#MakeMercyReal involves compassion and action

October 15, 2019

Sister Susan M. Sanders, RSM

During her nearly 40 years as pastoral ministry, most recently as pastoral minister at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Church in Ankeny, Iowa, Mercy Sister Susan Widdel shares mercy as she tends to the needs of parishioners and their families.  She visits the sick, helps families get involved in the parish, celebrates their good times and helps them through challenging ones. Until recently she has taught the RCIA program there.

Mercy Sister Karen Yarkosky spent her first 37 years as an elementary school teacher in the Des Moines and Omaha dioceses. For the past 22 years, she has been with Bishop Drumm Care Center as retirement coordinator for Mercy sisters and mission outreach coordinator sharing the charism of Mercy with staff and residents. Most recently, she is serving as a volunteer.

These are two examples of the many ways our Mercy sisters are making mercy real in the Des Moines area and around the world. 

Today, more than ever, we need mercy in our world. It’s time to replace what seems to be daily news of violence and divisiveness with compassion and mercy.  As part of our celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the Sisters of Mercy, an international community of Roman Catholic vowed women religious, is again offering a challenge: Find a way, every day, to Make Mercy Real.

The word mercy comes from the Latin word Misericordia – cor, which means heart, and miseri which means suffering. Mercy involves both compassion and action. Understanding a person’s pain and doing something about it.

So, each of us, in our own way, can show mercy and make this world a better place.  It can be as simple as complimenting a stranger, visiting someone who is sick, doing a favor for a person in need or donating clothes you no longer wear. The possibilities are endless. If we all join together to Make Mercy Real, we enrich the lives of those around us and bring joy to those we meet. Perhaps we can change the focus from what divides us to what brings us together.

As we make this challenge, we are following in the footsteps of our founder Catherine McAuley. On Sept. 24, 1827, she opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland, to minister to women and children in need. It remains a symbol of her legacy of mercy to the world.

So join us in keeping her legacy alive by finding a way to #MakeMercyReal in your world and encouraging others to do the same. While the challenge may seem simple, the impact will be immense.

Sister Susan M. Sanders, RSM

Leader, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, West Midwest