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Mercy Mission

Complimentary Therapies

Like many Mercy Sisters, my first ministry was in the teaching profession. I taught in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim for a number of years. In August 2000, I took some time out on sabbatical - Berkeley and its School of Applied Theology beckoned. While there, I did a course on massage and I have not looked back since!

Massage Ministry

The type of massage, in which I trained initially, was Swedish Massage. It offers the possibility of deep relaxation to those who receive it. I was glad to enhance this basic training with Indian Head Massage. This gives particular attention to the upper back, shoulders and head. Most recently, I was privileged to do some further training in Esalen Massage, in the Scottish Findhorn Foundation. The teachers who gave the month’s course were from the Esalen Centre, in the Big Sur in California. This approach is one where long integrating strokes are central. It has complemented my earlier training.

Anyone can benefit from massage. It is a gentle way to help people get in touch with their inner selves, as they come to relax in a deeper way than may be usual for them. I have been available to offer massage at some of our Congregational events and hope that those who availed were freed up to participate more fully. However, my main interest group is young mothers, who can be burdened in their home situations. When they can take time out to have someone minister to them, they can then return home with their spirits renewed.


My first massage training was with Mary Ann Finch and is called 'Care Through Touch - Massage as the Art of Anointing'. Related to this, I have been honoured to do further body work through Capacitar, meaning to empower, encourage or bring forth. This is an approach developed by Patricia Cane and involves Awakening A New Heart with Body, Mind, Spirit Practices. Practices include Tai Chi, body movement, acupressure, massage, polarity, visualisation, ritual and breathing meditation. It has become part of my own way of life and I use it with different groups of women and men. My hope is that it can nourish them in their daily lives.

Capacitar involves awareness raising around the body. Practices are helpful for releasing traumatic stress and balancing energy. They help to nourish and harmonise the core energy system. Ultimately, Capacitar seeks to offer new models, such as partnership, non-violence and compassionate action as a means to heal societal trauma. I feel grateful to be part of this sacred way of being, as it reaches out to those most in need. I am blessed to work with Ann Brady and Paula Carron, using Capacitar, in a centre in Drogheda one morning a week.

Mission House

My living situation for the past four years is in Saint Colmcille’s, Laytown. It is a Mission House, where our Zambian and Nigerian missionaries have a home from home. Here, they can replenish their energies, in this beautiful situation by the sea. Listening to their stories and their experience, our lives are enriched.

Home Retreats

We are a community of three and each of us has some training in Spirituality. Together, we have developed a Prayer Ministry here in our house. A number of times during the year, we offer a week of Guided Prayer or Home Retreat. This gives people the opportunity to come for direction every day, as they reflect on their life’s journey. We follow this up with gatherings in between times. For this, we have an hour’s shared prayer and time for informal chatting, along with the Mercy trademark of a cup of tea..

Circle of Mercy

A further dimension to our lives in Saint Colmcille’s is a monthly gathering of a Circle of Mercy group. As a group of lay and religious people, we seek to deepen our understanding of Catherine and the call of Mercy. Each month we encourage each other to enflesh this in compassionate deeds. Our particular group is linked with another group in Laytown and many more throughout the Northern Province.

All of these areas of ministry are linked through their awareness of the human situation, and balance between body, mind and spirit. My desire is to reach out to those most in need, as far as possible.

Sr. Anna Haughian

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