Mercy Associates Moves Online
Mercy Associates have welcomed two new Associates, Mandy Bosson and Natalia Pecherskaya, who together with Anne Pate, Mercy Associates Network Facilitator (Victoria), will form a new Mercy Associates group meeting online.
Catherine McAuley’s words – “It began with 2, Sister Doyle and I” – reveal the small beginnings of what has now become an international association of Sisters of Mercy. Inspired by her pioneering spirit, the Mercy Associates movement continues to grow and adapt to new challenges, including how to enable membership for people living in places where there are no existing groups.
In this spirit of innovation, Mercy Associates is delighted to welcome two new Associates, Mandy Bosson and Natalia Pecherskaya, who together with Anne Pate, Mercy Associates Network Facilitator (Victoria), will form a new Mercy Associates group meeting online. Meeting online for formation was the only option available for Mandy, who lives in Adelaide, and Natalia, who lives in St Petersburg, Russia. Natalia is known to many sisters as the organiser, with Margaret Broadbent RSM, of icon study tours to Russia. The conversations during formation were rich and interesting; we shared from our different church and cultural contexts as we explored Catherine’s life and ministry, and what it means to live out the charism of Mercy today. We certainly found that communities of mercy can develop deep relationships in the online space.
Mandy and Natalia made their commitments as Mercy Associates in a very special online Commitment Ceremony on 26th November. Along with Mandy and Natalia and their invited guests, the Ceremony was attended by the four Mercy Associates Network Facilitators, and existing Mercy Associates Annette Rowe and Anne O’Connell, who acted as sponsors. Maureen Sexton rsm led the commissioning of Mandy and Natalia. This wonderful ceremony was a moving event for all involved, and of course particularly for Mandy and Natalia. The depth and significance of their commitment to mercy was evident to all.
The journey continues, as we form a faith community in which to engage with mercy and support one another’s ministry. The story of the new online Mercy Associates group is unusual and owes much to the willingness of Mandy and Natalia to venture into the unknown, just as Catherine did when she opened the House of Mercy in 1827. As Mercy Associates moves forward, we hope that more people will join our small emerging group, and that the possibilities offered by online formation and meeting will provide new ways for people to connect with mercy.
Anne Pate, Mercy Associates Network Facilitator (VIC)
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