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Meet our Congregational Leadership Team 2012 - 2018

Margaret Casey rsm (Congregational Leader)

I was born in Newtownforbes, Co. Longford in 1950. There are six of us in the family. I attended the local Convent of Mercy Primary and Secondary Schools. They were enjoyable years. When I did my Leaving Certificate in 1967 I felt called to the Mercy way of life and had a desire to be of service to people, particularly those less fortunate than we were. After talking with a few people and being challenged to give it serious consideration by one of them( a lay person) I decided to enter and did so in October 1967.

I studied for my primary degree, B.Comm . in U.C.C and my H.Dip in Ed. in Maynooth. Twenty five years later I went to Queen’s University Belfast where I did a Masters degree in Social Work. I enjoyed working with young people. My work placements with a team working with older people in South Belfast and the Family and Child Care Team in Newtownards were very valuable learning experiences exposing me to different cultural realities at a sensitive time.

After Belfast I moved to Ballysadare to live and I worked in Mercy College Sligo. The Parents, Teachers and Friends Association, with funding from Peace and Reconciliation, employed me as Home - school Family worker. I was very happy there working with children and families and witnessed some extreme poverty and disadvantage.

From 2001 until 2007 I had the privilege of serving as Provincial Leader in the Western Province. It was inspiring to work with and on behalf of a very gifted, committed group of sisters and lay people. Their enthusiasm for mercy, irrespective of age, was life giving. It was a time of growth in faith and inner strength for me as we struggled, sometimes, with difficult decisions. The journey through The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse with our sisters, former residents, with provincial and congregational teams was an experience that challenged my daily life. It gave me an experience of what it is to belong to the family of Mercy. It constantly reminded me of the need to be a compassionate presence of God to everyone. It calls me to remain open to where God is each day. How I am in ministry is very important to me now.

Since 2008 I served in local leadership in St. Vincent’s Galway. I was appointed Congregational Treasurer in October 2011.
Throughout my life I have had a keen interest in music, musicals, reading, radio and television. The companionship of sisters, family and friends and taking time to enjoy the beauty of nature sustains me. Quiet time over the years has nurtured me and helped me through life’s ups and downs. I believe that God, Mary and Catherine will be with us into the future as they have been with us in the past. It is my hope that, as team, working closely with you we can become a true Mercy presence in the world.

Patricia O'Donovan rsm (Assistant Congregational Leader)

I grew up in Drimoleague in West Cork, Ireland and I have three brothers and one sister. I am very grateful that my mother is still living and has good health. For leisure I love music and enjoying playing instruments with others. I also like being in nature and love walking by the sea.

In 1979 I joined Mercy in Clonakilty where I had been taught and inspired by the sisters there. I studied Theology and Music in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and taught in Mount Mercy College in Cork city for eight years. In 1995 I took up a school chaplaincy post in Schull Community College, West Cork. During that time I realised the importance of developing my skills and I did some further study in UCC in Pastoral Counselling. From 2001 – 2007 I was a member of the Provincial Team in the Southern Province. I found this experience most enriching. Presently I am a member of the Chaplaincy Department in University College Cork. I really enjoy working with young adults and am so inspired by their generosity and enthusiasm.

As a Mercy Sister I have been shaped by our Mercy charism. For my final profession I chose the motto ‘Remain in My love’, a constant reminder to stay rooted in God’s presence and love. This motto inspires me to be continually open to discover how best to be God’s merciful presence in and with our world.

Being part of a team has always been a value to me. As I begin my time on CLT, I am looking forward to meeting you, to sharing our various lived experiences of life in Mercy, and exploring together the new possibilities being offered to us.

Cecilia Cadogan rsm

I was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, Ireland in November 1955, the eighth of the eleven children of Briege and Patrick Cadogan. My final years of secondary school were with the Mercy Sisters in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Here I became aware of the ministry and prayer life of the sisters and entered with them in September 1973. My novitiate training was spent in Waterford where I joined with several other Mercy Sisters from various parts of Ireland. My next stop was Carysfort College in Dublin where I trained as a Primary School teacher.

I taught in Primary schools in Tullamore and Trim and worked with First Communion classes, members of the Travelling Community and in remedial education. Further training followed in Religious Education, Formation and Counselling and I have given several years of service in these ministries. From 2001-2007, I was a member of the On-going Formation Team in the Northern Province and a member of the Inter-Provincial Resource Group. Working with others in a collaborative way proved life-giving and inspiring.
During the four years prior to my election to the Congregational Leadership Team I shared with two other sisters in the leadership of the Tullamore Community – a large group of 34 sisters of varying ages, yet all very much alive!
On a lighter note, I enjoy meeting family and friends, walking, the odd trek on the mountains, crosswords, sudoku and music.

Scholastica Nganda rsm

Born in Makueni County, Kenya, 1961, I came last, the only girl in a family of two parents and four boys: Philiph, Felix, Benjamin and Athanas. Angela and Peter (mum and dad) are happily resting with the Lord. Amen. I attended a Secondary School, (Makueni Girls’ School) run by the Mercy Sisters, 1977-80. I did my A-Levels, 1981-82 in a School run by Comboni Missionaries (Italian sisters) but I was almost sure I wasn’t going to be swayed from the ‘Irish’ to the ‘Italian’.. Joining Novitiate in 1983 was an exciting time for me. The waiting had seemed endless! My initial formation was however interrupted by my desire to pursue professional studies. Life in a State University helped to strengthen my desire to be a religious. There was no doubt in my mind that if ever I became a sister, I was asking God to make me a Mercy sister. And so in 1987, I left Makueni Girls’ Sec where I was teaching, took leave from my employer and went back to the novitiate. My final commitment was in 1992. I remain grateful to God and to my sisters who have continued as my graced companions in Mercy.

My ministry has since 1987 been in education. I have taught in many public secondary schools across Kenya and been in school administration in some of them before joining Kenyatta University as a Lecturer 2004. Although I love teaching, I did realize that my students had many ‘unmet’ needs that hindered their progress in the academics. And so in 2006, my employer moved me from the lecture halls to the counseling room. It was in this room where not only did I accompany others in their vulnerability, but a place that continued to welcome me into my own need for healing. Am glad in the pain of others, I have received the grace to face my own pain. With humility and gratitude, I thank God for the many lives He/She has touched through my ministry of counseling and education.

I took leave from Kenyatta University, June 2012 and worked in Mukuru Promotion Center (MPC) where my Provincial Leader and Team had asked me to take over Directorship after the Congregational Chapter, July 2012. I knew the invitation to serve in MPC, a Congregational slum project for the poor, was the right thing for me for now having been in the public sector for so many years. My enthusiasm rang high as I tirelessly worked with the out-going director (Sr. Mary Geason) for the whole of June, 2012. With many plans for MPC, safely at home in my heart, I went to the Chapter Event in Galway. Little did I know that, a woman may propose but God disposes! I was elected to the CLT. This caught me by surprise. But one thing I do know: ‘The Mission is God’s own’. Ours is to bring our best to it and believe He/She will give the necessary grace for the task.

Marie Louise White rsm

I was born and grew up on a farm in County Wexford. I am the second in a family of three, one brother and one sister, both married and I have seven nieces, four nephews, six grand-nephews, and four grand-nieces to date.

I went to the local national school in the village of Ballycullane (about ten miles from New Ross). From there, I went to boarding school in Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-on-Suir for secondary education. It was here I first got to know Mercy Sisters, whom I admired and felt drawn to joining them when I finished school.
I took one year to make up my mind about entering, during which time I did a secretarial course and worked in the County Council offices and in a local hotel.

I entered the postulancy in Mercy Convent, Carrick-on-Suir in 1969 and did my novitiate in Waterford. I had many opportunities in Mercy for which I am very grateful, beginning with studying science at UCC and training as a secondary school teacher, spending ten years teaching, most of that in Scoil Mhuire. When we amalgamated as a diocese in the eighties, I was a member of the leadership team for two different terms, lived in communities in Carrick –on-Suir, Waterford, Dungarvan and more recently in Cahir.

In 1987 I began retraining in Psychology at the Gregorian University, Rome. This opened up many further opportunities for me especially in the area of formation, within our own congregation, with seminarians and others.
In 2002, I was appointed Formation Directress, in the then newly established Continental Novitiate for Africa in Nakuru, Kenya. In the time I spent there, I got to know novices from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia. It was a multi-cultural community and also a very enriching experience for me. It gave me a greater understanding of other people and cultures and of my own background too, with its strengths and limits.

On my return to Ireland, in 2010, I was happy to be back in Cahir and my ministry was accompanying women and men preparing to take vows in their respective congregations, and in the seminary in Maynooth, accompanying students preparing for priesthood.

In the last two years I had the opportunity to keep in touch again with Initial Formation in the Congregation through being appointed the Resource Person for Formation. My personal on-going formation has been greatly enhanced by all of the above and it seems that the Lord is not finished with me yet. I pray that God will continue to form me/us into women of Mercy, compassion and courage, as we embark on our journey together in the new CLT.

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