Royal Visitors Meet Mercy

Royal Visitors to Canada Meet Mercy

His Royal Highness, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, began their 11-day tour of Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador. On November 3 they presided at the official opening of a social housing project sponsored by the United Church of Canada in St. John’s. During the celebration the Prince spoke with Sister Margie Taylor who volunteers with the project, The Stella Burry Association. He was pleased to know that the Sisters of Mercy have supported the project and that Sister Margie is working with some of the clientele.   He enquired about the number of Sisters in our Congregation and if we have many young women presently entering. He finished the conversation by wishing the Sisters in our Congregation many blessings in our lives and in our work.

The following day the royal party visited an educational centre of the Association of New Canadians. At the centre the Prince noted a photo display of vegetables grown by a group from the Association at a small farm located a new property that the Sisters of Mercy have purchased for our Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice. Photos showed the preparation of the ground, the planting and the harvesting. The Prince spoke with Sister Mary Tee, Coordinator of the Centre commending the steps our Congregation has taken towards Organic Farming. He expressed gratitude for the work that the Sisters do with the Association of New Canadians.

Conference on Creation Spirituality

‘From the Stars to the Street – A Celebration of Beauty, Wonder and Belonging’  was the theme of a conference on Creation Spirituality, given by Jim Conlon, Director of Sophia Center, Holy Names University, Oakland, California on October 23-24.  The conference was sponsored by the Centre for Ecology and Justice of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland and was attended by over one hundred participants.

From the Opening Prayer/Ritual, where we heard the call to acknowledge the presence of God within us, among us and in all creation, to the welcome, where we were challenged by the words of the poet, Mary Oliver ‘Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit to no labor in its cause?  I don’t think so…Be ignited, or be gone’, to the Litany of Blessing where we were reminded that we are blessed as custodians of the open table, symbol of creation’s abundant resources, from which no one is ever to be excluded,  we heard the same  call,  to be agents of change, to engage in a more expansive way of living,  a more integrated way of being.

Conlon spoke of the effects that a culture of greed, oppression and domination lead to  – widespread unemployment, violence, substance abuse and ecological devastation.  Yet the message was a call to hope.  The brokenheartedness is not about despair but rather the call to break our hearts open so as to become people of compassion, leading to joy in the struggle and faith in the fulfillment.  Drawing on the spirituality, the wisdom, the teaching of a number of our great thinkers, mystics, teachers, scientists, Conlon  laid out for us a new way of being, a new way of living.   The stars tell the great cosmic story; the streets tell our human-based hopes and dreams.  He reminded us that we are genetically coded to live as community and that humans have the choice as to what the community will look like;   it is all about Story and Dream.  He challenged us to become geo-justice people, honoring each other’s gifts and respecting soul life.

The conference concluded with the assurance that we need not be alone as we travel this new way.  Journey with:

  • women – with their gift of wisdom;
  • the indigenous peoples – with their capacity to live close to creation;
  • our own tradition – a great resource for the mystical journey;  and
  • the universe itself – its story  reveals the divine.

October 24 was Global Day of Action for Climate Change.  Following the conference, participants were invited to Pippy Park of St. John’s to join in an action, the making of a human hourglass, to draw attention to the ‘Climate Change Summit’ scheduled for global leaders in Copenhagen, December 2009.

Jim Conlon, Conference presenter

Sister Maureen O’Keefe, member of Committee for Ecology and Justice