To bring back the spirit of the Mercy mission, Mercyhurst University has created Mercy Emissary, a program for employees to embrace the ideology of the Mercy mission and eventually pass it on to students.
Mercy Emissary will explain the history, mission and values of Mercyhurst, the Sisters of Mercy, and the re-creation of university community. It focuses on increasing employees’ knowledge about the mission of Mercy and tightening the relationship within a community. Although the program is aimed at employees, it will allow them to pass the Mercy ideals on to students.
“What we have to do now is intentionally carry on the mission,” Sister Lisa Mary McCartney, vice president of Mission Integration, said.
In its early days, the Sisters of Mercy ran and taught at Mercyhurst. In the late 1960s, Mercyhurst became co-ed, which began the tremendous change of Mercyhurst tradition. As new professors began teaching at the college, fewer sisters taught. Due to these historical changes, students today do not receive the same traditional spirit and the idea of mission as they did in the past. McCartney said she hopes to “bring back the Mission and Spirit of the Sister of Mercy to employees and students.”
Many students desire to learn more about Mercyhurst and its tradition but they do not have a chance to embrace the ideals of the Mercy mission and tradition after Welcome Week during freshman year. At the beginning of the year, all freshmen participate in the traditional Day of Service, attend speakers and complete online programs to learn about dealing with alcohol, drugs and sex.
However, according to McCartney, absorbing all that information within 20 to 30 minutes is not enough time to retain the information. Hence, McCartney is thinking about a proper form to integrate the mission with students in near future.
“Service, for the Sisters of Mercy, is not something to volunteer to make you feel good. It is a part of who you are,” said McCartney. “If you are acting in a merciful, kind, generous way or welcoming people in the campus, that is fulfilling the mission.”
People who are not Catholic still can embrace the mission of Mercy. The sacred mission is rooted in human value and action of each person, despite religious affiliation. In their history, many sisters lived and worked in other countries and among other religious people. Thus, they visualized the mission of Mercy is for everyone and states it in the core values of Mercyhurst. Compassionate hospitality means welcoming all different spiritual people from every ethnicity, race and cultural tradition.
“Tradition is made by things we do frequently that make us feel at home, give us comfort, make us feel connected,” McCartney said.
Though the Mass of Holy Spirit remains a stable annual tradition, many other events representing Mercy tradition do not get as much attention. Thus, every person in Mercyhurst community has the privilege and responsibility to carry on the mission of Mercy with compassion and dedication.