NEWS CENTRE

Two days of living and breathing Catherine McAuley

Sisters of Mercy from across the Institute gathered in Parramatta, Sydney last weekend (June 27-28) to gain new insights into Catherine McAuley from Sister Mary Reynolds RSM, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Mercy International Association. “After being present at two days with Mary Reynolds RSM, I felt I had been introduced to a Catherine McAuley I had never known,” says Parramatta Sister of Mercy, Marie Butcher. Read Marie’s report here.

Photo: Mary Reynolds RSM and Ailsa Mackinnon RSM

“Catherine lived out of the wisdom of the Gospel.”
“Catherine refused to be confined by conventions or custom.”
“Sisters of Mercy must make mission the ambience of her [their] recollection.”
“Sacrament of the present moment: reflective living.”
“Devotion to the Sacred Heart: a way of experiencing the compassionate love of God.”
“Recollection (silence) leads to familiarity with God-uniting us with him as one friend with another.”

Sisters of Mercy from various NSW congregations and elsewhere, Institute Leadership Team and NSW congregation leaders gathered at Parramatta for two days with Sister Mary Reynolds RSM, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Mercy International Association.

After being present at two days with Mary Reynolds RSM, I felt I had been introduced to a Catherine McAuley I had never known. It was a living experience to hear Mary speak about Catherine’s formative years. The influence both her parents had in developing her personality and how she was formed and reformed by each crisis in her life.

Catherine became more than the images that have surrounded us over the years. She became a person of flesh and blood. During the two days we came to see a person full of fun, who could look on the lighter side of life, which was seen in her witty poetry.

Mary gave us much to think and reflect on through her papers and reflection sheets.

On Sunday afternoon, Mary explained to us the history and vision of the Mercy International Association. In doing this she challenged us to look at the spirituality of interconnectedness and what that could look like. Mary broadened our thinking to look at the global picture. For structural changes to occur, to respond to issues of global poverty demonstrated in the massive displacement of persons worldwide, we need to explore a global solution. Mary also challenged us to ask the question: “how would Catherine respond to today’s needs if she lived in our times?”

“If Catherine had lived at the end of the twentieth century, instead of the cries of the poor children of Dublin haunting her dreams, the cries of a suffering world would have troubled her sleep. She would no doubt have turned her energy to global interrelationships of rich and poor, knowing that as long as in any country the poor, the sick, the uneducated are oppressed or marginalised, the light of the Gospel is dimmed, and peace and justice in the world remains elusive ideals.” (Johanna Regan)

The session concluded with Sister Barbara Bolster RSM (Congregation Leader, Grafton) giving a vote of thanks to Mary for her inspiration.

From: Sister Marie Butcher RSM (Local Communications Facilitator, Parramatta)