Mercy Education’s annual Partners in Ministry Leadership Academy took place virtually, July 19-20, connecting over 80 administrators, faculty and staff from 27 member schools in Argentina, Belize, Guam, Honduras, Jamaica, the Philippines and the United States. This leadership development program focuses on the charism, core values and tradition of Mercy.
Following an opening prayer, a workshop on mindfulness led by Kate Brennan encouraged participants to cultivate deeper self-awareness, connection and presence through breath work, peaceful movements and creative writing. “You can’t pour from an empty pitcher,” Kate reminded attendees, emphasizing the importance of mindfulness in their role as servant leaders within the school community.
Margaret Little Wilson, Administrator of Alpha Institute (Kingston, Jamaica) and Cheryl Kreger, President of Mercy High School (Farmington Hills, Michigan) next shared about their call to service in Mercy education. Margaret focused on the symbol of the butterfly, stating, “Evolution into a butterfly means a shaking of the comfort zone of the cocoon.” Cheryl drew parallels between the work of Catherine McAuley and the work of Mercy leaders today, including the gifts and challenges inherent to responding to new needs as they arise. “My Mercy brothers and sisters, I challenge you to use your gifts and do the work!” she said.
The second day of the leadership academy opened with Sister Patty Beairsto, faculty at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women (Rochester, New York), reflecting on the blessings and burdens of leadership today for Catholic Mercy educators. She encouraged participants to be faithful in their call, to ask what Catherine would do, to let mission drive their actions and to nurture their spirituality and authenticity.
Next, Elizabeth MacNeal, head of heritage and spirituality at Mercy International Association, led attendees on a virtual tour of Mercy International Centre – home of Catherine McAuley’s first House of Mercy – in Dublin, Ireland. Peeking through doorways and walking through corridors, participants also gleaned inspiration from Catherine’s story and learned about opportunities to engage with Mercy International.
Partners in Ministry concluded with members of the Mercy Education staff sharing an overview of services and resources provided, including upcoming programs and events, including the 2021 Mercy Education Conference, to be held virtually via Zoom, October 13-14.