Ten Years Ago – Oh, What a Night!

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 20, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 85. But I need to tell you the truth. My mind will go only one place this morning, so that’s where my prayer needs to go too. Happily, parts of Psalm 85 will go there with me!

On a mid-October Monday ten years ago, I had the biggest night of my life! It was a night bursting with joy, gratitude, wonder, delight, amazement, hope and love. 

On that night, October 18, 2010, the Sisters of Mercy, and our Mercy Family, celebrated the 150th Anniversary of our Philadelphia Foundation. And we did it in grand fashion with an unforgettable concert at the Kimmel Center!

Musicians, dancers, and artists from our many Mercy ministries pooled their talents in a festival of song. Creative gifts from sewing to carpentry helped weave the story into beautiful unity.

The magnificent Kimmel organ gladly responded to the artistry of Sister Marie Ann Ellmer. And that polished Steinway sang out “Mi Mancherai” under the virtuoso touch of Ms. Karen Benedetti.

Ms. Karen Benedetti

(I have no recording of Ms. Benedetti’s performance, but here is the composer playing his beautiful piece. She did it even more beautifully!)

The amazing directorial talents of two Mercy Associates shaped the energy into a perfect whole.

Ms. Kimberly Baxter and Ms. Patricia Brown

And nine graced and gifted Sisters spoke the sacred story with the fullness of their beautiful Mercy hearts.

I know many of my readers were in attendance and have their own echoing remembrances of that glorious night.

I can share only a few tidbits of memory here. But you may enjoy praying with some of these thoughts where, for me this morning:

Mercy and truth meet;
justice and peace kiss.
Beauty springs out of the earth,
and Love gazes from heaven.

Psalm 85: 11-12

In a creative effort, the following are inspirations we thought the original founders might offer the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Family, if they were speaking to us today:

We clearly knew and trusted 
that the dream in us
was God’s dream
for wounded world.

Mother Patricia Waldron
Played by Mimi Connor, RSM

We heard God’s Voice
and held God’s hand
and we stepped out in faith
to do the work of love.

Sister Marie Madeleine Matthey-Doret
Played by Suzanne Neisser, RSM

The care of the sick
was a ministry I loved.
I dispensed it with every tenderness
knowing that I tended
the wounds of Christ.

Sister Mary Philomena Hughes
Played by Mary Hentz, RSM

You have shaped the Word of Mercy
so that it can be heard
by the rainbow of God’s People
throughout the earth.
And it has returned to you
twice blessed
by their humble, loving welcome.

Sister Mary Francis de Sales Geraghty
Played by Mary Klock, RSM

Our hope is just to know
that someone speaks your Name
in Mercy and justice,
and will return to speak it once again.

Sister Mary Ann Coveney
played by Diane Guerin, RSM

It was our joy
to find the waiting face of Christ
among the poor.

Sister Mary Rose Davies
Played by Marie Carolyn Levand, RSM

It is through prayer
that we grow eternally young
even as we age.
It is through prayer
that we can transcend our burdens
and are enfolded in the
Providence of God.
In prayer, we become free.
In prayer, we become whole.

Sister Mary Angela Curtin
Played by Connie Haughton, RSM

Through the years,
I have seen you embrace
the misunderstood and the vulnerable.
I know that in the mysterious way of God,
you have found great joy in that embrace.

Sister Mary Veronica O’Reilly
Played by Eileen Sizer, RSM

My soul was deep like the midnight sky.
But stars blazed from my depths
to lead others to holiness.

Mother Mary Gertrude Dowling
Played by Kathleen Mary Long, RSM

Music: The Circle of Mercy – Jeanette Goglia, RSM
(the Maestro is visible above conducting from the central platform.)

22 thoughts on “Ten Years Ago – Oh, What a Night!

  1. Marian Catholic

    How I wish I could have attended this spectacular concert. I love the thought of growing eternally young while we age on earth. I think of the earth as our womb that carries us until it’s time to be reborn from above and spend all eternity with God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Butts

    If anyone can remember that first feeling of a true/pure love, that’s what that night was for me.
    After having a rough transition into a new company, I had the honor and blessing of meeting you S. Renee, and S. Kate. It was a time of great loss and pain and trying to find myself, whether inside or in a renewed way. I was so moved by our meeting and the living embrace you gave me, and your words, your gift of knowing just what, when and how to say them. They were: John: God Loves You, We Love You and it’s going to be ok.
    That week everyone at work was talking about the upcoming event and I wanted to get tickets in appreciation for these Women of Mercy, who essentially saved me from my grief. I wanted to learn more about who are the Sisters of Mercy. This amazing, well orchestrated and production of Mercy through the years, ending with over a thousand people standing and joining in the finale with the Circle of Mercy spoke to my heart and it gave me purpose to focus my energy instead of grief, on love. And, that was the night, the moment, I fell in love with MERCY. My tears were suddenly of JOY and LOVE and purpose.
    Let us all walk in this great LOVE to bring that Mercy to our troubled world. May it live on forever.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful Anniversary with all of us, especially me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathe Shoulberg, RSM

    It was a memorable night! Two years of preparation for a spectacular night! It was worth every second of the work that went into planning and orchestrating! Truly, it was so much fun and we had MANY laughs along the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ellen E Hendrickson

    While reading I closed my eyes and felt the meaning of Mercy I experienced that night. Whenever I hear Finlandia I am immediately back in the Kimmel Center, What and honor and privilege it was to participate in this concert … sharing the message of the Circle of Mercy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mia Lentz

    Feeling so blessed to have witnessed all that was learned that special night and to be a part of this
    “Circle of Mercy!” Thank you for the memory…Much love to all of our Sisters of Mercy and Associates.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary Ann Clarahan

    I remember being part of the music of that night. Thanks to S. Marie Ann Elmer and all who leant their voice and musical talent to that night it helped Mercy to sing the praises of God for into eternity!

    Liked by 1 person

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