Mercy Immersion Day at SevilleAugust 3, 2021
On Thursday 15th July, Seville Mercy Conference Centre, Earlville (a suburb of Cairns) welcomed the staff of Our Lady Help of Christians School Earlville to a Mercy Immersion Day. The aim was to introduce the Catherine McAuley story including watching the movie ‘In God Alone’ then connect it to the local Mercy story and finish off with how the staff can be mercy to each other and to all in their school context.
Sr Faye Kelly beautifully introduced Catherine McAuley and took the staff on a journey from Baggot St, Dublin Ireland, through Dungarvan to the Mercy foundation in Cooktown and then finally to Earlville, where Seville is located. The Sisters of Mercy story was an inspiration to the staff in how to be merciful in the little things and in their interactions with each other, the students and parents. It also challenged them to reflect on the meaning of mercy and how it can mean so many different things and to be open to mercy as the first response when in front of challenging situations. Sr Faye reminded the staff that while justice balances the scales mercy invites us to tip the scales in favour of the weak, the poor and the needy.
The staff were then divided into small groups and invited by the program leader Priscilla O’Brien to decorate a cake according to a specific work of mercy. This activity helped create discussion on a much deeper level and bonded the people in the group. It was amazing to see the creativity and the symbolism that was conveyed through the cakes. The groups then spent the rest of the afternoon workshopping on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and how they can be applied to their life context. There was a lot of take-aways for the school to take back and lots of material to go deeper with. Overall, it was a gently interactive and fun day that helped people to reflect on the meaning of mercy and to be mercy to each other.
The feedback received from the staff was overwhelmingly positive with a few comments that stood out:
- “I have come away from this day with a greater / deeper understanding of the life of Catherine McAuley. I have reflected on what I can do within the school context to live out her way of Mercy.”
- “Before the day, I thought of all the staff, I think I’m the one looking forward to the day the most. I really needed a day like this and it didn’t disappoint me. I enjoyed every second of the day and I feel blessed to be part of such a lovely experience. I sincerely appreciate all the effort and planning to make this day unforgettable. “
- “It was nice to hear from so many groups that it was not only the wellbeing of our students that was important, but also the wellbeing of ourselves and each other. I think as teachers (and parents) it’s often easy to put the children first. It was nice to have permission to take care of ourselves, and that this is an act of “mercy”.”
- “…bringing back the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy to the forefront of my mind was important. This day provided me with that time to ‘reset’ and think about the importance of having that ‘culture of care’ in our school. I think this is already done well, but it can always be improved and days like this do help to reflect on small ways of changing that can make a difference to others.”
Priscilla O’Brien, Ministry Development Coordinator
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