Lakewood, N.J., April 23, 2016 —The Mid-Atlantic Mercy Association presented new members during an April 23 covenant ceremony at Georgian Court University. The event nearly packed GCU’s Marron Chapel where dozens of family members and friends, Mercy Associates from across the region, and several Sisters of Mercy who welcomed the new associates into their ministry.
Linda James, Ph.D.; Laura Liesman; Maureen McCarthy Rossi; Evelyn Saul Quinn; and Jane Shaheen are the newest Mercy Associates to join more than 970 other members in the Mid-Atlantic region. Another new associate from Saturday’s group, Susan Braun, was tending to hospitalized family member and could not attend—an act of mercy in and of itself, said Nanci Bachman, coordinator for Mercy Association Leadership.
Mercy, Love, and More
In addition to prayers, scriptural readings and reflections, the event included a renewal ceremony for current associates, and a pinning ceremony with new associates and their mentors. The new associates also signed a covenant as they made several promises, including a commitment to “witness to Christ’s mercy in the world.”
“Mercy is an attitude, a charism, a virtue,” GCU theology alumna and Mercy Associate Eugenia Kelly said as addressed the new associates. “Mercy is what the world needs so desperately…to counter sadness, darkness and despair.”
She also noted that mercy—mentioned 262 times in the Bible—isn’t simply about having compassion for someone. Mercy, akin to love, is also about being moved to act.
“The world needs love,” Ms. Kelly added. “People need something to believe in—that light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mercy Associates include women and men who are affiliated with the Sisters of Mercy, but live out the teachings of foundress Catharine McAuley and the teachings of mercy in everyday life. According to the Sisters of Mercy of the Mid-Atlantic, Mercy Associates “desire to strengthen their commitment to the Gospel, seek to deepen their prayer lives, and want to share in the mission of mercy.”
The path to becoming a Mercy Associate is unique for every member, but collectively they achieve a common goal.
“They form a ministry and they come together to do acts of mercy,” Ms. Kelly said. “We are called to live the charism of mercy where we are, where God has steered us—to be mercy, in our offices and in our schools, where we work, in our hospitals and in our parishes,” she said. “We are walking in the mission of mercy and in the footsteps of Jesus.”
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and an historic, special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court expands possibility for more than 2,300 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 30+ undergraduate majors and 10 graduate programs. The main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also serves students at New Jersey Coastal Communiversity in Wall and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.