Connect with Mercy

The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 2: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

February 21, 2018

By Sister Patricia Cook, RSM

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Reflection

Back in the 1990s when my prison ministry brought me to a men’s maximum security prison as a chaplain, I served for 12 happy years, trying to make Mercy real in a cold and dreadful atmosphere. On Friday mornings, we met for Bible Study and Meditation. “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”—this passage from Luke’s Gospel, recounting the second word of Jesus from the cross, quickly became a favorite of mine. No other scriptural reference related better to the longings and experience of the inmates.

There was Bernie, who asked me if I really believed that God could still be that merciful. And then there was Jake, who proclaimed loudly to the whole group that he would never trust this story if he had not seen it in his Bible with his own two eyes. No wonder I felt more like a real Sister of Mercy there, teaching, proclaiming the absolute, unconditional love of our merciful God.

Meditation

Tradition has nicknamed Dismas, the man beside Jesus on the cross, the “Good Thief”—the one who stole heaven, the one who heard a promise right from the lips of a dying Jesus.

Happily, the Bible is the “Living Word” of God, not a collection of ancient stories!   Read More »

Las Últimas Siete Palabras de Jesús – Semana 2: “Yo te aseguro: Hoy estarás conmigo en el Paraíso”.

February 21, 2018

Por la Hermana Patricia Cook, RSM

A través de esta temporada de Cuaresma, nuestro blog promocionará reflexiones semanales publicadas cada miércoles sobre las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús-las palabras finales de Jesús en la cruz. Miren la serie entera del blog.

Ver e imprimir esta reflexión como un formato de documento portátil.

Reflexión

 

En la década de 1990 cuando mi ministerio de prisiones me llevó a una cárcel de máxima seguridad para hombres como capellana, serví durante 12 años felices, tratando de encarnar la Misericordia en un ambiente frío y atroz. Los viernes por la mañana, nos reuníamos para el estudio bíblico y la meditación. “Yo te aseguro: Hoy estarás conmigo en el Paraíso” -este pasaje del Evangelio de Lucas que relata la segunda palabra de Jesús desde la cruz, se convirtió rápidamente en uno de mis favoritos. Ninguna otra referencia bíblica se relacionaba mejor con los anhelos y experiencia de los reclusos.

Estaba Bernie, que me preguntaba si realmente creía que Dios todavía podía ser tan misericordioso. Y luego Jake, que proclamaba en voz alta a todo el grupo que él nunca confiaría en esta historia si no la hubiera visto en su Biblia con sus propios ojos. No es de extrañar que me sintiera más como una verdadera Hermana de Misericordia allí, enseñando, proclamando el amor absoluto e incondicional de nuestro Dios misericordioso.

Meditación

La tradición ha apodado Dismas, al hombre junto a Jesús en la cruz, el “Buen Ladrón” -el que se ganó el cielo, aquel que escuchó una promesa desde los labios de un Jesús moribundo.

¡Felizmente, la Biblia es la “palabra viva” de Dios, no una colección de historias antiguas!

Así que, ven mi querido/a lector/a; en este momento, por favor reúnete conmigo, humildemente, reverentemente, en silencio, en oración, allí en la colina del Calvario.

Usando nuestras imaginaciones llenas de fe, vamos a atrevernos a entrar en esta escena. Estremezcámonos con la atmósfera desgarradora. Estén allí junto a su madre María, su querida amiga María Magdalena y las otras mujeres fieles, todas en amorosa fidelidad, envueltas en el dolor.

Pausa. Respira. Reflexiona sobre las triples cruces de la humillación pública, con un iracundo cielo como telón de fondo. Acércate más. Escucha la conversación de los condenados crucificados. Un ladrón se burla con escarnio furioso. El otro ladrón es incrédulo y defensivo. Ambos se vuelven hacia Jesús en el centro, y uno se atreve a preguntar: “Jesús, acuérdate de mí cuando entres a tu reino”. La respuesta de Jesús resuena desde la colina y hace eco por todo el mundo, a través de los siglos, hasta este momento, la promesa de perdón amoroso y misericordioso:

“Yo te aseguro: Hoy estarás conmigo en el Paraíso”.

No es de extrañar que San Juan de la Cruz escribiera:

“Cuando tú me mirabas
Su gracia en mí tus ojos imprimían;
así me amabas,
y en eso merecían
los míos adorar lo que en ti veían”.

Invitación

A medida que hoy continuamos encarnando más la Misericordia, cada una en nuestros propios círculos de influencia, recordemos la regla original de las Hermanas de la Misericordia de las Américas -nosotras estamos “fundadas en el Calvario, allí para servir a un Redentor crucificado”. Así lo dijo nuestra fundadora Catalina McAuley.

Eso decimos con nuestras decisiones, nuestros proyectos, nuestras preocupaciones por las necesidades más apremiantes de nuestro tiempo y nuestro compromiso con la vida. No podemos hacer todo, pero podemos hacer algo y podemos hacerlo hoy. Vamos a contemplar más profundamente la agitación en lo hondo del espíritu que habita dentro, llamándonos a llevar Misericordia a este día, aquí y ahora.

Detente. Respira. Pausa. Planifica. Desde tu corazón, haz algo misericordioso y hazlo hoy.

Arte de la Hermana Genemarie Beegan

The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 1: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

February 14, 2018

By Sister Sheila Carney

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."Many years ago I had the opportunity to attend the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia. The version of the Lord’s Prayer chosen for the liturgy was from the Aboriginal tradition. Instead of “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” they prayed, “Others have done wrong to us and we are sorry for them today.”

These words tell us how forgiveness works on us. When we are able to forgive, we not only put the past, with its hurts, behind us, but we also find compassion in the space where we had been holding on to our hurts. We extend loving forgiveness to another because “they know not what they do,” or because their regret touches our hearts, or because we don’t want to carry the burden of an unforgiving heart. Perhaps our readiness to forgive comes sooner than the readiness to ask for forgiveness, or the other way around. In either case, the words of Jesus on the cross—”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”-and the words of the Lord’s prayer call us to stretch out our hands to those who have hurt us and help them across the threshold of mercy, that door we have pledged to hold ajar.   Read More »

Las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús – Semana 1: “Padre, perdónalos porque no saben lo que hacen”.

February 14, 2018

Por la Hermana Sheila Carney

A través de esta temporada de Cuaresma, nuestro blog promocionará reflexiones semanales publicadas cada miércoles sobre las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús-las palabras finales de Jesús en la cruz. Miren la serie entera del blog.

Ver e imprimir esta reflexión como PDF.

Meditación

"Padre, perdonales porque no saber lo que hacer."

Hace muchos años tuve la oportunidad de asistir a la celebración del 150º aniversario de las Hermanas de la Misericordia en Australia. La versión del Padrenuestro, escogida para la liturgia proviene de la tradición aborigen. En lugar de “perdónanos nuestras ofensas como perdonamos a quienes nos ofenden”, oraron “otros nos han hecho mal y hoy lo sentimos por ellos”.

Estas palabras nos dicen cómo el perdón funciona en nosotros. Cuando somos capaces de perdonar, no sólo dejamos el pasado atrás, con sus heridas, sino que también encontramos compasión en el espacio donde nos habíamos aferrado a nuestras heridas. Extendemos el perdón amoroso a otros porque “ellos no saben lo que hacen”, o porque su arrepentimiento toca nuestros corazones, o porque no queremos llevar la carga de un corazón implacable. Tal vez nuestra disposición a perdonar venga antes que la disposición a pedir perdón, o al revés. En cualquier caso, las palabras de Jesús en la Cruz -“Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen”- y las del Padrenuestro nos llaman a extender nuestras manos a quienes nos han herido y a ayudarles a cruzar el umbral de la misericordia, esa puerta la cual hemos prometido mantener entreabierta.   Read More »

Introduction: The Seven Last Words of Jesus

February 7, 2018

By Sister Karen Dunville

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Jesus, Word of God, gave us words of wisdom filled with hope and spoken from his heart. His words provide the truth about the meaning of life, which is love. The often-quoted words of Jesus call us to pray and to act with love.

Lent is a season to go deeper into our minds and hearts to draw us closer to the realization of God’s presence in our lives. Jesus’ final words, spoken to us as his human life was ending, help us better understand God’s love for us. His last words show us human pain and suffering, and they promise that God’s love is the source of life.

Throughout this Lenten season, our Sisters of Mercy blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the seven last words of Jesus:

  • Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
  • Today you will be with me in paradise.
  • Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  • I thirst.
  • It is finished.
  • Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

May each of us find inspiration to love God and to love others as we reflect on Jesus’ last words.

Introducción: Las Siete Últimas Palabras de Jesús

February 7, 2018

Por la Hermana Karen Dunville

Ver e imprimir esta reflexión como PDF.

Jesús, Palabra de Dios, danos palabras de sabiduría llenas de esperanza y habladas desde su corazón. Sus palabras proveen la verdad del significado de la vida, que es amor. Las palabras de Jesús, citadas a menudo, nos llaman a orar y a actuar con amor.

La Cuaresma es la temporada para profundizar nuestras mentes y corazones con el fin de acercarnos a la realización de la presencia de Dios en nuestras vidas. Las últimas palabras de Jesús, que nos dijo a punto de expirar su vida humana, nos ayudan a comprender mejor el amor de Dios por nosotras/os. Sus últimas palabras nos muestran el dolor y sufrimiento humano, y prometen que el amor de Dios es la fuente de la vida.

Durante esta temporada de Cuaresma, el blog de nuestras Hermanas de la Misericordia ofrecerá reflexiones semanales publicadas cada miércoles sobre las siete últimas palabras de Jesús:

  • Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen.
  • Yo te aseguro: hoy estarás conmigo en el Paraíso.
  • Mujer, ahí tienes a tu hijo. Hijo ahí tienes a tu madre.
  • ¡Dios mío, Dios mío!, ¿por qué me has abandonado?
  • Tengo sed.
  • Todo está cumplido.
  • Padre, en tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu.

Que cada una/o de nosotras/os encuentre inspiración para amar a Dios y amar a los demás mientras meditamos en las últimas palabras de Jesús.

Globetrotting Sister Applies International Insights to Mission Work

February 1, 2018

By Karel Lucander

Sister Cheryl Erb at Mercy Health, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sister Cheryl Erb is senior vice president of mission integration with Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“No matter where we reside, each day we welcome the same sun and the same moon. This presence of God puts us in solidarity, even with everyone around the globe,” Sister Cheryl Erb says.

“Beyond the mystique of the mist and the effervescence of the people of Ireland; beyond the desert beauty and the innately religious persona of India … there exists a hunger, a search and a desire to enliven one’s religious experience and connect the word of God to everyday life.”

Ministered Across Continents

After teaching high school for 27 years, Sister Cheryl traveled throughout the world-to Ireland, Slovakia, Africa, India, New Zealand, and other countries-ministering for 12 years with RENEW International to rejuvenate Catholic communities. She then began ministering in health care. These previous ministries provided valuable insight and honed leadership skills for her current role as senior vice president of mission integration with Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“One of the subjects I taught in high school was cultural anthropology. Who would have thought this high school teacher would then be in the bush of Africa, living and working among the people? It was very transformative,” Sister Cheryl says. “I think it has helped my ability to create meaningful relationships.”   Read More »

My Response to the Global Cry for Justice

January 30, 2018

By Sharon Durham, Mercy Associate

Since childhood, I have used my voice to challenge injustice. This month of January 2018 found me actively involved and present-along with many women, men and children-on behalf of the vision of a more just world.

Mercy Associate Sharon Durham

Sharon Durham at the Women’s March in Philadelphia.

Unity Week

On the official day of recognition of the life and mission of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., a community coalition of which I am a member in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, held its 14th Annual Unity Week Event. The event invites county residents to visit churches, synagogues, mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples throughout the county in order to learn about the faith traditions of our neighbors. During these gatherings, stories of discrimination, fear of deportation policies, and the challenges of our neighbors who are drug-addicted, hungry and/or experiencing sexual abuse had a safe place to be heard, along with songs, prayers and hope for a better tomorrow. Children could be found at every event, singing, praying and “breaking bread” with each other and with their adult neighbors.

Women’s March

On January 20, with my peanut butter sandwich in hand, I joined legions of women headed to downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend my second Women’s March. (Washington, D.C. in January 2017 was my first.) I found this year’s event to be somewhat more inclusive of women of color, women with disabilities, women who are LGBTQIA and women who identify as conservative. Organizers of the march acknowledged the internalized white superiority so present in last year’s event and expressed a commitment to reach beyond it. I was encouraged by their awakening, as I believe that all voices are critical to the success of our efforts. I hope we can find a way to bridge this void in the coming months and years.   Read More »

The Undeniable Power of Music

January 24, 2018

By Sister Mary Jo Baldus

Sister Mary Jo Baldus with her harp.

Sister Mary Jo and her harp.

I am a registered music therapist and provide music therapy services for many organizations in the greater Winona, Minnesota, area. I play guitar or harp and go out in the community, using many percussion instruments, voices and movement to encourage people of all ages to engage and participate in the musical experience.

After ministering as a music educator and a director of music and liturgy in Iowa, Montana and Wisconsin, I realized the undeniable power of music. This drew me to music therapy, because I realized that music does not only bring people together, but also it has the potential of healing and putting people back together in many ways. One powerful use of music therapy is with Winona Area Hospice where I work with patients and their families.

My ministry as a music therapist provides me a front row seat for reaching out in compassion, care and mercy for those most vulnerable in the Winona community. Not a day goes by that I am not overwhelmed with opportunities for kindness, patience and understanding as I work with those in need of some joy in living.

It is my pleasure, my privilege and my saving grace to be called to this Mercy ministry of music therapy. Oh, yes, and it is a very joyful way to minister! I am one lucky Sister of Mercy!

Sister Mary Jo plays the harp while her niece accompanies her on violin.

Sister Mary Jo plays the harp while her niece accompanies her on violin.

Empowering Immigrants—Mercy Funds at Work

January 23, 2018

By Sarah Smith, director, Mercy Partnership Fund

Children and staff at the ARWO Learning Center in Portland, Maine. Credit: Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

Children and staff at the ARWO Learning Center in Portland, Maine. Credit: Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

Imagine being an immigrant trying to settle into a new country and community. Learning a new language, finding work and developing relationships in your new home can be a challenge. Alain and Damas are two immigrants from the neighboring nations of Burundi and Rwanda who recognized the need for a collaborative, empowering space to support the immigrant community in Portland, Maine.

The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center

With technical assistance from Genesis Community Loan Fund, their vision of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center came to fruition in the summer of 2017. The modern center promotes civic engagement, language acquisition and economic inclusion among the thriving immigrant community. Alain and Damas envision the center as a hub for immigrant entrepreneurs, who create 25 percent of all new businesses nationally. Immigrants can access customized digital language learning curriculum, business training and technical assistance, as well as workspace, to establish their own small businesses.

Read More »