As part of the week-long celebration, Sisters of Mercy will join professors in the classroom as guest speakers as students connect what they are learning in the classroom to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy – bringing in-depth analysis to the textbook and curriculum on subjects such as immigration, nonviolence, women and environmental issues.
"Mercy and Mission Week is pivotal to my teaching. I am amazed at the depth of our history, and our students are just as engaged and eager to learn about it as I am," says Lecturer of Business Anne King. "By celebrating this special week and highlighting our heritage, the students can really connect the classroom discussion to issues that the Sisters of Mercy fought for – issues that are still very relevant to today's society."
For faculty and staff, the week will provide special opportunities to gain insight from the Sisters of Mercy on how their teaching and work on campus can connect to the critical concerns in new and powerful ways. Welcome stations set up around campus for the duration of the week will also provide avenues to connect and share refreshments, bookmarks and other material with students, faculty and staff between classes.
"Mercy and Mission week provides the campus community with unique opportunities to experience — in tangible and authentic ways — a deeper connection with our Mercy mission, and ultimately our mission as a University," says Sr. Shari Sutherland, executive director for Mercy mission and identity. "The week presents a chance to grow in the understanding of the Sisters of Mercy, their mission in higher education and the critical concerns that articulate the present-day Mercy response to the urgent needs of our time."
Putting their mission into action, students will help several organizations with service projects the morning of September 24 and assist some non-profits who play such a critical role to the Cedar Rapids' community. Organizations that will be impacted include St. Wenceslaus Church, Urban Farm, Taft Middle School's Butterfly Garden, and the Catherine McAuley Center.
Events open to the public include a special Inter-Faith Prayer Service on September 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy. Mount Mercy will welcome representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Native American faith traditions for a service that celebrates prayers and Mercy reflections across differing faith groups.
The keynote address will be delivered by Sister Marilyn Lacey, executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders, on September 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy. Lacey will reflect on the incredible struggles, challenges and triumphs she has experienced in working to improve the devastating living conditions of the women and children of Africa, and her organization's dedication to alleviating poverty and suffering.
Mercy Beyond Borders is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of displaced women and children living in extreme poverty. Their focus is on southern Sudan in south Saharan Africa, which has one-quarter of the world's displaced peoples.
Mercy Day celebrates and honors the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley. It was over 180 years ago that Catherine McAuley realized her dream. She spent her inheritance on a house to serve as a refuge for Dublin, Ireland's poor women and children who needed help in gaining skills to provide them with a better life. Opening the doors on September 24, 1827, Catherine called her sanctuary the House of Mercy. Mercy Day is an annual celebration to commemorate the anniversary of this special refuge and works of Mercy core to the Sisters of Mercy. While she never set out to establish a religious order, Catherine McAuley's dedication to serving wherever human need exists inspired other women to join her and support the activities. Catherine eventually founded the Sisters of Mercy on December 12, 1831, and the order spread to other countries, eventually planting seeds that led to the founding of Mount Mercy in 1928.
Mount Mercy students, faculty and staff can view the full schedule of Mercy & Mission Week activities here.