Campus Ministry: Mercy Week Can Last All Year

Sierra Crane, Reporter

Students and faculty learned more about the Sisters of Mercy and Catherine McAuley during the annual Mercy Week celebration.

“[It] is a celebration of the founding of the first house of Mercy by Catherine McAuley,” said Sean Farry, Campus Minister. “I think it is important to us as a Mercy university to always celebrate and remember every year where it all began.”

Mercy Week takes place during the week of Sept. 24, the date of the founding of the first house of Mercy.

“Without Catherine McAuley and her works of mercy, without her reaching out to poor vulnerable women and children in Dublin, Ireland, we wouldn’t be here today,” said Farry. “The sisters of Mercy who started Misericordia, we owe a great deal of debt to them.”

Mercy Week kicked off with a liturgy service on Sunday, which was followed by an ecumenical prayer service on Monday.

The Sisters of Mercy held a tea party in Mercy Center on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Dr. Bernard Prusak from King’s college spoke about ethics and decision-making for the upcoming mid-term election.

The Staff Council sponsored a “Stuff the Bus” campaign on Thursday. Students and faculty donated non-perishable food items for area families in need, and a documentary titled, “How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story,” was shown in Lemmond Theater.

Mercy Week ended with a birthday celebration for the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley. Sister Jean Messaros, Vice President of Mercy Integration, and Campus Ministry members  served slices of cake to students in Banks Student Center.

“As we were doing it, we were asking them questions about mercy and about Catherine McAuley just to kind of see what they knew or what they didn’t know,” said Farry.

Although mercy is always the primary topic, organizers also focus on the Sisters’ critical concerns. This year, the topic was immigration.

The five critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy are immigration, earth, racism, non-violence and women.

Another way students got involved was through their first year experience (FYE) classes in which they selected organizations to sponsor. Organizations included the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support, Food First, Alternatives for Community and Environment, Moms Clean Air ForcePA Division, and Got Green.

“It’s really admirable to see the work of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy living on in the younger generations,” said Julianna Simunek, first year speech language pathology major.

Mercy is not just remembered and celebrated for one week. Campus Ministry members say students can celebrate mercy all year long by choosing to volunteer with some of the 25 different programs that Campus Ministry has available. These include soup kitchens, animal rescue foundations, the Dorothy Day Catholic worker farm, Adopt a Grandparent, and tutoring opportunities for school students in the area.

More than 50 students are leading these ministries. They represent the Sisters of Mercy every time they go out and volunteer, Farry said.