Exploring Mercy’s Presence—Together, Apart, Globally

December 1, 2020

By The Institute Mercy Global Presence Planning Team

All borders have been virtually disappeared and contested by the pandemic event of 2020. And at the same time, Mercy Global Presence is alive and well as always and as never before!

The Mercy Global Presence logo image.

That’s because of the continued commitment of Mercy sisters, associates and co-workers to being fully present and responsive to our suffering world. It’s also due to a new way to reflect and share together on that commitment across many governance structures and time zones through the wonders of technology.

Mercy International Association describes Mercy Global Presence as “an organic entity and a countercultural sign in a globalized world which has made more extreme the displacement of persons and degradation of Earth.” Mercys from 12 different congregations, institutes and federations are now exploring this in greater depth through theological reflection, poems, artwork, grassroots ministry experiences and a systemic change lens.

It wasn’t until the pandemic, though, that we began to see possibilities for enlarging the conversations around these resources beyond the small groups we were used to gathering with in our living rooms. We realized that we could welcome anyone connected to Mercy—from anywhere and anyplace—to join us. And join us they have, with more than 1,000 people from 19 countries participating in a total of 13 videoconference gatherings since August.

Below, four sisters share how these gatherings have been enriching for them.

“Ever since I entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, I have been fascinated by two things: the extent to which Catherine McAuley’s foundations circle the globe, and a similarity I have found among the sisters. The Sisters of Mercy thrive as a global community today, even without benefit of a central government or common constitution. We do not have to become one to be one.”

— Sister Julia Upton

“Hearing voices from around the world, sensing our oneness, being drawn to others’ prayed-over and lived perspectives … all this seemed to invite me to savor the richness found in each person and to broaden my vision through hearing the insights of others and being able to share my own. After the first session, I knew it had been a sacred moment, and it left me with a strong desire to return for the next session to glean from the richness of our international mercy voices.”

— Sister Katie Mindling

“To participate in this initiative really filled my soul in a variety of ways! These conversations/gatherings allowed me to awaken many of my senses, inviting me to look deeper into each topic/moment with different lenses. I’m reminded of an expression, “listening with the ear of the heart,” because these sharings allowed for moments of transformation in my head and heart thinking, especially facing the realities and experiences of others impacted by COVID. Our conversations deepened my awareness of the Critical Concerns and their effect on the global community. These conversations leave me with many questions and ongoing reflections on my life in Mercy and my calling in response to the social injustices in our world!”

— Sister Claudia Ward

“Simply seeing the words on the invitation—“Mercy Global Presence”—made me want to register. I was not disappointed but rather enriched, accompanied and challenged at each of our recent gatherings. I kind of liked playing with a saying I think is familiar to most, and giving it a Mercy twist: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere in the world” has a whole new meaning when I gratefully remember that while some of us rest, in another part of the world someone is answering the door, warming the coffee, extending a hand. The timeless Circle of Mercy that knows no borders!”

— Sister Anne Connolly

If you would like more information on upcoming Mercy Global Presence international gatherings, please email justice@sistersofmercy.org

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  1. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM

    I echo the sentiments above. ‘Meeting’ one another globally is an unexpected gift of this pandemic.