'Our challenge as Mercy Sisters and Associates is to remain open to the Spirit leading us into the future, to learn from our experiences and to continue to listen to ourselves, to each other and to God's grace in our lives' says Sr. Rosaline O'Connor, Director of Mercy Associates. 'What people are looking for' she says 'is spiritual nourishment, is bondedness'. Ann Kull, one of our first associates who made her commitment on November 11th, 1994 says 'something about our Mercy Association resonates with the quiet place within me. I want to deepen my spiritual life so that I can be more 'present' to people and inspire mercy in my everyday life'.
We have discovered that people who are interested in our mercy Association are already involved in works of mercy. They share the charism of mercy where they work, whether at home, school, hospital or parish. Carole Colfer, who teaches a Drug and Alcohol Awareness Programme at one of our Mercy schools and recently joined our Mercy Association said 'I want to belong to a group that shares the same values as myself. Being part of a group of like-minded people supports and reinforces my values of compassionate service and justice for all people'.
Meeting on a monthly basis is a support and spiritual enrichment for all our associates as they strive to live and share the spirit of compassionate presence in their various ministries of feeding the poor at Mary's table and St. Vincent de Paul, visiting the sick in hospitals and homes, teaching in schools and religious education programmes, taking communion to shut-ins, helping in Al-Anon and Hospice and taking care of the elderly and disabled in convalescent homes.
At a recent meeting of our associates, one of the wisdom figures of the group summed it all up so well; 'Knowing Catherine McAuley is my inspiration. She reached out with a compassionate heart to all in need. She is a woman of our times, whose legacy inspires us to respond with a tender courage to the needs of the marketplaces of our world; feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, counselling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowing, working for peace and justice. She is indeed remembered affectionately by all of us!'