Making the Mercy Connection in My Life
By Megan C., Mercy Associate
On December 12 we celebrate the Foundation Day of the Sisters of Mercy. Our Catherine was chosen by God to serve the poor, the sick and the uneducated. I have seen the works of today’s Sisters of Mercy and I can confidently say that Catherine’s works still live on.
Seeing the works of Mercy in action inspired me this fall to register for a Mercy Associate retreat being held in my area. Before attending the retreat, I had been struggling at work with my purpose, or my role. When I tell people I work at hospice, I get “the face”- you know the one- that sad, half smile, half cringe kind of face. And people usually say “you must have a huge heart.” I follow that statement with “Oh, I’m just the volunteer coordinator”. Although I enjoy my WORK, I have never thought of what I do as very important…until the associate retreat.
One of the associates, Bev, was giving a talk and spoke of some of the work Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, had been involved in. She said “Catherine was essentially running a hospice; and she taught people how to make the dying comfortable”. When she said that, my cheeks flushed and my heart pounded a bit. THAT’S WHAT I DO! I wanted to scream – it hit me at that moment, that I am not just recruiting volunteers or training volunteers- I am empowering them to be compassionate people, to care for those that are dying. Looking at it in that sense makes me feel a bit more passionate about my work, and ready to go in and do it with more grace.
The other thing I had been thinking about lately was: What exactly will my role be as a Mercy associate? What does that really MEAN for me? I don’t want to just show up for events once in a while, I want to really journey with the sisters and associates in Mercy. Throughout the retreat weekend I spent some time discerning just that, and thinking about the things that I would like to see strengthened within our Mercy community.
During some reflection time on the retreat it hit me, in a bit of an overwhelming way, how blessed I am to be a part of this community. Many of my friends and even family do not understand it, and to be honest sometimes it is quite exhausting to try to explain it. But it makes perfect, complete sense to me. Mercy is where I belong. Mercy is home. I have such a deep, deep connection to Catherine McAuley and to the spirit of Mercy that there’s no way I can let it go, and pretend like it is a thing of the past. Because it is very present. And I embrace that with open arms.
The associate retreat opened my eyes and my heart. I met people who sprinkled a bit of wisdom into my mind, I met people who touched my heart with their outpour of compassion, and I met people who made me laugh so hard my tummy hurt. The associates who led the retreat did a phenomenal job, and I am so glad to call them my friends and my community.
On November 2nd, I made my associate commitment, officially becoming a Mercy Associate. It could not have gone better. When I was on the altar I looked out into the crowd and there were my family and friends, listening intently and watching as I read my covenant statement and signed the papers. Sisters, associates and guests filled the chapel. I was welcomed, officially, into the community with open arms. As I stated in my covenant statement, the five mercy values spark my soul, and it is my desire to walk with the Sisters of Mercy in spirituality, service, and community life. Thank you for welcoming me.