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Walking (and Dancing) with Mercy

February 26, 2013

By Brittney T., student
Mercy High School, San Francisco

DSC_3250The Sisters of Mercy distinguished themselves from other orders with their dedication to “walking” in solidarity with those who suffer and their mission of serving the poor, sick, and uneducated. And though I do not have R.S.M. attached to my name, being a student at a Mercy school, the legacy of the early “walking” nuns has had a profound influence on me.

When I learn about the values of compassion, respect, and service, I fittingly learn about them in the context of real life issues. Mercy High never tries to shelter their students and instead encourages a curiosity and hunger for knowing and serving the suffering in our community. And this active learning can best be embodied in our school’s V-Day assembly.

V-Day, a movement started by Eve Ensler for February 14th, is not a call for the cupid and heart decorations of Valentine’s Day. Instead, it’s a day to “stop the violence” and a call to bring awareness of the horrible violence experienced by women all over the world–rape, trafficking, domestic violence, etc. Mercy High School, San Francisco has been celebrating V-Day since 2006.  We have learned about real, important issues concerning the oppression of women, the social injustices that plague today’s world, and getting involved in combating the oppression and injustice.

Before coming to Mercy High, I was incredibly ignorant of issues such as trafficking, domestic violence and rape. They happened, but not in front of me and thus did not take up much space in my thoughts. Ignorance had bred a sense of isolation within me; suffering was splattered on the front page of the news but it didn’t seem to penetrate my mind and thus my heart didn’t always necessarily extend as far as I would have liked. However, thanks to assemblies like V-Day and other social issues education, I am no longer ignorant. And this new connection has revealed to me a calling to do some “walking” of my own and I hope the path I walk leads me to a future in social service, whether it’s at a shelter for abused women, a foster home, or maybe even an all-girls school. And if I am ever so lucky to find myself in a position to help decrease the suffering that days like V-Day teach me about, I hope to do so with the same mercy embodied by those that came before me.

Just as Catherine McAuley and those early Sisters of Mercy first pushed boundaries in serving their community and also in connecting to those who others ignored, Mercy High is continuing that legacy, that push, that invitation of connection. In the context of faith, if there’s one thing these models and my school teaches me, it’s that faith is not a retreat inward, but instead an extension outward. It’s about “walking” in solidarity and service, not staying stuck in isolation. And with each V-Day, there’s a fresh recognition of our identity as Sisters of Mercy, R.S.M. not required.

Caption:  Mercy High School, San Francisco students dance the ‘One Billion Rising’ dance during their V-Day assembly on February 14 to call attention to violence against women.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Sister Cynthia permalink
    February 26, 2013 3:35 pm

    Brittney, thank you for writing such a great piece! I was dancing with you on that day, and will keep dancing until women are free from violence against them. Hold on to your dream to be of service. The world needs strong women!

  2. February 26, 2013 4:00 pm

    Wow, Brittney, thank you for this blog. Catherine McAuley would sure be proud of you and the students you represent at Mercy High School, SanFrancisco. I know the RSMs are proud of you.

  3. February 26, 2013 4:43 pm

    Brittany, What a powerful reflective piece. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and insights.We are so very proud to have you with us as one of our “walking sisters.” May your efforts be blessed and may your path of Mercy lead you to new and greater insights. Thank you for walking and dancing with us. We are all one!

  4. Mary R Turnbull permalink
    February 26, 2013 4:47 pm

    Brittney God bless the movement taking place in you and Mercy High ,may it spread Eastward . Having taught boys and men for 50 years now its time to get both groups on the same track for helping one another . God bless to all on this mercy train

  5. marypen211 permalink
    February 26, 2013 5:44 pm

    The students in our Mercy schools are the BEST!

  6. February 27, 2013 12:17 pm

    Brittney makes me so proud to be a teacher at MercySF. Carry the Circle of Mercy beyond our walls, my dear.
    G.Chastain

  7. kathy o'neill callaghan permalink
    March 1, 2013 8:06 pm

    love hearing modern day comments on how mercy is changing lives…it changed my life and i am forever blessed because of mercy high school.san francisco..thank you for continuing to make the world a better place…love always ..kathy o’neill callaghan class of 1967

  8. Sister Pat Gimblett permalink
    March 5, 2013 10:39 am

    Brittany, thank you for the splendid reflection. The services rendered by you and the other girls at Mercy certainly are appreciated by who you serve in your growing awareness. God bless you and all at Mercy, San Francisco.

  9. July 29, 2013 8:12 pm

    YOur school has a great committemnt to social issues becasue the principal is forward thinking and has a world view that she wants to teache her students. Great Job, Ms. McCrea.

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