Serving others is the only way to achieve a fulfilled life
By Amy C.
My journey with the Sisters of Mercy began in 1992 when I was six years old and walked into Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, PA. I continued with my Mercy education through high school at Merion Mercy Academy where I graduated in 2004. The Sisters of Mercy always had a very strong impact on my life. During my long exposure to the Sisters of Mercy, my admiration for these amazing women and the foundress of their order, Catherine McAuley, grew exponentially. It always astonished me how dedicated the Sisters of Mercy were to the students they taught, and how they practiced Catherine McAuley’s life lessons through their every day actions.
During my time studying Theology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, I took a service learning course on Saint Ignatius’s life and realized that service learning is the best way to bridge the gap from classroom content to real world experience.
As I began my full-time job as Director of Ministry and Service at Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School in Lower Gwynedd, PA in 2011, I was also completing my thesis for my graduate course work from LaSalle University. Since the Sisters of Mercy and the mission of Catherine continued to have such an impact on my educational experience, I knew I wanted to create a service learning course contingent on the life and mission of Catherine McAuley. With the help of the administration at Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, I designed, created and implemented the service learning course “Catherine McAuley and the City: Living the Mission” into the school’s curriculum.
The course is a writing intensive Honors Theology elective for seniors who meet certain criteria. Working with Hope Partnership for Education in North Philadelphia, we tutor and mentor 5th-8th graders who need additional help with their class work. Through this course students not only learn about the life of Catherine McAuley, but they also are exposed to missiological components as well as Catholic Social Teaching, unique forms of prayer, comparatively understanding papal encyclicals, and comparing the mission of Catherine McAuley to the mission and responsibility of students in the course. The course incorporates a hermeneutical component, and allows students to pose philosophical questions and comparatively answer them from the perspective of a student grounded in the Mercy tradition.
This course serves as a testament of gratitude to not only Catherine McAuley, but to all of the Sisters of Mercy who carry out Catherine’s mission every day of their lives including all of the Sisters of Mercy I work with, and all who have taught me that a life of serving others is the only way to achieve a fulfilled life – something I now try to teach my students.