NEWS CENTRE

Mercy Ministries Inc: Institute’s Statement of Clarification

In recent days there has been significant negative media coverage given to an organisation called Mercy Ministries Inc. While the coverage does not implicate the Sisters of Mercy, the general public could be unclear of the distinction between this organisation and the ministries owned and operated by or associated with the Sisters of Mercy. To clarify this situation, Mercy M@tters is publishing the previously released Institute Statement of Clarification concerning Mercy Ministries Inc.

STATEMENT OF CLARIFICATION FROM THE INSTITUTE OF SISTERS OF MERCY OF AUSTRALIA CONCERNING MERCY MINISTRIES INC.

All Sisters of Mercy in Australia wish to make clear to their co-workers, family members, friends and associates, current or potential benefactors and any other interested persons, that they have no relationship whatsoever with Mercy Ministries Inc.

Mercy Ministries Inc. is an organisation, based on Christian principles, which was founded in America in 1983 by Nancy Alcorn to assist troubled young women. It was established in Australia by Mark and Darlene Zschech in 2000 and is affiliated with the Pentecostal Church in the North West of Sydney, known as Hillsong. It is a registered charity and has the public support of a number of prominent individuals. It also enjoys significant sponsorship from Gloria Jean’s Coffees. Sometimes, Mercy Ministries Inc. is popularly referred to as ‘Mercy Australia’ or ‘Mercy Asia Pacific’.

Sisters of Mercy are vowed members of a Catholic religious order founded by Catherine McAuley in Dublin in 1831. They first came to Australia in 1846 and today are present in every state and territory. Over the years they have established throughout the country many and various ministries of mercy in the areas of health care, education, welfare and spiritual care. At this time, the majority of these ministries, whether directly conducted by the sisters or auspiced by them, continue to include ‘mercy’ in their name. In 1981, the 17 Mercy Congregations in Australia formed the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia which is also popularly referred to as ‘Mercy Australia’.

The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia is aware that there is increasing confusion in the general public about Mercy Ministries Inc. and its programmes, and the Sisters of Mercy and their works and initiatives. It hopes, therefore, that this ‘disclaimer’ will contribute to a clear understanding of the facts of the matter for the sake of both parties and their respective clients and supporters.

Sister Caroline Ryan RSM
Vice President
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia
First circulated November 15, 2005