Search Results for: Community – Northeast

I Said Goodbye to Misery

February 19, 2019

By Sister Dale Jarvis

“I said goodbye to misery.” These words of a young Haitian have stuck with me since I attended the graduation of 200 women in the Chemen Lavi Miyo program in Gros Morne, Haiti, on January 24, part of Mercy Focus on Haiti. Having lived the life of a privileged woman in the United States, and being treated with respect as a Sister of Mercy, I have no idea of what it is like to live in misery. These women do, and they have spent 18 months moving from ultra-poverty to strength and courage. They stood tall: they can feed their children, they have a house to live in and they have a future.

Sister Dale Jarvis congratulating a graduate.
Sister Dale Jarvis congratulating a graduate.
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Dije adiós a la miseria

February 19, 2019

Por Hermana Dale Jarvis

«Dije adiós a la miseria». Estas palabras de una joven haitiana quedaron grabadas en mí desde que asistí a la graduación de doscientas mujeres del programa de Chemen Lavi Miyo (Camino a una mejor vida) en Gros Morne, Haití el 24 de enero como parte de Enfoque de la Misericordia en Haití. Habiendo vivido la vida de una mujer privilegiada en los Estados Unidos, y habiendo sido tratada con respeto como una Hermana de la Misericordia, no tengo idea de lo que es vivir en la miseria. Estas mujeres sí la tienen, y han vivido 18 meses pasando de la pobreza extrema a la fuerza y al valor. Ellas se mantuvieron firmes: pueden alimentar a sus hijos, tienen una casa donde vivir y tienen un futuro.

Hermana Dale Jarvis felicita una graduada.
Hermana Dale Jarvis felicita una graduada.
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Where is That Good Sister?

February 14, 2019

By Linus Deasy, Mercy Associate

Born Caroline Burnett, youngest to a large family in Collinsville, Connecticut on April 30, 1878 she entered the Sisters of Mercy, Hartford in 1898 taking the name Sister Maria Francis.

There is a story in the archives that after Sister Maria Francis had been transferred from one convent to another a student asked one of the Sisters “Where is that good Sister?” The Sister replied “Aren’t all of the Sisters good?” The student said, “Yes, but she is like a mother.”

A drawing of Sister Maria Francis by Sister Judy Ward
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¿Dónde está esa buena hermana?

February 14, 2019

Por Linus Deasy, Asociada de las Hermanas de la Misericordia de las Américas

Nacida con el nombre de Caroline Burnett, la más joven de una familia numerosa en Collinsville, Connecticut, el 30 de abril de 1878, entró en las Hermanas de la Misericordia de Hartford en 1898 tomando el nombre de Hermana María Francisca.

Hay una historia en los archivos: después de que la Hermana María Francisca fue transferida de un convento a otro, una estudiante le preguntó a una de las hermanas: «¿Dónde está esa buena hermana?». La hermana respondió: «¿Acaso no son buenas todas las hermanas?». La estudiante dijo: «Sí, pero ella es como una madre».

Un dibujo de la Hermana María Francisca por la Hermana Judy Ward
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Sister Sylvia Comer: Helping People Find Their ‘Astonishing Light’

October 11, 2018

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Community Communications Specialist

Sister Sylvia Comer in the Saint Joseph’s College Healy Chapel, a place where she has spent countless hours with students, faculty and staff over the last 30 years. Credit: Kevin Trimmer.

Sister Sylvia Comer in the Saint Joseph’s College Healy Chapel, a place where she has spent countless hours with students, faculty and staff over the last 30 years. Credit: Kevin Trimmer.

Helping people embrace their gifts, grow in faith, and deal effectively with life’s challenges are Sister Sylvia Comer’s passions. Read More »

Faith and Service: Reflections of a Desert Storm Veteran

November 10, 2017

By Daniel Justynski

Dan Justynski is the director of real estate portfolio for the Sisters of Mercy – Northeast Community as well as a proud alumnus of two Mercy schools.

A headshot of the author of this blog, Dan Justynski

Dan Justynski

Each year as Veterans Day approaches, I reflect on my time in the Navy and the origin of my desire to serve our country. I have known the Sisters of Mercy since I was 10 years old; they were my first educators academically as well as spiritually. I attended the Mercy-staffed St. Margaret School in East Providence, Rhode Island, and Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Massachusetts. My moral compass was set through my faith and a decade of Mercy mentoring and education.

I also knew from a young age that I wanted to be a naval officer. I decided to work towards a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship and was accepted into the program at the College of Holy Cross in 1983. My first memory from NROTC was October 23, 1983—the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. I realized that day that I now wore the same uniform as that of many of those 241 servicemen who, in service to our country, had been killed in the attack. My focus at college was to learn as much as possible, earn my degree and be the best officer and leader possible when I was commissioned an ensign in December 1987.

I met my ship, USS Seattle, in Norfolk, Virginia, in September 1988. To me, the ship was huge and very intimidating. During four years of NROTC training, I had spent all of 30 days at sea, and now I was walking onto a Fast Combat Support Ship as the boiler’s officer, leading a division of 50 men. It was a time of great internal stress, anxiety over my worthiness and fear of failure.

Ensuring Safe Travels across Oceans

I had a lot to learn and little time to do it, but I was surrounded by officers who taught me how to run a division and become a surface warfare officer. We deployed soon after. I put my personal life on hold and said goodbye to my fiancé Gayle in Rhode Island, leaving her to graduate from college and plan a wedding without me. As this was an era before email and cell phones, we communicated through long letters during the deployment.   Read More »

Victor Walks Again!

October 27, 2017

By Sister Eva Lallo

Casa Corazón de la Misericordia, a ministry sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, is an orphanage for children and teens living with HIV/AIDS in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

When Victor came to Casa Corazón, his legs were malformed. The doctors said that at birth he had a stroke which affected his legs, possibly due to the fact that he was born with HIV.

As he grew he tried to walk and even run, always on his toes. Eventually it became so difficult that he had to hang on to things in order to walk or even stand without falling. He valiantly tried to keep up with the other kids at Casa Corazón, but eventually he became confined to a wheelchair, where it seemed he would spend the rest of his life.

We finally found a surgeon wiling to perform the special surgery that would straighten Victor’s legs so that he could walk freely and upright. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we were able to pay for the operation.

We are so happy to say that Victor is out of his wheelchair, walking tentatively, his legs straight and feet firmly planted on the floor.

We here at Casa—Sisters of Mercy, staff and the other kids—are Victor’s only family. His mom and dad are gone, and we are not aware of any extended family. But Victor is a fighter! Having lived thus far through the stress of being HIV positive, he is now determined to walk again.

His next challenge is to run and to play football, the favorite sport in Honduras, with the other kids at Casa Corazón. (Here in the United States we call the sport soccer!)

Learn more about Casa Corazón.

When a Loved One Passes

October 24, 2017

By Sister Marjorie Lupien

Sister Marjorie Lupien and Fr John Bucchino

Sister Marjorie (right) with Father John Bucchino at Blessed Sacrament Church in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Six years ago, I became a pastoral minister at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manchester, New Hampshire. Having been a teacher for many years, I was hesitant going into parish ministry. Within the pastoral ministry role was the funeral ministry.

There are numerous funerals at Blessed Sacrament Parish for all ages, but primarily for elderly parishioners who have passed. My ministry is to meet with families for the preparation of the liturgy and to arrange for a remembrance meal after the funeral. Meeting families in the early stage of their grieving is a challenge because everyone grieves differently. There is no one way to grieve. The families take the task of choosing readings and music very seriously, making selections that fit their loved one’s life.

Memories, a Healing Tool

Near the end of our meeting, I take a few minutes and ask if the family would like to share with me memories about their loved one, a story that is not in the obituary. This is a very precious time for them and for me. They start thinking that death is not the opposite of life, but a part of life. The families want to talk and need a good listener. Sometimes when there is strain within the siblings, it disappears when they connect their cherished memories with each other. They comfort each other in their sadness. Tears become smiles and even laughter. Memories are a wonderful healing tool for grieving people who are beginning to absorb, adjust and accept their separation. Memories keeps the reality of their loved ones alive. It is an awakening of some happy thoughts.

Our pastor, Father John Bucchino, OFM, takes all the information I give him, and he ties it into the scriptures they have chosen and prepares a very spiritual and personal homily. His homily brings spiritual warmth and caring to the grieving hearts of the families.

After six years my fears of this ministry have vanished, and I view the funeral ministry as an opportunity to show compassion and kindness to families in need of comforting.

#MakeMercyReal through Forgiveness

September 19, 2017

By David Martineau, executive director, Mercy Housing and Shelter

A client enters St. Elizabeth House, part of Mercy Housing and Shelter.

A caseworker at Mercy Housing and Shelter in Hartford, Connecticut, recently shared this story with me:

“One hot summer day, a young man, Joe*, walked in to the Diversion Center asking for a place to stay. Joe was angry that his mother and father asked him to leave their home because of his marijuana use. I suggested that he sit down, and we spent time talking about what it was like to live in a shelter and the dangers he might encounter living on the streets. As we continued to talk, Joe’s anger began to subside and he seemed to be reconsidering his choices. ‘Could you talk to your mother and ask for forgiveness?’ I suggested. Pausing for a moment, Joe said he didn’t have much hope but was willing to try. He gave me his mother’s phone number. As I talked with his mother, she asked to speak to her son. Through tears Joe and his mother slowly worked out their issues and apologized. Joe’s mother said that he could come home if he promised to get help with his addiction. ‘I will get help,’ I heard Joe say. When Joe’s mother came to get him a short time later, I was aware once again of how the principles of Mercy— respect, compassion and forgiveness — can transform us all.”   Read More »

Stewarding the Earth at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine: Meet Elyse Caiazzo

September 7, 2017

By Emma Deans, Communications Officer at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

As part of her many responsibilities of working on the Saint Joseph’s College farm, Elyse Caiazzo tends to row crops.

At 9:30 a.m. on a summer morning, Elyse Caiazzo, a senior at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, strides across the College’s Pearson’s Town Farm. The sun is already creeping high into the sky with a temperature rising towards 70 degrees. Dressed in cut-off shorts, a tank top and waterproof boots, Elyse points to the various wooden posts she helped install to keep the farm’s livestock penned. She explains, “For those posts we have to dig the holes, remove any large rocks, then put dirt down and smaller rocks in the holes to support the posts, and everything is by hand—no machines!”

Lambs and goats bleat. Crickets chirp. Voices of fellow farm workers and volunteers emerge—conversations containing weekend recaps and plans for the day ahead, which include planting, weeding and harvesting vegetables. Assistant farm manager Alyssa Dolan, also a student, loads her pick-up truck with produce for the local food pantry, Catherine’s Cupboard (which is run by Saint Joseph’s College) while other students ready the farm stand for its opening at 10 a.m.

Elyse finds comfort in this familiar scene. She began volunteering at the farm for two hours a week as a first-year student. “It was life-changing,” she says. Read More »