Search Results for: Mercy Day

Stewards of the Earth

September 27, 2020



By Jackie Coffer, Marketing & Events Manager, Mercy Center Auburn

The sacred grounds of the Sisters of Mercy’s Auburn campus welcome all who visit. Located in the beautiful foothills of northern California’s Sierra Nevadas, the 33-acre property includes living quarters and a chapel for the sisters. It is also home to Mercy Center Auburn, a retreat and conference center.

A beautiful grounds in Auburn, California.
These sacred grounds in Auburn, California, are owned by the Sisters of Mercy.

Caring for these grounds are two longtime employees of the Sisters of Mercy, Lindy Virgil, Jr., and Joseph Oliveira, with more than 68 years of combined service. Technically, Lindy brings even more years of experience since, at age 16, he used to drive from the local high school to the convent to work with his grandfather, Joe Costa. Joe’s commitment to the sisters left an indelible mark on these grounds – a legacy that Lindy now helps to preserve and enhance.

Both men’s hard work and talents create a picturesque landscape where we witness each day the miracles of nature. “We’re dedicated to preserving the beauty of these grounds,” Lindy says. “But we also understand the importance of protecting our natural resources that we’ve got to handle with respect.” Joseph agrees, adding, “We all need to take full responsibility for what we use.”

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In Honduras, The Spirituality of Nonviolence

September 25, 2020



By Delcid Matas, Mercy Associate

Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates in the Caribbean and Central and South America (CCASA) have been participating in workshops to more deeply embrace a life of nonviolence as part of our response to injustice and violence in our world.

We are aware that our planet and our continent are collapsing because of unbridled greed and corruption that lead to the exponential growth of poverty and the destruction of our common home.

Such institutional violence has become most evident with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed great social inequalities and contributed to the deaths of thousands of people because of our weak health system. It is heart wrenching to see the images of pain and suffering and the powerlessness of healthcare workers who cannot count on the necessary protective equipment and supplies to provide proper care for the sick.

We, as Mercy, are experiencing the impact that corruption and impunity have on our people, whom we accompany. Their pain touches our own flesh. Deep down, we know that the path of violence is a path to the destruction of life and the disappearance of the human race. We feel compelled to change the way we relate to people, living beings and the natural world as a faithful reflection of the divine. We seek to become artisans of nonviolence and nurture our hearts with the spirituality arising from it.

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90-Year-old Nun ‘Roars’ for Women and Girls

September 24, 2020



By Sister Mary Reilly, as told to Catherine Walsh, Communications Specialist

Sister Mary with one of the girls from Sophia Academy.
The ease between a student and a sister in this photo makes it one of Sister Mary’s favorites. After attending Sophia Academy, the student won a scholarship to St. Mary Academy – Bay View High School. She is now a college sophomore. (Sophia Academy photo)

I am a 90-year-old nun who has spent my life working to empower women and girls, especially those who are poor. The song for my burial will be “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy. Its’ opening line—”I am woman, hear me roar!”—inspires me. For as the song also says, “It’s wisdom born of pain.”

Over my 72 years as a Sister of Mercy, I have been transformed into a feminist. I was one of nine children raised by Irish-born parents in South Providence, Rhode Island. We didn’t have much, but nothing prepared me for the poverty I saw in Central America in the 1960s.

Serving as a teacher and principal for six years in Honduras and Belize developed in me a feminist consciousness. I saw women stand up to abusive husbands in a macho culture. I saw Indigenous girls become more confident as they learned about their bodies; they grew in appreciation for themselves right before your eyes.

When I came back to South Providence and began working at St. Michael’s Parish in 1970, I was shocked by the poverty of the teenage mothers who wanted their babies baptized. I visited them in their homes. Some of these young moms couldn’t read past grade 2. I was angry that a country as rich as ours had created an underclass of people whom no one cared about.

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A Poem for Mercy Day 2020

September 23, 2020

By Kathy Schongar, Mercy Associate


Mercy Day will come this year with a global pandemic twist:
without festive Community dinners; without joyful reunions
and jubilant celebrations to mark milestones in Mercy…

Mercy Day will come this year
without chapels and church pews filled to capacity,
alive with shared songs of joyful praise and prayerful gratitude,
with deep humility and grace.

Mercy Day will come this year with face masks, social distancing
and an abundance of caution that will challenge us
to think beyond the boundaries we once knew.
Trusting in Providence to guide us in adapting to a new world view,
Mercy moves boldly into the vast unknown…

Mercy Day will come this year because our world is groaning
with fear, poverty, racism and social upheaval.
Amid the scourge of COVID-19 and political posturing and divisive discord
the need for Mercy in our time is great.

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A Ministry of Service to Immigrants

September 22, 2020



By Sister Pat Lamb

Ministering to our immigrant sisters and brothers at the U.S.–Mexico border never called to me. Instead, my experience in this ministry began more than 30 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was during the 1986 time of amnesty, and we set up a site at our church, with an attorney, to assist those seeking citizenship. Those eight years in Grand Rapids kept me in touch with many of the issues the migrant workers we served during the summer season were facing. Mass at our church was in Spanish, as were the summer liturgies with the migrants near their camps. We helped the workers settle for the short while they were there, and over the years it became like welcoming old friends or family back when they returned each summer.

A picture of Sister Pat lamb with donated shoes and supplies for immigrants who are students at local schools.
Sister Pat Lamb shows off a car full of shoes, ready for transport to the school where children got to pick the pair they liked the best.

It was not until my years in Holland, Michigan, that I began to meet undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I soon learned that they had incredible stories of troubled, often violent situations in their beloved home countries that left them with no other option but to pack up their families and depart on foot, usually in the night. So much of their journeys were through unwelcoming situations, with little food or water and no safe place to rest. Eventually, they would arrive at the U.S. border, at what they thought would be a place of hope and a promise of welcome.

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A Look at the Culture of the Encounter

September 20, 2020



By Sister Rosita Sidasmed

Where is your brother? I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?

(Gen. 4:9)

Where is your brother?” This question challenges us and appeals to each one of us no matter where we find ourselves. Where is the other? Where is the one who is different from me? We must be attentive to and identify where the answer comes from: a sense of empathy, solidarity, privilege, prejudice, racism, stories—in brief, we will answer this question based on our subjectivity and experiences. Where is my brother and where am I?

Sister Rosita with children posing by a well.
Sister Rosita shared these photographs of her encounters with women, children and young people in different indigenous communities, including the Pueblos Nivacle, M´by Guaranies and Pilaga y Qom.

As I came across different worldviews like the ones of the indigenous peoples I have encountered over the last 20 years, I realized that I had been stigmatizing narratives about them along with deep ignorance and disregard. This was due to the hegemonic and self-referential education I received during my childhood and youth. By sharing life with indigenous communities, I discovered that it was possible to have another way of understanding the world, an understanding that was different from the one I had been learning for years but one that was as valid as mine.

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My Students #MakeMercyReal to Me

September 20, 2017

By Meg, Mercy candidate

Meg is a Mercy candidate—one of the steps to become a Sister of Mercy—living in Guyana.

Meg (left) with Sister Sarita Vasquez during a retreat for new members in Belize.

Throughout my journey as a candidate in the past year, I have been touched and humbled by Mercy in many ways. The primary way has been through my students. I teach science at a public secondary school which takes in many of the lowest performing students in the area. A majority of these students come from broken homes, and most already feel defeated in their ability to succeed in life before they step into the school compound. Their lack of confidence and insecurity with academics contributes to some very interesting behaviors in the classroom.

I entered this ministry coming from an experience of teaching at a private, Catholic high school which served students from a middle-to-upper economical background. My experiences and expectations of teaching in a secondary school were deeply challenged by this new ministry, which called me to step into the shoes of my students. Sometimes, I didn’t even know where to begin this process of stepping into their shoes; it was so different from my realities! However, as I began to ask my students about their interests, their families, their homes and their dreams, I got a better glimpse of their lives. The common theme among most students was a lack of stability in their homes and a lack of people to serve as positive role models in their lives. Many had failed in school so many times that by this point in their education, they did not feel competent at anything, and, in a way, believed they never could be.   Read More »

#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 »

#MakeMercyReal through Friendship

September 18, 2017

By Beth Rogers Thompson

Sister Nancy Nance helps Lorraine Giannini assemble chocolate Kiss flowers at Cherubs Candy Bouquet in Belmont, North Carolina.

Lorraine Giannini arrived in Belmont, North Carolina, as a crying 8-month-old in her parents’ arms. Today, at age 54, she has lived at Holy Angels longer than any other residents.

The Giannini family lived in Brooklyn, New York. Lorraine’s parents brought Lorraine, who was born with Down syndrome, to The Nursery (as Holy Angels was known then), where she grew up and thrived in the care of Sisters of Mercy.

When Friends Become Family

As a resident in one of Holy Angels’ first group homes, Lorraine developed a lasting bond with Sister Nancy Nance, who is vice president of community relations at Holy Angels and was a caretaker at the group home for 16 years. Sister Nancy’s relationship with Lorraine and her family has grown over the past 30 years.

“We’re very grateful. We feel very blessed,” says Karen Jarvis, Lorraine’s sister and guardian, who is a speech and language pathologist with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Read More »

Santa Barbara Catholic School #MakesMercyReal in Guam

October 24, 2016

By Robyn Julianne Castro and Sister Maria Rosario Gaite

Cynthia Manibusan (far left) and her students at Santa Barbara display cutouts they made for Mercy Day as part of a fundraiser for those who are hungry.

Cynthia Manibusan (far left) and her students at Santa Barbara display cutouts they made for Mercy Day as part of a fundraiser for those who are hungry.

This year’s celebration of Mercy Day, September 24, at Santa Barbara Catholic School in Guam was made especially memorable, as classes performed a work of mercy in the name of the Sisters of Mercy to celebrate this special day.

The celebration began on September 22. The school held a dress-down day to raise money for Feed25, a movement in the Philippines to end hunger, one meal at a time. There, a meal is equivalent to twenty-five cents. Each child donated one dollar, feeding at least four children per donation. The children also made creative cutouts shaped like four children holding hands and offered them at Mass.   Read More »