Archived News Item

In Focus: A Vision of Mercy

After over five years as Mercy Works Executive Officer, Sr Rosemary Carroll will be retiring in January. She spoke to Bruno Bouchet about her time as Executive Officer.

There is a profoundly moving quote in Habbukak. God says ‘the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfilment and will not disappoint.’ I’ve been thinking about how that relates to the vision of Mercy Works and how it has impacted on my spirit and energy over these years. For me, the vision for Mercy Works is not new, and yes, it still has its time. It had it yesterday and it will also have it tomorrow. It is timeless. I find the quote totally describes what Mercy Works is about. It’s something that maybe I‘ve given breath to for a particular time and it will press on to fulfilment without me.

Over these years I’ve been moved by my growing relationship with the people of the lands where Mercy Works has its activities. I remember my first visit to Timor-Leste after I began at Mercy Works.
I was inspired, and remain so, by the indefatigable spirit of the East Timorese. Everywhere I went, the people were endlessly friendly despite their poverty. Each morning I watched the women set out from the village with buckets on their heads and return hours later with a small portion of water for the family needs. The elders of the district heard I was in Fohorem and came to talk with me. They wanted me to ask their brothers and sisters in my parish for water, a request they had made of the government many years before, and to which there was no response. After I arrived back in Australia, I was at an event in Grafton, northern NSW, where I passed on the request. To my delight a family came to me afterwards and asked ‘How much money do you need to put the water into the villages?’ From this generosity and the assistance of Mosman Rotary Club, NSW the people in 8 villages now have clean water to drink, water for the gardens and families and a more reliable and nutritious diet.

I think it was Kofi Annan who defined a developed country as one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment. If this is to be a reality for the people in developing countries then the 8 Millennium Goals remain a huge challenge to the developed world and must continue to be at the heart of future decisions made by Mercy Works. And of course there have been the many organisational challenges, a healthy sign for a growing organisation!

And your future?
I’m a firm believer that when one contributes to ministry and completes a contract it is time to let go and move on. I have given my energy to the vision, activities and the organisation of Mercy Works. Passion and energy can wane and if the vision is going to press on it needs a different energy. Mercy Works is sitting in a healthy place. It is at a point of readiness for something new. I know it will not disappoint and I’m sure Catherine McAuley would agree!

There is a fundamental rhythm in letting go and moving through transition into something new. I hope graciousness will be my guest as I make the journey!