Mary Taylor Tells Her Story

Reflections on My Life as a Mercy Associate

by Mary Taylor, Associate, Conception Bay

What my experience as a Mercy Associate has been.


When I reflect over the past 14 years, both as a Mercy Associate and as a member of the Advisory Council committee, there are predominant thoughts and feelings that come to mind. There is the camaraderie; the studying, reflecting and sharing; and the caring and reaching out. And what  is so special about all of this is that we are all, Mercy Associates and Sisters of Mercy alike, joined and linked together through our common commitment to Mercy and to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. Indeed, we are joined not only on the local and provincial levels, but through Mercy International, we are now joined in our common commitment with all of the Sisters of Mercy and their Associates all over the world! That is amazing and powerful.

I am also very mindful of and thankful for the wealth and abundance of the Spiritual and Educational resources that the Mercy sisters have shared with us over all those years. How blessed we have been! All those rich resources have not only nourished and enriched us personally but have helped us to better understand and respond to the call to Mercy and to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

As I reflect further, I find myself with a strong appreciation for the emphasis that our Mercy Leadership has put on the importance of contemplation in our work as Mercy Associates. Contemplation goes hand in hand with compassion. It helps ensure that we are present to each other and that our words and actions are guided by the Spirit.

While reflecting, many dear faces of our Associate group that are no longer with us passed before me. Our joy filled facilitator, Sr. Josette and our dear Associates, Marie, Clare, Sue, Theresa and Maureen have all passed on. We miss them but are grateful that they have touched our lives and left us with such warm memories.

Then there are the other and most recent losses that have touched our Mercy Associate group here at Conception Harbour:

The beautiful atmospheric Renewal Center, the venue for all our Associate meetings since the group began and which holds so many warm memories, was sold this year.

And, just this past year, after serving here for more than 150 years, the Sisters of Mercy moved from Conception Hr. They are missed by the community and by our Associate group. From the very beginning, they have facilitated our meetings and supported us in so many ways. Although their leaving has left a gaping hole, we are grateful for their strong support to our group for so many years.

I end my reflection now with the beautiful statement of the last Mercy Chapter that is at the very heart of the call to Mercy:  “Mercying: Imaging the face of God in All Creation.”


Just looking at the roots and history of the Sisters of Mercy makes me feel grateful to be a Mercy Associate. I am genuinely impressed with and feel inspired by the Founder, Catherine McAuley.  I like Catherine. I like what she says and what she does.  Her call to justice and to minister to the poor with compassion and mercy is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I am moved and inspired by how she and the other sisters risked and sometimes gave their own lives to care for the sick and the poor.

Actually, the whole history of the Mercy Sisters as presented in Weavers of the Tapestry makes me feel honored to be an Associate. And in Conception Harbour that history goes back a long ways – to 1869. My own grandmother who was born in 1865 was one of the early students and then again, my mother and gradually all of my family were taught by the Mercy Sisters. In my family and, I believe, in Conception Harbour itself there has always been, for the most part, a very healthy appreciation and respect for the Mercy Sisters.

So the roots and the history of the Mercy Sisters were important factors that influenced me to come here to my first meeting with the Associates in 2008 and eventually to become an Associate in 2010. As well, my search for a deeper spirituality was a factor.

Upon reflection, I feel very grateful for the past three years to have been able to come together here in our little group to pray, to reflect, to share together and to be ministered to and guided by the sisters – and with all of this taking place in this beautiful old building, so rich in atmosphere and with such beautiful surroundings. I think how blessed we are to be so gifted with this space of prayer and peace when so many others around the world are being ravaged by turmoil.

In addition to our monthly times of prayer, I am grateful for the retreats and for the many resources and resource people the sisters have made available to us. I think back to just this past Lent and to how fortunate we were to have had two resource people – Sister Margie Taylor before Lent at our regular meeting and then Sister Charlotte Fitzpatrick during Lent for a retreat day.

As I reflect further on our rich opportunity for spiritual growth that all of this prayer, retreats and reflection time offers each of us, I realize that for an Associate of Mercy, Ministry is expected to flow from these spiritual gifts. In Catherine’s words, “Prayer and service flow reciprocally in our lives … we cannot have one part contemplative and the other active … both together make up our work as Sisters of Mercy … Mercy is love in action.”

I am grateful also for all the support the sisters themselves have given us – Sisters Madeline, Ruth, Josette, Maureen and the many others. The coordination, the preparation and the time that the sisters devote to us is gratefully noted. I can still see with warm appreciation, Sister Ruth and Sister Josette cheerfully preparing and serving us at our last retreat. I have warm memories of our beautiful Christmas Dinner and the gifts.

I am grateful to the other members in this group for their presence, for their sharing and support, for their companionship, and for their humor as we journey together.

Finally, I am grateful to Catherine for her advice to “be sure to have a comfortable cup of tea when I am gone.”

What a wise and warm way to come together at the end of our meetings!