Search Results for: Community – Mid-Atlantic

Addressing the Damage Caused by Human Abuse of God’s Creation

October 3, 2017

By Sister Suzanne Gallagher

Sister Suzanne is a member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Laudato Si’ animators program, which trains interested Catholics to engage parishes, schools, communities of women religious and other groups to live out Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home.

Sisters of Mercy standing around a giant globe following Sister Suzanne’s Season of Creation presentation.

Sisters gather for a photo following Sister Suzanne’s Season of Creation presentation. From left: Sisters Joan Scary, Sue Gallagher, Kathleen Ann McKee, Patricia Leipold, Alice Mary Meehan, Miriam Theresa Lavelle and Bonita Smith.

My interest in becoming a Laudato Si’ Animator seemed to be part of a natural movement from working on issues to protect our Earth, which is a Critical Concern of the Sisters of Mercy, to contemplating the expression of Pope Francis’ urgency to “care for our common home” as he urged in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, published in 2015. Encouragement to truly “care” for Earth came directly from witnessing what so many people are doing, putting their spirit, voice and body on the line to make a difference in sustaining all life and supporting movements and advocacy efforts. It reminds me of one of my favorite Laudato Si’ quotes: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to address the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation” (#14).

Laudato Si’ Animators Program

In the second iteration of the animators program in which I participated, 364 people registered to participate. Catholics from Kenya, Philippines, Australia, United Kingdom, United States and other countries have participated in the program, which is offered in three additional languages, with more programs to be offered in the future.

The program was comprised of several components including: three webinars containing presentations from international experts, online discussion sessions, regional calls and planning a final project. All these components were available online. I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the material from these webinars because while portions of the lessons were a refresher, much was new and held a deeper learning.

Engaging Others to Respond

In response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home, the Season of Creation is celebrated by people of faith beginning on September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to October 4, Feast of St. Francis. For the final project, I assisted in planning Season of Creation presentations in five retirement locations across the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy. These sessions included prayer, video, reflection and dialogue among participants along with a call to action to sign the Laudato Si’ pledge. Signers pledge to: 1) pray for and with creation, 2) live more simply, and 3) advocate to protect our common home.

In expanding my own knowledge through this program, I have in turn shared these helpful resources with others. One resource that I found very valuable is entitled How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. This series of articles, among others, boosted my courage to engage others who might have different ideas on this topic.

Being a participant in the Animators Program has been both a call and a challenge and has assisted me in developing a “new consciousness” in working “zealously toward the sustainability of all life” (Chapter 2017 Recommitment). I encourage others to participate!

If you are interested in becoming a Laudato Si’ animator, please contact Marianne Comfort of the Institute Justice team at

#MakeMercyReal to Families in Need

September 22, 2017

By Debbi Della Porta

Three generations of the Pridgen family attended preschool and or summer camp at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Philadelphia.

Three generations of the Pridgen family attended preschool and or summer camp at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Philadelphia.

“You are never alone. You are somebody. Jesus is always with you!”

Those are the words that Sister Ann Provost, the director of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, told 30-year-old Teyanna Pridgen when she was living in a homeless shelter with her two children.

“My children never felt like they lived in a shelter,” said Teyanna. “My children had a second home at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries where they attended preschool. They never showed any signs of living in a shelter or being hungry because Mercy provides hot breakfast and lunch for children, too!”

She added, “And the sisters and staff at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries helped me, too. I always knew the sisters were praying for my family and me. They helped me feel better about myself and taught me to embrace change. They also offered parenting advice and guidance.” Read More »

Summertime and the Living is Not So Easy

September 8, 2017

By Sister Diane Guerin

A group of Catholics, including several Sisters of Mercy and Mercy staff, march at the Ministers March for Justice on August 28.

As summer unofficially ends, I reflect on end-of-summer day 54 years ago when thousands of people gathered at the foot of the reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement challenge us as a people to eradicate racism and injustice from our society. I remember standing there in the crowd being filled with hope and thinking that yes, together we can make this a reality. On that day I believed that we would see an end to racism in my lifetime.

Four years ago attending the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, with President Barack Obama leading our nation, my hope was again rekindled that racism could be defeated. So many of those gathered expressed a commitment and passion to work together for a more just and equitable world for all people.

Much has happened since both of these events. We have experienced the hatred and violence of Charlottesville, Virginia; voting rights legislation has been overturned in many places; the Klan, white supremacy groups and Nazi organizations are marching. Yet, amid all these things people of faith and goodwill gathered a few weeks ago in Washington to participate in the Ministers’ March for Justice. Walking from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to the Justice Department, those present bore witness that the United States of America that we desire is one of equity and inclusion for all people, not just some people. Read More »

Back-to-School Tips from a Sister of Mercy

August 31, 2017

By Sister Katie Mindling

Besides having time for vacation and/or travel, most high school students have been very busy over the summer with projects and programs, activities and apprenticeships, as well as sleeping late and enjoying a break from school bells and classes. There are some in sports camps and training programs; others have jobs that range from lifeguarding to lawn care; still others are giving hours of volunteer service, including short-term activities and service trips in different states and countries.

With classes resuming, students and teachers are headed back to the familiar settings where there will be unique opportunities to engage with one another in learning new and exciting materials. Let’s keep these tips in mind as we return.

Use technology wisely.

In this 21st century when so much knowledge comes through technology and can be discovered by tapping our fingertips, students are called to integrate their learning and be actively involved in discovering ways to incorporate their knowledge to grow into strong, value-centered individuals. So, let’s make the commitment to use technology wisely and never let it take the place of having valuable time with each other.

Listen to the Holy Spirit—and to the experts.

Students today need to develop skills on how to filter out from a sea of knowledge those facts that are true and noble. So, let’s listen to the Holy Spirit as well as to the experts who guide us to the best sources and who want us to bring out of each learning adventure ideas that will help foster our growth and help us find ways to be leaders in our society.

Be prepared.

Shopping for school is very different in this day of iPads and other electronic devices—and much kinder to the Earth. So, let’s be sure we know how to take and backup our electronic notes, ensure that we submit our assignments on the new learning management systems (LMS), like Canvas and ANGEL, now the standard for so many schools, and download the texts and apps that will be the basis for integrated learning.

Make mercy real.

Let’s approach teaching and learning with some of the attitudes so very present in the lives of the Sisters of Mercy: joy in our ever-more-common intercultural realities; dedication to deepening our relationships with God and with others; willingness to care for creation; capacity to speak and act with integrity, especially on behalf of those who are oppressed; and commitment to strong attitudes of nonviolence and anti-racism. Come to think of it, this is good advice for everyone, whether in the classroom, the workplace, among our families and friends, in our communities, in our world.

The Solar Eclipse: Delving into our Shadows

August 28, 2017

By Sister Agnes Brennan

The eclipse approaching totality. Credit: Bonnie Brockmeyer, Mercy Investment Services.

Last Monday thousands upon thousands of people were focused on the solar eclipse as it tracked a path across the United States. Across the country people were buying the correct glasses and positioning themselves in order to see as much of the eclipse as possible. Some commentators called this cosmic event a moment of unity. Some remarked about nature’s ability to reorient us, to view ourselves from a grander perspective and to bring us into a deeper awareness of our interconnectedness. Spiritual writers spoke about the moment as an invitation to delve into our own shadows—those scary places within us that we have repressed because we are unable to name and bring them into the light of consciousness.

As I viewed images of the eclipse, two lines from Scripture came to my mind: “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5) and “even the darkness will not be dark to God; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to God” (Psalm 139:12).

When I reflected on my own “shadow” in connection to what the solar eclipse portrayed I came to a deep understanding of how my darkness is held in God’s light, which is pure, unconditional love. Even at the totality phase of the eclipse, the light encircled the dark. It seemed as if the darkness was being held in a womb of light. How precious we are. How deeply and completely we in our totality, our darkness and our light, are embraced by Love. Read More »

A New Way of Seeing

August 30, 2016

By Sister Anna Marie Saltzman, director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy

Sister Anna Marie is the director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy. She is pictured here, fourth from the left in the back row, with several of her students.

Sister Anna Marie is the director of campus ministry at Merion Mercy Academy. She is pictured here, fourth from the left in the back row, with several of her students.

Have you ever had an incident that transformed your way of seeing? By the grace of our Merciful God, I have. It occurred at the end of my first full day of retreat. After the evening meal, I decided to take a walk along a trail in the nearby state park. Prior to leaving the retreat house, I sprayed myself with insect repellant to ward off pests and headed outdoors.

I was conscious of my desires to be open to God in whatever way God wanted to communicate. I was also conscious of how “busy” I had been prior to the retreat; the pace and numerous activities that had kept me from processing events and relationships in my life. My mind was on overdrive, and the walk would help me get out of my head.   Read More »

Teaching Advice from Catherine McAuley

August 2, 2016

By Sister Katie Mindling

Catherine holds #MakeMercyReal wristbands at Trocaire College. Photo by Pam Jablonicky.

Catherine holds #MakeMercyReal wristbands at Trocaire College. Photo by Pam Jablonicky.

Some would think that teachers have the “summer off,” yet those who know better are aware that they are gleaning the best from their experiences, keeping up with educational trends and insights from professional publications and circles, and designing ever-new ways of orchestrating opportunities for learning for the students scheduled to begin a new academic year with them.  For those dedicated to teaching, year-round preparation is paramount and discovering ever new ways to facilitate learning and growth in the students is ongoing.

As a teacher of high school students, these weeks find me reviewing the best of last year’s lessons and designing new approaches to integrate technology for the coming year.  Among the many summer teaching-related activities that fill my days, I am writing letters of recommendation for numerous rising seniors; monitoring make-up assignments for a student who had the challenge of having osteo-sarcoma; visiting the classroom of a graduate who is now a teacher at a summer Catholic experience in a local parish; offering guidance to a sophomore who is finishing up course requirements because of having had to take a medical leave from school last year; following the adventures of four students who are doing international service projects for Amigos de las Américas in Latin America; and mentoring teachers who will be new next year and are doing their preparations now.   Read More »

How Many Doors Have You Opened?

July 29, 2016

By Sister Diane Guerin

Sister Diane Guerin recently celebrated her 50th year as a Sister of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The following is a reflection she shared at her celebration.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Doors can be closed to isolate or exclude, or doors can be opened to invite and include.

In your lifetime, how many doors have been opened to you—bidding you to cross the threshold to find a new space, a better opportunity, a healing presence?

How many doors have you opened for another?

Doors of mercy are myriad.

Venturing forth one finds joy, compassion, laughter, presence, pain and suffering. Read More »

Welcome to Our Family: Syrian Refugees Find Mercy in Northeastern Pennsylvania

June 24, 2016

By Christine Somers, Mercy Associate and Director of Campus Ministry at Misericordia University

Kamar and Hozaifa Mando play next to their older brother, Abdulrahman. Credit: Aimee Dilger/Times Leader

Kamar and Hozaifa Mando play next to their older brother, Abdulrahman. Credit: Aimee Dilger/Times Leader

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Mercy has been made real in the lives of a Syrian refugee family that came to our community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

It started when one of the students from our Critical Concerns Committee at Misericordia University heard about the plight of refugees on television and asked to start a collection on campus. We then learned that there was a local refugee family right in our community. We sent our students to deliver some canned goods, clothing donation and toiletries. What was about to happen next was totally unexpected.   Read More »

Living the Spiritual Works of Mercy

May 31, 2016

By Sister Grace Agate

“We strive to witness to mercy when we reverence the dignity of each person, create a spirit of hospitality and pursue integrity in word and deed in our lives.”

Sister Grace (right) meets with coworker Connie Carlton at St. Joseph/Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia.

Sister Grace (right) meets with coworker Connie Carlton at St. Joseph/Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia.

These words taken from the Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy have taken on new meaning as I have reflected on the Spiritual Works of Mercy during this Jubilee Year. Both the Corporal and Spiritual Works are intertwined, for we cannot attend to the spiritual needs of people if they are not receiving the basic necessities to live. To do the works of mercy is to gaze upon our neighbor with the eyes of Jesus, knowing we, too, are in need of mercy. The Spiritual Works ask the following of us: to counsel the doubtful, to instruct the ignorant, to admonish sinners, to comfort the afflicted, to forgive offenses, to bear wrongs patiently, and to pray for the living and the dead. I have come to understand these works in the following ways.   Read More »