West Midwest Newsletter Auburn Burlingame
Missioning for "the business of our lives" "We are led to deepen and make evident our Gospel-based spirituality through passion for service and vibrant community life.” —Chapter Declaration
The missioning ritual at our Fall Consultation Networks focuses attention on our Mercy mission and puts a canonical responsibility into a prayerful ritual for us. Paragraphs 31 and 75 of the Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas state that “it is the responsibility of each sister to serve in a ministry compatible with our mission in the Church and approved by the Community President” (par. 31); and that “the Community President with the Council is responsible for ministries and missioning of sisters” Sister Judy Carle is missioned by (par.75). However, the card we receive holds much Sister Nancy McInerney in Auburn. more that a canonical responsibility. It carries our personal and communal commitment to service to those in need and to share life and mission with one another. The CLT is very grateful to the WMW Prayer and Ritual Committee for preparing the missioning ritual. Let us pray for one another as we are missioned this fall to do as Catherine says, “the business of our lives.”
----Sister Kathy Thornton for the WMW Community Leadership Team
Assembly Website A Valuable Tool The Assembly website is a vital resource for sisters as we prepare for this important meeting April 3-8, 2013, in Chicago. There, you can find everything you need to know about the Assembly as it becomes available, including nomination materials, dialogue group discussion information, keynote speaker details, hotel information and assembly draft schedule. It’s a one-stop location. If you miss an email or Messenger article, you can find it on the website under Communication and Resources/Pre-Assembly messages. It will include links to any of the materials you need. Remember, nominations for CLT are open until Nov. 10 and registration will begin on Nov. 6. Be sure to log in and be informed! www.wmwassembly.org. 1 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
The Spirit and reality of the Second Vatican Council are alive among us today as we celebrate this historic religious event opened by Pope John XXIII on Oct. 11, 1962. Today as Church, we experience ourselves as the People of God, a community of believers, not simply an organizational structure. As laity, we are exercising our baptismal commitment to minister after the manner of Jesus, especially to those who are in need. We see and acknowledge God’s self-revelation in this entire marvelous universe that is around us. And we find ourselves open to the transforming power of God’s Spirit. Signs of the Second Vatican Council indeed!
"For me, nowhere is the spirit of Vatican II more alive than among women religious."
For me, nowhere is the spirit of Vatican II more alive than among women religious. It was especially evident at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Assembly August 2012. As a gathering of 900 leaders of communities of women religious in the United States, we engaged the situation before us regarding the Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR. We prayed together, discussed with one another, shared the insights and advice of others, and listened with great attentiveness to LCWR President Pat Farrell, OSF, who inspired us with hopeful words Pat Farrell presented six dimensions of our lives that can be significant tools for living into the future: contemplation, prophetic voice, solidarity with the marginalized, community, non-violent behaviors and living in joyful hope (For the full talk: Click here: www.bit.ly/UNZ1xr). These are not things beyond us. We do this every day. I recalled the words of Deuteronomy 30:11-14 as I listened to her: For this command which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart; you have only to carry it out.” Those six tools do not belong to women religious alone, but to all. We can all become a community of believers who live this way. What a hopeful reality it is that our response to the call for renewal by the Second Vatican Council, which we took so seriously and which has transformed us, can be of use to the world. Could it be possible that the work of the Spirit, through us, can provide hope for others? Can it create conditions for life to thrive? Can it bring us closer to the reign of God in our midst?
Sister Kathy Thornton, RSM for the West Midwest Community Leadership Team 2 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Finding Taizé in New Media by Sister Genemarie Beegan, RSM Curious about “apps”? An “app” or application, either free or paid, performs a specialized task on your smartphone. [A smartphone is a mobile phone with many features in addition to those of a phone---camera, texting device and web browser, to name a few. An app is represented by a small symbol on your screen---a graphic representation of a function or an organization. We have an app developer in our midst—graphic artist and teacher Sister Genemarie Beegan.
Symbol for Taizé app
"I was inspired to create an app for Taizé
--Sister Genemarie Beegan
Symbol for Misericordia app
Six months ago I created an “app” for my place of ministry, Misericordia Home in Chicago. I wanted to encourage the Misericordia families to access information they would normally see on the website, but reading websites on a smartphone can be difficult. So the app has quick links, dates, times, and other information to keep families and supporters of Misericordia connected while away from a computer. The app, simply called "Misericordia," is available on iTunes and Android app stores for free. When Sisters Jean Evans and Patsy Harney came to Chicago last May for a Taizé weekend at DePaul University, I showed them the Misericordia app. While at the prayer services, I was inspired to create another app for Taizé prayer at Mercy Center in Burlingame. Hundreds of faithful attend each month and bring little flashlights to read the song sheets in the dark chapel. Having the songs and prayers on a phone gives them the lighting and text they need for the service as well as links to more Taizé information. This free app encourages young people to connect with the Taizé France site, access the music of the prayer services and link to Mercy Center’s other events. The Burlingame services through December are already available on the app. Sister Jean Evans and Sister Suzanne Toolan plan the prayer services and email them to me. Beyond being helpful at Mercy Center Taizé, the Taizé app can be used privately or with groups that want to have a Taizé prayer around the cross but don’t know how to plan it. They can access the music for the songs on iTunes or buy CDs. On the iTunes app store it is called TaizeMercy (one word), and on Android it is called Taize Mercy (two words). To create my first app I used a website called iBuildApp.com based in Foster City. I was so inexperienced when I was trying to create the Misericordia app that there were times I just wanted to quit. But with the help of iBuildApp, I created a lot of files, followed image specs, and filled out forms online. I decided to make the app free because there’s a better chance of folks wanting to download it if they don’t have to pay. I found I could create an app and upload it to the Android app store for just $25 to join. To get it on the Mac App store, I had to pay $100 and submit it to a committee for approval. I would then be a developer and be able to see how many times the app is downloaded and in which countries. I paid my $100, submitted the app and they accepted it! As of mid-October, the Taizé app has had over 550 downloads all over the world! continued next page 3 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Creating Apps, cont. That’s very exciting and gives me hope that kids are looking for more Taizé after they have been to the center in France. I am working on my third app: Praying with Icons. It is sharing the concept of icon gazing and meditation with icons written by the hands of Sister Majella O’Keeffe, RSM (Galway, Ireland) and the late Sister Aloysius McVeigh, RSM (Derry, N. Ireland). This idea came when iconographer Sister Anne Sekul told me she wanted to create some pocket icons. Anything that would be portable and resourceful these days seems to fall into the app concept, so I thought this would be a good project. Praying with icons app by Sister Genemarie Beegan
In the next five years most people will be using “smartphones,” and it’s good to have resources in place that are beyond games. I am always thinking about possible apps now, and if something really sticks in my mind, then I will try it. I hope that creating prayer apps will contribute to how people choose to use their time.
What I'm reading! Still Alice by Lisa Genova (Simon and Schuster, 2008) Reviewed by Sister Margaret Mary McBride, RSM
If you have a loved one, friend or relative with dementia, Still Alice is a must read. This book describes the fictional journey of a Harvard University professor who discovers she has early onset dementia. The main character, Alice, is a cognitive psychology professor and an expert in linguistics at Harvard. Her expertise adds a fascinating dimension to the book. Author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, originally published this book privately. After Still Alice received the attention of the Alzheimer’s Association, it was then published by Simon and Schuster in 2008. Simply, but with powerful insight, Genova describes the progression of the disease from the perspectives of the family, professors, students, and friends. If you’ve ever wondered what a person with dementia is thinking or how they are processing ideas, this will give you examples and insights into the mind of an individual. It’s not a clinical study, but rather a lovely story of how the mind changes and how a person with dementia feels and thinks about the world. An interview with the author and a study guide that could be used for further discussion are at the end of the book. Currently, there are over 20 different types of dementia being documented by neuroscientists, and aggressive research is being conducted on the disease. By the age of 85, 50 percent of the population will have some form of dementia. As we live longer, the likelihood increases. We know about Alzheimer’s disease, but we hear less about alcohol-related dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and frontal lobe dementia. Early diagnosis and a drug regimen are important, once a person is diagnosed, because drugs will slow the progression of the disease. They don’t cure the disease, but there is typically cognitive improvement while on the drugs. At some point though, drugs are no longer beneficial and they should be discontinued. Understanding is always a powerful medicine, for the caregiver and the patient. 4 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Newest Doctor of the Church: Hildegard of Bingen by Avis Clendenen, Mercy Associate On Oct. 7, Pope Benedict XVI officially instated 12th century German Benedictine Abbess Hildegard of Bingen as the fourth female Doctor of the Church. I was in Rome to witness this momentous event! What is a Doctor of the Church? Prior to October 7, there were 33 doctors of the Church, only three of whom were women: Catherine of Siena; Teresa of Avila; and Therese of Lisieux. Now, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has joined their ranks [along with St. John of God], bringing the number of official Doctors of the Church to 35 with four women among them. In addition to achieving the recognition as saint of the universal church, one must fulfill three additional criteria to be named Doctor of the Church: outstanding in holiness, excelling in profound doctrinal insight, and creating an extensive body of writings articulating the vibrant and authentic Catholic tradition. In his May 27, 2012 announcement, Pope Benedict said of Hildegard, “The sanctity of life and depth of teaching makes [her] perpetually present: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, projected [her] into that experience of penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world that constitutes the horizon of permanent life and action of the Church.” Hildegard stands in a category by herself because of the expanse of her creativity and productivity, her intimacies with God, her courage and leadership, and her wideranging accomplishments.
"Hildegard of Bingen," copyright 2002 by Cynthia Large. Used with permission of the artist.
Why Hildegard? By any standards, Hildegard of Bingen was simply remarkable. The scope of her 12th century productivity defies imagination. This medieval nun wrote prolifically between the ages of 42 to her death at 81 in 1179. She is popularly known as the patron saint of mid-life woman precisely because she began her most creative era in her 40’s. The Benedictine Abbess authored a trilogy of theological texts. She is best known for her Scivias [a Latin abbreviation for Know the Ways of the Lord], which is a multi-media manuscript of 26 mystical visions with theological commentary. Hildegard authored the only two medical books written in the West in the 12th century. She is well known for her original music, composing more than 77 hymns. She began her preaching tours at the age of 60, and 50 of her homilies and more than 300 letters from her active correspondence remain. Her correspondents included Henry II of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the great Cistercian Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, popes, emperors, other abbots and abbesses, women mystics and nuns, and lay people seeking her counsel. Her bold, inspired writing attracted a Pope's attention Her imaginative, complex, and doctrinally intriguing writing caught the attention of Rome, and a commission was established to interrogate her emerging work. The examiners took their findings to the Synod of Trier in 1147-48. With the support of respected Bernard of Clairvaux, portions of the Scivias were read aloud to the assembled bishops who examined and discussed her work. Pope Eugenius III bestowed on Hildegard the apostolic license to continue and “commanded” her to complete her “divinely inspired” work. Hildegard was the first woman theologian to receive such ecclesiastical sanction. continued next page 5 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Hildegard, cont. Why Now? The irony of Pope Benedict declaring the likes of Hildegard a Doctor of the Church, while simultaneously decrying the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, is not going unnoticed. Clearly, Pope Benedict XVI, as a German, has been steeped in Hildegard, who has been revered for centuries in Germany. Many of us in the United States have only met her in the later years of the 20th century. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict supported the request by German bishops to raise Hildegard to a Doctor of the Church in 1979. At that time, this would not come to pass. For hundreds of years the German church honored September 17 as her feast day, but it was not until May 10, 2012, that Pope Benedict ordered Hildegard inscribed in the catalogue of saints, thus extending her sainthood to the Church’s universal liturgical calendar. On Pentecost, the Pope followed with the official notice that Abbess St. Hildegard would be Dr. Hildegard on October 7, 2012. For sure, Pope Benedict has been drawing attention for some time to Hildegard through his papal addresses. Hildegard nourishes and admonishes the Church On September 8, 2010, the Pope said, “From these brief references [referring to Hildegard’s mystical visions with rich theological content] we already see that theology too can receive a special contribution from women because they are able to talk about God and the mysteries of faith using their own particular intelligence and sensitivity. ” Hildegard provides a model of the integration of a lush interior life with the life of the mind. All was aimed at nourishing the life of the Church in her tumultuous era when clergy vied for land, popes and emperors had armies, and the Crusades raged. Hildegard rose up unafraid to admonish the clergy for the “drying up” of the Church. Hildegard’s writings are replete with her chastisement of Christian leaders, religious and secular, about their lax approach to the affairs of the world, the church and the care of the earth itself. She chided kings and bishops for figuratively and literally “falling asleep” to the troubles of their times. Hildegard’s holiness a model for our times Our newest Doctor of the Church was dedicated to healing people, the Church and the earth. Dr. Hildegard’s visionary holiness, profound doctrinal insights, and timelessly truthtelling contributions to the Catholic tradition provide us today—whether bishop or nun, priest or lay leader— the style and substance of how we might negotiate our way through threats and fear, interrogations and interdicts to gracefully broker the resolutions of many painful impasses, and thus emerge with a newfound ecclesial spirit of deeper communion. St. Hildegard, Doctor of the Church, may your luminosity shine ever brighter within our Church. Amen. A new edition of Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives by Avis Clendenen (Chiron Publications) is forthcoming in October 2012 with a Foreword by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, and a new chapter exploring the troubling disconnect in welcoming Hildegard to such a rank while exercising clerical oversight over the activities of LCWR, the largest, most religiously literate women in the Catholic Church today. One of her readers noted, “When Pope Benedict announced he would proclaim Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church, Clendenen contacted diverse scholars, analysts, clinicians, and artists, inviting new and essential dialogue for inclusion in this revised edition. She posed tough questions about gender and timing, meaning and status. The interweaving of the responses into a cohesive and sustained fabric is simply top-notch, a powerful choir which turns head and heart.”
6 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Waiting to Vote?
Or Waiting 'Til It's Over?
By Sister Jeanne Christensen
WMW Access Do you need access to the Assembly website? See www.wmwassembly.org Do you know where the WMW prayer list is? Are you looking for a list of jubilarians? A vacation home reservation? Or a WMW newsletter? All are available on the WMW intranet: http://inside.westmidwest.org Do you know where to find Institute 2011 Chapter information? www.sistersofmercy. org/ members Latest Institute news? www.sistersofmercy. org/ members What is the WMW saying to the public? www.mercywestmidwest.org Have you seen the
With the national 2012 election a few days away, what are your thoughts? Are you simply waiting for the moment when there will be no more political ads on television and news commentators stop “spinning” the meaning of what the candidates say? Have you thought about why you will be voting? Is it an automatic response to responsibility? Or is it a responsibility that you look forward to and are well-prepared to fulfill? One reason to vote is that we are called as Catholics and Sisters of Mercy, to bring a consistent moral framework to the public arena. In addition, we “bring broad experience in serving those in need – educating the young, caring for the sick, sheltering the homeless, helping women who face difficult pregnancies, feeding the hungry, welcoming immigrants and refuges, reaching out in global solidarity and pursuing peace.” (Faithful Citizenship, USCCB, 2011) This call and our experience can assist us in choosing to vote for candidates whose actions – more than their campaign words and promises – indicate the moral values out of which they make decisions. The U.S. Catholic Bishops in their document, Faithful Citizenship:, A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility, stated, “Catholic moral framework does not easily fit the ideologies of ‘right’ or ‘left,’ nor the platforms of any party. Our values are often not ‘politically correct.’ Believers are called to be a community of conscience within the larger society and to test public life by the values of Scripture and the principles of Catholic social teaching.” No candidate is the perfect candidate. Of those you are considering, which ones best reflect consistent moral values in keeping with Scripture and Catholic social teaching? Will the lives of the most vulnerable among us be improved by the election of the candidates for whom you plan to vote? For excellent resources on voting from the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy: http://bit.ly/USElections2012_Mercy
MercyCare: A Presence on Saint Xavier Campus By Sister Carol Mucha MercyCare is a 17-year reality that was initiated in 1995 by the Sisters of Mercy, founders of Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Initially, at the inspiration of Community President Sister Lucille McKillop, and under the guidance of Sister Mary Loftus, MercyCare called for a presence of a sister to be available to students, faculty or staff for spiritual or other needs that might arise in their home or university lives. Mary took on the responsibility of presence herself. Today, as the new coordinator of MercyCare, I am not the sole representative of the Sisters of Mercy on campus. I have expanded the program and have now recruited 24 Sisters of Mercy and 22 Mercy Associates who were commissioned on Aug. 29 to be present at any number of events that occur, including but not limited to liturgies, sports events, lectures, musical performances, art exhibits, wakes and memorials, and any other opportunities that may arise. Students, faculty and staff are becoming aware of these generous, concerned persons as they see them participating in the above events, wearing a “MercyCare” badge with the logo of the Sisters of Mercy. The sisters and associates are interested in the University’s progress, and it is their hope that all on campus will respond with the same hospitality they are extending by their presence. 7 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Greetings from Fort Portal, Uganda!
by Sister Frances Walshe
Sister Frances Walshe returned to California in 2011 from three years as director of the counselor training at the St. Francis Counsellor Training Institute, Mbarara. This summer she was happy to return to East Africa as a Volunteer Missionary in a position at the Bishop Magambo Counsellor Training Institute (BMCTI), Fort Portal, Uganda, which is not far from St. Francis. BMCTI is an answer by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Portal to meet the growing need for counseling services in Uganda, thus being a sanctuary of mental healthcare, an important aspect of Christ’s healing ministry. Dear Mercy Community, I want to share with you about where I am teaching/counselling for the Above is Florence, who is completing next two years. I am happy that my own ministry skills can be used in this her master’s in counseling, showing setting where the Volunteer Mission Movement, Dublin, Ireland, continues Sister Frances Walshe the final draft to sponsor me. Fort Portal is a small town located in Western Uganda, of her thesis. about 70 kilometers from the Congo Border. The climate is quite cool and often rainy. The Rwenzori Mountains are located to the west. Earthquakes are familiar in this region, and having already experienced a small shake, I suddenly thought I was back in the Bay Area! I live in a newly built hostel with another Volunteer Missionary, Nora Casey, in the building which also houses classes on the upper floors. Most of the sisters here are Ugandan. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of vocations. There are many religious communities nearby: a local community of sisters (BanyaTeresa), the Brothers of St. Joseph who run a carpentry shop, the Holy Cross Sisters, who invite us to dinner once a week after the evening Mass, and priests down the road. Bishop Magambo Counsellor Training Institute (BMCTI) was established in 2003 with a goal of training counsellors, educating the public on mental health, advocating for mental healthcare and providing much needed counselling services. The Institute, which became fully operational in 2004, operates under the faculty of health sciences of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi (on the Equator line as one drives to Kampala). Although BMCTI is owned and governed by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Portal, it has over the years provided quality education to many regardless of their religious orientation. The vision of the Institute is to be a unique model institute for Uganda and an integral part of the National Health Care System, under the Ministry of Education. Present projects include intervention on domestic violence, scholarship programs, master’s level and communication skills for teen girls in the local high schools. Although the standard of living is higher here than in many places in Africa, power outages, lack of water and little access to world news are difficult to cope with at times. There is no BBC broadcast here, and I rely mostly on the bits and pieces of news in the local newspaper. There is plenty of rain, but water tanks are needed to contain most of it. Trocaire, Ireland, has just contributed half the cost of a water tank that is needed. The internet is unpredictable and the best time to access it is between 3 and 5 a.m. Blessings and good wishes to all of you! As we continue to embrace the Mercy way of life, May we have ears to hear the longing and anguish of those who cry out for justice! --Frances
8 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Mercy Day Message from Honduras
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 Dear Rita, (Sister Rita Mooney) Aquinice (Sister Aquinice McCorry) asked me to send this to you. Please let me know if you receive it. Someone asked me how I was going to spend Mercy (Day). I would like to tell a story. In our parish here in Puerto Cortes, I work in many rural villages, some are in the mountains, some are along the sea shore, others Madre de la Misericordia along the river. During Hurricane Mitch there was much damage. Many people were lost. In a community along the river, among other things, one little church was washed away. With some of the help that we received at that time, we built them a new church. The original one was made of walls of bamboo and the roof with palm leaves. The new one is of cement with a metal roof. We named it Madre de la Misericordia. The community has become much more active, having their Celebrations of the Word and their catechism for children. They have been asking for a statue of Madre de la Misericordia. It is difficult to find a statue, but we found another solution. In the parish we have a home for boys who have been living on the streets. Some cannot live at home because of family problems. Others are orphans. One boy is a budding artist. We were able to get some material for him and a nice picture. He painted an oil painting, the photo of which accompanies this note. It was to be presented to the community on Mercy Day. I would like to have presented it personally and taken the artist with me, but the way to get there is very complicated. Because of the rains, the river has been rising and the sides are very muddy. I would have to drive about 45 minutes, take a motor boat down the river where they would meet us with small dug-out canoes to get to the dike which I would have to cross. Because of heavy rains, the sides of the dike were very muddy. In my younger days, I did that, but after 36 years here, that is not for me. A young Honduran priest went with two young Honduran sisters. Father said the Mass and blessed the picture. Now they are very happy with their Mother of Mercy. Sister Dorothy Pelt Puerto Cortes, Honduras [Note: Dorothy is a volunteer pastoral associate at Sagrado CorazĂłn de JesĂşs in Puerto Cortes, where she has been since 1977. She is 92.] 9 Mercy Connection â€˘ October/November 2012
Sister Loretta Thul In September, Sister Loretta Thul celebrated her 80th birthday. It was an occasion that came after she made a 30-day retreat at the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Spirituality Center in LaCrosse, Wis. “The retreat was a special and very beautiful experience that just so happened at a time near a milestone birthday where I could reflect upon the gifts God has given me,” said Loretta. A Sister of Mercy for 53 years, Loretta began her ministry as an elementary school teacher serving in schools throughout Iowa. In 1987, she left her native state of Iowa to study in the clinical pastoral education program at Prince of Peace Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. She remained in Cincinnati for 20 years while she served in pastoral care and as a chaplain at Mercy Hospital – Anderson. In 2006, Loretta moved back to Iowa to reside at Sacred Heart Convent in Cedar Rapids. In her retirement, she has mentored women; and volunteered for Hospice of Mercy, Community Health Free Clinic and at Noelridge Park for the City of Cedar Rapids. A year ago, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids opened the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, to provide world-class comprehensive care for oncology patients in and around the Cedar Rapids area. As a hospital volunteer, Loretta ministers at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center on Friday mornings. She welcomes patients with Mercy hospitality as they enter the cancer center and guides them where they need to go if they are new patients. One of the things Loretta likes to do for new cancer center patients is to take them to a painting of a sunflower on display in the building. “Each individual stroke and color are so different in the painting,” said Loretta. “It reminds me of each patients’ individual journey in their treatment to fight cancer.”
Associate Diane “Diane exemplifies Mercy,” said Sister Jeanne O’Rouke. “She is a living example of our mission and she has been a guiding light to Mercy for many.” Diane works at College of Saint Mary (CSM) in Omaha. She is assistant vice president of institutional advancement and events coordinator. In this capacity, you can expect to see her at most all of CSM’s evening and weekend activities assisting and helping in whatever manner is most needed. Diane, a graduate of CSM, has been an associate since 2004. Since then she has introduced a number of potential associates to Mercy. In fact, she now serves as a local Mercy Associate leader - a volunteer position. “I love the Sisters of Mercy and what they stand for,” said Diane. “They have been a major influence in my life since 1968. It is my honor to work and to walk with these strong women.”
10 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012
Sister Elaine Hart “The inspiration to join the Sisters of Mercy was given me by God at the closing of a retreat my junior year,” said Sister Elaine Hart. “The young Franciscan told us ‘to do now what we wished we would have done at our death.’ Also, when we were around after school, the Sisters of Mercy would talk of the happy times they had as sisters, and they would make us laugh at the stories they told of life in the summer when they were all together.” Eager to join the Sisters of Mercy, Elaine applied in 1941, but her parents asked her to wait a year. She dutifully wrote to the Detroit novice mistress asking for a delay. That summer, Elaine opened a letter from the novice mistress saying she was expecting Elaine to join the sisters on Sept. 7. Elaine told her mother, “I have to go.” Later, she learned the novice mistress had not received her letter. “My first sign of the Holy Spirit guiding my paths,” said Elaine. Along with the other novices, Elaine studied for her bachelor’s degree at Mercy College in the same building as the novitiate. Later she went to University of Notre Dame in Indiana, studying art and teaching art as well as her regular 5th grade classes. “When I graduated in art, I was expecting to teach art to elementary school classes,” Elaine said. “But Mother Provincial called and said I would be studying religious education that next year at Catholic University. It was a wonderful experience, as Vatican II was still in session. I thanked the Holy Spirit for helping me. I helped open two catechetical centers. One had 1,000 students in it. The other had 600. What a wonderful life the Holy Spirit helped me to live. Besides teaching, there was preparing altar servers, Confirmation classes, grade school plays, and teaching art on TV. Teaching art in high school meant preparing student art shows. My students won contests. One won first place in the Dow Corning sculpture contest and another won first prize in the country’s Sea World. Note: Faces of Mercy from Auburn, Burlingame, and Chicago will be featured in the next Mercy Connection.
October/November 2012 Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
Mercy Connection is published by the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community Communications Office, 7262 Mercy Road • Omaha, NE 68124 • (402) 393-8225 • www.mercywestmidwest.org Director of Communications Sandy Goetzinger-Comer Editor: Elizabeth Dossa Contributing Writers: Associate Avis Clendenen, Sister Jeanne Christensen, Patti Kantor, Sister Margaret Mary McBride, Sister Carol Mucha
Graphic Design Elizabeth Dossa
Copyright 2012 Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community • Mercy Connection articles may be reproduced with written permission from the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Communications Office. Direct reprint requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 Mercy Connection • October/November 2012