A Sister of Mercy

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					A Sister of Mercy
Why?                          ‘I can do everything a Religious Sister can do without joining!
                                        ‘I can be a teacher, a social worker, a parish worker,
                                      anything! I don’t need to join a Religious Community.’

T   hese were some of the thoughts of Helen Stannard
    when, as a young woman in her late 20s, she struggled
to identify which direction her life might take.
Helen recalls:
“My constant prayer growing up was ‘Please God, don’t call me!’
I grew up in a family of eight children where my parents, as
dedicated lay people, were Associates with four religious groups
and were very involved in the local schools, Church and missions.
“We often had Priests, Sisters and Brothers visiting us and I saw
how human they were and really enjoyed their company. They
seemed to have a richness in their lives and appeared very free.
“As children, mum and dad gave us the impression that
they would love all of us to be Priests or Religious,
which scared us all off. Interestingly, our parents’ way
of life was actually a living model of how lay people can
live their faith to the fullest and showed that someone
didn’t have to be a Religious or a Priest to do this.
“My joining the Sisters of Mercy, then,
didn’t seem to make any sense.
“After finishing my ministry as a youth retreat worker, I
travelled overseas and it was during this time that the word
Mercy kept resounding in my head and heart. I had a deep
sense that God had more in mind for my life, desiring for me
to find a place where I could be ‘most myself ’, where prayer,
service to the needy, community and friendship could flourish.
“The desire to ‘try out’ the Sisters of Mercy grew stronger within me and …”
Helen joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1995 and is currently the Housing and Outreach Co-ordinator
for St Mary’s House, Campsie – A Place of Welcome and Hospitality for People in Need.
To read more of Helen’s story go to: www.parramattamercy.org.au/articles.htm and open Helen’s
Story. Other Mercy websites to visit are www.mercysisters.org.au and www.mercyinternational.ie
For further information contact Sr Margaret Sheppard tel (02) 9683 2555.



                 Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia, PNG and Pakistan

				
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