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Mercy Day Mass: Mercy Is the “Strong and Necessary” Medicine

Three ladies smiling

Mary Ann Smorra, Ed.D., professor of education; Valerie Balbach, RSM; and Jeanine Oliver, RSM, were all smiles at the Mercy Day Mass.

More than 240 people packed the Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel for Mercy Day Mass 2016 at Georgian Court on Thursday, September 22. There, they gathered to honor the Sisters of Mercy—some of whom were in attendance—and celebrate the life of Mary-Theresa McCarthy, RSM, Ph.D., ’57, the professor emerita of French who devoted decades of service to Georgian Court.

The standing-room only crowd was a “wonderful testimony to the spirit of Georgian Court,” said Father Anthony DePalma, as he reflected on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which continues through November 19.

“Francis has been called the pope of mercy . . . again and again, he has made mercy the focus of his teaching and preaching,” said Father Anthony. “Mercy is the heart and core of the gospel message. Time and again, Jesus taught that God was a God of mercy, and that we are obliged to show mercy to one another.

“Mercy is the strong and necessary medicine that is required if we want our world to become a better place,” added Father Anthony.

Alumni, former staffers, and Sisters visiting from The Mount joined a cross-section of athletic teams, student groups, faculty, and current staff to commemorate Mercy Day. Also in attendance were Mercy Associates who traveled from around the region to participate, and members of GCU’s campus ministry groups and the Mercy Collegiate Society.

GCU student Melanie Schaefer, whose great-aunt is a Sister of Mercy in Australia, made it a family affair by inviting her grandmother and two other aunts to campus.

GCU English professor Paul Capucci, Ph.D., also shared “Mercy Is Our Name,” a poem by Maria Cordis Richey ’50, RSM, Ph.D., professor emerita of English. Her moving poem referenced the work started by in the 19th century by Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and how her commitment to the uneducated, the poor, and women lives on.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.