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Mercy Day Brings GCU Centennial Year to a Close

Annual Event Honors Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 17, 2009—Georgian Court University will celebrate Mercy Day, the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, with a Mass and special program at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, in GCU’s historic Casino Building. The guest speaker is Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Emerita Mary C. Sullivan, RSM, Ph.D., who is a noted scholar on Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy—GCU’s sponsoring organization.

The occasion also marks the close of Georgian Court’s Centennial Celebration. GCU’s year-long slate of activities, which kicked off last fall, included: a Women’s Leadership Conference that drew national speakers and upward of 1,000 participants; a Centennial Ball and scholarship fund-raiser; a Mercy Service Marathon; and a Centennial Convocation featuring poet and peace activist Daniel Berrigan, SJ.

Dr. Sullivan, a professor of language and literature, returns to GCU this fall just months after speaking during the Centennial 2009 Commencement ceremony. During her address, she reminded graduates of Catherine McAuley’s dying wish for people to “preserve union and peace amongst each other.”

“She was not talking about short-term or superficial ‘union and peace,’ the kind we may enjoy at a Friday night party, or when we conveniently choose not to face facts or recognize trouble,” Dr. Sullivan said. “Nor was she talking about the kind of so-called ‘happiness’ we imagine we can secure for ourselves in our small, private cocoon. She was talking about a generous life lived with a purpose beyond ourselves.”

Mercy Day 2009 will also feature GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., the Sisters of Mercy, faculty, students, alumni, and trustees as they reflect on Georgian Court’s past, present, and future.

Mercy Day, celebrated worldwide on Sept. 24, commemorates the day in 1827 when Catherine McAuley, then a lay woman, opened her House of Mercy for the poor on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland. She entered the convent in 1830, and a year later founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Today, Sisters of Mercy around the globe celebrate the feast as “Mercy Day” through special events, reflections, and prayers.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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