Special Day

Sunday, October 27, 2013     Sisters of Mercy and family members of Sr. Margaret Pittman gathered at McAuley Convent in St. John’s, NL to celebrate two events.  The Eucharist was celebrated with Monsignor John Wallis as presider.   The Mass and dinner that followed honored the Diamond Jubilee of Sr. Margaret – sixty years as a Sister of Mercy.  Margaret’s family, her sister Jessie Kirby and husband, Gerard, as well as their two daughters Mary Lou Short and Jocelyn Dunphy, were delighted to be with Margaret, having driven for over three hours from Marystown.  The sisters staff and those in residence at McAuley Convent, members of the Congregational Leadership Team, and members of Margaret’s profession group shared in a festive meal.  

In the afternoon executive members of the National Canadian Group Development and Peace, presented Margaret with a plaque in appreciation of her long-term dedication to the work of of D&P in the Marystown and Burin Peninsula area.  Margaret worked tirelessly for over fifteen years to support the international ministry of the group and to educate and encourage others in that ministry.

Margaret expressed a few words of appreciation to the group and joined them for a “cup of tea” and a piece of Jubilee cake.  It was a great day of celebration for the sisters, for Margaret and her family.



Windows in Portugal Cove Church

In the sanctuary of Holy Rosary Church, Portugal Cove, Newfoundland there are three stained glass windows. The centre and larger window is in memory of the Right Reverend Michael Anthony Fleming, OSF. The other two are in memory for Fr. Edward Troy and Fr. Thomas O’Connor who were the first two pastors of the parish, 1833 – 1844 and 1844 – 1884 respectively. St. Patrick is depicted on the window on the left and St. John the Baptist on the other. The window located at the centre of the three depicts Mary seated on a throne-like chair and holding the infant Jesus on her lap – an image much like the picture of Mary, Mother of Mercy,  that hangs in the chapel at the Mercy International Centre, 64 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin.  Mary is holding out to a monk a rosary with a black ebony cross with a smaller white cross at the centre. (Portugal Cove had been one of Bishop Fleming’s mission churches until he had more priests to send there).  It is interesting to make note of such an image considering the connection of Bishop Fleming with Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy at Baggot Street. Bishop Fleming was a Franciscan from Carrick-on- Suir who came to Newfoundland in 1823 to assist his fellow Franciscan, Bishop Thomas Scallon, in caring for the Irish Catholics in St. John’s. Bishop Fleming knew Catherine McAuley and visited Baggot Street very

often especially since he was supporting a niece, Annie Fleming and also Marianne Creedon an Irish girl whom he had sent from St. John’s to the new Mercy Institute to be formed by the foundress. The plan was that she would be professed for the establishment of a Mercy convent in St. John’s. Marianne was professed (Sister Mary Francis) in August, just a few months before Catherine McAuley died on November 11, 1841.

Catherine’s commitment to establish a foundation in Newfoundland was honored by her successor, Mother M. dePazzi, and Bishop Fleming accompanied Sister M. Francis along with Sisters Ursula Frayne and Rose Lynch back to Newfoundland. The three Sisters of Mercy and a postulant arrived in St. John’s harbour on June 3, 1842. 

Story of an Altar

On October 5, 2013, several sisters were present at Holy Rosary Parish Church in Portugal Cove, NL, for a special event. An altar of historical significance was rededicated for that Church by Archbishop Martin Currie.

Also present for the event were many parishioners, Father Ray Earle, P.P. of Holy Rosary Parish, Father Geoff Kolonel, P.P. of St. Kevin’s Parish, Goulds, and Father Leo English, P.P. of St. Teresa’s Parish.

The altar had been given to Monsignor Harold Summers by his parents Michael and Ann Summers and was initially installed in St. Teresa’s Church on Mundy Pond Road.

In the mid 1960s, with the construction of the new St. Teresa’s Church by the Redemptorists and the construction of St. Bride’s College and Mercy Generalate on the Littledale property, the altar was given by Monsignor Summers to Sister Mary Assumpta Veitch, Superior General, for the chapel at the new Generalate.

With the sale of St. Bride’s College, the altar was removed piece by piece and placed in storage at the Basilica awaiting a new home.

The altar is a masterpiece made of marble with the Last Supper sculptured on the front. When the priests of the archdiocese viewed it in storage a few years ago, Father Geoff Kolonel, then parish priest of Holy Rosary Parish, asked for it for his church in Portugal Cove and started the task of renovating his sanctuary for its installation.

Before renovations were completed, Father Ray Earle was assigned pastor of Holy Rosary Parish and he and the committee finished the work. Many of our sisters who served on Leadership Teams since the 1960s prayed daily in front of this altar.

It was breath-taking to enter Holy Rosary Church on October 5th and behold the marble altar illuminated by five small flood lights in the floor before the altar.

During the same ceremony on October 5th, a refurbished stained glass window was blessed and Father Ray was formally installed as the new pastor of Holy Rosary Parish by Archbishop Currie. After Mass we had an opportunity to meet many parishioners while enjoying a delicious lunch in the parish hall.

Many expressed their gratitude for the altar and promised to take care of it for us. We in turn stated how grateful we are that it has found such a beautiful home.


Contact: Rosemary Ryan