MIRP Review Document Now Available Online

During 2016, the Year of Mercy, Sisters of Mercy and partners in Mercy met together in small groups to discern together globally a shared response to the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor’ in our world today.

The fruits of that reflection process have now been published online.

We invite you to share this Report with your own networks and with anyone interested in the vision and ministry of the Sisters of Mercy.

Click here to read or download the full report from the Mercy International Association website.
Image: © 2017 Mercy International Association

Invitation to Participate in ‘Mercy2Earth’ weekend

22-23 April this year is Mercy2Earth weekend. That name, an initiative of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), comes from Saturday being known since 1970 as Earth Day and Sunday this year being Divine Mercy Sunday.

As part of our Mercy global response to the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor‘, Mercy International Association (MIA) has created resources for use on this weekend and beyond. In using the term ‘Mercy to Earth’ and in working with the existing MIA logo, MIA is highlighting in a particular way our response to the invitation of Pope Francis: ‘May the works of mercy also include care for our common home’.

Further information and posters can be accessed on the Mercy International Association website

Preparing for Chapter 2017

The Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland are preparing for their Chapter to be held July 21 – 28, 2017.

The theme of their Chapter is Mercying Into the future…Misericordiando hacia el futuro

They invite sisters, associates and colleagues to join with them and pray with them as they prepare.

As part of their preparation and to deepen their appreciation of contemplative listening and dialogue they are using a video prepared by Judith King, their Chapter facilitator.

The video was produced by videographer, Ruaidhri Nolan, Dublin of thelivetimes.com in January of this year.

Messages to: Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland

Sandy Point 2016

On July 28 we celebrated the foundation of St. George’s Convent at Sandy Point, Bay St. George. This summer, 2016, Sister Ellen Marie and Alverna were excited to pay a visit to the island on this anniversary date. They explored the area but did not find the Catholic Cemetery or other location that might link them with the life of the Sisters of Mercy at Sandy Point. For them it was special to be there!

In 1893, 123 years ago, four Sisters of Mercy and their benefactor, Henrietta Brownell, accompanied by Bishop Michael F. Howley, arrived at the small active fishing and trading community to establish a convent.

The four Sisters, M. Antonio Egan, M. Corsini Dempsey, M. Sylvester Carver, Veronica Payne gave up their life in a well-establish part of Providence, Rhode Island to come to the “mission territory” of Bay St. George, on the west coast of Newfoundland. The intention was that the sisters would take over the school already functioning at Sandy Point with plans to open a place for higher education at a later time. The future was looking very bright! Throughout the years, despite many hardships and struggles the mission prospered and students succeeded not only in academic subjects but also in music, song, art and needlework.

The railway line had been constructed across the island of Newfoundland and St. George’s was the community that built up around it. It seemed advantageous to move the church and school to that location. And so it came to be. In 1899 St. George’s, on the shore opposite to Sandy Point, a new school was ready for occupancy. The Church, convent and school moved to St. George’s. By 1900 St. Michael’s Academy welcomed its first two resident students. An extension to accommodate the growing number of students and sisters was completed in 1913. In 1914 St. Michael’s was recognized as a teacher-training facility, tasked to prepare Catholic teachers for schools in the west coast of Newfoundland. St. Michael’s Academy was a centre of education and culture. The Superintendant of Schools wrote in his 1914 annual report: Since the establishment of the school, there has been a steady upward trend in the conditions of the locality, and it has done not a little toward helping to promote educational activity which is noticeable on the west coast.

For complete story of the Sandy Point Foundation read:  http://www.mercyworld.org/heritage/tmplt-foundressstory.cfm?loadref=248

Treasure Trove

You are invited to join thousands of men, women and youth, Sisters of Mercy, friends and colleagues in an exciting challenge and a treat.

The Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) begun in December 2015  provides a treasure trove of resources for us to explore and savour!    Issues are raised in our groups in response to the theme: ‘The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor’.   These resources are steeped in the light of biblical, theological, spiritual, ecclesial and mercy tradition!

To assist us in this exploration and engagement, a number of scholars and other experts were invited to share their knowledge and insights through video interviews.  These videos and other treasures are available to you and to anyone with whom you would like to share them.

Enter into the treasure store and feast!

Access the the feast through www.mercyworld.org  or http://www.mirpvoices.org/  
















@Mercy International Association

Look for this logo!

NL Hydraulic Review Panel endorses recommendations made by Religious

The NL Hydraulic Review Panel has forwarded its Final Report to Government.

The Report endorses the recommendations that were made in the submissions from Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice (PDF) and from the Roman Catholic Religious Leaders of Newfoundland and Labrador (PDF) (of which our Leadership Team are members).  While they have not recommended a complete ban on fracking, they have suggested that much more information and certainty is needed before fracking can be allowed to proceed in this province – that information not only relates to the science and technology involved but equally to public health and socio-economic matters.

iStock.Used under licence

It is worth noting that, in a number of places, the authors of the Report use the actual wording from our Religious Leaders’ submission.  As a result, the submission from the Religious Leaders is actually cited in the Bibliography at the end of the Report.  We do believe that we influenced the Panel on matters relating to the appropriate health system infrastructure if fracking is undertaken (they specifically quote our submission on this point).  In many other instances they included our thinking, but we were among many others making the same points.  Perhaps most significantly, the Panel makes reference to the use of the Precautionary Principle or Precautionary Approach – this was at the basis of our submission.  It means that, if there is a significant risk to the health of people or the environment in undertaking a specific action and if there is not certainty that the risks can be addressed, the action should not be undertaken.  After our presentation had been submitted, Laudato Si’ was published – in the encyclical, Pope Francis also makes reference to this principle.

One of the key points from the Report is the focus on Community Engagement or Social Licence.  It is found within the Report as well as in a special Appendix to the Report.  Although we did not make reference to the actual term “social licence” in our presentation, we were strong in our wording that the voices of those most affected by and most vulnerable to the effects of fracking be heard and that special provisions be made to ensure that the voices could be heard (not simply an open invitation to a meeting).  Attached is the section of the Report on this issue.

It is safe to say that this is one ecological issue on which we have had a positive influence as a Congregation.  We thank you for your support and your prayers as we moved through the process.  The Religious Leaders have thanked the Panel members, noting especially their attention to community engagement and social licence.

Executive Summary (44pps; PDF):

Executive Summary. NL Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel. 31 May 2016

Community Engagement (7pps; PDF)

Section of NLHFRP Report on Community Engagement

Human Solidarity: June Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month’s intention: Human Solidarity.

‘That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.’


Forthcoming Papal Prayer Intentions:

Pope Francis’ remaining prayer intentions for 2016 will include: greater respect for  indigenous peoples; helping sports contribute to peace; encouraging journalists to respect truth and be more ethical; greater support for countries that take in refugees; and an end to the use of child soldiers.

Pope’s Intentions for 2016

Post your prayer in the Baggot Street Chapel

Mercy Pilgrimage to Rome 1-4 April 2016

The Spirit of Mercy and Hospitality

The “Rome” component of the Year of Mercy pilgrimage for Sisters of Mercy, Associates and Partners in Ministry began Friday evening, April 1, with the sharing of a meal together in an Italian restaurant near St. Peter’s Square.   The 39 pilgrims from around the world had settled into their accommodations in various residences near the square and enjoyed this first gathering of the whole group.

The next day they gathered early in the morning to walk the pilgrims’ way to St. Peter’s Basilica with prayer and reflection at significant stops along the way.  They gathered again in the early afternoon to get a good seat for the vigil of Divine Mercy at which the Pope presided.  Thousands of participants were able to listen to the testamonials, enjoy interpretative dance and join in the prayer and song of the ritual which was based on five moments of readings, prayer, chanting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ErlZcAkIJU

Photos from L’Osservatore Romano

On Sunday the group met at 6:30 a.m. so that they could find a place to sit together for the Eucharistic liturgy that would begin at 10:30!  Getting beside the barricade was the best place to get close to Pope Francis when he goes out among the people!  The group was able to claim a few rows of chairs in the front center section. Because of this members of the group had a close of view of Pope Francis as he passed by in his jeep.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBGZl5KqvGw

Tea at Mater Dei

In the afternoon the group was invited to tea at Mater Dei, the house of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in Piazza di Spagna.  Participants found their way to the convent where they enjoyed a good cup of tea!  Some said it was the best they had since coming to Italy.   (It takes the Irish to make a good cup of tea! – editor’s bias!)  The sisters were delighted that the Mercy contingent could come and welcomed all of them warmly.

This gathering was a significant event because of the connection of the Mater Dei Sisters with Mercy.  Those who gathered had the opportunity to visit the special room that was used by the Foundress of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God when she was in Rome and which has a display of items used by her personally and for prayer and ministry.



Sister Francesca serves a good cup of tea

Brief Historical Background

Frances Margaret Taylor was born in 1832 in London, daughter of a Church of England minister. Seeking a way to express her deep faith, a faith that did not seem to be met in her own church, she joined the Roman Catholic Church and in subsequent years went on to found a religious order that would respond to the needs of the poor in London.  After detailed investigation of other religious orders and how they were responding to the cry of the poor and under advice if her spiritual mentors Fanny Taylor (a prolific writer by this time) founded the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in 1869.  She took the name Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart. September 24, Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, is held as the beginning of the new Congregation. (See biography and rich and detailed history written by Francis Charles Devas, sj.

One more significant historical connection with the Sisters of Mercy is that Miss Fanny Taylor nursed with Sisters of Mercy in the Crimea and credits her deepened faith and her vocation to their example and to the faith of the Irish Catholic soldiers that they nursed together. (Her book Irish Homes and Irish Hearts is on-line https://archive.org/details/irishhomesirishh00tayl ). Another of her books published in 1862 devotes a chapter to the Sisters of Mercy beginning on page 210 https://archive.org/details/ReligiousOrders .  Other books are linked here: Taylor, Mary Magdalen, 1832-1900.

This Mercy Sunday was indeed special as bread was broken in St. Peter’s Square in the morning with Pope Francis presiding and a “good cup of tea” was shared with kindred ‘mercy’ folks in the afternoon.

God’s mercy and God’s sense of unity work in mysterious ways!

Closing Ritual

On Monday morning the Mercy pilgrims met in the small and beautiful church of Santa Prudenziana which is one of the oldest churches in Rome.  There is found the large painted image of Mary, Mother of Mercy in one of the side altars.  A copy of this image of Marywas sent to  the House of Mercy at Baggot Street by Pope Leo Xlll in 1890 and still hangs in the chapel there.  The group gathered before the image to pray in gratitude for the needs of the world and commited themselves to be guardians of the doors of Mercy to those in need.  the group sang the sucipe in English and Spanish.  The group from Aotearoa New Zealand sang a beautiful hymn in Maori language. The pilgrims sang the Hail Holy Queen and extended to each other an Irish Blessing.

This gathering marked the formal end of the Mercy pilgrimage.


Sincere gratitude is extended to Mary Reynolds rsm for having facilitated the details and format of the pilgrimage.  Gratitude is offered to those who led the components of the preparation and orientation of the pilgrims at Mercy International Centre before they left for Rome.  Thanks are given to Brenda Dolphin rsm who collaborated with Mary and others to ensure that the local logistics in Rome were in place- accommodations, the gathering meal, transportation, etc.  Deep gratitude is offered to the Mercy congregations and facilities who supported and encouraged the piligmage and the pilgrims.  It was a world-wide Mercy event that will not be easily forgotten and that will bring many blessings to the Mercy world.

Contact: dsmyth@sistersofmercynf.org

Stations of Mercy 3 March – 3 April 2016

On 3 April 2016 a small but representative group of Mercy pilgrims— both Sisters and partners-in-Mercy— will be present in Rome for Divine Mercy Sunday, one of the events in the Vatican’s Jubilee Year of Mercy Calendar.

In preparation for that pilgrimage, all Mercy International Association (MIA) Member Congregations and Institutes have prepared reflective and inspirational powerpoints and videos on the Face of Mercy in their own congregations today, using as their inspiration the 14 Stations of the Cross and 10 of the Corporal and Spiritual Works. Together these 24 reflections will form the Stations of Mercy.

Sisters of Mercy Newfoundland have taken special responsibility for Works of Mercy 8 (To Shelter the Homeless) and 10 (To visit the Imprisoned).

We invite you to join us on this prayerful and reflective pilgrimage. Reflections for each day, from 3 March to 3 April, can be acccessed on the mercyworld.org website

A calendar of the Stations can be downloaded here: A4 Paper Size (PDF); US Letter Size (PDF)


Stations of Mercy logo © Mercy International Association 2016

Opening of Our Holy Doors

On Sunday, December 13, 2015 Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome. In Dublin on that same Day, during Foundation Day celebrations, the red Doors of Mercy International Centre were opened.

The Leadership Team Newfoundland invited every local community or Sister living alone and every place of ministry, on or near December 12, to name their Holy Door of Mercy, to celebrate its opening and to place on it a symbol. The Team made a composite of all our Holy Doors in Newfoundland and Peru as a reminder of the privilege we have in being doorkeepers and guardians of the in-between places of Mercy in our world.

Attached are the components (four panels) of our Collage for the Opening of our Holy Doors of Mercy. Sisters, Associates and Partners in Mercy have received the actual Collage which is in a larger size and which opens to be able to stand up on prayer tables or other special places.

An explanation of the doors on the panels can be found in the accompanying Notes here (PDF) . These Notes appear on the back panel of the collage.

FRONT of Collage

INSIDE of Collage

Will we as doorkeepers hold wide the door to invite those who are hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, sick, strange, or naked to come in to find Mercy? ¿Mantendrán ustedes como guardianas, la puerta abierta para invitar a quienes tienen hambre o sed, a las personas prisioneras, a quienes están enfermas, forasteras o desnudas, a entrar y encontrar Misericordia?


¿Vigilarán ustedes como guardianas de la puerta nuestras «salidas y regresos» (Salmo 121, 8) al arriesgarnos a esta nueva forma de ver Misericordia y ser Misericordia en tiempos que pueden ser tan aterradores y desalentadores?
Will we as doorkeepers guard our “going out and our coming in” (Ps 121:8) as we dare this new way of seeing Mercy and being Mercy in times that can be so fearful and discouraging?


Since the making of this composite many other Associates and Partners in Mercy either as groups or as individuals continue to create symbolic doors for not only opening the Holy Doors but even more for living the Mercy that comes into and goes out through these doors.

Messages to: Elizabeth Marrie rsm – Leadership Team