Remembering Our Newfoundland Mercy Story 4:

Our Lady of Mercy School

On May 1, 1843 Our Lady of Mercy School opened in St. John’s with four teachers – Sisters Francis Creedon, Ursula Frayne, Rose Lynch and Joseph Nugent, the latter having made profession of vows as a Sister of Mercy on March 25 of that year.

By this time, the Sisters had been in Newfoundland for almost a year, a year in which they devoted themselves to the visitation and care of the poor and the sick of the town, traversing the narrow streets and visiting the rude shacks in which many of the Irish Catholics lived. Forty-two pupils were enrolled when the school opened, and in the following year fifty-five students were in attendance.

Newspapers of the day tell us that course selections included Geography, Use of the Globes, History, Latin and Italian, plain and ornamental needlework as well as the regular subjects of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. In addition, Sisters Francis and Joseph gave private lessons in music to a number of students. Every weekend the sisters continued visitation of the sick in their homes and at St. John’s Hospital, located in the Victoria Park area.  What amazing women they were, those women upon whose shoulders we are privileged to stand!

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

El 1 de mayo de 1843 se abrió la Escuela de Nuestra Señora de la Merced en St. John’s con cuatro maestras – las Hermanas Francis Creedon, Ursula Frayne, Rose Lynch y Joseph Nugent, esta última había hecho la profesión de votos como Hermana de la Merced el 25 de marzo de ese año.

Para entonces, las Hermanas llevaban casi un año en Terranova, un año en el que se dedicaron a visitar y cuidar a los pobres y enfermos de la ciudad, recorriendo las estrechas calles y visitando las rudimentarias chozas en las que vivían muchos de los católicos irlandeses. Cuando se inauguró la escuela había cuarenta y dos alumnos matriculados, y al año siguiente asistían cincuenta y cinco.

Los periódicos de la época cuentan que los cursos incluían geografía, uso de globos terráqueos, historia, latín e italiano, costura sencilla y ornamental, así como las asignaturas habituales de lectura, escritura y aritmética. Además, las hermanas Francis y Joseph daban clases particulares de música a varias alumnas. Cada fin de semana las hermanas continuaban visitando a los enfermos en sus casas y en el Hospital de San Juan, situado en la zona de Victoria Park. ¡Qué mujeres tan asombrosas eran, aquellas mujeres sobre cuyos hombros tenemos el privilegio de estar!

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



World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 30 April

The Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, has been celebrated as Vocation Sunday since 1964.

On this special day we are encouraged to pray for all members of the Church – religious, laity and priests – as we are all called to be missionary disciples of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, witnessing to His Gospel of Love and to building up His community of justice, peace and compassion.

‘Vocation is “the interplay between divine choice and human freedom”, a dynamic and exciting relationship between God and the human heart. The gift of vocation is like a divine seed that springs up in the soil of our existence, opens our hearts to God and to others, so that we can share with them the treasure we ourselves have found.’

-Pope Francis, ‘Message for the 2023 World Day of Prayer for Vocations’, 30 April 2023

Post your prayer in our sacred space

El cuarto domingo de Pascua, también conocido como Domingo del Buen Pastor, se celebra desde 1964 como Domingo de las Vocaciones.

En este día especial se nos anima a rezar por todos los miembros de la Iglesia -religiosos, laicos y sacerdotes-, ya que todos estamos llamados a ser discípulos misioneros de Jesús, el Buen Pastor, dando testimonio de su Evangelio del Amor y a construir su comunidad de justicia, paz y compasión.

 ‘La vocación es «el entramado entre elección divina y libertad humana, una relación dinámica y estimulante que tiene como interlocutores a Dios y al corazón humano. Así, el don de la vocación es como una semilla divina que brota en el terreno de nuestra vida, nos abre a Dios y nos abre a los demás para compartir con ellos el tesoro encontrado.’

-Papa Francisco, ‘Mensaje para la Jornada Mundial de Oración por las Vocaciones 2023‘, 30 de abril de 2023

Publica tu oración en nuestro espacio sagrado


St Joseph the Worker, 1 May

1 May is celebrated as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. 

Joseph the Worker, the church of San Lorenzo in Florence.

This special feast was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius X11 as a counter-celebration to the communist May Day. It celebrates the dignity of work and gives us an opportunity to acknowledge, pray for and express gratitude to all workers, especially those who are employed in our congregation and in our various ministries.

Thank you for your many and varied contributions to the congregation’s life and mission.

May 1 is also known as International Workers’ Day and in some countries, it is celebrated as Labor Day.

May St. Joseph, patron of workers, bless and protect all workers!

El 1 de mayo se celebra la fiesta de San José Obrero.

Esta fiesta especial fue instituida en 1955 por el Papa Pío X11 como contra-celebración del Primero de Mayo comunista. Se celebra la dignidad del trabajo y nos da la oportunidad de reconocer, orar y expresar gratitud a todos los trabajadores, especialmente a los que trabajan en nuestra congregación y en nuestros diversos ministerios.

Gracias por sus muchas y variadas contribuciones a la vida y misión de la congregación.

El 1 de mayo es también conocido como el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores y en algunos países se celebra como el Día del Trabajo.

Que San José, patrón de los trabajadores, bendiga y proteja a todos los trabajadores!

Reflections on Mary for the Month of May

In Catholic  tradition, the month of May is dedicated to Mary. In May three of her feasts are celebrated: Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th; Mary, Mother of the Church on May 29; the Visitation on May 31.

Some years ago, Elizabeth Davis rsm recorded a series of 13 video reflections for Redemptorist TV on aspects of Mary. You might like to watch one of more of these during May.

Mary as Woman of Nazareth

Mary, the woman we know as Mother of God, was one like us, a person who lived each day and faced the joys and the challenges of each day. We meet her first in Scripture as a frightened adolescent who is being asked to do an almost impossible thing. The last time we meet her in Scripture she is an older woman, more confident perhaps, yet still being asked to do an almost impossible thing

Watch the video

Mary as Miriam of Nazareth

In my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, when anyone meets a stranger, the first questions are “What is your name and who are you called after?” and “Who are your parents?” The first page of our New Testament, the beginning words of the Gospel of Matthew, could well have been written by a Newfoundlander! In these words we find the answer to the same questions about Mary

Watch the video

Mary of the Annunciation and Pentecost

At the Annunciation, a young woman whose name is Mary is visited by an angel who tells her that she is to bear a son who will be special in many ways. When Mary challenges the possibility of this ever happening, the angel’s reply is decisive, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Lk 1:35). With this assurance, the young woman replies, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38)

Watch the video

Mary of the Magnificat

Mary’s response was immediate. She spoke the most words spoken by any woman in the New Testament. She used echoes of words spoken by the women of the Old Testament: Deborah, Miriam and Hannah. In this song, she passionately gave what the theologian Edward Schillebeeckx called “a toast to our God,” which we call the Magnificat.

Watch the video

Mary as Displaced Person

In the days before Mary was to give birth, she and Joseph were forced to go to Bethlehem to be counted for the census. They had no choice in this matter. The late stages of Mary’s pregnancy and the difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem did not matter to the political leadership of the day.

Watch the video

Mary as Mother of Sorrow

On another visit to the Temple to celebrate Passover when Jesus was twelve years old, Jesus remains behind and speaks with the teachers with authority, and then he says these mysterious words to his parents, “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” This time the writer tells us that “His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”

Watch the video

Mary as Mother at the Wedding Feast

The young Jewish peasant girl has become a confident woman, a teacher, a mentor and a commanding presence. She has grown into her calling to be a partner with God in the work of Incarnation and Redemption. Having given life to her son, she now calls him into his new life of public ministry, she remains with him to support and nurture him to the end, and she will remain when he is gone to support and nurture the church which continues his presence on earth.

Watch the video

Mary and God

“Spirituality is that which gives us the strength to go on for it is the assurance that God is in the struggle. Spirituality spells out our connectedness to God, our human roots, the rest of nature, one another and ourselves.” In this way in 1994 the Third World Theologians redefined spirituality and began our thinking on “right relationships.”

Watch the video

Mary and the Environment

Let us reflect on Mary in right relationship with the environment. First we must speak to our emerging understanding of ecology, a new sense of how all creation has been created by God, is good and is interconnected. In the 13th century Meister Eckhart said, “Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God.”

Watch the video

Mary and Self

There are several beautiful passages in the Gospels in which we get an understanding of Mary’s sense of self. At the Annunciation, we see Mary’s poignant inner turmoil in the face of an awesome task being asked of her, “But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:29). She then asks outright the question, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)

Watch the video

Mary and Right Relationships: Family

These women ancestors of Jesus suffer indignities and oppression, but live to reflect the face of God, the righteous One, the merciful One, the maternal One, the One who is found in the company of those who are marginalized, oppressed, suffering, poor and powerless. Jesus, the son of Mary, has indeed inherited the qualities of his foremothers.

Watch the video

Mary and Right Relationships: Others

The beautiful prayer of the Magnificat which Luke ascribes to Mary is a powerful description of Mary in right relationship with other people. While the first part of her psalm focuses on Mary in relationship with her God, the second part expresses Mary’s love for people. Mary rejoices in God her Saviour because God‘s mercy is from generation to generation.

Watch the video

Mary and Right Relationships: Faith Tradition

Mary was first and foremost a Jewish woman, a practicing Jew who remained faithful to Judaism. She would have been aware of the Hebrew Scriptures, the sacred books she called Torah and we Christians call the Old Testament. She bears the name of the leader Miriam about whom God said in the book of Micah (6:4), “I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam

Watch the video

Each week  on our website Elizabeth Davis rsm provides a written reflection on the Sunday readings. These reflections contain insights and images, poetry and prose, wisdom and scholarship. Access those reflections here


National Volunteer Week, 16-22 April

This week celebrates our individual and collective actions in helping to make a better world for all.  The theme of this year’s Volunteer Week is: Volunteers Weave us Together.

We were delighted to see Sister Rosemary Ryan and Sister Margie Taylor featured on The Gathering Place social media.

The Facebook entry that accompanies the picture reads as follows:

Sister Margie and Sister Rosemary volunteer in our dining room serving meals and smiles to the Guests every week. As members of the Sisters of Mercy, they’re a part of the kind and wonderful foundational history of The Gathering Place. Today we celebrate their contribution and how they connect with the Guests we serve every week.

We thank Rosemary and Margie and all our sisters, associates and colleagues who give of their time and talents in a variety of ways to make a difference in the lives of people, especially the most disadvantaged.

Esta semana celebra nuestras acciones individuales y colectivas para ayudar a hacer un mundo mejor para todos. El tema de la Semana del Voluntariado de este año es: Los voluntarios nos unen.

Nos ha encantado ver a la Hermana Rosemary Ryan y a la Hermana Margie Taylor en las redes sociales de The Gathering Place.
La entrada de Facebook que acompaña a la foto dice lo siguiente:

La Hermana Margie y la Hermana Rosemary son voluntarias en nuestro comedor sirviendo comidas y sonriendo a los Huéspedes cada semana. Como miembros de las Hermanas de la Misericordia, forman parte de la amable y maravillosa historia fundacional de The Gathering Place. Hoy celebramos su contribución y cómo conectan con los Huéspedes a los que servimos cada semana.

Damos las gracias a Rosemary y Margie y a todas nuestras hermanas, asociados y colegas que ofrecen su tiempo y talento de diversas maneras para marcar la diferencia en la vida de las personas, especialmente de las más desfavorecidas.


Sr Betty Morrissey: Chaplain to the Rogues Basketball Team

On Thursday, 20 April, CBC radio Morning show featured an interview with Sister Betty Morrissey about her role as Chaplain to the Rogues basketball team.  Chrissy Holmes named her “the incredible Sister Betty Morrissey”! 

This interview was recorded with Jeremy Eaton of CBC last week at the Rogues game:

“The roar of the fans in a stadium may provide motivation and fuel for some basketball players, but Sister Betty Morrissey believes that true power lies in silence.

“I go in the dressing room, I say a prayer before and I say a prayer after,” Morrissey says. “And when I go in … they’re very quiet and you know their souls are being listened to.”

Morrissey is the chaplain for the Newfoundland Rogues basketball team, which was established in 2021 and in its current season competes in the TBL, or The Basketball League.

Morrissey is at every home game at the Mary Brown’s Centre in St. John’s, in a seat behind the visitors’ section. She proudly wears a yellow Rogues jersey with the number 21 on the back. Draped around her neck, hanging down her front, is a necklace with a crucifix.

Her all-access pass simply says “Sister Betty…”

Read the rest of the interview here

Watch a video clip from the interview. It was aired on CBC television Here and Now .

El jueves 20 de abril, el programa matinal de la radio CBC ofreció una entrevista con la hermana Betty Morrissey sobre su papel como capellán del equipo de baloncesto Rogues. Chrissy Holmes la llamó “la increíble Hermana Betty Morrissey”.

Esta entrevista fue grabada con Jeremy Eaton de CBC la semana pasada en el partido de los Rogues:

“El rugido de los aficionados en un estadio puede proporcionar motivación y combustible para algunos jugadores de baloncesto, pero la Hermana Betty Morrissey cree que el verdadero poder reside en el silencio.

“Entro en el vestuario, rezo una oración antes y otra después”, dice Morrissey. “Y cuando entro… están muy callados y sabes que sus almas están siendo escuchadas”.

Morrissey es el capellán del equipo de baloncesto Newfoundland Rogues, fundado en 2021 y que en la temporada actual compite en la TBL, o The Basketball League.

Morrissey asiste a todos los partidos en casa en el Mary Brown’s Centre de St. John’s, en un asiento detrás de la sección de visitantes. Lleva con orgullo una camiseta amarilla de las Rogues con el número 21 a la espalda. Alrededor del cuello, colgando por delante, lleva un collar con un crucifijo.

Su pase de acceso simplemente dice “Hermana Betty…”.

Lea el resto de la entrevista en inglés aquí



Earth Week (14-22 April) and Earth Day (22 April)

Earth Week (14-22 April), the week running up to Earth Day (22 April), is a week when environmental issues take center stage.

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to protecting our planet and its natural resources. The theme for this year’s Earth Day, Invest in our Planet focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses and citizens in the work of restoring the health of our planet. We are all too aware of today’s many environmental crises that negatively affect our planet and pose a serious risk to our health and our future – global warming, deforestation, widespread pollution, loss of biodiversity, endangered wildlife, shortages of clean water, etc.

In 2022, COP27, the Climate Change Conference and COP15, the Biodiversity Conference, highlighted the role of nature and biodiversity in addressing climate change. These conferences enabled participating countries to make enhanced commitments towards mitigating climate change. While significant green policy initiatives have been taken by governments around the world, most countries are still not on track to meet the commitments made at these conferences.

This Earth Day is another opportunity for all of us to become more involved in the healing of our Earth Home. Pope Francis reminds us of our responsibility in this regard:

We all need to make a contribution to halt the destruction of our common home and to restore nature: governments, businesses and citizens. We must act like brothers and sisters who share the Earth, the common home God has given us.

La Semana de la Tierra (14-22 de abril), la semana previa al Día de la Tierra (22 de abril), es una semana en la que las cuestiones medioambientales ocupan un lugar central.

El Día de la Tierra, que se celebra anualmente el 22 de abril, pretende destacar y promover los esfuerzos dedicados a proteger nuestro planeta y sus recursos naturales. El lema del Día de la Tierra de este año, Invertir en nuestro planeta, se centra en implicar a gobiernos, instituciones, empresas y ciudadanos en la labor de restaurar la salud de nuestro planeta. Todos somos demasiado conscientes de las numerosas crisis medioambientales actuales que afectan negativamente a nuestro planeta y suponen un grave riesgo para nuestra salud y nuestro futuro: calentamiento global, deforestación, contaminación generalizada, pérdida de biodiversidad, fauna en peligro de extinción, escasez de agua potable, etc.

En 2022, la COP27, la Conferencia sobre el Cambio Climático, y la COP15, la Conferencia sobre la Biodiversidad, pusieron de relieve el papel de la naturaleza y la biodiversidad en la lucha contra el cambio climático. Estas conferencias permitieron a los países participantes reforzar sus compromisos para mitigar el cambio climático. Aunque los gobiernos de todo el mundo han tomado importantes iniciativas de política ecológica, la mayoría de los países aún no están en vías de cumplir los compromisos adquiridos en estas conferencias.

Este Día de la Tierra es otra oportunidad para que todos nos impliquemos más en la curación de nuestro Hogar Tierra. El Papa Francisco nos recuerda nuestra responsabilidad a este respecto:

Todos debemos contribuir a detener la destrucción de nuestra casa común y a restaurar la naturaleza: gobiernos, empresas y ciudadanos. Debemos actuar como hermanos y hermanas que comparten la Tierra, la casa común que Dios nos ha dado.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 17-28 April

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) 22nd session “Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health, and climate change: a rights-based approach.” is scheduled in NY from April 17-28, 2023 .

There are more than 370 million Indigenous People in some 70 countries worldwide. Since 2000, it plays a critical role in addressing issues faced by Indigenous Peoples -ensuring their rights and concerns are considered by the UN.

The forum comprises 16 experts, 8 nominated by member governments and 8 by indigenous organizations. Its mandate was established in response to the challenges indigenous communities face in areas such as human rights, environment, development, education, and health.

La 22ª sesión del Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas para las Cuestiones Indígenas (UNPFII) “Pueblos indígenas, salud humana, salud planetaria y territorial y cambio climático: un enfoque basado en los derechos” está programada en Nueva York del 17 al 28 de abril de 2023.

Hay más de 370 millones de Pueblos Indígenas en unos 70 países de todo el mundo. Desde el año 2000, desempeña un papel fundamental a la hora de abordar los problemas a los que se enfrentan los pueblos indígenas, garantizando que la ONU tenga en cuenta sus derechos y preocupaciones.

El foro está compuesto por 16 expertos, 8 nombrados por los gobiernos miembros y 8 por las organizaciones indígenas. Su mandato se estableció en respuesta a los retos a los que se enfrentan las comunidades indígenas en ámbitos como los derechos humanos, el medio ambiente, el desarrollo, la educación y la salud.

Equality Day in Canada, 17 April

Equality Day is celebrated each year to mark the enshrinement of equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1985.

Section 15 of the Charter states that every Canadian is equal under the law and is to be treated with dignity and respect. All Canadians have the right to equal opportunity and fair treatment, regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender or mental or physical disability. Although the implementation of Section 15 of the Charter was a touchstone in Canadian history, ensuring equality rights for all is still very much a work in progress.

Much more needs to be done in our workplaces and in our society at large. We are still facing major problems – gender inequality, gender-based violence, discrimination, racism, access to clean water, medical accessibility, etc.  April 17 gives all of us an opportunity to become more aware of our country’s ongoing struggle for equality and a determination to do what we can to advance the inherent dignity of every person.

El Día de la Igualdad se celebra cada año para conmemorar la consagración de los derechos de igualdad en la Carta Canadiense de Derechos y Libertades el 17 de abril de 1985.

El artículo 15 de la Carta establece que todos los canadienses son iguales ante la ley y deben ser tratados con dignidad y respeto. Todos los canadienses tienen derecho a las mismas oportunidades y a un trato justo, independientemente de su raza, origen nacional o étnico, religión, sexo o discapacidad mental o física. Aunque la aplicación del artículo 15 de la Carta marcó un hito en la historia de Canadá, garantizar la igualdad de derechos para todos sigue siendo una tarea pendiente.

Queda mucho por hacer en nuestros lugares de trabajo y en nuestra sociedad en general. Seguimos enfrentándonos a grandes problemas: desigualdad de género, violencia de género, discriminación, racismo, acceso al agua potable, accesibilidad médica, etc. El 17 de abril nos brinda a todos la oportunidad de ser más conscientes de la continua lucha de nuestro país por la igualdad y la determinación de hacer lo que podamos para avanzar en la dignidad inherente a toda persona.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, 17 April

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the six million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust (Shoah).

The internationally- recognized date of this day of remembrance corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which this year falls on April 17th.   The date was chosen to mark the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a 1943 act of Jewish resistance which was crushed by the German army. This day is observed by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide.

On this solemn day of remembrance let us remember the victims of the Holocaust and all who suffer and die from hateful discrimination, violence and war.

The Holocaust Center for Humanity suggests a number of ways to honor Holocaust remembrance day including lighting a virtual memorial candle to remember one of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

You can light a virtual candle here

Yom Hashoah, Día de Conmemoración del Holocausto, conmemora los seis millones de judíos y otros millones de personas asesinadas por los nazis durante el Holocausto (Shoah).

La fecha internacionalmente reconocida de este día de conmemoración corresponde al 27 de Nisán del calendario hebreo, que este año cae el 17 de abril. La fecha se eligió para conmemorar el comienzo del Levantamiento del Gueto de Varsovia, un acto de resistencia judía de 1943 que fue aplastado por el ejército alemán. Las comunidades judías y los individuos de todo el mundo celebran este día.

En este solemne día de conmemoración recordemos a las víctimas del Holocausto y a todos los que sufren y mueren a causa de la odiosa discriminación, la violencia y la guerra.

El Centro del Holocausto para la Humanidad sugiere varias formas de honrar el Día de Conmemoración del Holocausto, entre ellas encender una vela conmemorativa virtual para recordar a uno de los seis millones de judíos asesinados en el Holocausto.

Puede encender una vela virtual aquí