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Mount Aloysius Celebrates Mercy Week 2017

Posted on: September 12, 2017

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Cresson, Pa. — Mount Aloysius College, one of 16 US colleges and universities affiliated with the Religious Sisters of Mercy, marks Mercy Week 2017 from September 18th through September 22nd.  Mount Aloysius College, founded in 1853, invites the southern Allegheny Mountain community to celebrate the Mercy heritage that began in Dublin, Ireland on Sept. 24, 1827.  That date, the Catholic feast of Our Lady of Mercy, marks the start of the worldwide Mercy mission, when Catherine McAuley first opened the doors of her House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin.

Mount Aloysius College President Tom Foley put the significance of Mercy Week into context.  “Our core value—hospitality, justice, service and mercy— are woven deep into the fabric of Mount Aloysius College.  Throughout the life of the College—in the classroom, on athletic fields, and in the community—we promote qualities of civility, mutual respect, and the preservation of dignity for all people.  We continue to be blessed by the spirit of Catherine McAuley embodied in each of these remarkable sisters—three who serve on our Board of Trustees, and three who volunteer on our campus each day—teachers, musicians, scientists, and so much more,” he said.  “We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to their presence on this campus for many years to come.”

Executive Director of Mission Integration and Community Outreach, Christina Koren noted that, “The College’s celebration of Mercy Week honors the institution’s commitment to creating a welcoming learning environment where students develop personally and intellectually.  Each day during Mercy Week,” Ms. Koren explained, “will be devoted to experiencing – through engaging in community service – our commitment to the College’s core values, the charism of the Mercy foundress, Catherine McAuley, and these remarkable Sisters of Mercy who serve throughout the world.”

The College’s 2017 celebration of Marcy Week will honor the Sisters of Mercy who originally traveled east from Pittsburgh, Pa. to start a girl’s school in Loretto, Pa.  When that school was destroyed by fire, a new facility was built in 1897.  That Italianate brick structure—the Main Building of Mount Aloysius College—still dominates the surrounding hills and attracts students from around the state, around the country and around the world.  Each day during Mercy week will be devoted to historical recognition of the contributions of these remarkable women.  Throughout the Week biographical information sheets will be circulated throughout campus discussing the facts of each sister’s life.

On Monday, September 18th Sister Mary DeSales Ihmsen, RSM will be remembered.  Tuesday, September 19th will be dedicated to Sister Mary Frances Warde, RSM.   Mother Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Religious Sisters of Mercy will be commemorated on Wednesday, September 20th.

Thursday, September 21st will be dedicated to Sister Mary Anna Maria Doyle, and Friday, September 22nd will be devoted to Sister Silvertius Shields, RSM.   On Monday, September 18th, the College will begin Mercy Week by celebrating Mass in the Chapel at 11:30 a.m.  The day will end with Mercy Sister Giuseppe DaBella, RSM hosting a leadership session in the iconic Main Building in Room 209.  Sister Giuseppe is one of the founding innovators who brought Montessori education to this part of the world.

On Tuesday, September 19th, students and community members are invited to hear a Mercy Volunteer speak in the College’s Wolf-Kuhn Gallery at noon.  At 1 p.m. a service project will be undertaken by students, faculty, and staff before attending the Mercy Week Lecture.

Sister Ivette Diaz, RSM will deliver this year’s Mercy Week Address in Alumni Hall at 3:30 p.m.  Sr. Ivette was born in 1964 and raised in the Bronx, New York.  Growing up in the New York City housing projects, Sr. Ivette learned the value of a strong community and how neighborhood dynamic affected families that lived in the housing complex, especially the mothers who cared and supported area children, especially during difficult times.  In 1988, Sr. Ivette entered the Sisters of Mercy.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s degree in both social work and religious education.  Sr. Ivette’s life of service also extends to missions work with medical teams serving impoverished people throughout Central and South America.

Wednesday, September 20th will begin with a campus-wide Mercy Tea and Scones Commemoration, hosted throughout the College by the Mercy Sisters.  On her deathbed, Mercy Foundress Catherine McAuley told her assistant to give the grieving sisters “a comfortable cup of tea when I am gone.”  This act of hospitality, service and extraordinary compassion is remembered throughout the world to this day by the sharing or tea and scones—a traditional Irish soda-bread—during Mercy Week and through the world of the Mercy Sisters.

At noon on Wednesday, a Life Skills event hosted by the Mount Aloysius Mission Integration team and the Center for the Blind and Handicap will be held in the College’s Wolf-Kuhn Gallery.  Attendees are asked to register by September 18th for this event.  Sister Giuseppe DaBella will host a second Mercy Leadership session at 5:00 p.m. in room 220 of the College’s Main Building.  Students and community members will enjoy Irish Dancers in the Bertschi Center at 6:00 p.m.

On Thursday, September 21st at 11:30 a.m. a Mercy Etiquette Lunch will be held in Cosgrave Center.

Mass will be celebrated at noon in the Our Lady of Mercy Chapel.  And the community is also invited to attend the All Campus Liturgy Mass held in the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center at 3:30 p.m.   The All-Campus Liturgy Mass will be celebrated by The Most Reverend Mark Bartchak, Bishop of the Altoona Johnstown Diocese.

That evening, students will enjoy a Mercy Week craft in the evening.

The week will wrap with a Mercy through Music event in the Cosgrave Lobby on Friday, September 22nd beginning at noon and on Saturday, September 23rd, Mountie Alumni are invited to a Catherine McAuley Tea Program as the College’s Alumni Weekend begins.

For questions about events happening during Mercy Week, please contact the Mission Integration Office at MissionIntegration@mtaloy.edu.

Aerial Photo of the Mount Aloysius Campus