Search Results for: Community – Mid-Atlantic

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 »

Celebrate Mercy’s Irish Roots

March 16, 2016

By Sister Mary Mulholland

A t-shirt celebrating Mercy’s Irish history.

A t-shirt celebrating Mercy’s Irish history.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!  For me St. Patrick’s Day is a day I celebrate my own cultural heritage, for both my parents were born in Ireland in Westport, County Mayo. I love that bit of Irish in my background, and I am sure each of us cherishes our own heritage from the many countries that make up our history.

But on St. Patrick’s Day we also celebrate our common link to Ireland in Mercy—our connection with Catherine McAuley, beloved founder of the Sisters of Mercy, who was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Catherine was touched deeply by the needs of the poor, the sick and those without life skills there, and she attracted others to work with her as well—and so began the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy!   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 »

Do You Remember How You Felt on New Year’s Eve?

February 3, 2015

By Sister Renee Y.

joyce_ogden_Earth Dance

“Earth Dance,” painting by Sister Joyce Ogden.

Remember about one month ago when we stood on the far western shore of the Year of Our Lord, 2014. Our memories were silhouetted against the deep magenta sky as they sailed beyond the shimmering horizon. We have lived, laughed, lost and loved in ways never to be repeated, yet never to be forgotten. The great turning of time goes relentlessly on, but we have written our story in its indelible trail.

With fireworks and reveling, popular culture invited us to the brash celebration of our presence within this point in history. But, at the altar of our hearts, we recognized this long evening of reminiscence as a time of quiet thanksgiving and petition, a time of awe and trust.

Like flint struck against the almighty soul of God, we have been given life. We are God’s fire at this moment in time’s long unwinding. On this night, New Year’s Eve, we turned our spirits to those beside us, behind us, before us and we prayed in thanksgiving and hope for them.

Together each day, we sink into the dark infinity of our Creator who sustains all life beyond our worries, fears and limitations. With innumerable universes, God balances us in the palm of Mercy. On New Year’s Eve, as on every day, as the midnight shadows fall, God closes the fingertips of grace and protection over us.

In the split moment between two years, we too became infinite– fire in God’s darkness, spark redeemed beyond time.

In 2015, let us not forget this transcendent moment. Do not allow the bright light of daily living blind us to that piece of divinity shining in our souls. Let us remember. May our spirits kneel within us to the Awesome Mystery who holds us, as one, eternally within Itself.

Musings on Thomas Merton

January 30, 2015

By Sister Diane G.

January 31, 2015, marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton–a great scholar, mystic and social justice advocate.

Thomas Merton

Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers. Used with permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.

Merton died in a tragic accident in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968. Electrocuted by a faulty connection in a fan, this Catholic convert and well-known writer died 27 years to the day that he entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky as a Trappist monk. The world mourned his passing, but still celebrates his prolific writings and social activism.

The occasion of his 100th birthday provides opportunities to revisit and reaffirm our own commitment to work for a world transformed by relationships, grace and action.

Merton describes his own personal epiphany in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. A passage found in this book entitled “Fourth and Walnut Street” recounts an experience in which he realized that he was connected to the fate and lives of every man, woman and child:

“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another, even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness…”

This experience of epiphany was a profound influence in shaping Merton’s life and journey.   Read More »