5th July 2017 - Further Reflections from St. Helen's Retreat

The Fifth Retreat Day, Blackbrook, St. Helens.

On June 10th, 2017, exactly 60 people attended the Parish Hall in Blackbrook for the Retreat Day. Joining the Blackbrook, St Helens, Associates were groups from Huyton in Liverpool and Golborne and Oldham in Greater Manchester.  All were delightfully surprised to see that Father Bernard Eager, former Chaplain to the Mercy Associates for a number of years was joining us for the day.

The Fifth Mercy Day was led by Sr. Savio and consisted a Presentation on ‘The Eight Work of Mercy,’ ‘Show mercy to Our Common Home.’ This was based on the work of Pope Francis and his Encyclical, Laudate Si, in which the Pope has spoken about our care of our common home and has sought to raise awareness of the facts for all people.  “To be Stewards of Creation is a huge responsibility, so vast that it can overwhelm us and make us feel powerless to do anything.”  

As Sr. Savio reminded us the Venerable Catherine McAuley and her Sisters chose to live simply, very much contrary to the greed and materialism of our consumerist society today. Her example of simple living is a good model for all of us. 

A break for lunch enabled those attending to relax and chat, renewing acquaintances and catching up on news.  It also enabled some parishioners who are not Associates but who were very welcome to attend, to gain a little insight into what the Mercy Associates are about.  They may even choose to be Associates in the future?

However, after her Presentation, Sr. Savio had certainly raised awareness and this led to very lively and intense discussion on the practical ways we help and could continue to help in this work.  Each small discussion group was made up by members of all the groups who attended which ensured ideas were shared by all. There was very positive feedback and the questions posed were taken away by various Associates to continue this discussion in their own home groups.  

The enormous challenge posed by Pope Francis, when seen in the context of the simple example given us by Catherine, makes the task very achievable. Many in our group specifically felt they could indeed, in numerous small ways, show mercy to our Common Home.

Before the event ended three Associates, Mrs Mary Kelly, Ms. Joke Aduroja and Mrs Mary Johnson amongst them, made their formal commitment to the Association and were very much welcomed by all. Finally, after a final ‘good cup of tea’ our Associates bade each other farewell and set off on their journeys home.

...article kindly provided by Marie Overend

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