"The blessing of unity still dwells among us, and oh! what a blessing. It should make all things pass into nothing. . . . This is the true spirit of the Order, the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us."
Venerable Catherine McAuley
The common life is an essential part of the life of each Sister of Mercy. As a community we draw strength and encouragement from our life lived in common. We cherish our legacy of union and charity, the spirit in which we fulfill our consecration and our life of service. As our Constitutions state: "The legacy of union and charity bequeathed by the Foundress to the Institute of Mercy is its most challenging inheritance. In recalling Jesus' prayer to the Father, 'That they all be one . . . as we are one . . . that the world may believe that you sent me,' Venerable Catherine indicated that the Institute is called to image the Divine Persons in Trinitarian union and that perfection of love and union is the unqualified condition of effective evangelization" (Constitutions, 56). This communion is fostered by a shared tradition, common works, a well-balanced daily horarium (schedule), and a single spirit. The horarium specifies the times of our common prayer, meals, communal work projects and recreation.
As far as possible our Sisters are involved in corporate apostolates, such as our Mercy Health Care Clinics in Alma, Michigan; Jackson, Minnesota; and Breuberg, Germany. Some of our Sisters teach together in seminaries or in primary schools, or work in a hospital. We also work together in the common labor of caring for our convents by cleaning, care of the land, and cooking. Venerable Catherine envisioned her convents to be homes and not institutions.
Venerable Catherine accented the practice of the "little virtues" as the means of forming the hearts of the Sisters to be merciful in their apostolate and in their common life. The little virtues are: humility, kindness, simplicity, patience, trust, gentleness, courtesy, and forbearance.