Welcoming God in strangers

“People often tell me how depressing it must be working with refugees,” said Sister Marilyn Lacey. “And I always tell them, ‘Do I look depressed?’”

The woman addressing the crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members wore a bright smile as she delivered her keynote address, “Mercy Beyond Borders: A Faith Journey,” during Mercy and Mission Week last September. “Great joy awaits us when we welcome God in strangers,” Lacey told the audience. She described the emotional and spiritual journey she went through working with refugees in Africa through her organization, Mercy Beyond Borders, of which she serves as executive director. Lacey’s address was the culminating event of Mercy and Mission week, a time in which the campus honors its rich Mercy traditions and the teachings of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. In addition to Lacey’s dynamic presentation, select Sisters of Mercy visited Mount Mercy classrooms as guest speakers, enabling students to connect what they were learning to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy and providing in-depth analyses on leading issues such as immigration, nonviolence, women and environmental concerns. “Mercy and Mission Week is pivotal to my teaching,” says Lecturer of Business Anne King. “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. By celebrating and highlighting our heritage, students can really connect to issues that the Sisters of Mercy fought for – issues that are still elevant to today’s society.”