Mercy Associates Gather

Recently, Mercy Associates from the South B region gathered to plan for 2014 and consider the place of Mercy Associates in the reconfigured Institute.

The agenda for the gathering was to:
• Examine documents relating to their position within the reconfigured Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
• Establish a working structure for Associates in the region
• Review the past year
• discuss proposals for new initiatives
• plan the calendar of events for 2014

Margie Abbott rsm was invited to facilitate the group of about twenty Associates and very quickly she generated active participation by a number of means, including brain storming and role play which resulted in individual commitment to action in a number of nominated activities for the coming year. At the end of the working time the proposed structure was outlined, a list of items for the 2014 calendar were in place, and where possible, dates were fixed for the recurring events..

One notable addition to the current activities is the pastoral care of each other, especially for frail and ageing Associates. Three volunteers from the group have undertaken to be actively involved as well as to co-ordinate this care.The level of satisfaction and enthusiasm about the outcome of the working session and the coming year was evidence of a job well done.

Margaret McDonald, an Associate, spoke about her role as a Mercy Associate Contact Person, along two others, one from Perth and one from Cairns.  This group will work with a Resource Person, Carmel Ross, appointed for one year by the Institute Leadership Team to obtain a profile of all Associates throughout Australia and PNG and to inform groups about future developments.

During 2013 an Associate Working Party, with a member of the Institute Leadership Team prepared documents that have been viewed by the ILT and are being sent to Associate groups throughout AUS & PNG,  The documents detail all matters relating to membership. A questionnaire is being sent to every Associate, and one form to each group obtain the group profile.  Margaret has undertaken to help distribute and collate this material from the Ballarat group, and has set up three time slots during which people can come together to discuss and/or clarify anything in the questionnaire that is not clear to them.

There is a strong sense of mission among the Associates a sense of Mercy mission that enthuses members about being mercy in our world now and into the future.  The added conversation around this topic is the need to extend the net to include younger people in ways appropriate to their life situation.  This all demonstrates a high level of optimism and enthusiasm about our future.

Messages to: Margaret McDonald