Global Mercy Alive in the 21st Century

The topic of the event was Global Mercy in the 21st Century.  For two days, September 21 and 22, over 80 men and women, Mercy Sisters, Associates, colleagues and friends met at the Corpus Chrsti Parish Hall to pray, listen, reflect and share.  For the first day Sr. Mary Reynolds madeCatherine McAuley known as “nourishment for our time.”  She revealed to us her heart, the heart of a mother, the heart of an advocate, the heart of a woman of the Gospel- a heart of love, justice, of mercy and compassion.  She highlighted the global presence of Mercy especially through the Mercy International Association.  Sr. Elizabeth Davis situated Mercy in Newfoundland and Peru in this larger context as she described who we are.

On the second day of our gathering Mary Purcell laid out the richness of Mercy International in description of MIA’s global initiatives and helped us further develop a vision of how we might further these initiatives from our position on the planet.

These two days stretched our thinking but most of all expanded our hearts and minds.  They helped us increase our consciousness of Mercy in the world in which we live and work and challenged us to open to what the works of Mercy call us to be and to do in this day and age.  They were two rich and enriching days.  We thank Mary Reynolds and Mary Purcell for their presence and for their presentations.

submitted by Diane Smyth

Profession of Vows

The heavens are telling the glory of God

And all creation is singing for joy

Come dance in the forest, come play in the field

And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.

The words of this song ringing out with great gusto captured the spirit of joyful praise and gratitude of all who celebrated with Sister Marie Etheridge her Perpetual Profession of Vows as a Sister of Mercy.


On September 21, 2012 Mercy Sisters and Associates, Marie’s family members, co-workers and many friends gathered at Corpus Christi Church, Kilbride for the Eucharistic Celebration of her Final Profession. Archbishop Martin Currie presided at the Liturgy. Bishop Peter Hundt, Archbishop Alphonsus Penney and Father David Joy assisted.


There were many memorable moments in the Liturgy. Echoes of Catherine McAuley’s words were threaded throughout the Eucharistic Prayer, making her presence palpable among us. Sister Elizabeth Davis spoke of Marie’s profession as “the making of a covenant of love and faithfulness and mercy between a woman and her God.” Elizabeth included Marie among those young women whom Catherine McAuley praised when she said about them, “They renew my spirit greatly – fine creatures fit to adorn society, coming forward joyfully to consecrate themselves to the service of the poor for Christ’s sake. This is some of the fire He cast on the earth – kindling.” Elizabeth alluded to the motto on Marie’s ring, “Here I am, Lord” quoting from the day’s Psalm 40, “You do not ask for holocaust and victim, instead here am I.”


Marie had chosen a sunny yellow jacket as part of her Profession dress and it reflected well her disposition as she stood and professed her Vows, “joyfully” committing herself to the service of God’s people. Following Marie’s Act of Profession we all awaited the moment for the blessing and reception of her Profession ring. And what a poignant moment that was! Our oldest Sister of Mercy and dear friend of

Marie, Sister Mary Thomasine McHugh, sitting in her wheelchair and smiling sweetly, proudly held up Marie’s ring for the Archbishop’s blessing. Sister Elizabeth Davis then presented the ring to Marie as the symbol of God’s fidelity to her and of Marie’s commitment in her covenant relationship with God.


The spirit of jubilation carried over from the Eucharistic Banquet to the Reception Hall where great rejoicing was the order of the evening.


Indeed Marie’s Profession was an occasion when we could sing and sing again to the glory of the Lord.

Submitted by Sister Maureen O’Keefe

Update Conga— Mining Project in Cajamarca

The struggle against the mining Project Conga continues in Cajamarca.

We are almost finishing two months of a state of emergency declared by the government in three regions of Cajamarca.  We are however entering a new phase. Recently the Government and the Transnational Newmont announced the suspension for three years of the megaproject Conga.

The decision to suspend the project has come from social pressure that is the protests of the people of the area. But there is a lot of confusion and contradictions as to what this means. At the same time that they announce suspension of the projec,t they confirm building two huge reservoirs in the area. The construction of the reservoirs is going to destroy the natural sources of water that feed into the surrounding lakes.  Without these natural sources of water the lakes will dry out. Is it we ask a strategic plan on the part of both government and the transnational during these three years to regain the confidence of the people of Cajamarca and convince them of the merits of the project?

Cajamarca is not asking for suspension of the project but rather for a declaration of non viability of Project Conga. While the people continue their protests work continues on the reservoirs. From another point of view, the delay of two or three years will ensure the change in Regional government and other political authorities who now resist mining in natural sources of water. (cabecera de cuencas)

Cajamarca is tired of protests, state of emergency, and manipulation on the part of those in power. The whole issue has become very politizised and hence more confusing. The politicians look for their own good. Government has announced that they will be placing emphasis on development, initiating different projects to provide employment and especially to assure that all villages have access to water and light. Such projects are long overdue. The question now is what type of projects, plans does Cajamarca need for sustainable development and eradication of poverty?

News media has been very biased in their reports and the reality of the problem is not understood.  They see Project Conga as an investment that will answer the needs of the country. They say the resources belong to the country and not only to Cajamarca therefore Conga should be developed. They have little understanding of the effects on the environment and the water supply that feeds so many villages and as well the extent of contamination.

The church in Cajamarca has been divided in its response. Individual parishes and Deaneries have been very much a part of the struggle accompanying and supporting the people, denouncing injustices and violence and criminalization of community leaders. Unfortunately there is no unified stance on the part of the diocesan church and no real committed leadership. There is no clear vision of the implications of this project on the majority of the population of the poor farming communities that will be directly affected.

To resolve this situation is no easy task. It will require time and substantial changes in public policies that have to do with mining activities, care of the environment and mechanisms of citizen participation. Let us pray for wisdom and guidance for those involved in deciding the future of mining activities in Cajamarca.

Messages to: Marion Collins