Reflections on My Life as a Mercy Associate
by Mary Taylor, Associate, Conception Bay
For the past while, I have been reflecting on what my experience as a Mercy Associate has been.
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!