trafficked for sex or anytime people are forced into being naked against their will, I once again find myself pondering this 10th Station.

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Jesus Takes Up The Cross

The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Is Forced to Help Jesus Carry the Cross

March 24, 2020

By Sister Lisa Mary McCartney

Have you ever thanked a friend for sharing her suffering and pain with you? Recently, a woman in dire emotional and physical pain questioned why I carried her—what did she ever give me, essentially, and what good was she to me, or to anyone? Anxiously, I tried to affirm her, referring to her intelligence, insight, honesty, resiliency, generosity, sense of responsibility and humor.

Only later did I realized I had not touched on the greatest gift she has given to me, one that has come with the black cloud that has hung over her longer than the 20 years we have known each other. Our friendship, no doubt, began the day she walked into my office and asked, “How do you forgive?” She has tested my beliefs, my ideas, my prejudices, my articulation, my patience, my comfort. In sum, she has challenged my very self to be real and to be wary of those quick spiritual and theological responses.

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Jesus Takes Up The Cross

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother, Veronica and the Weeping Women of Jerusalem

March 17, 2020

By Sister Honora Nicholson

Someone recently wrote in a blog, “It is hard to suffer with others.” The writer was referring to the challenging nature of accompanying migrants while they navigate the treacherous waters of the asylum system. She spoke of this role as providing an empathetic presence to the migrant person, who most often is feeling a sense of helplessness, powerlessness, sadness and fear. It’s a role, she says, that is never about taking away the pain or solving the problem, but rather of “being with,” of holding the pain with the person.

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