Conception Harbour is an outport in a much larger Conception Bay on the east coast of the island of Newfoundland. The Sisters of Mercy established a convent there in 1869.
The founding group of three sisters, Sisters M. Gertrude Michael Moore, M. Teresa Slattery and M. deSales, were originally from Ireland and had entered the Mercy Order in St. John’s. Two of them are buried in the sisters’ plot in the convent garden in Conception. Sister Kathrine Bellamy writes in Weavers of the Tapestry that these three “planted a love of the Mercy congregation very firmly in the hearts of the people of Conception Harbour.” It is in this place of long Mercy history and long Mercy ministry that a group of Mercy Associates continues to grow.
On Tuesday, February 16, 2010 in a moving ritual, prepared by facilitators, Sisters Madeline Byrne and Josette Hutchings, three women, Sue McDonald, Mary Taylor and Alice Whelan made their commitment as Mercy Associates. Sister Elizabeth Marrie accepted the statement of commitment of the new Associates, presented their pins and Certificates of Membership and welcomed them to the Mercy Associate Relationship on behalf of the Congregation.
In her reflection, Sister Betty Morrissey brought to life, the vision and charism of Catherine McAuley including her recent experiences at Baggot Street. Sister Maureen O’Keefe brought greetings and expressed gratitude to all our Associates for the gifted presence they bring to our Mercy Congregation and our mission. Referring to our Chapter Proclamation, 2009, she remarked that the growth of our Associate Relationship could be seen as part of the “something new” that God is doing in our midst by bringing to fruition the commitments of our Chapter Proclamation – to deepen our relationships, enhance our ministries and strengthen our visible presence as instruments of God’s mercy in our world.
Following the ceremony, which was held in the chapel of the Conception Bay Renewal Center, all gathered in the dining room to share stories and enjoy the traditional “cup of tea.”