Ministry to Individuals, Groups, Families

The Family Life Bureau, established in the Archdiocese of St. John’s in 1976, offers counseling in a whole range of areas including individual, marriage, and family counseling. Clients of the staff of the Bureau are either self-referred, referred from the courts, from physicians, various community agencies, and from priests throughout the Archdiocese.

Discovering and using your strengths to deal with personal and family life issues . . . Support to see you through . . .

Pastoral counseling is healing the mind, spirit, and relationships through the wisdom of behavioural sciences and spiritual values.

The goal of the Family Life Bureau is to foster positive changes in the lives of persons. Every person has within him/her the energy for growth. Troubled people seek out help when external circumstances lead to distressing separation from others, internal conflicts that cause pain and inner division, and when the life force within them is blocked from healing and growth.

Sister Loretta Walsh, rsm, Executive Director of the Family Life Bureau, is a facilitator and counselor. She and two other certified counselors provide individual, couple, group and family counseling. They also organize and facilitate workshops and marriage preparation seminars. The workshops deal with issues related to family life, parenting, interpersonal relationships, separation and divorce, personal growth, youth, dealing with drugs, assertiveness and self-esteem.

One interesting program brings married couples together for a candlelight dessert and facilitated conversation about their relationship. This marriage enrichment component is facilitated collaboration with the West End Baptist Church and some Anglican parishes in St. John’s.


Mercy Ministry in Ontario

SoulWinds is a small piece of land – about three acres –  located on the Little Kennisis River in the Algonquin Highlands of Haliburton County in  Ontario’s near north in Canada.

SoulWinds is the home of Brenda Peddigrew, RSM, Ph.D. and Joan Weir, N.D., who tend the land in all its seasons and offer consultations, teaching and guidance in their respective fields and in many ways to be in nature’s presence.

Joint courses are offered on the SoulWinds property, though other accomodations are used for personal guided retreats with Brenda, and other consultations.

Visit their website to learn more about this Mercy ministry

Ministry in Africa

In 2007 two Sisters of Mercy from Newfoundland took a bold and courageous step to join Sisters of Mercy from Ireland in their ministries in Africa.

One sister cared for people in Kenya, men, women and children, suffering from HIV and AIDS. She served as a unit coordinator in an AIDS center for the poor. During 2007 a second Sister ministered among others suffering from HIV/AIDS in Zambia. These two Newfoundland sisters were the first to have taken on the adventure and challenge of ministering on the African continent.

Food Programs

Breakfast and lunch programs are a reality in the richer northern hemisphere. Sisters of Mercy support these programs financially and volunteer their time and energy to help feed the poor. We have recently ventured into ministry in Africa. Our sisters have participated with the Irish Sisters of Mercy in providing food to children and families in Kenya and Zambia.

Food Banks have evolved in our society to serve the needs of the poor and those who find themselves in a financial crisis and lacking food. Many of our sisters throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador commit themselves on a regular basis to setting up, managing or volunteering their time in food banks.

Kitchens have been set up in the many small pueblos where our sisters minister in the Andes of Peru or on the Pacific coast. With grain, oil and flour that is provided by world relief agencies many children are fed a nutritious breakfast or lunch during their school day. Sisters of Mercy help support this program and offer their time working in them. One such centre in Monsefu has been named after one of the early Mercy missionaries, Sister Mary Dorothy Carroll.

Outreach to the Poor

From its foundation the Mercy Congregation has had a special ministry to the poor. Care for the poor and oppressed was especially dear to Catherine McAuley’s heart and the driving force behind her decision to found a religious order. “Service of the poor, the sick and the ignorant” is considered to be a fourth vow of the Sisters of Mercy.

Immediately on their arrival in St. John’s the three founding members of the Newfoundland mission, Sisters Ursula Frayne, Rose Lynch and Francis Creedon, began the visitation of the poor and the sick in their homes.

Over the years even though many of the sisters have been fully occupied in their teaching and nursing ministries they found time to visit individuals and families in need. In addition to the more “informal visitation,” ministry to the poor has taken on a more structured format in facilities like the Gathering Place, Food Banks, Prisons, Women’s Centres, Breakfast or Lunch Programs, Family Care Centres.

Whether formally organized or not, care and attentiveness for the poor has been part of our Mercy culture: a poor child in the school, a poor patient in the hospital or nursing home, poor families in the neighbourhood, or a poor person begging food at the door. Love and care for the poor and a congregational option for the poor is the challenge and the blessing of the Gospel and of our Mercy charism.

Desde su fundación, la Congregación de la Misericordia ha tenido un ministerio especial para con los pobres. El cuidado de los pobres y oprimidos era especialmente querido en el corazón de Catalina McAuley y la fuerza impulsora de su decisión de fundar una orden religiosa. El “servicio a los pobres, los enfermos y los ignorantes” se considera el cuarto voto de las Hermanas de la Misericordia.

Inmediatamente después de su llegada a San Juan, los tres miembros fundadores de la misión de Terranova, las hermanas Úrsula Frayne, Rose Lynch y Francis Creedon, comenzaron a visitar a los pobres y enfermos en sus casas.

A lo largo de los años, aunque muchas de las hermanas han estado plenamente ocupadas en sus ministerios de enseñanza y enfermería, han encontrado tiempo para visitar a personas y familias necesitadas. Además de las “visitas informales”, el ministerio con los pobres ha adoptado un formato más estructurado en lugares como el Gathering Place, los bancos de alimentos, las prisiones, los centros de mujeres, los programas de desayuno o comida y los centros de atención familiar.

Organizado formalmente o no, el cuidado y la atención a los pobres ha formado parte de nuestra cultura de la Misericordia: un niño pobre en la escuela, un paciente pobre en el hospital o en la residencia de ancianos, familias pobres en el barrio, o un pobre pidiendo comida en la puerta. El amor y la atención a los pobres y una opción congregacional por los pobres es el reto y la bendición del Evangelio y de nuestro carisma de la Misericordia.

Open Access Online to Laudato Si’ Integral Ecology Collection

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis emphasised the importance of a united, global response to the current ecological crisis. Yet dialogue and learning on integral ecology is often hindered by limited access to the academic publications on the subject, which are not affordable for many individuals and institutions in lower-income countries.

The Laudato Si’ Integral Ecology collection,  of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at the University of Oxford, seeks to address this problem by making open access a selection of key texts on integral ecology. The collection will provide a valuable resource for lay readers, students, and those undertaking more advanced academic study. Publications in the collection could also be read as part of a reading group, or an online course.

Access the Collection here

Synod – October 23 Session

On June 20 the Vatican released Instrumentum Laboris, a working document in preparation for the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops being held in October.

This document has two parts. Part One summarizes the insights gained from the listening sessions of the diocesan, national and continental levels, and outlines what a synodal church is and how it should proceed.

Part Two is comprised of a series of fifteen worksheets intended to guide the small group discussions at the assembly.  The text outlines a “synodal method” of spirituality focused on listening to the Spirit and discerning the “signs of the times.” Among the topics for discussion are women deacons, priestly celibacy and LGBTQ outreach, which surfaced as priorities during the listening sessions.

Present at the October session will be delegates representing bishops, priests, religious and lay people from around the world. These delegates are not yet named. Although this session is an assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 21% of the voting delegates will not be bishops. 70 delegates will be chosen directly by Pope Francis from a list of 140 people selected by the leadership of this year’s continental assemblies.

Pope Francis recently announced that an ecumenical prayer service to entrust the work of the October session of the Synod to God will take place in St. Peter’s Square on September 30.  The pope has also invited Father Timothy Radcliffe, former head of the Dominican Order to lead a three-day retreat for all participants at the beginning of the October session.

Download the F.A.Q. and Executive Summary of Instrumentum Laboris here

Download the Booklet PDF here
Download the Desktop PDF here
Download the Word file here


El 20 de junio, el Vaticano publicó Instrumentum Laboris, un documento de trabajo para preparar la Asamblea General del Sínodo de los Obispos que se celebrará en octubre.

Este documento consta de dos partes. La primera parte resume las conclusiones de las sesiones de escucha a nivel diocesano, nacional y continental, y esboza qué es una Iglesia sinodal y cómo debe proceder.

La segunda parte consta de una serie de quince hojas de trabajo destinadas a orientar los debates en pequeños grupos durante la asamblea. El texto esboza un “método sinodal” de espiritualidad centrado en la escucha del Espíritu y el discernimiento de los “signos de los tiempos”. Entre los temas de debate figuran las mujeres diáconos, el celibato sacerdotal y el acercamiento al colectivo LGBTQ, que surgieron como prioridades durante las sesiones de escucha.

En la sesión de octubre estarán presentes delegados que representan a obispos, sacerdotes, religiosos y laicos de todo el mundo. Estos delegados aún no han sido nombrados. Aunque esta sesión es una asamblea del Sínodo de los Obispos, el 21% de los delegados con derecho a voto no serán obispos. 70 delegados serán elegidos directamente por el Papa Francisco de una lista de 140 personas seleccionadas por la dirección de las asambleas continentales de este año.

El Papa Francisco anunció recientemente que el 30 de septiembre tendrá lugar en la Plaza de San Pedro un servicio ecuménico de oración para encomendar a Dios los trabajos de la sesión de octubre del Sínodo. El Papa también ha invitado al padre Timothy Radcliffe, antiguo jefe de la Orden Dominicana, a dirigir un retiro de tres días para todos los participantes al comienzo de la sesión de octubre.

Descargue las preguntas frecuentes y el resumen del Instrumentum Laboris aquí

Descargue el folleto en PDF aquí
Descargar el PDF de escritorio aquí
Descargue el archivo Word aquí

National Indigenous Peoples Day, 21 June

National Indigenous Peoples’ Day was announced in 1996 by Romeo LeBlanc, Canada’s Governor General at that time.

For generations, many Indigenous groups and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on June 21 or around that time of year because of the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on and celebrate the unique heritage, culture, traditions and knowledge of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

While these groups share many similarities, each has its own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. This day is part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes Sainte-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24) , Canadian Multicultural Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July1)


El Día Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas fue anunciado en 1996 por Romeo LeBlanc, entonces Gobernador General de Canadá.

Durante generaciones, muchos grupos y comunidades indígenas han celebrado su cultura y su patrimonio el 21 de junio o en torno a esa fecha del año debido a la importancia del solsticio de verano como el día más largo del año.

Este día brinda a los canadienses la oportunidad de reflexionar y celebrar el patrimonio, la cultura, las tradiciones y los conocimientos únicos de las Primeras Naciones, los inuit y los metis de Canadá.

Aunque estos grupos comparten muchas similitudes, cada uno tiene su propio patrimonio, lengua, prácticas culturales y creencias espirituales. Este día forma parte del programa Celebremos Canadá, que también incluye el Día de Sainte-Jean-Baptiste (24 de junio), el Día Multicultural Canadiense (27 de junio) y el Día de Canadá (1 de julio).

Sisters’ Art at the Residence at Littledale

These artworks by the Sisters can be found hanging on the corridors of the Residence at Littledale. Enjoy browsing this online gallery and spending time with your favourite landscape, floral arrangement, or scene.

Estas obras de arte de las Hermanas se encuentran colgadas en los pasillos de la Residencia de Littledale. Disfrute navegando por esta galería en línea y pase un rato con su paisaje, arreglo floral o escena favoritos.

Caribou tufting

Prayer Intention: Search for the Missing Titanic Submersible

God you are our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in time of trouble (Ps 46.1)

Join us in prayer for the safety and security of the five people on the OceanGate expedition to the Titanic who set out from St John’s on Sunday morning on the adventure of a lifetime.

Pray for  strength for their families and friends, their local communities and networks,  all of whom are enormously affected by the disappearance of their loved ones undersea.

Pray for those involved in the massive search and rescue operation who are doing everything they can to bring those on board safely home.

Post your prayer in our sacred space


Dios, tú eres nuestro refugio y nuestra fortaleza, una ayuda siempre presente en tiempos de angustia (Sal 46.1)

Únase a nosotros en la oración por la seguridad de las cinco personas de la expedición OceanGate al Titanic que partieron de St John’s el domingo por la mañana en la aventura de su vida.

Oremos por la fortaleza de sus familias y amigos, sus comunidades locales y redes, todos ellos enormemente afectados por la desaparición de sus seres queridos bajo el mar.

Rezad por los participantes en la operación de búsqueda y rescate, que están haciendo todo lo posible para que los que están a bordo regresen sanos y salvos a casa.

Publica tu oración en nuestro espacio sagrado