In the Southern Province the Sisters of Mercy are involved in a wide range of educational and health care ministries.
In the health care area these ministries vary from the more traditional work of matrons and ward sisters in hospitals, public health and hospice nurses in the local community, to the more recent ministries of pastoral care and complimentary therapies.
In the educational area, a number of sisters are engaged as principals and teachers in schools. Others are working in related areas such as remedial and resource teaching, life-start and early-start programmes, home-school liaison and chaplaincy work. The province continues to be trustees of eighteen secondary and thirty primary schools.
Mary Teresa McCormack with members of the travelling community in the Waterford area. Mary Teresa is the visiting teacher for the travellers in this area.
Some sisters are involved in residential child care, and in 1994 Wellsprings was set up in Cork city, to meet the needs of young women who are out of home or require assistance to make transition from residential care or foster care to independent living.
Visitation has always been a part of the ministry of the Order. Today one form consists in getting involved in purpose built estates, which are primarily for the elderly of a particular area. One such venture where the province is involved is Westlands in Wexford town.
The province is involved in a range of other works such as involvement with the travelling community, women's groups, prayer ministry, parish work counselling and spiritual direction.
The province set up a Justice Office to raise awareness about the causes and systemic nature of injustice both local and global. Such issues include Traveller health, education and accommodation, housing and budget submissions at local level, and working towards cancellation of the World Debt at a global level.
The province established a solidarity fund in July 2000. This fund is available to projects within the Southern Province that are attempting to address social needs at both "hands-on" and systemic levels. Examples include initiatives that provide support and assistance to people experiencing a significant level of disadvantage and social exclusion.
For further information and application form please forward an A4 stamped addressed envelope to Sr Ursula Sheehan, Administrator, Mercy Solidarity Fund, Provincial Offices, Bishop Street, Cork City.
Ann Lynch, the justice office co-ordinator at her work