National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, 6 December

Each year on December 6, Canada observes this day, the anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989.

Plaque commemorating the victims of the massacre

As we remember the women who were killed in that horrific act of violence, we are also reminded that violence is a daily reality for many girls, women and gender diverse people in Canada and all over the world.

This day is a reminder of the danger inherent in the power imbalance between men and women in Canada and worldwide. It is also a time to reflect on what we can all do through our words and our actions to end gender-based violence and to help create a society where everyone can feel safe, respected and welcomed.

St. Joseph’s Convent Celebrating 100 Years

December 3, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of St. Joseph’s Convent. 

An early photo of St Joseph’s Convent

Sisters of Mercy however, had been ministering in the area around Signal Hill, St. John’s,  as early as 1863, making the daily trek from Mercy Convent on Military Road.

In an address to the people of St. Joseph’s Parish, reported in  the September 10, 1918 issue of The Daily News, Archbishop Roche recalled the long history of the Sisters of Mercy in the area:

The people of St. Joseph’s have obligations of a special nature toward the Sisters of Mercy.  For more than half a century, they have been, practically without interruption, teaching the children of this end of town…    I hope that it may not be too much to expect that in the not- too- distant future the Sisters may have a home in this parish, so as to be near their work and to be able to do for the children what they cannot do under these conditions…

Four years later, the Archbishop’s hopes were realized when St. Joseph’s Convent (known in earlier years as Castle Rennie or Castle Lindberg) was formally blessed and opened.  The Sisters who formed the first community were: Sisters M. Benedicta Fitzgibbons, M. Michael Gillis, M. Ignatius Molloy and a postulant, Margaret Kent.

One hundred years later, six Sisters call St. Joseph’s their home.

COP27 – part 3

Cop 27 delegates worked overtime last weekend to hammer out a deal regarding a “loss and damage” fund for countries that are vulnerable to the devastating impacts of global warming. While many applauded the historic deal as a great victory, others lamented the scantiness of detail regarding which countries can access the fund, which will contribute to it and the amount being pledged. Generally however, the deal was seen as an important first step in recognizing the difference between those who caused the climate crisis and those who have suffered its disastrous effects. Regarding a phaseout of all fossil fuels, the final draft of the summit document simply repeated the language of the Glasgow COP26 and did not include any timelines. COP 27 did however urge countries that haven’t aligned their climate plan with the 1.5C goal to do so by the end of 2023.

With COP27 concluded, many religious leaders who were present at the summit are urging world leaders to translate the commitments made in Egypt into real actions that will ensure a healthy, safe and sustainable planet for all.

Prayer/Reflection for 12 December, Foundation Day

Statue of Catherine McAuley in the grounds of Baggot Street

12 December 1831  marks the date on which Catherine McAuley and her companions, Anna Maria Doyle and Elizabeth Harley, returned to Baggot Street from the Presentation Convent at Georges Hill, having just professed their vows as the first Sisters of Mercy. And so began the story of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy,  brought to Newfoundland on 3 June 1842, the first foundation of the Sisters of Mercy in the New World.

Join us in celebrating this special date in the Mercy story using the prayer reflection prepared for the occasion.

El 12 de diciembre de 1831 marca la fecha en que Catalina McAuley y sus compañeras, Anna María Doyle y Elizabeth Harley, regresaron a Baggot Street desde el Convento de la Presentación en Georges Hill, tras haber profesado sus votos como las primeras Hermanas de la Misericordia. Así comenzó la historia de la Congregación de las Hermanas de la Misericordia, llevada a Terranova el 3 de junio de 1842, la primera fundación de las Hermanas de la Misericordia en el Nuevo Mundo.

Acompáñanos en la celebración de esta fecha especial en la historia de la Misericordia utilizando la reflexión de la oración preparada para la ocasión.


The Cosmic Advent Wreath

Elizabeth Davis rsm explores with us the meaning of the Cosmic Advent Wreath, grounded in “deep incarnation” and the way to create our own to mark the passage of the four weeks of Advent:

Week 1: Birth of the Universe   
Week 2: Birth of the Solar system 
Week 3: Birth of Jesus, the Christ
Week 4: My Birth into the whole Cosmic Body of the Universe
The 5th moment is centered in “All is One”, the moment that Pope Francis calls“the joy of our hope.”

Elizabeth’s presentation begins with the meaning of the Traditional Advent Wreath.

National Child Day, 20 November

National Child Day is celebrated globally each year to highlight the rights of children and youth, to create awareness of the problems children all over the world face on a daily basis, and to ignite hope for a healthy and happy future for all children and youth.

This day commemorates two historical events that happened on November 20: the 1959 signing of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the adoption in 1989 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. By signing on to this Convention in 1991, Canada made a commitment to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect and are given opportunities to reach their full potential.                                          .                                                                                                                                                                .

This year UNICEF is calling upon patrons and supporters to share a positive message seeking equality and inclusion for every child.

COP27-part 2

The waning days of COP27 saw a first draft of a deal being worked on at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. The draft keeps the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  However, many of the most contentious issues are still unresolved, and the summit is due to end on Friday.

For the first time in COP history, there were discussions on launching a Loss and Damage fund for countries most affected by the impacts of climatechange. However, some of these countries have pointed out that although thedraft deal mentions loss and damage, it does not include any details for launching a fund. Another unresolved issue relates to a specific plan to ratchet up targets for cutting climate-warming emissions.

COP27 officially ends on Friday, November 18, but consultation and the final draft of what has been agreed upon by the delegates will be released.


Mercy Convent Conception Harbour Becomes New Home for Perchance Theatre

This afternoon, November 10, 2022,  after months of planning and negotiation the sale of the convent at Conception Harbour has been completed!  The convent space is now the property of an Artistic group, Perchance Theatre, who were formerly based in Cupids. 

Immaculate Conception Convent, 1931-Today

The group will set up their theatre on the property (purchased from the Grand Falls diocese).  The convent will be used by the group to support their operations and personnel. The group is ecstatic and so grateful.  We are grateful that the convent will now be a focus of arts and culture and  hopefully bring new life for the communinty of Conception Harbour and surrounding area.

We pray for the group and that this venture will be successful and nurturing to the heart and spirit of many.

History of the Convent

In 1869 the first convent was built (a replica of the convent in Brigus).  Three young women, Sisters Mary Michael Gertrude Moore, Mary Theresa Slattery, and Mary De Sales Meehan came from Mercy Convent in St. John’s to found the first community of Sisters of Mercy, Conception Harbour.  These three young women were born in Ireland and came to Newfoundland in their late teens or early twenties to join the Congregation. In subsequent years other Irish girls and local born girls joined the Conception Harbour convent.

Immaculate Conception Convent, 1871-1930

The first convent building was replaced by a new one in 1931. Since 1869, 106 Sisters of Mercy have lived in the convent, taught in theschools in Conception Harbour, and later in Brigus, Avondale and Holyrood. Throughout the years the Sisters visited people in their homes and were engaged in various parish and community activities. As was the custom in early years (prior to the amalgamation of the Mercy Convents in 1916) a cemetery was located near the convent where five Sisters of Mercy have been buried. The headstones bear the names: Sisters M. deSales Meehan (1885), M. Gertrude Moore (1891), M. Agnes Banks (1893), M. Philomena Leamy (1893) and M. Cecilia Joy (1910), all Irish-born, except Sr. Cecilia.

L-R: Srs Geraldine, Ellen Marie, Ruth

On February 2, 2022 Sisters Geraldine Mason and Ellen Marie Sullivan closed the doors of the convent marking the end of the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in the Conception Harbour area and the end of a dedicated ministry to the people and community.  On September 18 the three last sisters to reside in the convent, Sisters Geraldine, Ellen Marie and Ruth Beresford were invited by the pastor, Fr. Thomas Offong, to a Eucharistic liturgy followed by a reception to mark this ending.  Other sisters and many people of the local areas joined in the celebration of gratitude and appreciation.  The Mayor of Conception Harbour presented the sisters with a framed print of the local area called The Pool.

There is sadness and loss for the Sisters, for the people of Conception Harbour and the surrounding communities, for the Parish of St. Anne and the Renewal Centre in the closing of the convent after more than 150 years of life and ministry, church and community involvement.  There is deep loss at the heart of the community of a presence that has been part of the lives of many men, women and children over many generations.  The spirit of the Sisters of Mercy lives on in the lives of those whom the sisters have touched through education, music, drama, and spirituality and at the most sacred moments of their lives.  Now new and exciting reality, based in the convent space and surrounding property, will arise in Perchance Theatre to bring new life to the community in art, music, drama and social consciousness.

About Perchance Theatre

The three-storey convent has today been purchased by an artistic group, Perchance Theatre.  Under the direction of Danielle Irvine, the

Perchance Theatre, Cupids, Conception Bay

Perchance Theatre produces and presents classical theatre with a focus on well known William Shakespeare.  For years Perchance has offered elaborate, artistic and dynamic performances in their outdoor stage in Cupid’s built in the style of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.  Perchance has also performed their plays or elements of their plays around the province and conducted workshops in drama and culture in various locations in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Watch some of their past performances

Perchance has chosen a new site for their home base on the Sisters of Mercy Convent property in Conception Harbour. People will now easily attend their new theatre centre by land and by sea – able to dock their boats at the nearby, Conception Harbour marina!

Moving Into the Future

The Sisters of Mercy formally leave Immaculate Conception Convent, Conception Harbour, with gratitude and pride in the rootedness of faith and culture of the people.  We rejoice in the new life of the arts, music, drama, pathos and humor that will be brought to the stage and the community involvement of Perchance Theatre.  We rejoice that this new location will be “home” to some of the most talented men, women and youth of our province and beyond.  We are grateful that Perchance Theatre will enable the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy in education, in arts, social and cultural values to live on.

We pray that this new future will be a blessing for all, and especially for the community of Conception Harbour and surrounding communities.  We wish Perchance Theatre and its members every blessing for growth and success in their gift to our society and culture.

COP27 – part 1

The Big Objectives of COP27 Being Held in Egypt, November 6-18.

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27, is being held as the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference, and occurs from 6 November until 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

There are three key objectives:

  1. Mitigation: how are countries reducing their emissions?

Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases through using new technologies and renewable energy sources, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behaviour. Countries will review and present more ambitious 2030 emissions targets since current plans are still not enough to avoid catastrophic warming.

  1. Adaptation: how are countries going to adapt and help others do the same?

Climate change is here. Beyond doing everything we can to cut emissions and slow the pace of global warming, countries must also adapt to climate consequences to protect their citizens from more fires or floods, droughts, hotter or colder days or sea-level rise for a more climate-resilient future especially for the most vulnerable communities. Developed countries agreed to at least double finance for adaptation. Players must come on board – governments, financial institutions, and the private sector.

  1. Climate Finance: the elephant that never leaves the negotiation room

Developing countries are making a loud call for developed countries to reassure sufficient and adequate financial support, particularly to the most vulnerable. The yearly $100 billion promise by developed nations isn’t being delivered.  Experts expect COP27 to actually make this pledge and other commitments a reality finally, in 2023.

You may wish to keep the participants & aims of COP27 in your prayers and are invited to post your prayer in our prayer room.