Sisters of Mercy Conference: Nonviolence

This past weekend I had the fortunate experience of attending the Sisters of Mercy bi-annual conference on justice. This year’s theme was nonviolence. What made this conference extra special was its location. Mercy By the Sea is a retreat and conference center owned by the Sisters of Mercy in Madison, Connecticut. It is nestled in a quiet small town on the Long Island Sound. Mercy By the Sea is a special place. It is home to so many creatures (ask me about the woodchuck who greeted me as soon as I got there) and so much tranquility.

Approximately fifty participants–Sisters, Associates, companions and I settled into a weekend of learning and hard work. On the drive home, as I was reflecting on all of the information and tools we received, I kept coming back to the same idea– right now, there is in the Catholic Church, a historical, unprecedented event called the, “New Moment.” Rarely do I think the current generation is given moments in history that are positive. As a matter of fact, as a millennial, I cannot really name one. However, on January 1st of this year, Pope Francis had a first. He declared a World Day of Peace. In his New Year’s message he insisted, “Violence is not the cure for our broken world.” This is the first time in a very long time, thousands of years actually, that the Church has taken a stance that all violence is completely unacceptable, there is no more cause, or “just war” there is no more violence in the name of God, but instead an insistence that like Jesus said “love thy neighbor”. Period.

So in what seems to be an overwhelming world of bad news, I invite you, my Maria Community, to stand up for just that, nonviolence no matter what, who, or how you are confronted. I am excited to be a part of this turning point and I hope I can inspire you too in my excitement.

With gratitude and peace,

Jillian Mertzlufft
Assistant Director for Student Services and Mission,
Assistant to Healthcare Management Program Director,
Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Leave a Comment