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.

Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

Vocations: Everyone Has a Role to Play

March 26, 2015

By Sister Doris Gottemoeller


Just a few of the many who support women on the path to becoming Sisters of Mercy! Front row, from left: Sisters Dale J., Cynthia S. and Natalie R. Back row, from left: Sister Kathy S., Mercy Associate Angie G. and Sisters Rayleen G. and Patty M.

Recently we hosted five novices from our Mercy novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri, here in Cincinnati, Ohio; they were in town for a workshop.  What a joy it was to share meals and conversation with this spirited group of young women!

Additionally, earlier this year I was in Jamaica and had dinner one evening with six sisters in various stages of incorporation or transfer.  Again, what a joy it was to look around the table and see Mercy alive in this youthful group. And in our chapel I see each day the poster with the pictures of the 24 women currently in some stage of incorporation into our Mercy community.  These are all signs of life and of the enduring call to Mercy.  In fact, Pope Francis has just called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Maybe we should ask him to join our vocation team!   Read More »

Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

Living Faith with Laughter, Compassion and Chocolate

February 27, 2015

By Katie Fiermonti

This article was originally published as “Sister Amy Hoey, R.S.M.” in Parable, January/February 2015 issue

Sister Amy

Sister Amy Hoey (photo by Charlene Graham)

On the night before Sister Amy Hoey, R.S.M., became a postulant back in 1952, she ate a big lobster dinner, worrying that once she entered the Sisters of Mercy she wouldn’t eat lobster again. Now, more than 60 years later, she says she shouldn’t have worried. “It was a big shift in my life, but I felt I was at home. Thanks be to God, that’s where I continue to be,” she says. “And I’ve had lobster since then.”

Sister Amy, at 84, lives her faith with a lot of compassion and laughter. And chocolate, she’ll tell you. She is a joyful, driven member of the Sisters of Mercy order, a religious community founded in Ireland in 1827 by Catherine McAuley to serve the poor, sick, and uneducated. Mercy nuns are dedicated to social and political justice, especially focusing on the needs of women and children, healthcare, and the environment.

Religious sisters made a lasting impression on Sister Amy when she was growing up in East Boston. “It was a Catholic world,” she remembers. “I loved the sisters I had as teachers. They were first rate. I love that they prayed together and that they laughed together.”   Read More »

Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

What These 397 Incredible Days Have Meant: Reflection on Novitiate Life

February 20, 2015

By Sister Mandy

Editor’s Note: The novitiate phase of becoming a Sister of Mercy is divided into two parts. The first year (canonical year) is an intense period of discernment while you engage in prayer, study the vows, minister with other novices and continue to live in community. The second (apostolic year) includes more ministerial involvement and a deepening awareness of God’s call in you. Sister Mandy reflects here on her transition between these two years of her novitiate. 

Mandy’s space at the novitiate reflects her love of cycling and drawing.

Mandy’s space at the novitiate reflects her love of cycling and drawing.

Prophetic witness seems like such a huge part of life as a Sister of Mercy to me, and it scares me a bit. I so resist the idea that as a sister I need to be presentable at all times, that I need to be patient, and that people will not always accept anger as a reasonable emotion from me. I do not like the idea that as a sister I will be expected to be wise, learned and a theologian. I do not feel prepared for this burden; I do not feel equipped for this call. I do, however, feel called to be something different, to step out of life as we know it, out of the rat race, and by so doing to say to the world, “Hey, there is another way!” Or in the immortal words of Olaf, the magical snowman is Disney’s Frozen, when his friends were faced with an impossible mountain climb: “Not sure if this is going to solve your problem but I found a staircase that leads exactly where you wanted to go.”

Like Olaf I may not have the gifts the world is looking for, but I might have the gifts that are needed, enough to cause ripples if I dare to rock the boat. I do not always see in me the gifts I see in other Sisters of Mercy, and I do not know for certain that courage—a trait I see in many others—is one of my gifts. I am, however, beginning to see some of my own gifts emerge, and they enable me to be something different than what the world has already chosen.   Read More »

Wake up the World! 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life.

The Gaze of Jesus: Where a Vocation Begins

January 26, 2015

By Sister Jean Evans

This article first appeared in Catholic San Francisco, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California.

Author’s Note: Last July I was very struck by an article, “Vocation is Born from a Gaze,” written by Fr. Manuel Joao Correia, Comboni Missionary, which appeared in their June-July issue of WORLDWIDE. I want to acknowledge his inspiration. “Vocation is Born from a Gaze” gave me so much to reflect on and I wanted to share something from Fr. Correia’s beautiful meditation on vocation.

Christ, c.1648/50 (oil on oak panel)

Head of Christ, c.1648/50 (oil on oak panel), Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-69) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA / Founders Society Purchase / Bridgeman Images

The Dutch master Rembrandt painted many images of Gospel scenes. Maybe you are familiar with the beautiful painting of the “Prodigal Son” in which the father embraces his young troubled son with great compassion and love. The image of Jesus above is one of Rembrandt’s paintings called the “Head of Christ.” This painting evokes something extraordinary in the glance of Jesus. It is not a composed, confident savior whom we see, but someone who looks deeply concerned by the other person or people whom he sees. This is the Jesus who attracted followers, who healed the sick, who forgave sinners. He saw people and they followed him (Mark 1:16-20).

Pope Francis is someone who has been touched by the gaze of the Lord. That powerful gaze can be the call to vocation today. One of his most beautiful reflections focuses on the gaze of the Lord and its effects on the heart of Matthew the tax collector. The Gospel story tells us: “As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). The man who was to become St. Matthew walked off his job to follow Jesus.

Father Manuel Correia, a Comboni missionary tells us that the Gospel says nothing about the face of Jesus – his features, the color of his hair or eyes, but often speaks of his gaze. The way Jesus looked at people communicated feelings and emotions that words cannot convey. A simple glance and exchange of looks changed everything for Matthew as it did for all the Apostles, who left everything and followed Jesus.   Read More »

Helping others experience spiritual growth and rejuvenation 

January 15, 2015

By Karel B. Lucander

To an impressionable 13-year-old girl, the first glimpse of her high-school principal in traditional habit floating up an ornately carved school stairway was intriguing. Who was that vision and what did she do? Soon enough, young Suzanne Stalm would discover the answer to that question as well as being showered with the kindly attention of her teachers, also Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Suzanne (center) consults with Sister Beth Higgins (left), community life coordinator of Mercy Convent, and Greg McGill, retirement convent administrator. 

Sister Suzanne (center) consults with Sister Beth Higgins (left), community life coordinator of Mercy Convent, and Greg McGill, retirement convent administrator.

Now, fast-forward nearly 50 years. More than intrigued, Sister Suzanne Stalm followed in their footsteps, entering the Sisters of Mercy at age 18 on September 8, 1965, professing first vows in August 1968 and making final vows July 29, 1973.

“As I reflect back, I see a very shy and frightened child with a little courage grow into an adult who knows how very much God loves her. When we made final vows, we chose a quote to go inside our rings. I chose the words ‘yes forever’ as the obvious expression of what I was doing. But mostly I held in my heart that God had already said ‘yes forever’ to me,” says Sister Suzanne. Read More »

A New Sister, A Silver Jubilee, and 50 Years in Peru

January 14, 2015

By Sister Judy C. and Sister Gloria M.

December 13, 2014, marked the 50th anniversary of Sisters of Mercy traveling from Burlingame, California, to minister in Acora, Puno, Peru, on the edge of Lake Titicaca—located at an altitude of 12,500 feet in the southern Andes Mountains.

names 64-2009

Mercy’s history in Peru began in 1964. To honor the 50th anniversary, sisters held signs with the names of those who went to serve in Peru during those years.

In 1964, the Sisters of Mercy responded to the call of Pope Saint John XXIII, who asked that religious communities send 10 percent of their membership to Latin America. We were young and inexperienced and were fortunate to work closely with the fathers and sisters from the Maryknoll religious community who were called and trained for mission work. Through education, pastoral work, social work and health care, we ministered with the Aymara people—the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains—and learned a great deal from their rich heritage and wisdom rooted in a culture that predates that of the Inca Empire.

Several years after we arrived, young Aymara women were asking to join the Sisters of Mercy and in 1989 we received our first candidate: Sister Carmen Rosa C. This year marked not only the 50th anniversary of our work in Peru, therefore, but also Sister Carmen Rosa’s Silver Jubilee—25 years as a Sister of Mercy.

There was something else to celebrate, too—Sister Biviana E. made her final vows as a Sister of Mercy.   Read More »

“Nothing is Ever Lost” – Reflection on Episodes 5 & 6 of “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns”

December 23, 2014

By Sister Megan B.

DiscernmentIn one of the last scenes in “The Sisterhood,” Sister Cecilia, a young Sister of St. Joseph the Worker, spoke directly to the camera and said that even if someone leaves the community after entering into a period of discernment, “nothing is ever lost.” That sentiment was echoed by each of the young women in her own way during last night’s final episode. Indeed, that sentiment was echoed, each in her own way, by Sister Maria Therese, Sister Beth Ann, Mother Mark and Mother Christina. Most importantly, that sentiment is brought to its fullness by our God who says to us over and over again, “Nothing is ever lost.”

I think it is fitting that this reality show was aired during the Advent season. In this time of celebration of the Incarnation, I find solace in French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “By virtue of the creation and even more by the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane to those who know how to see.” So, despite the drama and the hype, the tears and the confrontations, the confusion and misunderstandings, despite it all and within it all, God is present to those who know how to see.

God is present, indeed, in the warmth of each of the sisters and their obvious love for their communities and in their genuine concern for each of the young women. And, God is present in our midst … in this Year of Consecrated Life and in the hearts of those who desire to walk with us in the way of Mercy.

So, as Sister Beth Ann said when Christie requested to talk with Sister Rita: “Stop the cameras.  This is not for filming.” So true, for who can film the mysterious workings of God?

For more, read our previous blogs by Sisters on “The Sisterhood” . Or Learn more about becoming a Sister of Mercy.


Nothing is Lost in Discernment– Reflection on Episodes 5 & 6 of “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns”

December 17, 2014

By Sister Cynthia

Women on Lifetime's "The Sisterhood"

Women on Lifetime’s “The Sisterhood”

Those of us who have persevered through to the last episode of “The Sisterhood” on Lifetime now know what happened at the end of the six weeks of “discernment” for the young women on the show. Yet this morning, as I recounted what happened to another sister, I realized how little we actually know about how things will turn out in one or two years. That’s the thing about discernment. It keeps going. In fact, our whole life, particularly the spiritual side of us, is continually discerning. That doesn’t mean we can’t make a life decision. People do every day. But a discerning life means regularly touching in with our heart, and that means faithful contact with our good God, who works in that mysterious place in us that we call heart. That regular contact insures that when a decision is called for, we are ready.
Read More »

How Do I Know I Belong? – Reflection on Episodes 3 & 4 of “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns”

December 10, 2014

By Sister Cynthia

cc license (BY NC) image shared by Duncan Rawlinson

cc license (BY NC) image shared by Duncan Rawlinson

Lurking underneath the drama of episodes three and four of “The Sisterhood” is a question that tugs at all of our hearts: How do I know I belong? The attraction to a religious community can be related to this question, when a woman feels that she wants to belong to a group where she will feel at home and at peace. While that’s a good feeling, part of discernment is to understand if that is where her deepest longing is taking her, or is it instead a longing to be safe, or to escape, or to be taken care of.

Some of the women in “The Sisterhood” recognize that their deepest longing is for God, and that they need time to listen to that longing and to discern what God might be asking of them. Not unexpectedly, they are finding that difficult in the context of reality TV. A real vocation discernment process takes a long time, usually at least a year, often more. Even after one enters a community, the discernment continues, particularly during the novitiate time and before taking first vows. And then, because it’s God we are talking about, one is never entirely sure. Just like with marriage, there are no guarantees that living in a God-centered community will fill our deepest longings.

Then there’s belonging at the human level, that sense of knowing where you fit into the group. It’s being able to develop good relationships with your sisters, which can take many years. It also means finding your voice in a group of strong women. It’s fine to admire the sisters for how they pray and for the good work they do. But admiration has to give way to bonds of friendship in community, a sense of being a peer and having a contribution to make. Despite the commonness of dress or housing, it also means recognizing the differences among us and being able to live with them.

If one of these women makes a decision to enter, as it appears Christie has, then she needs to know it may still take a while to know that she really belongs. The first years are a struggle to grow in mutuality with your sisters while giving time to developing your relationship with a complex, mysterious, Trinitarian God, whose grace surrounds all of us and sometimes surprises us with joy.

For more, read our previous blogs by Sisters on “The Sisterhood” . Or Learn more about becoming a Sister of Mercy.