Three women make commitments to Mercy



Three women make commitments to Mercy
FALL 2010
Sisters of Mercy, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community
Three women make commitments to Mercy
Three women made various commitments to the Sisters of Mercy
NyPPaW in separate ceremonies this
Sister Laurie Orman professed final
vows on Sept. 11 at the St. Monica
Church, Rochester. Sister Jennifer
Wilson professed first vows on Sept.
4 and Nordia Brusola was received as
a candidate on Aug. 16, both at Our
Lady of Mercy Chapel, Erie.
“This is a sign of life in Mercy
and a continuation of what Catherine
McAuley started,” said Sister Nancy
Hoff, NyPPaW president, who preSister Laurie Orman, right, looks on as Sister Nancy
sided at each of the ceremonies. “We
Hoff, NyPPaW president, signs a copy of the perpetual
are delighted to have these commitvows, which Sister Laurie professed and also signed.
With them is Sister Marlene Vigna of Rochester.
ments to Mercy. It reminds sisters of
our commitment to God and Mercy,
came to know the Sisters of Mercy through
and it is a sign of hope that our work
Sister Kathy Wayne.
will go on.”
“I realized that I had a draw to the
Here is a look at the women who have
Mercy charism and the hospitality. Once I
decided to take a journey in Mercy:
started to read about Catherine McAuley, I
‒ Sister Laurie Orman thought she
felt connected to the fourth vow of service
might be called to be a woman religious
and work with the poor,” she said.
when she graduated from high school,
Today, she is director of youth ministry
but it wasn’t until later during a wilderat
Trinity Parish, Webster, N.Y., helpness retreat that she really sensed a call.“It
ing form the faith of students in the sixth
was being out in nature and doing what I
through 12-grades, including confirmation
love doing, that is rock climbing, that God
touched my heart, and I started to question
“I love working with young people and
my life and where I was being called to
them on their journey of faith and
live and minister,” said Laurie, a Rochester
their relationship with Jesus Christ,” she
She noted that she grew up in parishes
that were served by the School Sisters of
(See VOWS on Page 3)
Notre Dame and Sisters of St. Joseph, but
Greening our spirituality
“If you want to cultivate peace, care for creation.”
‒ Pope Benedict XVI
By Sr. Guadalupe Lumantas, NyPPaW Leadership Team
In Harmony
A quarterly publication of the
Sisters of Mercy, New York,
Pennsylvania, Pacific West
Sister Nancy Hoff
Vice President
Sister Patricia Prinzing
Sister JoAnne Courneen
Sister Guadalupe Lumantas
Sister Geraldine Rosinski
Principal Writer
Gary Loncki
Communications Director
[email protected]
Sr. Virgencita Alegado
Sr. Patricia Black
Bethany Brown
Angelo Completado
Sheila Coon
Sister Jean Delgado
Gary Loncki
Sister Barb Stinard
Sister Trish Tyler
Sally Giesler
Sister Lisa Mary McCartney
The message of our pope is a challenge to all of us as we continue
to listen to the happenings of the world around us. Confronted with the
heightened destruction of the natural life system of our
Earth, there is an urgent need to open our minds and hearts
to the wisdom of the scientific tradition and the creative
vision of various concerned groups. What we need is to
search for God dwelling inside every reality of nature.
What is the spirituality behind our task of caring for
creation? I am speaking from my perspective as a citizen
of the Philippines. We Filipinos have faith in the indigeSr. Guadalupe
nous peoples who teach us enormously about embracing the
earth. They are people of the land, rivers, seas, mountains
and forests. Earth for them is very sacred. They witness what it means
to care for life, for women, and for the extended human and non-human
communities. Their creation-centered spirituality gives hope and courage
to people as they surmount many struggles in life.
The indigenous people’s spirituality points to all parts of creation as
spiritual, sacred, mysterious and interrelated. They belong to the land but
the land does not belong to them. The earth, land and all therein inspire
them to promote unity, cooperation, mutuality and interdependence.
The late Macliing Dulag said: “Such arrogance to speak of owning
the land, when you shall be owned by it. How can you own that which
will outlive you? Only the race owns the land because only the race lives
Our mission, therefore, must further the cause of the movements for
peace, women and ecology. Our prophetic ministry requires a commitment
to social justice and prayer, trustworthy services and mercy for creation.
How do we begin or continue what has been started?
Our educational and missional priorities should include ecological
advocacy and praxis, expressing a creation-centered spirituality on local,
national and global levels.
Our church and seminary activities must be women-friendly, ecologically friendly and inter-faith friendly.
Counteract the death-dealing values of the modern world ‒ human
greed, domination and fear ‒ by embracing the spiritual values of gratitude, humility, sufficiency, justice, peace, love, faith and hope. Strive to
make peace based on justice. Have faith with compassion, have just relations with people and with creation, thus witnessing Christian spirituality.
So, let us connect caring for creation with being Church, train people
on eco-ministry and leadership, and network with Church and voluntary
groups, thus greening a spirituality that springs from the Spirit of God.
Then, with the psalmists, we can joyfully sing: “All the earth proclaim the
Lord, sing your praise to God.”
Vows (from Page 1)
Laurie was accepted as a candidate for
the Sisters of Mercy
in 2003 and received
as a novice in 2005.
In 2007, she professed
her first vows. Besides
working with youth
and faith formation at
Holy Trinity, her ministries included workPatricia Moriarity, incorporation minister
In the photo on the left, Sister Jennifer Wilson
ing at Mercy Minisfor NyPPaW, pray over Nordia Brusola, who
tries of Laredo, Texas,
was welcomed as a candidate on Aug. 16. Both
In the photo on the right, Sister Nancy Hoff,
helping women and
ceremonies were held in Erie.
NyPPaW president, left, and Mercy Sister
children from abusive
refugee families, minisBefore coming to the
homes, and the Mercy
She said the sisters’
tered as a child advocate
United States, she spent
Prayer Center.
love for the marginalat Mercy Center for
23 years as owner of a
“I hope that I can
ized attracted her to
Women, Erie, and taught
successful handicraft
live out the charism of
Mercy and provided a
religious education to
business in Legazpi City,
mercy in my ministry
way to use her gifts.
undocumented children
and everyday living. I
“Living my life as
while living in Laredo,
Currently, she is
am compassionate, cara Sister of Mercy is
the bookstore
ing and able to go where
where I can be my most
vows, she will undergo
at Mercyhurst Prep, Erie,
I am called to be which,
authentic self. This is
further theological study
and working in the office
I think, is important in
different from mainand experiences in minat St. Mark the Evantoday’s world,” she said.
stream society in several
istry. This fall, she began
gelist Parish, Lawrence
‒ Sister Jennifer
ways,” she said. “I do
Wilson became internot own anything. My
degree in special educa“All the difficulties
ested in the Sisters of
money and resources are
tion at Carlow Universiand hardships that my
Mercy while working
shared with the sisters
ty, Pittsburgh. She holds
life presented to me have
as a Mercy Corps Voland with those we serve.
a bachelor’s degree in
positively increased my
unteer in Guyana, South
My time is devoted to
social work from the
desire to become a Sister
America, from 2003-05.
God, the community of
University of Akron.
of Mercy,” Nordia said.
She was accepted as a
the Sisters of Mercy and
Those difficulties includcandidate by the Sisters
those we serve.”
ed adjusting to a differof Mercy in Erie in 2006
‒ Nordia Brusola,
“Living my life
ent culture and losing
and became a novice in
a native of the Philipas a Sister of
both her parents within a
pines, graduated in
Mercy is where I
year while she studied at
“I can continue to
can be my most
develop my relationship
degree from Mercyauthentic self ...
“The talents and
with God while sharing
hurst College’s (Erie)
My time is deexperiences that God
life and resources,” said
Organizational Leadvoted to God,
gave me have made me a
Jennifer, who grew up in
ership Program. She
the community
stronger person and have
Akron, Ohio.
of the Sisters of
also solidified my desire
Since becoming part
explore the possibility
Mercy and those
to be part of the workof the Mercy Communiof entering the Sisters
we serve.”
ings of God and to make
ty, she has worked with
of Mercy community.
‒ Sr. Jennifer Wilson
a difference,” she said.
COMMENTARY: The Tea Party and Constitutions
By Sr. Patricia McCann
“Who taught these people
history?” the retired history
teacher in me asks as I read
interviews with people from Tea
Party gatherings. Much of the
rationale given for participation in
the rallies purports to be history
based, but is in fact either wildly
revisionist or blatantly inaccurate.
Both are dangerous to the political
and cultural health of our nation.
The people one sees on televised Tea Party events are usually
my generation, senior citizens and
mostly Caucasian. They seem like
friendly “solid-citizen” types, with
a few so-called “fringe activists”
mixed among them. They talk
about “returning to the Constitution and the principles of the
Founding Fathers,” though little
of substance is offered to bolster
such claims. In one interview at a
Tea Party rally, the reporter asked
a sixty-something woman, “Why
did you come?” “Because Obama
is trashing our Constitution,” the
woman responded. The reporter
pursued: “Could you give me
some examples?” “No, I don’t
have any examples,” the woman
replied, “I just know that he is
trashing the Constitution.”
The Constitution is the revered
symbol in the movement. At Tea
Party gatherings people produce
mini Constitutions from pockets
and purses as they would have
done a small Bible in times past.
The Constitution is called upon
to validate everything from negating gun control legislation to
supporting a ban on gay marriage.
Ironically, even though the First
Amendment is bedrock to Ameri-
can values, Tea
Party partyers do
not cite the constitutional defense of
religious liberty for
all when questions
arise about AmeriSr. Patricia
cans of Islamic
The Founding
Fathers are the movement’s saints
‒ so-called “committed Christian
patriots” ‒ held up as heroic models of morality for today. There is
no mention of George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of slaves. Nor is there recognition of the fact that many of the
founders were simply deists and
not church affiliated at all. They
were committed to democracy and
the rule of law for believers and
non-believers alike.
Tea Party adherents express a
great deal of anger. Everything
is changing in ways they neither
understand nor like. The world of
their grandkids scares them: computers and internet, cell phones
and texting, ipods and ipads,
tatoos and piercings, orange hair
and black clothes. Major cultural
shifts in process compound the
anger and fear: new immigration
patterns, more racial and ethnic
diversity, changing value systems,
shifting political party influence,
economic insecurity and a sense
of diminishing control of one’s
life environment.
Concern and anxiety about a
rapidly changing world are real.
What is threatening to the political and cultural health of our nation, however, is the fact that such
concerns coupled with unsettled
times make people susceptible to
dangerous leadership. There are
radio/TV talk show and “news”
personalities, as well as extremists on both the left and the right
in the political spectrum, ready
and willing to supply leadership
which preys upon people’s fears
and uses populist movements to
their own ignoble and self-serving
ends. There are owners of communications’ syndicates that
become multi-millionaires selling
hatred and political propaganda in
place of news. There are corporate
interests that will use any means to
keep government regulation from
getting in the way of the accumulation of wealth. Falling into these
hands, the Tea Party movement
can so easily become the vehicle
for change that it did not intend.
When essentially good people
turn over leadership to hatemongerers and racists, to inadequately informed politicians, or
to self-serving corporate interests,
our republic is in serious trouble.
If lies/disinformation of groups
like the “birthers” who challenge
President Obama’s legitimacy or
bigots who insist that he really is
an undercover Muslim carry more
weight than facts, our democracy
is in serious trouble. True constitutional democracy cannot be nourished or sustained when citizens
rally around irrational fears and
xenophobic bigotry rather than
America’s founding principles of
good government, an informed
citizenry, and liberty and justice
for all.
Sister Patricia McCann is archivist in Pittsburgh and writes on
social justice issues.
Gathering speaker explores biblical meaning of mercy
Sister Mary Rose Bumpus
used the Gospel story of the Good
Samaritan to illustrate our need to
give and receive God’s mercy in
her talks this summer at NyPPaW’s
annual “Theology of a Merciful
Heart” gathering at St. Bonaventure
University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.
Mary Rose, associate professor
of spirituality at Seattle (Wash.)
University, said the Good Samaritan who came upon the man lying
in the ditch displayed the three
characteristics of mercy in the Gospel of Luke: seeing and drawing
near, being motivated by pity and
compassion, and moving to action.
“Cultivate this heart of compassion,” she told nearly 230 sisters
and associates assembled for the
July 16-18 weekend, plus an extra
day to discuss the NyPPaW’s Assembly in 2012. “Compassion is
the bridge that links seeing with
doing something about it.”
In her July 17th presentation,
“The Compassionate Mercy of
God,” she also invited her audience to be aware of the way God
bestows mercy upon them. She
described an incident in which
she was stranded on a plane at the
Phoenix airport because of a delay.
Adding to her discomfort, she was
not feeling well. Yet, the calming demeanor of a four-year-old
girl sitting nearby helped her get
through the experience.
“She was a gift to me,” said
Mary Rose, a member of the South
Central Community.
Conscious of warm temperatures and high humidity in the St.
Bonaventure gym, Mary Rose
shortened her original series of
talks and offered more frequent
breaks for reflection, small group
discussion and socializing.
Sister Mary Rose Bumpus addresses the
Theology of a Merciful Heart gathering.
Her presentation included an
exploration of God’s mercy in the
Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, and Luke’s Gospel in the
New Testament. She cited the
Hebrew words, “hesed” – steadfast
love, kindness, goodness and grace,
and “rahamim” ‒ compassion,
mercy and love, as ways to describe
characteristics of God’s mercy and
the mercy of human beings toward
each other.
Mary Rose said “hesed” love
is very much like that shown by
Mercy Sisters and Associates who
donated paid time, financial support, or medical relief to the people
of the earthquake-torn region of
Haiti. She described “rahamim”
love as that shown in the story in 1
Kings as Solomon decided which of
two women was the real mother of a
child whom both claimed was hers.
The mother who was willing to give
up her son to save his life showed
“rahamim” love, according to Mary
“God demands that we – out of
mercy – respond to people in suffering,” she said.
Mary Rose’s presentation included time for participants to discuss
in small groups questions focusing
on identifying the weakest members
of society, how mercy is applied in
our ministries and when suffering is
In another part of her presentation, Mary Rose focused on how
compassion motivates us to treat
others “justly and humanely.” Citing the writings of Martha Nussbaum, a contemporary philosopher,
she said compassion will awaken in
us when we believe:
‒ a particular suffering is serious
rather than trivial,
‒ a person or community does
not deserve the suffering being
‒ we could suffer something
similar, and
‒ the acknowledgement of such
shared vulnerabilities leads to turning outward.
Mary Rose joined Nussbaum in
calling for education in true compassion.
Sister Dorothy Miller, a full-time
volunteer at The Intersection, Inc.,
McKeesport, Pa., said Mary Rose’s
presentation caused her to reflect
on the need to not only “do for” the
ministry’s clients but also to listen
to their stories with an open heart.
“I will look at mercy with new
eyes: those of looking at a God of
mercy, forgiveness and liberation,”
she said.
Sister Mary Ellen Twist, president of Mt. Mercy Academy, Buffalo, said Mary Rose’s presentation
made her think about the role of
mercy in teaching Catholic social
thought at her school. She said we
need to put aside legal issues and
focus on the companionship of justice and mercy.
“This is how we need to approach mercy,” she said.
Sisters, associates enjoy trip to see exhibit in Cleveland
One spring day, a
phone call came with an
invitation from our leadership to consider a bus
trip to the Maltz Museum
in Cleveland, an interim
home for the “WOMEN
& SPIRIT: Catholic
Sisters in America,” a
traveling exhibit sponsored by the Leadership
Conference of Women
Religious. According
to a news release, the
exhibit “chronicles the
untold stories of sisters of
pioneering women who
established schools, hospitals and other enduring
institutions and continue
to work for peace and
social justice.”
This museum was chosen for the trip, because it
was the closest one to the
NyPPaW locations and
would allow sisters and
Sister Mary Bernarde Entress addresses participants
on the bus trip.
others the opportunity to
travel and see the exhibit.
Sister Mary Bernarde
Entress organized the trip.
It was Saturday, Aug. 21,
when the “big bus” from
Rochester rolled into Buffalo and stopped at Mercy
Center. We were 44 in all,
including Sisters of St.
Joseph, School Sisters of
Sister M. Caritas Quinn waves and both she and Sister Elaine
Malloy enjoy a picnic lunch on their way to see the “WOMEN
& SPIRIT: Catholic Sisters in America” exhibit at the Maltz
Museum in Cleveland.
Notre Dame and NyPPaW Mercy Associates.
Part of the fun on
our trip were the “brain
games” prepared by Mary
Bernarde (we sure didn’t
look smarter than a fifth
grader!) and the jokes
told by the sisters. Of
course, we had to have
“snacks” which were
provided by the Buffalo sisters. Time passed
quickly and then came
the picnic lunch! We all
brought our own and
thoroughly enjoyed each
other’s company.
It seemed that we arrived at the museum in no
time. Everyone quieted
down, and we entered
what we would consider
“holy ground.” This Jewish museum had its own
history of immigration.
The docents were most
happy to accommodate us
and proud to take us on
tour. One of the docents
told us how honored she
was to learn so much
about the Catholic sisters
and what they did and
continue to do for this
When it was time to
leave, we felt we had just
scratched the surface of
the great women whose
shoulders we stand on
On the way home, we
did the “Mercy thing” ‒
not just a cup of tea did
we have, but a meal at
Bob Evans in Erie ‒ a
treat from leadership.
Mary Bernarde’s
prayer for the beginning
of our trip sustained us
throughout this most
wonderful experience:
“Lord God, to You
we lift up our spirits, as
we come together on this
trip in appreciation of our
sister ancestors, those
thousands of sisters who
have gone before us and
helped shape our nation’s
“As we set out on
this journey to Ohio,
in a comfortable motor
coach, we reflect on how
the early sisters traveled:
crossing the Atlantic in
steamships, bouncing in
Conestoga wagons, westward bound over rugged
pathways, and paddling
down the Mississippi
with their dreams and
hopes of opening schools,
hospitals and orphanages.
All in Your name, Lord.
“We are grateful
for them. We feel their
impact. For it is upon the
stage they set, that today
we can build new modalities of education, health
care and social services,
in Your name.
“We lift this prayer
to You, our Guide, our
Leader, our Source of all
that is good. Amen.”
Sisters Mary Ann Schimscheiner and Mary Bernarde Entress provided
the story and photos.
Promises Kept: A Portrait of the Sisters of Mercy of Buffalo
By Sr. Margaret Mary
“One Tuesday, Sister
Diane Swanson felt a
tug on her distracted
sleeve as she made
her way along the
boisterous hallway of
St. Bernadette School
in Orchard Park. She
looked down to see a
freckled first-grader
pressing a nickel into
her palm. “Give this
to someone who really needs it,” said
the earnest little face,
as she darted into her
classroom. Diane felt
the coin in her hand.
It was still warm.”
This little story is part
of “Promises Kept,” the
continuation of the history of the Buffalo Sisters
of Mercy that I authored.
The work includes 19582008 following the first
100 years which are contained in “Unto All His
Mercy,” by Sister Mary
Gerald Pierce.
“Promises Kept”
begins with Identity, an
overview of Mercy’s
beliefs, values, and
promises. It continues
through the ongoing
fulfillment of those
promises in the Works
of Mercy. Most poignant among the many
crises faced by the
community was not
debt, though debts
there are ‒ in the millions. It was not a crisis
of personnel, though the
loss of community members has been enormous.
The deepest crisis was
one of identity in the
midst of “change” in the
aftermath of Vatican II.
This part of the story is
more detailed than that
of the individual Mercy
schools or hospitals, but
the telling of it matters
because through that
crisis of faith, sisters
struggled mightily to
be faithful to their own
consciences and obedient
to the will of the Church.
God’s grace was poured
out upon the community
in great abundance.
The chapter on New
Membership describes
how new sisters are led
by the community to develop their own spirituality, values and individual gifts in order to live
community life in the
The cover of “Promises Kept.”
spirit of the
Gospel and
the charism
of Catherine
This chapter includes
Mercy Associates, who
are called to
Mercy as active, prayerful lay members.
The community’s
promises to
its members
have included
places that
Sister Mary Eugenia Vastola of Buffalo
have become displays the book, “Promises Kept,” which
chronicles the story of the Sisters of Mercy
in Buffalo.
dear to the
sisters over
contribution, the whole
the years. In addition to
endeavor is diminished.
schools, hospitals and
It would be like having a
local convents, places
large piece missing from
like Silver Creek, Merthe rose window of a
cygrove, Mount Mercy
cathedral. Persons lookMotherhouse and others, ing at the window are
are and were reservoirs
drenched in color. They
of memories and friend- see not the individual
ships among the sisters pieces of glass, not the
who live in them.
images that are formed,
The brief concludbut the massive blaze of
ing chapter summarizes color ‒ whole, brilliant,
how the sisters have
unforgettable. If a piece
found the deep satisfac- is gone, the work loses
tion that comes from
some of its grace. Everycommunion with God
one counts.
and from the integrity
of their lives. In the
community’s pursuit of
the common good, the
To get a copy of “Promgift of every single
ises Kept, contact Joanne
person is so vital that,
Dahlgren, at [email protected]
without each unique
Erie’s Mercy Center of the Arts celebrates four decades
By Sheila Coon
Sister Catherine Edward
Delaney, administrator of Mercy
Center of the Arts, Erie, loves to
tell you about the program and
is not bashful a bit. After all, she
was there when it began 40 years
“Mercy Center of the Arts has
the child at the very core of the
curriculum,” Catherine Edward
said. “Our philosophy is to respect the child, give positive reinforcement, educate ourselves with
a thorough understanding of child
development and growth, and integrate this competency throughout a curriculum that weaves art
and science into all the children’s
learning and experience. The
child’s creativity is developed and
celebrated, and he or she graduates into formal schooling ‒ prepared, confident and ready to be a
life-long learner.”
The center has excelled at being the only pre-school in the Erie
region that provides this unique
approach to the education of the
young child. About 60 children
attend the regular sessions of the
pre-school arts and science program and come from a variety of
ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Grade school programs in art
and summer programs are also
provided each year through the
Sponsored by the Sisters of
Mercy, a pilot program called
“Mercy Center of the Arts” began
in September 1970. Catherine
Edward and Patricia Daley, cofounded and wrote the original
plan for a correlated music and
arts program for children ranging
from pre-school to elementary-
Catherine Edward
led students in prayer
and Nick Scott Jr., a
member of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s Early Learning
Investment Commission, spoke about
the importance of
pre-school. Also, he
commended parents
for their wisdom in
sending their children
to such a high-quality
After 40 years of creativity and student success, Sister
Catherine Edward Delaney, shown intersacting with
On Oct. 17, the
pre-schoolerd, continues to lead the Mercy Center of the
center offered “CelArts, and the children love her.
ebrate the Mission”
age level. Since 1978, the center
with a Mass at the
has participated in intergenerational Sisters of Mercy Our Lady of
activities with members of Mercy
Mercy Chapel, Erie, followed by
Hilltop Center, Inc. (formerly
a reception for the sisters and the
Mercy Center on Aging), Mercy
center’s faculty and board.
Terrace Apartments, Inc., and the
“Celebrate the Arts: A Night of
Sisters of Mercy Wellsprings Rethe Arts” will be Nov. 6 from 7-10
tirement Program.
p.m. at the Ambassador Conference
Today, the curriculum includes: & Banquet Center, Erie. The eveCreative and Dramatic Movement, ning serves as a major fundraiser
Creative Exploration and Science
for the center and offers music
as well as music and art. The center and ballet performances, both a
collaborates with educational inlive and silent auction of beautistitutions in the area and provides
ful original artwork, including a
student-teacher cooperation with
painting by the late Sister Joachim
local colleges, internships in Early
Stabler and other gift items. Mr.
Childhood Education for Mercyand Mrs. Nick Scott Sr. are the
hurst Prep students, teacher trainhonorary chair couple for the 40th
ing programs and area workshops
Anniversary celebrations and will
in the arts and sciences. The center be joined by several host couples
also collaborates with arts organifrom the Erie region. Tickets for “A
zations, such as Lake Erie Ballet.
Night of the Arts” are on sale ‒ $30
To mark its rich 40-year hiseach for Sisters of Mercy and $50
tory, the center held “Celebrating
for the general public ‒ and can be
the Children” on Oct. 3 at Merreserved by calling 814-824-2173
cyhurst Prep, an ice cream social
through Oct. 22.
for students, their parents, siblings
and grandparents. It was the most
Sheila Coon serves on the board
successful ice cream social in the
for the Mercy Center of the Arts.
center’s history. During the event,
Sustainability program, initiatives grow in the Philippines
By Sr. Helen Libo-on
legal fishing, deforestation, mining mitment to love, care for and save
our planet Earth; our desire to disThe seed was planted within the and human rights violations.
seminate and give example on how
The sisters are also involved
hearts of the sisters in the Philipto live happily by preserving our
in the Community-Based Health
pines when Creation Spirituality
planet; and our duty to save our
Program (CBHP). This program
and Eco-Feminism were introduced to the community during the strongly advocates sustainability. It planet for the future of our young
uses the Eastern tradition of herbal generation.
early 1980s.
How can we have a “green”
Sister Suzanne Kelly pioneered medicines, acupuncture and acupressure. The preventive measures hospital? Here are some ways:
this venture. Columban Fathers
‒ Saving energy: Turn off
of staying healthy are given more
Vincent Bush and Sean Mcunused or unneeded lights, use
importance than that of curative
Donough also championed it.
sunlight instead of electric lighting
As sowers of good news, the
Being committed to rehabilitat- and unplug appliances at night.
sisters never tire of spreading this
‒ Heating and cooling: Use
ing Earth, the sisters acquired an
in and through their ministries, be
conditioners less; strive to
eight-hectare of land in the Mt.
it in education, health, pastoral or
use ordinary, temperate water for
formation. Through these years, we Malindang Ranges in Katipunan,
shorter showers; avoid using water
Misamis Occidental. This was a
see the effects of their efforts:
‒ Where the sisters are, trees
­‒ Equipment: Purchase only
for logging purposes several years
abound! Trees are growing within
models, especially
the vicinities where the sisters live. ago. With a vision to reforest the
refrigerators and freezers; turn off
area and to return it to the native
They always have mini-forests
around their schools and convents. people who live in the nearby area, energy-consuming equipment like
X-rays, 2DECHO, Ultrasound,
Sister Socorro Largo planted dif‒ Efforts were made to rehatreadmills and copiers.
ferent kinds of plants and trees in
bilitate the mangroves areas, like
­‒ Waste Management: Rethe area. She invited everyone who
planting trees that will protect the
reduce, reuse and resale.
habitat of fish, crabs and other sea
‒ Big Endeavors: Plant trees,
tree. After several years, the place
avoid polluting creeks with our
has become a forest! Living with
‒ Sisters work with the local
soiled and infectious water, save
government to make the town
rain water for laundry and plants.
that they were more interested in
clean and green.
selling the trees
‒ Nurseries of seedlings are
than taking care of
available in the schools.
them. The vision of
‒ Zero-waste management is
returning it to them
being practiced in the convents,
schools and hospital. This includes has since faded.
Sister Rose
segregation of wastes.
‒ Students are exposed to
director of Mercy
beautiful natural resources of the
Community Hospinearby areas.
‒ Care for Earth also means care tal, Inc., in Kamague, Iligan City,
for all, especially the oppressed
has come with a
plan to create a
‒ The sisters in the pastoral areas have made an important impact green hospital by
as they, together with the parish
Students from Holy Cross High School, Kolambugan, MinThe sisters bepastoral council, influence the local
danao, Philippines, participate in a coastal clean-up prolieve
comgram as part of the Sisters of Mercy sustainability effort.
government unit to go against il-
Blessing, groundbreaking mark progress in Philippines
Sisters in Kolambugan, Philippines,
are continuing to rise from the ashes
following the January fire that destroyed
Holy Cross Convent, a computer room
and four classrooms of Holy Cross High
School. The high school is in full use
again and a new convent is being built.
On June 15, students returned to the
renovated classrooms and new computer room, which has space for 50
computers and a smaller space for a
computer teacher’s room. While work
was being done on the classrooms,
students attended their classes in the
function hall. The new computer room
was blessed on June 11.
The total cost of renovated classrooms was Php 654,853.80 ($15,229.16,
U.S.), while the computer room cost
was Php 688,510.53 ($16,011.87, U.S.).
Sister Jean Delgado, high school
director, was grateful to the generosity
of the Sisters of Mercy and the “kindhearted, generous people” of Kolambugan and other areas who made the
renovations possible.
She said everyone was happy to
go back to classrooms as students will
no longer be distracted by people who
passed by the open-air function hall.
“Indeed, God is so good that what
had happened to our school was not
so devastating as it seemed. He didn’t
permit that everything was lost in just a
blink of an eye for He knows that Holy
Cross High School is a pillar in Kolambugan, whose Vision Mission will make
and lead His people into becoming better citizens,” she said.
Sisters broke ground for a new convent on Aug. 16, the first floor of which
is expected to be completed in December.
“We are very happy that we will
soon have our convent back,” Jean said.
“Our deepest gratitude to all benefactors.”
Sister Virgencita Alegado and
Bishop Elenito Galido of the
Iligan Diocese cut the ribbon to
the new computer room.
Sister Jean Delgado,
director at Holy Cross
High School, shows the
school’s new computer
room furnished with 25
new computers.
Pictured is the groundbreaking for the construction of
Holy Cross Convent.
Workers put up framing
for Holy Cross Convent.
Sisters in Pittsburgh celebrate lives steeped in Mercy
Sister Mary Bride Diamond
gently leaned toward Sister Mary
George Klockgether and told her
in a loud voice that a reporter, who
had come to interview her, wanted
to know what she had to say now
that she was 101 years old.
She paused for a moment in her
room at Mercy Hall, the infirmary
at the Convent of Mercy, Pittsburgh,
looked at the reporter and in a feisty
voice said, “Nothing!” Her unexpected comment was followed by
a hearty laugh, the humor that has
been so much a part of her life still
Actually, Mary George had
much to say about her life as a
Sister of Mercy; one in which she
served as a teacher, visitor to the
sick and elderly and an air raid warden during World War II.
“I loved God and wanted to help
people,” she said seated in a wheelchair as she explained why she
entered the Sisters of Mercy.
Mary George was one of three
centenarian sisters, all recognized
recently by the Sisters of Mercy in
Pittsburgh. For Mary George, sisters
and others celebrated her 85th jubilee on Sept. 8 and her 101st birthday
on June 25. Among her gifts was
a Pittsburgh Steelers’ throw. Sister
Dorothy Sloan celebrated her 100th
year on Aug. 9 and her 75th jubilee
on Feb. 14, and Sister Amelia Toner
turned 100 on Sept. 10.
In her lengthy career in education that started in 1927, Mary
George taught in Catholic elementary schools and instructed altar boys
in parishes.
And that included learning First
Aid from the American Red Cross
as part of her training to be a certified air raid warden. She explained
that she would walk the neighbor-
At the end of the interview, she
sat in her wheelchair with her Steelers’ throw draped across her lap and
emphatically stated that she wants to
be as independent as possible.
“God gave me two good hands. I
can do it!” she said.
Down the hall from Mary George
was Sister Amelia who clearly
recalled her years growing up in
Derry, Pa., and her experience with
the Sisters of Mercy. “I loved the
sisters,” she said.
And she had a passion for math,
which she studied at the University
of Notre Dame and Villanova University and taught in Pittsburgh-area
Catholic schools. “Teaching was
my avocation,” she said. “I loved
Sister Mary George Klockgether with
teaching in grade schools and high
her Pittsburgh Steelers’ throw on her
lap, shows how at 101 she cheers for her schools, and I loved math, even
favorite football team.
She talked fondly of receiving
hood at night surrounding the
Convent of Mercy and make certain cards and visits from former students and enjoys reading books,
that residents covered their winmagazines, newsletters and e-mails.
dows to keep light from showing
Amelia offered this advice for
and aiding any enemy bombers.
In later years, she enjoyed visit- those who want to live a long life:
“Eat healthy, take care of yourself
ing nursing homes and praying at
and maintain a spiritual life.”
the bedsides of those who were
She added with a soft smile, “I
have had a very wonderful life at
Her advice for longevity? “Go
home and at the convent.”
to church every day to ask God’s
Sister Dorothy has spent her
help and do the best you can. And
years as a Sister of Mercy in teachdon’t forget your night prayers!”
ing and nursing.
she said.
“My favorite ministry was
always the ministry I was engaged
with at the time,” said Dorothy, a
native of St. Francis Xavier Parish,
Cresson, Pa. “When you see the
switching back and forth between
teaching in elementary school and
nursing in such a variety of settings
from supervisor of very different
departments to the sisters’ infirmary
to teaching nursing, that says a lot!”
Pictured are centernarian Sisters
Dorothy Sloan, left, and Amelia Toner.
Mercy Residential Services celebrates 30 years of ministry
Susan Aiello decided
in college that she wanted
to help troubled teenagers. After graduating from
State University of New
York College, she ran a
shelter for homeless teens
in Rochester.
In 1998, she and her
staff at the Center for
Youth Services attended
an open house for Mercy
Residential Services
(MRS), an umbrella organization operated by
the Sisters of Mercy in
west Rochester that today
is comprised of Melita
House, Catherine McAuley Apartments, Families
First and Emergency
Housing to provide housing as support for pregnant and parenting teens
and young women.
She was impressed.
So much so that four
years later she became
executive director of
MRS, which in October is
celebrating its 30th anniversary. Susan said there
is much to celebrate.
“The beauty about
Mercy Residential Services is that we don’t care
how our clients got here.
There is no judgment.
Instead we ask, ‘How
can we help you become
a more responsible and
effective parent and get
you on track with your
life,’ ” said Susan, who is
also executive director of
Mercy Outreach Center in
east Rochester.
True to their tradi-
are known as
“Pam” is a good
Mercy Residenexample. She came to
tial Services, and live at MRS in early
on average, serve August when she had no
about 100 women place else to live with her
and 75 children
daughter, Elainy, born in
each year.
Susan ex“This has been good,”
plained that outsaid Pam, an 18-yearside of New York old African-American
City, Rochester
woman who displayed
has the higha quiet confidence and
est rate of teen
ease. “This is better than
pregnancies in
a shelter; it’s like being in
New York State:
a regular house and in a
more than 700
positive environment.”
Pam plans to be in her
Susan Aiello, executive director of
20 percent of
own apartment with her
Mercy Residential Services, spends a
all births in the
moment with a young client.
daughter and wants to get
city. She noted
a job and a GED diploma.
tion of responding to
that Melita House is the
Susan said the fact
individuals’ needs, espeonly supportive housing
so many 16- and
cially regarding women
program for teen moms in 17-year-old girls are livand children, the Sisters
ing in homeless shelters
of Mercy in Rochester
According to Susan,
indicates the very dysstarted Melita House in
MRS programs help
functional family systems
1980 to provide single,
teach young mothers self- from which they come.
pregnant women and their
esteem so that they can
MRS helps provide the
unborn children with suplove and nurture their
structure and skills young
port and a place to stay.
lives need.
In 1992, the Catherine
“You have to love
“It’s usually about
McAuley Apartment proyourself before you can
and addiction isgram was added to offer
love your kids,” she
sues at home,” she said.
young, single women
said. “So, we love (the
“We give them a soft
longer-term supportive
moms) and help them to
place to land and help
housing in which they
build their self-esteem
prepare them for life.”
could learn parenting and
by welcoming them and
independent living skills.
offering them
The ministry has conopportunities
tinued to add transitional
to succeed.”
housing opportunities
She said
and emergency shelter
the women
services for homeless,
set goals for
pregnant and parenting
young women, supported
and MRS staff
by the Monroe County
helps them to
Department of Human
achieve those A view of Mercy Residential Services in
Services. The programs
News Around NyPPaW
CLT consults,
shares information
NyPPaW’s Community Leadership Team began annual meetings to share information and
consult with sisters in Erie and
Pittsburgh on Oct. 2. At left,
Sister Pat Prinzing, NyPPaW
vice president is pictured making
a point in Erie. At right, pictured
at the Erie meeting included,
from left, Sisters Sheila Marie
Walsh (Buffalo), Connie Derby
(Rochester) and Carol Ann Voltz
(Erie). Other meetings were
slated for Rochester on Oct. 16
and Buffalo on Nov. 6.
Associates take part in conference
Mercy Associates and
sisters comprising the
NyPPaW Mercy Associates Core Team attended the Mercy Associates
(MALN) in Farmington
Hills, Mich., Oct. 7-10.
Pictured during a working session, from left,
are: Tom Pirrung (Buffalo), core team secretary; Sister Marilyn Brewer (Buffalo), core team chair; Jean Galofaro, Rochester
associates coordinator; Sister Loly Lumantas, community leadership team liaison
for NyPPaW associates; and Carol Costello and Sister Phyllis Marie McDonald, Erie
associate coordinators. Mercy Associate Mary Austin (Rochester), who helped plan
the conference as a member of the MALN Core Team, is not in the photo.
Sister Nancy Whitley, left, and Mercy
Associate Mary Austin were feted at
an appreciation party at Mercy CenBUFFALO
ter, Rochester, on Aug. 29 for their two
Sisters’ presence at
years as directors of NyPPaW’s Mercy
Association and years as codirectors for
Mt. Mercy Academy
Mercy Association in Rochester. The
The presence of the Sisters
party was hosted by Mercy Association
of Mercy is being strongly
in Rochester. Mary is part of the associfelt at Mt. Mercy Academy,
ate team in Rochester.
Buffalo, this year with three
sisters volunteering in different capacities with Sister Mary
Ellen Twist as MMA president.
Pictured, from left, are: Sister
Joan Benoit, MMA ’53, who
begins her second year as a
member of the Learning Lab team; Sister Jane Muldoon, MMA ’56, who
began her new work as a volunteer with the institutional advancement team
in August; Sister Mary Ellen, MMA ’60; and Sister Margaret Ann Coughlin,
MMA ’59, who begins her second year as director of pastoral services. News Around NyPPaW
Mercy Giving Circle
awards grants
Through the generosity of
the members of the Many
Faces of Mercy Giving
Circle, the Sisters of Mercy
in Buffalo awarded grants to
eight, non-profit groups that
serve women and girls in the
Western New York area. The
grants were distributed at the
annual Many Faces of Mercy
Giving Circle awards ceremony Sept. 14 at Mercy Center, Buffalo. Sponsored by the Sisters of
Mercy, the philanthropic group encourages, inspires and educates laywomen to become more
effective philanthropists. A total of $20,160 in grants was awarded. Grants ranged from $1,000
to $5,000. Grant recipients pictured in the front row, from left, are: Sister Janet DiPasquale,
SSJ, director, Teaching and Restoring Youth program, a project of Fillmore-Leroy Area Residents, Inc.; Mary Travers Murphy, executive director, and Julie Doerr, manager of community relations, Family Justice Center of Erie County, N.Y.; and Franciscan Sister Beth Niederpruem, executive director, Vive LaCasa, Women’s Works program. Pictured in the back
row, from left, are: Franciscan Sister Betty Neumeister, OSF, Francis Center, Girl Talk and
Babysitting course; Franciscan Sister Diane Gianadda, OSF, Francis Center, Women’s Respite
Program; Teresa Martinez and Kathy Granchelli, Carolyn's House-Return to Work Program;
and Donna Braunscheidal, executive director, and Sharon Wroblewski, Kathleen Mary House,
Warm House-Warm Heart project. Missing from the main photo is David Zapfel, executive
director of Gerard Place.
Benefactor Appreciation Day
Nearly 170 people attended a liturgy and reception for
donors in Buffalo in gratitude for all they have done
for the Sisters of Mercy and their ministries. In special
recognition, Sister Peggy Gorman, left, NyPPaW chief
development officer, welcomed the newest members of
the Legacy Society and the Many Faces of Mercy Giving
Circle. NyPPaW President Sister Nancy Hoff presented
each with a gift. Pictured at the reception, from left, are:
Sisters Peggy and Nancy, and donors John and Marjorie
Davanza of Buffalo.
David Zapfel, executive
director of Gerard Place,
accepts his grant from the
Many Faces of Mercy Giving
Circle. He is pictured with
Sister Peggy Gorman, left,
NyPPaW chief development
officer, and Ellen Koessler,
Giving Circle chair.
Mercy Corps Volunteer working in Erie
Elizabeth Minor, center, a Mercy Corps Volunteer from
Augusta, Ga., is working at SafeNet, an Erie agency that
serves women and children who are victims of domestic violence. During her year-long assignment as a Mercy Corps
Volunteer, Elizabeth, 23, will live at the House of Mercy in
east Erie. Pictured, from left, is Sister Michele Schroeck,
Mercy Volunteer Corps coordinator for NyPPaW; Elizabeth; and Robyn Young, site supervisor for SafeNet.
News Around NyPPaW
Awarding service to seniors
The Greater Erie Community Action Committee presented
Sister Mary Dolores Jablonski, executive director of the
newly-named Mercy Hilltop Center, Inc., with its Charles B.
Killinger Award for outstanding service in the field of aging
on Sept. 10. Pictured, from left, are Mary Dolores; Maurice
Aldrich, chair, Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council; and
The Honorable Dwayne D. Woodruff, a judge on the Court of
Common Pleas in Allegheny County. Woodruff is also a former Pittsburgh Steeler. Mary Dolores was recognized for her
27 years leading the former Mercy Center on Aging, Inc.
A new era
A ‘woman of spirit’
Carlow University and the Women of Spirit Institute,
Pittsburgh, presented a Women of Spirit Award to Sister
Fidelis McDonough on Sept. 16. Fidelis ‒ pictured on
the left with Carlow president Mary Hines, Ph.D. ‒ was
recognized for living Mercy values in her work as director
of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Pittsburgh. She was
cited for being a “model and the embodiment of compassion, humility, perseverance, integrity, intelligence and
Erie courtyard blessing
A sign at the main
entrance, bearing a
new logo and name,
heralds a new era for
the Mercy Hilltop
Center, Inc.
Picnic fun
for Erie
Mercy Associates Mary Svirbly and Bill Phipps relax Aug. 22
during a picnic for Mercy Associates in Erie. Sisters and associates enjoyed an afternoon of prayer, friendship, food and
fun at the Lake House.
The Sisters of Mercy in Erie blessed their courtyard with
prayer, Scripture and song on Aug. 1. Sisters pictured participating in the blessing, from left, are: Carol Ann Voltz, Natalie
Rossi and Teresa Okonski. Father Michael Allison, chaplain
at Mercyhurst Prep, Erie, is in the background.
Sr. Mary Catherine (Ludy)
June 25, 2010
A Sister of Mercy for 31 years,
Sister Mary Catherine died June
25 in the Philippines following a
battle with cancer. She spent her
religious life in
education ministry.
Mary Catherine,
64, excelled in
finding ways and
Sr. Mary
means to keep
Catholic education
in the Philippines
feasible both for faculty and students in spite of financial setbacks.
Government wage orders were
scaling every year and at the same
time allowing only the minimum
tuition increase. Even with her
illness, she never stopped improving the facilities of the School of
St. John the Baptist in Jimenez,
Misamis Occidental, where she
was administrator for the past 15
years. She also served the community as member of the Regional
Council for two terms. Those who
knew her fondly remember her as
one who lived what she once said:
“My hope is to reach out more and
find the means to enable more poor
people to get what they deserve.
This keeps me going and makes me
We Remember
Sr. Jeanne Marie Hartigan
July 22, 2010
Sister Jeanne Marie, 80, entered
the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8,
1952, after first
teaching at Holy
Family School,
South Buffalo,
for five years
where she was
known as “Miss
Eileen Mary Hartigan.” A Sister
Sr. Jeanne
of Mercy for 58
years, she taught
at these schools
in the Diocese of
Buffalo: St. Joseph, Albion; Holy
Family, St. John the Evangelist, St.
Martin of Tours, St. Monica and St.
Teresa’s, all in South Buffalo; and
St. Mary of the Cataract, Niagara
Falls. She was principal at Holy
Family School, South Buffalo,
from 1976-96.
Sr. Aurelia Helmheckel
July 31, 2010
A native of Brookville, Pa., Sister
Aurelia was in her 67th year of
religious life.
She entered the
Sisters of Mercy at
Titusville, Pa., and
spent most of her religious life in education. In the Diocese
of Erie, Pa., she
taught at schools
Sr. Aurelia
in Brookville,
Corry, Erie,
and was principal at St. Patrick
School, Franklin. In the Diocese
of Pittsburgh, she was principal at
St. Justin School. She was house
manager of Hope House, a shelter
for homeless women and children
in Erie. She will be remembered
for her kind- hearted realism and
Sr. Mary Kenneth Mullen
Aug. 2, 2010
Sister Mary Kenneth was a graduate of the Rochester Business Institute and employed
as a legal secretary
for the firm of
Darch and Noonan
before entering the
Sisters of Mercy
in 1958. She was
a medical records
Sr. Mary
specialist at Mercy
Hospital, BufMullen
falo, for 30 years.
A native of Batavia, N.Y., she earned a bachelor’s
degree in English from Medaille
College, Buffalo, and completed
requirements through D’Youville
College and Roswell Park Cancer
Institute ‒ both in Buffalo ‒ for
certification as a registered records
administrator. In 1979, she was
elected president of the Medical
Record Association of New York
State. Upon retiring in 1991, she
became the archivist for the Sisters
of Mercy in Buffalo.

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