Search Results for: Community – Northeast

In the Same Boat … in the Airport

June 12, 2017

By Sister Eileen Dooling, executive director, Mercy by the Sea Retreat and Conference Center

Photo of an airport with a large window.Recently I attended a meeting of the leaders of Mercy retreat houses in the United States where the conversation focused on what people need today and how Mercy retreat houses can fill those needs. Everyone spoke deeply about the good people who show up at our doors looking for something— perhaps silence, a reconnection with themselves or God, or a trained and listening ear. I was inspired by the conversation and realized I was not alone in this unique ministry. We agreed to collaborate and cooperate with one another for the common good, to share our ideas and knowledge and to continue to work together.

Feeling rather upbeat, I left the meeting to catch an early afternoon flight from St. Louis, Missouri, to Detroit, Michigan, with a connection to Hartford, Connecticut. Because the plane was late leaving St. Louis, I missed my connection (sound familiar?) but was re-booked on a late afternoon flight instead. As so often happens in air travel, that flight was also delayed, and so we waited and waited. At 11:30 p.m., the flight cancellation was announced, and I made a mad dash (well, not really so much a mad dash as a slow walk) to the Help Desk where one agent was re-booking passengers from several cancelled flights.

It wasn’t until 2:30 a.m. when I was finally rebooked and could settle in to my little space on the terminal floor where, with hundreds of other travelers, I tried in vain to sleep. My rebooked flight was not scheduled to leave until late that evening, but a standby seat on a 12:30 p.m. flight opened and—by some divine intervention?—I was awarded that seat.   Read More »

Breaking Poverty’s Cycle by Getting Parents to Talk—a Lot—to Their Kids

June 6, 2017

By The Rev. Dr. Michele L. Matott, Mercy Associate

The Sisters of Mercy work passionately to examine the root causes of poverty and promote systemic change in the communities in which we minister. One shining example is a collaboration of one of our sponsored organizations, McAuley Ministries in Providence, Rhode Island, with Providence Talks.

Children from McAuley Village practice new words with the help of visual aids as part of the village’s new partnership with Providence Talks.

Children from McAuley Village practice new words with the help of visual aids as part of the village’s new partnership with Providence Talks.

At McAuley Ministries we know that the best path to breaking the cycle of poverty is a good education. We also know that by the time a child growing up in a low-income home reaches age 4, he or she will have heard 30 million fewer words than a child from a middle-class or more affluent family. This raises the question: How can we narrow this gap to ensure all children are ready for kindergarten?

Young minds have an incredible thirst for knowledge, and it’s crucial that we do everything we can to support their needs, particularly those who may be at a disadvantage from a younger age.

Starting in February, McAuley Village, our two-year family-building transitional housing program for single mothers and their children who are homeless, collaborated with Providence Talks to help improve mother-child bonding and reading skills. Our work together involved two six-week courses.   Read More »

Marching in Solidarity with Immigrants in New York City and Beyond

March 28, 2017

By Sister Suzanne Deliee

I participated in a solidarity march with immigrants on March 4, a freezing cold morning. Held in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood, the march included representatives of community agencies in the South Bronx, including Mercy Center, which serve underprivileged women and families.

The atmosphere was pleasant and upbeat, but determined. The crowd—mostly younger folks, families and children and immigration advocates—included a large group from Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service, where I have ministered as a nurse since 1993.

Afraid to be out in public

Sister Suzanne with the immigration march’s keynote speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who serves as Speaker of the New York City Council, an East Harlem Council representative, and a national leader in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Sister Suzanne’s sign says, “Immigrants want respect, equality, justice, peace, not walls.” Photo courtesy of Sister Suzanne Deliee.

Sister Suzanne with the immigration march’s keynote speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who serves as Speaker of the New York City Council, an East Harlem Council representative, and a national leader in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Sister Suzanne’s sign says, “Immigrants want respect, equality, justice, peace, not walls.” Photo courtesy of Sister Suzanne Deliee.

At the back of the fast-moving group, I walked with a woman who was handicapped and using a walker. We were equally trying to keep up with the march. She said she had to walk to support the immigrants in our midst. “They deserve to be here,” she told me. “[They are] wonderful dedicated members of our community.” And so she walked, joining in with the chants. There was no violence, no resistance. Even some police officers chanted and chatted.

The march finished inside a community counseling center where we heard testimonies from people who talked of their children’s fears, the lack of understanding and racist remarks they encountered, and their desperate desire to live with a sense of “realistic hope.” Families were counseled to make plans for their children, to have all papers in order, and to know how to respond if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also called ICE or La Migra) comes calling.

The turnout for the march was lower than expected, as many immigrants are afraid to be out in public. They live in fear of picking up their kids from school, taking the train to work and going to medical appointments. The agency where I work, in conjunction with other agencies, will continue to hold workshops and provide immigration lawyers to counsel people on their rights.   Read More »

Their Own ‘Band’: Why Eight Coworkers Became Mercy Associates

February 24, 2017

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Community Communications Specialist

It’s an improbable story. Eight women work together for years at a nursing and rehabilitation center owned by the Sisters of Mercy. During the center’s transition to new ownership, the women are moved to reconsider their own relationship with the nuns—and their own call from God.

For regardless of their backgrounds, they realize that their very identities—both personally and professionally—have become one with Mercy, as exemplified by the sisters they have come to know so well at Mount St. Rita Health Centre in Cumberland, Rhode Island, now part of Covenant Health. So Evelyn “Evie” Bain, Linda Broccoli, Denise DuFresne, Cheryl Ethier, Mirlande Goudiaby, Denise Lafond, Lynn Laverty and Pam Kaitin decide to answer the call to Mercy in a new way, as Mercy Associates.

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Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates gather for a photo at Mount St. Rita. Seated, from left, are Sisters Francelle Dame, Andre Marie Guay, Mary Faith Harding (holding a dog named Roje who belongs to two other sisters), Georgette Chasse and Edna Lynch. Standing from left are Sister Mary Costello; Associates Denise Lafond, Cheryl Ethier, Denise Dufresne, Pam Kaitin, Mirlande Goudiaby, Evie Bain and Lynn Laverty; Sisters Antonia Tognetti and Rose Angela McClellan; Mercy Associate Linda Broccoli and Sister Kathleen Turley.

Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates gather for a photo at Mount St. Rita.

On a sunny Sunday last fall, the Mount St. Rita women joined two other women—Mercy Associate Hope Darigan and Mercy Associate Dorothy “Dottie” Piantadosi—in Providence, Rhode Island, in making a covenant with the Sisters of Mercy, in which they pledged to carry forth the Mercy mission in the context of their own lives.

“By making this covenant, we entered into a really different relationship with the sisters than the one we had with them before,” says Mercy Associate Denise Lafond, who serves as director of mission, spiritual care and volunteers at the Mount (as the health center is fondly called) and has been an employee there for 25 years.

“We committed ourselves to walking with the sisters and to being Mercy ourselves, and that’s very powerful.”

Moved by a ‘Culture of Mercy’ at Work

Mercy Association, the process by which laywomen and men formally affiliate themselves with the Sisters of Mercy, first began in the early 1980s. Since then more and more people who work with the sisters in education, health care, housing, social services and diverse other ministries have become Mercy Associates, pledging to care for those who are poor, sick and uneducated, and to live out as best they can the sisters’ special vow of service. It’s unusual, however, to have so many employees at one Mercy-related organization take this step at the same time.   Read More »

Finding Mercy in the Midst of Warriors and Veterans

October 26, 2016

By Sister Maureen Mitchell, vice president, Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community

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Books and mementos in Sister Maureen’s office. Credit: Catherine Walsh.

It seems incongruous to say that I found mercy in the midst of warriors and veterans. When I first accepted the job as clinical pastoral education supervisor at a Veterans Hospital, I asked myself: How does training chaplains, seminarians, and laypeople to minister to the spiritual needs of veterans help with the critical needs of our time, especially our world’s need for peaceful, nonviolent solutions to conflict? I was encouraged when I read about the early Sisters of Mercy ministering on Civil War battlefields. This gave me an inkling into what our founder Catherine McAuley taught the first Sisters of Mercy—whenever and wherever human suffering presents itself, Mercy needs to walk alongside.   Read More »

My First Iftar Dinner!

July 22, 2016

By Sister Kathleen Turley

silhouette mosqueDuring the month of Ramadan, three friends invited me to join them at a Ramadan Iftar Dinner at the Masjid Al-Islam Mosque in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. I was pleased to accept the invitation because I knew very little about the Islam religion.

This year, as so many people have been forced to flee their home countries because of wars and extreme suffering, one of our presidential candidates has declared that Muslims should not be allowed in the United States because of their supposed violent actions. In this statement, he labels all Muslims as violent, because of the actions of a few. But as Sisters of Mercy we are committed to the dignity of each person, regardless of race or religion.   Read More »

One Immigrant to Another: Sister Patricia Pora Accompanies Maine’s Hispanics

July 1, 2016

By Catherine Walsh, Northeast Community Communications Specialist

Sister Patricia Pora and a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Portland, Maine, talk after Mass. Credit: Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald.

Sister Patricia Pora and a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Portland, Maine, talk after Mass. Credit: Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald.

Driving all over Maine to minister to Hispanic immigrants, who number nearly 20,000 and live in every county in this vast state, Sister Patricia Pora is propelled through 60- to 70-hour weeks by a special sense of mission. As a U.S. citizen raised in Chile, she knows what it’s like to be an immigrant. As a Sister of Mercy who has assisted thousands of newcomers—particularly those who are poor—in their struggles over the last decade, she seeks to show the “human side of the immigrant face” to the people of Maine and beyond.   Read More »

Amoris Laetitia through the Eyes of a Marriage and Family Therapist

May 20, 2016

By Sister Lorraine La Vigne, LMFT

Pope Francis embraces a baby in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Catholic News Agency/Alexey Gotoviskyi.

Pope Francis embraces a baby in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Catholic News Agency/Alexey Gotoviskyi.

As a marriage and family therapist (MFT), I read with interest what Pope Francis has written in Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), his apostolic exhortation on the family that was released on April 8. In my practice I have found many struggling with where life has brought them and feeling alienated by a church that seems to have little compassion or understanding for them and their situations.

This document seems to offer some hope as Pope Francis reminds clergy not to “waste pastoral energy denouncing” and “to make room for the conscience of the faithful.” These could be reassuring statements for my clients. Such statements carry with them a respect as well as a trust and understanding that serious decisions in complex situations are made with careful discernment and consultation.   Read More »

The Power of Presence and Prayer

April 29, 2016

By Rejeanne Keeley

Rejeanne with her dog, Pixie.

Rejeanne with her dog, Pixie.

I believe that to comfort the sick or the dying is the greatest work of mercy. Death is a gift. I don’t think death is a bad thing. It’s the most wonderful thing that we’re all waiting for. That’s what mercy is all about—to be with people when their souls leave them. Some theologians may disagree, but for me, the souls of those who die go right to their eternal reward in Heaven.

For most of my nursing career, I worked in nursing homes where I companioned many people when they were sick and dying—not only lay people, but also many Sisters of Mercy as they came to the end of their lives on Earth. As a trained nurse I knew the power of medicine, but as a Sister of Mercy, I also knew the greater power of presence and prayer. It’s the last breath that unlocks the body and frees the soul.   Read More »

Fast, Pray and Feed the Pigs!

March 21, 2016

By Lisa Pare, music instructor/music director at Mercymount Country Day School

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Mercymount students have loved this creative way to help others and the planet!

Lent is a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, with a focus on living a more simple life in order to grow closer to God. It is a time of giving up something, and/or doing something good for the benefit of others. It is also a time for reflection and repentance: how can I live my life better, more like Jesus?

On Ash Wednesday, we receive the sign of the cross placed on their forehead with ashes. Those receiving ashes do so to show we are Christians and that we are sinners, and as sinners we are seeking forgiveness. Have you ever thought of where the ashes come from? The ashes are actually made by burning the dried palm branches from last year’s left over palms on Palm Sunday. Although it is possible to buy ashes, the tradition is for each church to make its own by burning last year’s leftovers. What a clever way to make the most of your holy material—what a way to recycle!

When we recycle, our old product is eventually turned into something new. It brings things back full circle and connects us over time, just like the story of Jesus. It is not a one-time thing, but a series of eternal truths to relive every year.    Read More »