The four congregations of the Sisters of Mercy in New Zealand have regrouped as one ‘to more effectively be signs of God’s Mercy in New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa.’
The sisters consecrated their decision at ceremonies around the country in December.
The leader of the new group, Sr Denise Fox, told a large crowd of friends and supporters in Wellington on 12 December that the congregation had seen many changes in the 174 years since Catherine McAuley and two companions professed their vows as Sisters of Mercy and began to serve the poor of Dublin through education healthcare and social services.
‘We believe we can do better together, if we refashion our resources for the sake of our mission of Mercy,’ Sr Denise said.
‘There is another dimension too – our world is torn apart by division, by the fear of difference; we are afraid of the person who is different. It is the critical challenge of our time.
‘The goal of crossing the borders of difference is far more than changing structures – it is envisioning a new way for people to live with each other, whether they are building whole new worlds or simply learning to live with each other’s difference.
‘In our own simple way – by creating new possibilities for living Mercy, and making the best use of our resources and releasing new energy for mission, we will be an example of the gospel call to welcome the stranger; and we are bold enough to say that we will be a living model for our world’s future.
‘If we as Sisters of Mercy cannot allow ourselves to be changed by our encounter with the other and to take the risks that embracing difference involves, what hope does our world have for reconciliation and for peace.’
Sr Denise called on supporters to challenge the new congregation to be in practical ways ‘a new creation for Mission’.