News & Events

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.

Moving from Denial to Sustainability via Wonder

Environmental scientist and writer Haydn Washington believes that we will not solve the environmental crisis unless we change our worldview and ethics, and to do so we must rejuvenate our sense of wonder at nature.


Our goal should be to look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.
Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; to be spiritual is to be constantly amazed
-
Rabbi Abraham Herschel

About Haydn

Haydn has degrees in Ecology, Eco-toxicology (MSc) and Social Ecology (PhD).
He has worked as an Investigations Scientist in the CSIRO, as Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and as an environmental consultant.
Haydn has conducted many flora surveys as plant ecologist (e.g. in the Gardens of Stone and Wollemi National Parks).
He has been a councillor on the Australian Conservation Foundation and a media officer for the Wilderness Society.
Haydn was Director of Sustainability at Willoughby City Council from 2007 to 2009, and wrote the first Sustainability Charter of any Council in Australia.

Date: Saturday May 25, 2019
Time: 9.30am-12.30pm.
Place: Catherine McAuley Room 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta, NSW, 2150
Parking: In grounds or church parking area opposite
RSVP: valda.rsm@gmail.com

Everyday I see or hear something which kills me with delight
- Mary Oliver

Recognition of the Right of Christian Communities: March 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: Recognition of the Right of Christian Communities


Text of the March 2019 video:

“It might be hard for us to believe, but there are more martyrs today than in the first centuries.

They are persecuted because they speak the truth and proclaim Jesus Christ to this society.

This happens particularly where religious freedom is not yet guaranteed.

However, it also happens in countries where, in theory and on paper, they protect freedom and human rights.

Let us pray that Christian communities, especially those who are persecuted, feel that they are close to Christ and have their rights respected.”

- Pope Francis, March 2019




We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space

New Film About Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy

Sponsored by the St Louis Mercy Health System, this latest telling of Catherine McAuley's life, a 23 minute docudrama, features re-enactments of actual events in the life of Catherine McAuley, from her childhood to her last days (1778-1841).

Filmed mainly on location in Ireland with Irish actors, the film makes for compelling viewing.

The film was made for Mercy International Association and is available online in order to reach the widest possible audience.

We invite you to view Catherine's story. Watch it here

Statement on National Redress Scheme Participation

We are currently awaiting the processing of our submitted documentation to the Department of Social Services (DSS), in order for the Minister to make the declaration of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta as both a Participating Institution and a Group Representative.


Having commenced the process of entering the Redress Scheme in October 2018, the lodgement of all documentation and data for the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, and all our past and present ministries, was completed in February 2019. We are hopeful the DSS processing timeframe to enable the Minister to make the declaration is brief.

Mindful of the significant and enduring effects of child sexual abuse, we re-affirm our commitment to respond with compassion to those who have experienced these abhorrent crimes, and to ensuring all of our ministries and institutions are child-safe organisations.

At this time of great pain throughout our nation, we call on Leaders at all levels within the Church, and other institutions, to learn from the lessons of past failures and change those cultures and attitudes which created an environment in which such abuse was able to occur.

The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta now await the processing work of the Department of Social Services in order to finalise our entry into the National Redress Scheme.