October 3, 2019

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October 3, 2019 Note from the Institute Leadership Team “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, we are in the beginning of a mass…
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October 3, 2019 Note from the Institute Leadership Team “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth – how dare you!”—Greta Thunburg, climate activist, addressing the United Nations Greta’s prophetic words shock us and so they should. As we complete the “Season of Creation” and celebrate St. Francis tomorrow, let us be inspired and grateful to young Greta in her passion for action to stop degradation of Mother Earth. May Greta “dare us” as Mercy to urgently respond, to use our collective voice, ensuring that every decision we make, communally and corporately, prevents harm and degradation of our common home. May Greta’s daring move us to encounter and realize our interdependence with all of Creation, which is God’s total gift to us. Special thanks from Sister Anne Marie Miller Dear Mercy Community, My sincere gratitude and appreciation for your prayers and support as I journey through chemo treatment. I feel your presence from near and far. As Catherine said, “the tender Mercy of God has given us one another.” ⸺Anne Marie Pray in preparation for Chapter Sisters Theresa Saetta and Carolyn McWatters have composed a prayer to gather and prepare our hearts and minds for the Second Session of Chapter 2017. The meeting will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, March 26–28, 2020. The focus of this second session will be the consideration of an integrated model for sisters’ life and governance, within the context of our Chapter 2017 Recommitment and our identity as an international, intercultural community. In an ongoing spirit of oneness, let us pray this beautiful prayer personally and communally. Look for additional information about prayer resources and prayer partners in Mercy Now as we get closer to Chapter. ILT convenes conversations on women and church October 7 marks the 40th anniversary of when Sister Theresa Kane, in her role as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, spoke these words to Pope John Paul II: As I share this privileged moment with you, Your Holiness, I urge you to be mindful of the intense suffering and pain, which is part of the life of many women in these United States. I call upon you to listen with compassion and to hear the call of women who comprise half of humankind. As women, we have heard the powerful messages of our Church addressing the dignity and reverence for all persons. As women, we have pondered upon these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the Church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church as fully participating members. Theresa’s words echo those of many of our sisters today and many thousands of women in our church. We are very grateful to Theresa’s prophetic initiative in 1979 and to her continued call for women to be “included in all ministries of our Church as fully participating members.” Motivated by this anniversary and responding to our Chapter 2017 Recommitment “to advocate for the intrinsic value of women’s lives and to promote equality of women in Church and society,” the Institute Leadership Team (ILT) recently invited some sisters for a conversation about their own spiritual and ecclesial experiences and realities. About 20 sisters responded and we will hold these web-based conversations in the next month or so. We hope, with the help of our sisters, to gain insights and wisdom as to what possible next steps we can pursue that will be engaging and grace-filled for Institute-wide consideration. SOGI group gathers to reflect on faith and sexual orientation In mid-September, Sisters of Mercy, associates, companions and Mercy Volunteer Corps (MVC) alumnae gathered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) workshop, “Faithful Perspectives on Sexual Orientation.” This is the second such gathering in response to the Chapter 2017 mandate to “become better educated and to participate in engaged dialogue on gender identity and sexual orientation” and “to look at oppressive social norms and systems.” In the morning, the “Living Diversity with Integrity” panel—Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny, MVC community coordinator and alumna Anne Boettcher, MVC alumna Mary Pulda, and Companion Suzanne LaVoie—presented three perspectives around the complex reality of sexual orientation. Those present reflected on various experiences that inform our own ways of being. As Sister Gina Ward noted, “I have found myself facing myths and my own misconceptions that help me to glimpse the reality of a person’s experience as she/he grapples with their identity and shares that identity with the greater world. … [The panelists] allowed me to glimpse the root causes of the discomfort of speaking their truth ... fear and shame. What looks like a simple statement to me takes a lot of courage, especially in our Catholic culture.” After listening to the first panel, participants engaged in small group conversation asking: “When listening to the stories, what touched your own story?” and “How can Mercy welcome and embrace the many ways people love?” During the afternoon session, three experts—Katrina Hoop, a sociologist, Sister Betsy Linehan, a philosopher, and Mary E. Hunt, a theologian—helped the group to build understanding of sexual orientation. Danielle Daguio, an MVC alumna, commented, “I think what was profound for me were the parallels that happened between this and the anti-racism training. Not necessarily the content, but the very similar feelings of oppression, not being seen or heard, hiding your own identity, and coming up against structures that prevent you from stepping up into the fullness of who you are.” Sister Dale Jarvis shared, “The most important thing that happened to me at the meeting was increasing my own sensitivity to all who at this time are experiencing their own or a loved one’s experience with prejudice or pain. How much more will I be attentive to another’s story or life journey?” The day was recorded and will be distributed with a process so together we can continue our work as an Institute. Keep a look out for this and the launching of our webpage on the Institute website! Photo: (From left) Theologian Mary E. Hunt, Sister Betsy Linehan, a philosopher, and sociologist Katrina Hoop provide grounding for the group’s thinking about sexual orientation. All are invited to shape Mercy Global Presence Mercy International Association has launched an 18-month process to explore the unfolding of Mercy Global Presence in a troubled world. Participants will help shape the images, language and theology needed to recognize and describe this new vision that aims to link congregations/institutes, individual Sisters of Mercy and associates, partners in Mercy and Mercy International Association in creative and energizing ways. The process—open to everyone connected with the Sisters of Mercy—is a follow-up to the 2016 Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP), which revealed strong concerns among Mercy globally for the degradation of Earth and displacement of peoples. A 30-minute presentation addressing a theme of Mercy Global Presence will be shared on the Mercy International website at the end of each month. The first set of resources was released on September 29. View the site and scroll down to Segment 1: Global to view the Cosmos/Cosmology resources. Click “View Themes” to see each of the resources. Sisters, associates, co-workers and those with whom we minister will be contributing prayers, experiences, artwork and theological perspectives to these presentations. All in the Mercy family are invited to engage with this material individually or in small or large groups. You may subscribe to the weekly Mercy E-News from Mercy International Association to receive direct links to the materials each month and to receive other updates on the process. For more information, contact Marianne Comfort of the Institute Justice Team at mcomfort@sistersofmercy.org. Mercy family joins global day of climate action Mercy students, sisters, associates, volunteers and co-workers took part in the worldwide global climate strike September 20 with prayer services, legislative advocacy and public witness in their communities. Members of the Mercy family planned or participated in numerous events. Among them were sisters, staff and students on the Mercy campus in Merion, Pennsylvania; student members of the Environmental Club outside with signs at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia; a sister in Argentina collecting signatures to protect a local river from pollution; and Our Lady of Mercy School in Rochester, New York, breaking ground on new gardens. See these and many more actions in our climate strike photo album on Facebook. Please send your photos to socialmedia@sistersofmercy.org if you haven’t yet shared them. The next climate strike is scheduled for Friday, November 29. To learn more about next steps in this movement led by young people around the world, join a webinar hosted by Green Faith on Monday, October 7, at 12 p.m. E.T. Photo: (From left) Sister Joan Marie O’Donnell, associate Catherine Regan and Sisters Janet Rozzano, Celeste Nuttman and Martha Larsen join the climate strike in San Francisco. MIS launches new website As Mercy Investment Services approaches its 10th anniversary in February 2020, they will debut a new website that better highlights the socially responsible investing program’s work and impact. Features of the new, mobile-friendly website include:  Stories of impact investments through Mercy Partnership Fund and the Environmental Solutions Fund  Updates on how MIS shareholder advocacy work is pushing companies to change  Searchable database of current and past shareholder resolutions with more than 200 companies across issues addressing the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.  Current, searchable results on how MIS has voted its proxy on more than 26,000 items at company meetings. A Spanish version of the site will be released in the coming months. Look for a two-part series in the January/February and March/April issues of ¡Viva! Mercy for more on the history and work of Mercy Investment Services! Don’t miss the reflection and engagement process The Institute Leadership Team has invited all of us into a time of communal reflection and sharing from September 24, 2019, through July 20, 2020. Sister Pat McDermott’s inspiring address, “May We All Be One—Our Common Journey,” will serve as the resource for our reflection and conversation. Pat originally gave the address on June 22 at the South Central Gathering of the Whole in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pat believes that in this moment of our Mercy life and of the world, what is seeking us is Oneness. On September 30, all sisters, associates and companions should have received, electronically, Pat’s talk and a process for reflection and engagement with one another from the Institute. If you did not receive it, please contact Neisha Wilson. Advent resource to come on November 14 This Advent, a group of sisters, associates and companions will share reflections on each day’s Scripture to invite us to prepare for the joy of Christmas. A pdf compiling their daily reflections will be shared with all sisters, associates, companions and staff via email blast and in Mercy Now on November 14. The contributors include writers, musicians and artists from all around our Institute. We look forward to sharing their creative and diverse perspectives for this season of hope! Mercy family celebrates Mercy Day Members of the Mercy community celebrated Mercy Day across the Institute on September 24. View photos from their experiences here. Also, check out the wonderful photos that Mercy Education System of the Americas compiled from the elementary and secondary school participation in the special day here. Thanks for sharing your Mercy Day moments! Feel free to send us more! Photo: (from left) Sisters Patricia Pora, Jackie Moreau and Kathleen Smith enjoy a Mercy Day meal out in Freeport, Maine. #MakeMercyReal: Find a way every day This September, as we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy and Catherine McAuley’s opening of the first House of Mercy on Baggot Street, the Sisters of Mercy challenged social media followers to share the ways they #MakeMercyReal. If you are not familiar with this social media campaign, it is a simple invitation to choose a way to show mercy, capture it and share it. The resulting posts and shares will reflect our energy for building compassion and mercy in our world and will fill our social media feeds with positive messages. If you would like to join us in sharing the challenge to participate, you can find out more about #MakeMercyReal here or simply reshare posts from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Here are some sample messages:  Compliment a stranger today! Take note of how they react. Share it! #MakeMercyReal find a way every day.  Tell someone you love them today. Start with yourself. #MakeMercyReal find a way every day.  Pray a little longer today. Be still for five, 10, 15 minutes. Listen to what God tells you. #MakeMercyReal find a way every day. The challenge is simple, but the impact is immense. We can’t wait to see how everyone in our Mercy family finds a way!
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