News & Events

World Day of the Poor

On Sunday, 19 November,  we shall be commemorating the first World Day of the Poor, announced by Pope Francis at the end of his 2015-16 Jubilee Year of Mercy in the document Misericordia et Misera (#MM 21).

His purpose for creating this day, Pope Francis said in his message for the first World Day of the Poor, 'Let us love, not with words but with deeds' is to give witness: "so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need".

Across the globe, in the 40+ countries where Sisters of Mercy minister, we have been preparing for this day by praying Catherine McAuley's prayer for the poor that we might continue to respond to need.



We invite you, wherever you are, to join us on 19 November in praying this prayer, for those in your neighbourhood and in our world who are experiencing poverty in one of its many forms: financial, spiritual, emotional, political, material.

You might like to post a prayer, thought or reflection in our prayer space

Over 45 years of Mercy Principalship gathered in one room

Collectively, the four Principals account for over 45 years of Principalship of the College’s 125 year history.

There have only been 9 principals of the College since its opening in 1889. The first 7 Principals covering 115 years, were Sisters of Mercy. In 2004, Mrs Kitty Guerin was appointed as the first Lay Principal of the College. Following the retirement of Kitty at the end of 2013, Mr Stephen Walsh was appointed as the 9th and first male Principal of the College.

The lunch was hosted by Congregation Leader Sr Catherine Ryan, and members of the Congregation Leadership team. Apart from representing a significant moment in the history of the College and the Congregation, the lunch provided an opportunity for the past Principalship to share their reflections on their time as Principal with Stephen. Each of the former Principals recalled a significant memory, some humorous stories, and shared their hopes for the future of the College and Mercy Education.

The Past Principals present were:

  • Sr Edith Angel, Principal 1966 - 1977
  • Sr Janet Woods, Principal 1978 – 1989
  • Sr Ailsa Mackinnon, Principal 1990 – 2004
  • Mrs Kitty Guerin, Principal, 2004 - 2013

Celebrating the past - Looking to the future

The nine Pioneer Sisters, the leader of whom had agreed “to go [to Parramatta] if sent”, would never have imagined the extent to which their vision and hopes for Mercy in this new place, would have spread and evolved over the following 125 years.

In reflecting over these 125 years, the current sisters acknowledged and celebrate the significant contribution of our lay co-workers, partners and supporters to this history, and the central place they will occupy in the future of Mercy.

From this awareness and recognition, and the context of our current reality as an ageing Congregation, the “Mercy Futures” concept was born – a collaborative effort between Sisters and those committed to taking Catherine McAuley’s vision of Mercy Forward.

“Hurrah for new foundations,
they make the old young, and the young merry”
Catherine McAuley

The “Mercy Futures" group, comprised of past and present Sisters of Mercy, co-workers, supporters and volunteers, ex-students, and friends, made a significant contribution to the 125 years celebration on December the 8th, and presented their vision for taking Mercy forward, crystallised in the creation of “Mercy Place”, from which the efforts and activities of this group will be based, and education and formation for Mercy mission and ministry in its various forms will be offered.

At a recent gathering of the Mercy Futures group, the Congregation advised of its decision to provide a cottage, on the grounds of the Present Congregation Centre in Parramatta, as “Mercy Place”.

As the group now works to develop its structures, plans and activities, we invite you to consider being a part of the future of Mercy.

Find out more

 

Missioning of Stephen Walsh OLMC Principal

As the oldest continuous ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, Our Lady of Mercy College holds a special place in the history and hearts of the Parramatta Sisters, as indeed the education of women was close to the heart of Catherine McAuley:

“The Sisters shall be convinced that no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of others, than the careful instruction of women; because, whatever be the station they are destined to fill, their example and their advice will always have great influence”  Catherine McAuley

Commencing within 4 weeks of the Sisters’ arrival from Callan in 1888, the College was administered for its first 115 years by only seven Principals, each being a Sister of Mercy.

In 2003, the First Lay Principal, Mrs Kitty Guerin, was appointed and generously served the College for the past 10 years. Kitty retired at the end of 2013, having steered the College through a significant building program, and numerous changes within the education sector.

At the Opening Mass for the 2014 year at the College, Mr Stephen Walsh was missioned by Sister Catherine Ryan, Congregation Leader, as the Ninth principal of the College, charged with the responsibility to continue the education of young women and girls at the College in the Mercy Tradition.

Stephen joins the College at a significant point in its history. As the community both celebrates the many successes and achievements of the past 125 years, and looks forward to its future in providing the very best in educational opportunities for girls and young women in the 21st Century. Stephen brings to his role a commitment to the Mercy Values and significant experience in teaching and educational administration within the Catholic Education System.

 

Congregation Celebrates 125 years

On that day in 1888, a small band of Sisters of Mercy newly arrived from Ireland, gathered around a simple altar and prayed for God’s blessing on their mission to Parramatta.Dr O'Haran celebrated this first Mass and blessed their Convent under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception.

125 years later about 400 people, including Sisters, past students, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate and to reflect on the theme of ‘Weaving the Threads of Mercy’.

The first thread woven was an i-movie that told of Catherine McAuley who began the Sisters of Mercy; it traced the Parramatta founding story through to today. This segment was introduced by students from OLMC Burraneer singing Sub Tuum Praesidium (Under Your Protection).

We heard from an Eritrean refugee woman about her life, with her focus on the hope she holds rather than the atrocities she has suffered. She told of the Mercy she had experienced in her life and the commitment she has made to share that Mercy with others.

A thread that was woven all through the day was the announcement of 125 Women and Men of Mercy.  These lay women and men, coming from a wide range of backgrounds, had been nominated for exemplifying the spirit of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, though their commitment to ‘Mercy in action’ and the living of Mercy values.

The thread of our young people was woven by students from OLMC Parramatta, Catherine McAuley Westmead, OLMC Burraneer and Our Lady of the Rosary School Kellyville. Through singing, chamber orchestra, dancing, works of art and sharing with the audience, they identified numerous examples of how Mercy is alive in their school communities. Their youthful enthusiasm and spirit of joy was inspirational.

Sisters Margaret Sheppard and Valda Dickinson shared their experiences of working with refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres. This justice thread led participants to reflect on the question: From what you have heard, how has your heart been stirred? 

Over the years, close bonds have been established among Sisters and lay women and men who are committed to Mercy and want to have a deeper involvement. The Mercy Futures group comprises of Sisters and lay women who have been reflecting on ‘Where to from here for mercy?’ Recognising that the Congregation is aging, the group is motivated to work towards the keeping the flame of the mercy charism alive for another 125 years.All present were invited to be involved in taking Mercy forward. They were asked: How can we continue Catherine's mercy vision in the future?

The concept of a Mercy Place was formed. Mercy Place will empower people reach out to the world in action for mercy and justice. It provide peer support for those in Mercy ministries, skills formation for young leaders and mentoring for women in leadership.

Woven into Mercy Place will be threads representing the dedication and commitment of every Sister both present and past; and all who have worked and still work for the many ministries of Mercy. Those present were invited to respond as to how they might be involved in a Mercy Place.

The day concluded with a presentation to the Sisters of Mercy, a time of Prayer focussed on Threads of Mercy, followed by a Devonshire afternoon tea.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery of the day.

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