GG de­clares ‘Mercy Week’

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

SIS­TER MARY Paschal Figueroa, a Re­li­gious Sis­ter of Mercy (RSM), trans­formed St Cather­ine High School into a co-ed in­sti­tu­tion in 1972 and started a tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence that shines brightly to­day.

Among the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of that de­ci­sion are Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness and his wife Juliet, who be­came sweet­hearts at the school.

On Mercy Day yes­ter­day, an­other out­stand­ing St Cather­ine High grad­u­ate, Ro­man Catholic Arch­bishop of Kingston Ken­neth Richards, cel­e­brated 97-year-old Sis­ter Paschal’s 80th an­niver­sary of re­li­gious life.


It was a triple cel­e­bra­tion at the St Paul of the Cross Church in Man­dev­ille, as two other Sis­ters marked their an­niver­saries as well: Sis­ter Mar­jorie Woods, RSM, her 60th, and Mercy Ad­min­is­tra­tor for Ja­maica Sis­ter Su­san Fraser, RSM, her 50th.

The Sis­ters of Mercy and their as­so­ci­ates have ex­pressed their grat­i­tude to Gov­er­nor Gen­eral Sir Pa­trick Allen for is­su­ing a procla­ma­tion that from this year on­wards, the week in which Mercy Day, Septem­ber 24, falls, will be Na­tional Mercy Week.

The Sis­ters of Mercy main­tain that it is not enough to feel com­pas­sion, as it is ac­tion that will re­lieve the world’s so­cial ills.

Here is an ex­cerpt from the gov­er­nor gen­eral’s Mercy Week Procla­ma­tion:

“Whereas, at this junc­ture in the Ja­maican so­ci­ety, there is a con­stant call from cit­i­zens for jus­tice tem­pered with mercy, in this global year of mercy ... and for the past 136 years, Al­pha has served as a place of safety and refuge, ex­tend­ing mercy val­ues ... and whereas show­ing Sis­ter Mary Paschal Figueroa

mercy will fos­ter a more car­ing so­ci­ety in the is­land of Ja­maica. I do hereby pro­claim the week in which the 24th day of Septem­ber falls an­nu­ally Na­tional Mercy Week, and urge all cit­i­zens to join with the Mercy Sis­ters and As­so­ci­ates in Ja­maica, the orig­i­na­tors of this ob­ser­vance, in recog­ni­tion and thanks­giv­ing for fos­ter­ing works of mercy in our is­land, demon­strat­ing the mercy of God to all hu­mankind.”


The Sis­ters of Mercy, founded in Ire­land, joined Ja­maican Jessie Ripoll, her two com­pan­ions, Josephine Ximines and Louise Du­giol, 10 years af­ter they started the Al­pha Or­phan­age on South Camp Road, Kingston, in 1880.

Jessie joined the re­li­gious or­der and was known as Mother Claver. Since then, the Sis­ters of Mercy have cre­ated homes and in­sti­tu­tions through­out Ja­maica, work­ing arduously to ad­dress the coun­try’s needs.

One of their most coura­geous is 85-year-old Sis­ter Mary Bene­dict Chung, who was the first Ja­maican to or­gan­ise a truce be­tween war­ring gangs in down­town Kingston. She is the founder and still ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Laws Street Trade Train­ing Cen­tre.



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