Today over forty sisters joined Charlotte Fitzpatrick, rsm in the release of her recently printed book, Standing on Their Shoulders: Stories of the “Irish” Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland. It was a beautiful sunny day in the midst of winter in St. John’s as the sisters gathered at the former St. Bride’s College, in the Kilbride area of St. John’s and on the feast of St. Brigid, February 1!
Sister Elizabeth Davis, Congregational Leader, connected the celebration of the revered Irish saint, our links in the communion of saints and in our Irish Mercy heritage. She thanked Charlotte for her research and for the collation of the stories of sixty women who were among the early members of the Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland. She thanked her for bringing their lives into our current memory and for immortalizing them in her 160 page book. After her speech Elizabeth led the group in a beautiful blessing of Charlotte.
Then Charlotte spoke to the group about her experience of writing the book and how moving it was to discover the stories of these Irish women who came from Ireland, across the inhospitable north Atlantic ocean, to live and minister as Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland for the rest of their lives. She visited the gravesites of many of these generous women with a prayer asking what they would like her to say about them! Charlotte read excerpts from the book to introduce aspects of their life story and to whet the appetite to read more. Some of those present knew some of the Irish women described in the book and shared their memories. Charlotte recognized with awe that Sisters of Mercy today are surely standing on the shoulders if these great women of courage and of Mercy.
Afterwards Charlotte autographed books for the sisters and all enjoyed a “good cup of tea.”