Mercy Week celebration rekindles traditions, highlights Mercy heritageOn Campus — Spring 2011
“I hope that what I say tonight makes a difference.” Such were the opening lines of an address by Sr. Mary Waskowiak, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas during the annual Mercy Day lecture last September. The Mercy Day lecture was the closing event of Mercy Week, September 18–24, which included service projects in the community, opportunities for faculty and staff to reflect on the mission of the University, and special events and music festivals.
Students, faculty, staff, Sisters of Mercy and community members enjoyed Sr. Mary’s keynote address, “Mercy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in the Chapel of Mercy on September 23. During her lecture, Sr. Mary noted the impact the Sisters of Mercy had on communities in Iowa. “Without the Sisters of Mercy in this area, this Chapel would not be here,” said Sr. Mary. “You would not be here.”
Spearheaded by Sr. Shari Sutherland ’71, executive director for Mercy mission and identity, the Mercy Week events provided abundant opportunities for faculty, staff and students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Mount Mercy’s unique heritage.
Throughout the week, stations were set up across campus with tables stocked with material on Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, as a way to not only re-introduce Mount Mercy’s heritage, but to celebrate it and promote it in public ways on campus. Sr. Shari also provided opportunities for faculty and staff to be “missioned” in the Mercy call of service, visiting offices around campus for a brief blessing and reminder of why we do what we do.
“Mercy and Mission week gave the campus community opportunities to experience — in a variety of ways — a deeper connection with the Mercy mission, and ultimately our mission as a University,” says Sr. Shari. “The week presented an opportunity to understand the Sisters of Mercy and their heritage and critical concerns, and the importance of higher education.” Plans are underway to continue the tradition of a week-long series of events for next September.