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18th Mar 2023 - News from Stechford

Stechford Mercy Associates And Sisters’ Annual Renewal Of Commitment

12th March 2023


On Sunday 12th March 2023, the Stechford Mercy Sisters and Associates, joined by Sister Teresa Paschal O.Carm, held their annual renewal of Religious Vows and Lay Commitment in the newly-decorated Parish Room of Corpus Christi Church.


The meeting began with the lighting of our Mercy candles, the singing of the Suscipe and the prayerful naming of our absent and deceased members. Next we reflected silently on the powerful Lenten Psalm of Awakening by Edward Hays, from the March prayer leaflet sent by Sr. Annette McCartan (Glasgow). After sharing some personal thoughts on how the Psalm had spoken to us, including its message of ‘waking up spiritually’ in our daily lives, we prayed it aloud together.


The Associates then renewed their Commitment followed by the Renewal of Vows by Sisters Maura, Maureen and Teresa Paschal. After each renewal, we sang ‘Amen, we affirm…’ as a message of encouragement. As always, this was a very moving experience and we all felt blessed to be together.


We completed our Prayer with the Magnificat of Mercy and our final hymn. Sister Maureen then introduced a letter written by Venerable Catherine McAuley during Lent 1841. Written from Baggot Street to Sister Mary de Sales White in Bermondsey, London on 28th February, we were struck by the motherly compassion of Catherine as she instructed her Sister not to be too rigorous during the Lenten fasts because of the ‘flu epidemic then raging, but rather to practise obedience as a higher form of self-denial in that giving up one’s own will is so much more difficult than giving up foods we like. Coming from Catherine who was by then suffering so much from what she called ‘my old cough’, we were all touched by her loving concern for the Sisters and her wisdom in counselling them to ‘take one day only in hands at a time’ and ‘to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow.’ For us, these were very encouraging words for our own journey through Lent!


We reflected together on Catherine’s message about living a faithful, fruitful Lent: ‘…resolve to be good today but better tomorrow.’, asking how we could apply it to our own lives. Could we also just ‘rest with where God as Mercy, is opening a door in our hearts this Lent? No questions or searching, just resting…?’ This is not something we are used to doing, so is a real challenge. We concluded that we may well be more comfortable with Lenten works of Mercy but should also give inner space to God’s word spoken within us.


We concluded our meeting with ’a shared table’ meal and some yummy treats kindly sent by our Associate *Mary Moyles who could not be with us. These and the ‘united in Mercy’ greetings sent by others who could not attend including Clare & Freda in Australia (!), were a real blessing. Feeling renewed, we went our separate ways until next time.

Angela Powers


* In a very special moment, Mary renewed her Commitment at home on 16th March during a visit from Sr. Maureen. We hope others unable to attend on 12th could also enjoy a ‘Mercy Moment’ of Renewal in their own homes at a time of their choosing.

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