Search Results for: Community – Mid-Atlantic

Peeves, Pets and Petie the Parakeet

January 16, 2015

By Sister Pat K.

When groups of sisters lived in houses commonly called communities, few situations disturbed the union and charity that prevailed more than windows and pets. The window controversy stemmed from individual preferences for or against fresh air and sadly, it was in the chapel that differences were most evident. Windows were opened, closed, reopened and reclosed many times in the course of a morning meditation and many grimaces and deep sighs accompanied the action.

Pets were another matter. A canine pet was seldom introduced as “our” dog; he/she was Sister X’s or Sister Y’s dog but the phrase often added was “but we take care of him/ her”—this said with raised eyebrows and eye-rolling. With innocuous names like Pacis and Lady, one might have expected better behavior, but more often Pacis barked her head off on the slightest provocation and Lady was, to put it quite indelicately, a slob.

The classic tale, when pet stories come up, is the one about Sister Euphrasia’s bird. A parakeet with typical plumage, Petie was distinguished from all others of his species by his one and only leg and permanently disagreeable disposition. Despite these handicaps, Euphrasia loved him dearly and, thinking everyone else should too, installed him in the community room. When she thought he needed a little freedom, she opened his cage and Petie had the run of the place. He had great fondness for alighting on people’s heads, an odd sensation at best but, given his one leg, a bit creepy. The entire household beat a hasty retreat from the community room when Petie was on the loose.   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 »

Trusting the Spirit

December 18, 2014

By Megan K., student, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

Participants in the oral history project at Georgian Court University.

Participants in the oral history project at Georgian Court University.

Last spring, I was approached by Kerrin M., another student at Georgian Court University, who asked whether or not I would be interested in participating in an oral history project involving the Sisters of Mercy. The project, an initiative funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation, pairs more than 100 college women across the nation with Catholic sisters to conduct in-depth one-on-one interviews to capture their vocation stories via videos, photographs and blog posts (like this!).

At the time I was intrigued, although I’ll admit I was also unsure. As time went on, Kerrin (who was helping to direct this project alongside Sister Mary-Paula C., a Sister of Mercy and a theology professor at Georgian Court) would continue to inform me of details as they were planned.
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“Storm of Anxiety” — Reflection on Episode 3 & 4 of “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns”

December 16, 2014

By Sister Megan B.

cc license (BY 2.0) image shared by flickr user MattysFlicks

cc license (BY 2.0) image shared by flickr user MattysFlicks

The phrase “storm of anxiety” was used by one of the young women to describe how she is feeling at this point in the show. I think it is an apt description of the chaos that seems to have erupted: Eseni’s decision about Darnel, Francesca’s meltdown, Stacey’s doubts, Christie’s possible decision, and Claire’s ongoing difficulty in refraining from judging the others.

I was touched by the young women’s ministry experiences with people on the street, serving dinner to people who are homeless, begging in the market, and being with people with disabilities. The women seemed genuinely engaged despite some initial reluctance.

I loved the good-bye of the dancing Carmelites! I would have liked to have heard more from some of the other Daughters of Providence so that we could have a fuller sense of their charism and daily life.

The show continues to feel artificial and contrived. In the midst of it stands Sister Beth Ann, the hard-working, good-hearted, no-nonsense vocation director who I think dearly loves her community and wants what is best for the young women.

Where is this all leading? Will the “storm of anxiety” continue? What I do know is that discernment is a process that can take years. It is a deepening of one’s relationship with God. It is a mutual process between the woman and the religious community. It cannot happen in six weeks.

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

Experiencing Jesus with Rev. James Martin, SJ

November 14, 2014

By Sister Eileen Smith, director, Mount Saint Mary House of Prayer

Sisters Mary Jo, Theresina, Laura and Eileen with Father Jim. “Blessed am I among women!” he remarked on Facebook.

Sisters Mary Jo, Theresina, Laura and Eileen with Father Jim. “Blessed am I among women!” he remarked on Facebook.

I first wrote to Father James Martin in the fall of 2012 requesting that he speak at Mount Saint Mary House of Prayer in Watchung, New Jersey, a Mercy-sponsored spiritual center. We knew and loved him through his books and heard he was a dynamic speaker.

At the time, he was working on a new book and asked if we might consider a date in 2014 instead. We agreed on October 15, 2014—and Father Jim was excited to speak on the topic of his recently published book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage.

By the time of the program, we had at least 425 registrations for the event. This far exceeded our expectations. We were just overwhelmed with joy that so many people were excited about his coming.   Read More »

The Day I Met Malala Yousafzai

November 4, 2014

By Lauren P., senior, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to ever receive the Liberty Medal

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to ever receive the Liberty Medal

There is no single word that can even begin to describe the best experience of my life. On October 21, 2014, I was completely surrounded, in such an intimate setting, with a legion of influential people who strive to make a difference and have an actual say in the significantly complex issues present in our world.

When I first found out that I would be among a group of Gwynedd Mercy Academy students going to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to see Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai become the youngest person to ever receive the Liberty Medal, my level of excitement reached an all-time high. Never did I imagine that I would ever be chosen to receive one of the very special tickets to attend the Chairman’s Reception, VIP ceremony seating and gala reception—not to mention be one of the fifty groups to have a formal photograph taken with Malala and her father. This was truly a blessing from God.

My anticipation continued to escalate until I was standing at the gates of the National Constitution Center. Once we entered the reception room, it all became real. We met numerous inspirational people, some of whom introduced themselves to us. It was amazing to feel so important in a room filled with such esteemed company.   Read More »

After Daylight Savings Time

November 3, 2014

By Sister Renee Y.

cc license (BY NC ND 2.0) photo shared by flickr user  rejik

cc license (BY NC ND 2.0) photo shared by flickr user rejik

The world changes. The evening shadows gather and surprise, like dinner guests who have come too early. The meal is not ready; the wine not fully decanted; the candles yet unlit. Our spirits are not yet ready to receive our visitors, arriving out of the chilly dark.

It is this way with life as well. There are seasons of sadness, loss, longing and incompleteness which intrude themselves into our light. They too carry the caress of the Great Spirit, but they are harder to receive. It is a challenge to find our way to a peace hidden in darkness. So much easier to keep the path in the full light of a summer afternoon!

But we must not shun these blessed November evenings. They squeeze the most amazing brilliance through the vespering clouds. And if we can be still in their encroaching darkness, it is but a moment until, like a pinprick on velvet, the evening star appears, tumbling a universe of diamonds into the night.

Read more from Sister Renee

The Sister Referee

October 17, 2014

By Sister Pat K.

A sketch of Sister Joan in her referee’s uniform. Her veil is clearly not in the way!

A sketch of Sister Joan in her referee’s uniform. Her veil is clearly not in the way!

In the 1940s and 1950s, seeing sisters in full religious habit pitching baseballs on the playground or coaching the girls’ basketball team from the sidelines was not uncommon. But in the 1960s, when traditional habits evolved to modified versions and Vatican II encouraged religious to be more involved with the people they served, a few sisters became coaches, referees and umpires in girls’ sports. One, Sister Joan, whose skills and passion for sports were legendary, took every referee and umpire test she could, passed with flying colors and was promptly assigned to “cover” girls’ games almost every day.

There were two problems. First, as a high school teacher, her school day ended at 3:00 p.m. Games typically began at 3:30 or 4:00; most were played at some distance and getting to the site on time required a readily available car. Second, appropriate attire in the classroom—that is, her modified habit and veil—was not appropriate or even permissible on the basketball court. How to get from homeroom to a car, through a bus-clogged parking lot, down the highway to the site on time, dressed in an official’s striped shirt and shorts?   Read More »

I Marched to Stop Climate Change

September 26, 2014

By Sister Diane G.

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Those marching with Mercy wore bright purple shirts, including Sister Diane (center).

Diversity, inclusivity, determination, excitement and hope were all evident on the streets of New York City, New York, on Sunday, September 21, 2014, as an estimated 300,000 people from everywhere and every walk of life gathered to participate in the People’s Climate March.

At 8:00 am four Sisters of Mercy from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area boarded one of the 18 buses transporting participants to New York for the march. As soon as we were seated folks began passing and sharing food as well as petitions from various organizations. We passed several full buses on the turnpike, also on their way to the March. All the excitement and camaraderie made the journey seem short.

At 85th Street in New York, some 500 buses filled with participants disembarked their passengers. Our group was to meet at 58th Street so we started walking. Attracted by our purple shirts and Mercy logo, many people approached us thanking us for being present and then telling us stories of their personal Mercy connections through schools and parishes. As we approached Fordham University, a young woman ran up to us excitedly and told us that she had graduated from a Mercy sponsored school in Michigan and now attended Fordham. She was followed closely by her sister who echoed the same message. It was so wonderful to meet so many touched by Mercy and willing to share their experiences with us.   Read More »


September 22, 2014

By Sister Renee Y.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

Artwork by Sister Concetta M.

“EQUINOX” – the beautiful heft of the word! Four malleable vowels and two steely consonants, softened slightly by a third. On the fulcrum of a middle “i”, “eqi” pushes for balance against the pressure of “nox”, whose mass bears winter’s weighted threat.

However we may read the word, it spells “change“. Trees put away their lithesome summer greens, like sleeveless tops folded on September’s shelf. Slowly, they wrap within autumn’s deep gold and umber sweaters, trimmed in fragile magenta.   Read More »