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.

Mercy Formation Program for Staff Members Benefits Students

As students returned to schooling on site after their time doing remote learning they were all given a bookmark to remind them both of the Mercy value of ‘Hospitality’ and to follow in Venerable Catherine McAuley’s words to ‘Strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well”.

The bookmarks were designed by teachers Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul as part of their project for the Mercy Formation Program. This program sees two staff members from each of the six Mercy schools in Sydney (Catherine McAuley, Westmead; Mercy College, Chatswood; Monte Sant' Angelo, North Sydney; Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta; Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer and Emmaus College, Kemps Creek) participate after being nominated by their school principal. The staff involved chose a project to work on which will deepen staff understanding of the Mercy charism.

As part of the project undertaken by Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul, they also designed tea cups and postcards to be gifted to Year 12 students as a graduation gift and to new staff members.

Church Denounces Malicious Emails Claiming to be from Catholic Sources

Media Release from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, June 8, 2020

The Catholic Church has denounced a number of malicious emails being sent to random recipients claiming to be from Catholic parishes, dioceses and other organisations.

In recent weeks, emails have been sent that mention one or more of the following: Cardinal George Pell, the complainant in his criminal trial, COVID-19 and – most recently – the upcoming Eden-Monaro byelection.

 “The content in the small number of emails that have been forwarded to us is offensive, unChristian and, in some cases, defamatory,” said Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

 “The views expressed in the emails we have seen do not in any way reflect the views of the Catholic Church, nor the organisations that are purported to have sent them.”

Information technology experts say the technique being used is call “spoofing”, which sees the attackers create fake email addresses using legitimate or seemingly legitimate domain names.

“This has been described as the equivalent of someone sending a letter in the post that is ‘signed’ in someone else’s name and contains a fake return address,” Fr Hackett said.

 “Just as a letter of that kind would be hard to spot as fraudulent, some of the email addresses used appear to be legitimate and many people have contacted various Catholic organisations after receiving the messages.”

 Organisations that are known to have been attacked have taken steps that can limit the sending and receipt of these emails, but those measures have limited effectiveness and rely partly on the spam and junk email settings of the recipients.

“There is no evidence to suggest that databases nor servers have been compromised, which is supported by the fact that some of the people who have contacted us have no connection with the Catholic Church,” Fr Hackett said.

 “It is deeply regrettable that a number of people are being maligned in these emails, which seem designed to attack Cardinal Pell, Witness J, the Catholic Church and now even politicians.” Fr Hackett says a number of media reports have described an increase in the amount of devious online behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been told that because these emails aren’t seeking money or seeking to access people’s personal details, they don’t meet the threshold for criminal investigation.

 “We, nevertheless, see this behaviour as harmful and criminal,” he said.

Media contact: Gavin Abraham • 0408 825 788 • media@catholic.org.au

Download the media release here (PDF)

Compassion for the World: June 2020 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: Compassion for the World

We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

  
Text of the video:

Many people suffer due to the great difficulties they endure.
We can help them by accompanying them along an itinerary full of compassion which transforms people's lives.
It brings them closer to the Heart of Christ, which welcomes all of us into the revolution of tenderness.
We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

⁠—Pope Francis, June 2020





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

Join in a Discussion about Mercy Global Presence Theme 'Mercy & the Degradation of Earth'

Valda Dickinson rsm is hosting online zoom meetings on Friday, May 22 and Saturday, June 13 at 10 am.  This is an opportunity to discuss the resources made available to us on the current theme of Mercy Global Presence
Mercy and the Degradation of Earth.

To register, email 
valda.rsm@gmail.com or call 0411 786 549. All are welcome. 

To view the resources on this theme.
Go to Mercy Global Presence here: https://www.mercyworld.org/about/our-initiatives/mercy-global-presence/

Click on the yellow button labelled 'Click here for Current Resources'
Click on the words 'View Resources' on the theme  'Mercy and the Degradation of Earth'
Choose what you would like to view from the resources listed