International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August

In 1994 the United Nations decided that the International Day of Indigenous Peoples be celebrated each year on August 9. 
On this day people around the world are encouraged to spread the UN’s message on the protection and preservation of the rights of indigenous peoples. This year’s theme is The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.

Indigenous women are the backbone of their communities and play a crucial role in preserving and passing on traditional ancestral knowledge. However, they face many major issues in their everyday life, some of which are high levels of poverty, low levels of education, limitations in access to health, basic sanitation and employment, and the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence.

To learn more about this special observance, go to the following link:

Season of Creation 2022

The launch of the Season of Creation 2022 took place on February 23 of this year.

The theme for this year is Listening to the Voice of Creation and the symbol is the burning bush.

The Season of Creation is an ecumenical time, inviting Christian communities around the world to unite in prayer and action for creation. Patriarch Dimitrios 1 proclaimed September 1 as a special day of prayer for creation for his Orthodox community in 1989. The World Council of Churches was instrumental in expanding this day of prayer to a full season, and in 2015 Pope Francis made the season official for the Catholic Church.

The symbol of the burning bush was chosen:

  • in reference to the physical fires with the consequent loss of life and property and being experienced by so many people in our world, as well as the terrible devastation of the environment
  • in reference to the Book of Exodus where fire symbolizes God’s presence close to each of us. God heard the voice of all who suffered and promised to be with them in their suffering
  • in reference to “taking off our shoes” because we are indeed on sacred ground. Our current lifestyle which disconnects us from nature is unsustainable

The Season of Creation opens on September 1 and closes on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This is simply a preview of this upcoming special season.
As in previous years, it is our hope that our congregation will again be involved in celebrating the Season of Creation in union with all our sisters and brothers around the world as we reflect together on our relationship with our Creator and with all of creation.

For further information, please use the following link:

Fiestas Patrias Peru

Las “Fiestas Patrias”, celebradas el 28 de julio, conmemoran la declaración de independencia de Perú de España en 1821.

Fiestas Patrias’, celebrated on 28th July  marks Peru’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1821.

Congratulations to our sisters and the people of Peru as they celebrate the feast of Peru.
May God bless them all!

Felicidades a nuestras hermanas y al pueblo del Perú en la celebración de la fiesta del Perú.
¡Que Dios los bendiga a todos!

Celebrations at St. Lawrence

Marking 138 years of the presence of the Sisters of Mercy in the area from 1871 – 2009

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy had received word from Mary (Tarrant) Hodge early in August that the people of St. Lawrence, little St. Lawrence, Lawn and surrounding areas wanted to have a celebration to  recognize the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in those areas and to officially  thank them. Three Sisters, Sister M. Rose Murphy, M. Xavier Tarahan, and M. Stanislaus Taylor, had arrived in St. Lawrence in 1871 and the last Sister to minister there was Sr. Lucia Walsh who left in 2009.  Would the Sisters who had ministered, or who had come from there be able to attend the festivities planned on the weekend of October 20th and 21st, 2012, asked Mary?  She insisted that the Congregational Leader HAD to be there!  The Planning Committee would not entertain her absence but were willing to change the date of the event to suit her agenda.  Elizabeth Davis was free to go on the 20th and 21st.

We heard little tidbits of information in the ensuing weeks:  Father Cecil Critch would be doing ALL the cooking, there would be entertainment, and there would be surprises worth waiting for.  The official invitation arrived and we began looking forward with great anticipation to this fabulous weekend.  We hoped the weather would cooperate for the drive to the Burin peninsula.

Saturday, October 20th was the most beautiful day, weather-wise, that we had had all year! Sisters from St. John’s left very early in the morning when traffic was light and the moose had not yet ventured out from their night’s haunts.  The sun shone its mightiest, the sky was cloudless, the environment was ecologically correct and when we drove off the Trans-Canada and travelled down the Peninsula highway the splendor of the gold, yellows, browns and sometimes reds of the autumn leaves was absolutely breathtaking.  Those of us with digital cameras were kept busy trying to capture the beauty before us.  This was particularly difficult especially if our driver had no intention of letting us out of the car to shoot the scenery!

We had been told to proceed to the Golden Age Club upon our arrival: the majority of us fitted into the category of Golden Age so it was most appropriate that this be our first rendezvous.  The rails on either side of the ramp going into the building were festooned with blue and gold balloons and a large Welcome poster was above the entrance. A white-apronned lady was at the door ringing an old school bell to welcome us in! The greetings began inside in profusion as many of the ladies there had been our students…

Papal Visit to Canada, July 24 – 29

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit next week to meet members of Canadian indigenous groups, residential school abuse survivors and Catholics.

Logo of Pope Francis’ penitential pilgrimage

In an address at Vatican City on Sunday, July 17, Pope Francis said that he sees this visit as a “penitential pilgrimage” which he hopes will contribute to the journey of healing and reconciliation that has already begun.

This is a very significant moment in our history.

Join us in prayer for Pope Francis and for all the individuals and groups with whom he will be meeting during these days.

Ways to view the papal events include the following:

Salt & Light Catholic Media Foundation has a dedicated site for information and broadcast details for the papal visit – (English) or (French). The network will air all public events.

Livestream links– and will provide links to a number of livestreams for papal events, broadcast in more than 10 languages, including many Indigenous languages, as well as sign languages. Visitors will also be able to access feeds from Vatican TV that include commentary in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German.

Novalis has produced a digital resource that includes texts for all the liturgies presided by Pope Francis, prayers as well as reflections on the significance of the Papal Visit. To download the resource, visit: ca (English) or (French)

Remembering Our Newfoundland Mercy Story 3:

Anniversary of the Founding of Mercy on West Coast of Newfoundland

On July 28, 1893, Sisters M. Antonio Egan, M. Corsini Dempsey, M. Veronica Payne and M. Sylvester Carver, former members of the Sisters of Mercy of Providence, Rhode Island, left Boston, bound for Sandy Point on the west coast of Newfoundland. Mrs. Henrietta Brownell, a friend of Sister M. Antonio and a benefactor of the mission, along with Bishop Michael Howley, Vicar Apostolic of Western Newfoundland, accompanied the band of missionaries to their new home.

Upon arrival at Sandy Point, the sisters received an enthusiastic welcome from the people of Sandy point. The Evening Telegram of August 12, 1893 reported as follows:

As the steamer neared the wharf, a great crowd gathered and salvos
of guns were heard on every side. The line of procession from the wharf to the
Bishop’s house (where the nuns are to be temporarily located) was spanned
by several arches of evergreens … and decorated with wreaths, mottoes and
flags, among which the tri-color of France was particularly conspicuous.

From the Annals of St. Michael’s Convent, St. George’s we learn that once the festivities were over, “the sisters found themselves face to face with the stern difficulties of mission life in a new and poor country.” The annalist went on to say that “the contrast between the school environment of Sandy Point and that of Providence, Rhode Island can be better imagined than described …”

Although plagued with many difficulties and struggles in both community and ministry,
the sisters remained steadfast in their dedication to the ideals of the mission they had undertaken so eagerly. In 1899 with the construction of the railway line in St. George’s, the sisters moved from Sandy Point to the new St. Michael’s Convent and school in St. George’s, where they were able to enjoy better accommodations and easier access to resources. The first two boarding students – Sarah Blanchard and Sarah Doyle from Codroy Valley – arrived at St. Michael’s Academy in 1900 to avail of the educational opportunities of the new school. Sarah Doyle entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1906, taking the religious name of Sister Mary Dominic. She was a great-aunt of Sister Sylvia Doyle.

Foundation of Sisters of Mercy, Sandy Point from Diane on Vimeo.

More stories documenting our Newfoundland Mercy Story can be read in “Archival Moments

El 28 de julio de 1893, las Hermanas M. Antonio Egan, M. Corsini Dempsey, M. Veronica Payne y M. Sylvester Carver, antiguas miembros de las Hermanas de la Misericordia de Providence, Rhode Island, salieron de Boston con destino a Sandy Point, en la costa occidental de Terranova. La Sra. Henrietta Brownell, amiga de la Hermana M. Antonio y benefactora de la misión, junto con el Obispo Michael Howley, Vicario Apostólico de Terranova Occidental, acompañaron al grupo de misioneras a su nuevo hogar.

A su llegada a Sandy Point, las hermanas recibieron una entusiasta bienvenida por parte de los habitantes de Sandy Point. El Evening Telegram del 12 de agosto de 1893 informaba de lo siguiente:

Cuando el vapor se acercó al muelle, una gran multitud se reunió y salvas
de armas se oian por todas partes. La linea de la procesion desde el muelle hasta la
de la ciudad, y de la ciudad, y de la ciudad, y de la ciudad, y de la ciudad, y de la ciudad.
y decorada con coronas, lemas y banderas, entre las que destacaba la tricolor.
banderas, entre las que destacaba la tricolor de Francia.

En los Anales del Convento de San Miguel, St. George’s, nos enteramos de que, una vez terminadas las festividades, “las hermanas se encontraron cara a cara con las duras dificultades de la vida de misión en un país nuevo y pobre”. El annalista continuó diciendo que “el contraste entre el ambiente escolar de Sandy Point y el de Providence, Rhode Island puede ser mejor imaginado que descrito…”

Aunque plagadas de muchas dificultades y luchas tanto en la comunidad como en el ministerio,
las hermanas se mantuvieron firmes en su dedicación a los ideales de la misión que habían emprendido con tanto entusiasmo. En 1899, con la construcción de la línea de ferrocarril en St. George’s, las hermanas se trasladaron de Sandy Point al nuevo convento y colegio de St. Michael’s en St. George’s, donde pudieron disfrutar de mejores alojamientos y un acceso más fácil a los recursos. Las dos primeras alumnas internas – Sarah Blanchard y Sarah Doyle de Codroy Valley – llegaron a la Academia de San Miguel en 1900 para aprovechar las oportunidades educativas de la nueva escuela. Sarah Doyle ingresó en las Hermanas de la Misericordia en 1906, tomando el nombre religioso de Hermana Mary Dominic. Era tía abuela de la Hermana Sylvia Doyle.

Se pueden leer más relatos que documentan nuestra historia de la Misericordia en Terranova en “Momentos de archivo“.


Remembering Our Newfoundland Mercy Story 2:

Sr M.Francis Creedon

Today, July 15 is the 167th anniversary of the death of our Newfoundland Mercy founder, Sister M. Francis Creedon.

She died at the age of 44, having been professed as a Sister of Mercy for fourteen years. A woman of great fortitude, zeal for mission and commitment to the ideals of Mercy instilled in her by Catherine McAuley, Francis gave her all to the Newfoundland mission.

She faced many trials and hardships both in community and ministry, but the urgency of the mission and her conviction of the loving Providence of God at work in her life impelled her ever onward. Four young women had joined her since the death of her faithful companion, Sister M. Joseph Nugent in 1847.

The last to enter was Anastasia Tarrahan, the first native Newfoundlander, whom she received into the novitiate on July 2, less than two weeks before her death. Following that ceremony, she responded to a call to visit a dying person in the town and upon her return to Mercy Convent from that visitation she was confined to bed until her death.

The following notice was written in Bishop Mullock’s diary on July 15:

Mrs. Creedon, Superioress of the Convent of Mercy died this morning, a victim of overwork for the poor and the sick.

More stories documenting our Newfoundland Mercy Story can be read in “Archival Moments

Hoy, 15 de julio, es el 167 aniversario de la muerte de nuestra fundadora de la Misericordia de Terranova, la Hermana M. Francis Creedon.

Murió a la edad de 44 años, habiendo profesado como Hermana de la Misericordia durante catorce años. Mujer de gran fortaleza, celo por la misión y compromiso con los ideales de la Misericordia que le inculcó Catalina McAuley, Francis lo dio todo por la misión de Terranova.

Se enfrentó a muchas pruebas y dificultades tanto en la comunidad como en el ministerio, pero la urgencia de la misión y su convicción de la amorosa Providencia de Dios actuando en su vida la impulsaron a seguir adelante. Cuatro jóvenes se habían unido a ella desde la muerte de su fiel compañera, la Hermana M. Joseph Nugent en 1847.

La última en ingresar fue Anastasia Tarrahan, la primera nativa de Terranova, a quien recibió en el noviciado el 2 de julio, menos de dos semanas antes de su muerte. Después de esa ceremonia, respondió a una llamada para visitar a un moribundo en la ciudad y a su regreso al Convento de la Misericordia de esa visita fue confinada a la cama hasta su muerte.

La siguiente noticia fue escrita en el diario del obispo Mullock el 15 de julio:

La Sra. Creedon, Superiora del Convento de la Misericordia murió esta mañana, víctima del exceso de trabajo para los pobres y los enfermos.

Se pueden leer más relatos que documentan nuestra historia de la Misericordia en Terranova en “Momentos de archivo“.

Remembering Our Newfoundland Mercy Story 1: Burin Peninsula

One hundred fifty-nine years ago this coming week, the Burin Peninsula welcomed the first Sisters of Mercy to its shores.  

Persistent efforts by Burin’s zealous pastor, Father Michael Berney, for whom the education of the children of his parish was of prime importance, finally convinced Mother Xavier Bernard to make a positive response to his entreaties.  St. Anne’s Convent (pictured at right) opened on July 12, 1863. The founding sisters were: Irish-born Sister M. Liguori Carmody; Sister M. Xavier Tarrahan, a Newfoundlander; Sister M. Charles McKenna, also Irish; Mary McAuliffe, a postulant.

The Newfoundlander of July 20, 1863 published a letter describing the arrival of the sisters at the government wharf in Burin on board the steamship Ariel, after a journey of more than twenty-four hours. There, a “tasteful Triumphal Arch” had been erected,  and the long -awaited sisters were greeted with cannon shots and loud cheering from the throngs of people gathered to welcome them. After a visit to the church to receive the bishop’s blessing on the new venture, they were escorted to the priest’s housefor “a collation” by a procession of little girls in white dresses who strewed their path with flowers.

It was an auspicious beginning for St. Anne’s, and the start of a wonderful relationship between the sisters and the people of Burin. The subsequent story of this foundation bears witness to the marvelous ministry of many gifted and dedicated Sisters of Mercy over the years.

More stories documenting our Newfoundland Mercy Story can be read in “Archival Moments

La próxima semana hará ciento cincuenta y nueve años que la península de Burin acogió en sus costas a las primeras Hermanas de la Misericordia.

Los insistentes esfuerzos del celoso párroco de Burin, el padre Michael Berney, para quien la educación de los niños de su parroquia era primordial, convencieron finalmente a la madre Xavier Bernard para que respondiera positivamente a sus súplicas. El convento de Santa Ana (en la foto de la derecha) abrió sus puertas el 12 de julio de 1863. Las hermanas fundadoras fueron: Sor M. Liguori Carmody, de origen irlandés; Sor M. Xavier Tarrahan, de Terranova; Sor M. Charles McKenna, también irlandesa; Mary McAuliffe, postulante.

El Newfoundlander del 20 de julio de 1863 publicó una carta que describía la llegada de las hermanas al muelle gubernamental de Burin a bordo del vapor Ariel, después de un viaje de más de veinticuatro horas. Allí se había erigido un “elegante Arco de Triunfo”, y las tan esperadas hermanas fueron recibidas con cañonazos y fuertes vítores de la multitud de gente reunida para darles la bienvenida. Después de una visita a la iglesia para recibir la bendición del obispo, fueron escoltadas a la casa del sacerdote para “una colación” por una procesión de niñas vestidas de blanco que llenaron su camino de flores.

Fue un comienzo auspicioso para Santa Ana, y el inicio de una maravillosa relación entre las hermanas y el pueblo de Burin. La historia posterior de esta fundación es testimonio del maravilloso ministerio de muchas Hermanas de la Misericordia dotadas y entregadas a lo largo de los años.

Se pueden leer más relatos que documentan nuestra historia de la Misericordia en Terranova en “Momentos de archivo“.

Celebrating Our Platinum Jubilarians

This year, 2022, is a Platinum anniversary for five of our sisters, Geraldine Mason, Irene Neville, Anita Best, Georgina Quick and Madonna O’Neill.  Sister Colette Ryan was a member of this group and we fondly remember her.  Sister Loretta Dower reached her platinum milestone last year in 2021 and we celebrate with her this year belatedly!

For many years, 16 July, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, this was the day when our sisters were received into the novitiate, made first profession, renewal of vows and perpetual profession. It remains a special day of remembrance and celebration in our congregation.

We congratulate each of the jubilarians not only for reaching this milestone —seventy years plus since their reception as members of the Sisters of Mercy— but in gratitude for as many years in Mercying and Imaging the face of God where ever each lived and worked up to this present day.

Global Action Lived Locally: A Case Study from Newfoundland

The Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland are a Congregation of 124 sisters involved in global action in Canada, Peru, Kenya and Zambia.

Newfoundland’s vision for Global Action stems from their Chapter Proclamation of 2009 as follows:

  • We believe that the Mercy charism embraces the interconnectedness of women, suffering people and Earth. We commit ourselves to explore this interconnectedness, to accept responsibility for care of Earth, and to venture new ministries among women, youth and suffering people.
  • We believe that the Mercy charism embraces right relationships with God, self, others, Earth and the life-enhancing nature of diversity. We commit ourselves to deepen our relationship with God, to nurture the quality of relationships within our congregation, to work in partnership with others, and to grow in our understanding and acceptance of diversity in all of life.
  • We believe that the Mercy charism embraces the energy and influence of mercy presence in the church, in the world and in all creation. We commit ourselves, in our leadership for mission, to be a personal and corporate presence in struggles for justice and equality.

Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland (2009)

The following profile features an example of Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland embodying their vision in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Sr. Mary Tee is Director of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice located in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice focuses its energy and resources toward the unfolding of the vision to live a spirituality flowing from the sacredness of all creation and to work in solidarity with others for the restoration of ecology and justice in the world and in all creation.

In collaboration with partners internationally, nationally and locally, it promotes eco-justice through the exploration of new and practical ways to participate, as co creators with God, in God’s ongoing creation, to sustain the gift of life and enhance the well being of Earth’s sacred community. It promotes awareness of a mutually enhancing relationship between the human and the natural world with an appreciation of reciprocity and interdependence of the one life we all share. It provides experiences, resources, and educational opportunities to expand awareness of the intrinsic value and integrity of all creation. It promotes the involvement of youth in the ministry of ecology and justice.

The centre works to engage the sisters, associates and others, especially youth, in its many projects and activities. The centre serves as facilitator, advocate, educator and prophet in the many aspects of ecology and justice.

The building (pictured at right) is situated on an acre of land that has fruit trees and berry bushes around the perimeter and fertile soil that has seen two crops of vegetables in the past two summers. The garden is a project of the Centre in collaboration with a group of “new Canadians” and students of St. Bonaventure’s College. The produce is shared with the food banks and other groups.