The 2021 Mercy Week theme is “unity,” initiated by Senior Vice President and Chief Mission Officer at Maria College, Victoria Battell. Unity is a fitting, yet challenging theme for a year where inequalities of race and gender were exposed, the fragility of the Earth continues to unravel, and we—collectively and as individuals—try to function amidst so much uncertainty. Click here to read report, ‘Hope in a Time of Pandemic – Responding to COVID-19 through a Mercy Lens’ launched by the Mercy Global Action COVID-19 Response Task Force.
This past April, I participated in a series of reflective workshops through the Rowe Center focused on our connection to the Earth called, “Sky, Sun, Sea, & Stone: Celtic Spirituality and Creative Writing” led by Christine Valters Paintner. I have been challenged and inspired by the beauty and symbolism from the world around me and how it connects me to God, how it helps me learn more about myself, and how it allows me to connect with others. After all, isn’t that unity? It’s not just our relationship with others, but it is a place of oneness within yourself and spiritual connectedness with God. The elements that make up this year’s Mercy Week artwork are centered around this symbolism.
Sun / Light – Heart
Sky / Wind – Soul
Stone / Rock – Mind
Sea / Water – Body
The sun, the focal point of the artwork, is a symbol of our heart, bright and warm, the core of who we are, as it rests over a calm horizon. A silhouette of a bleeding-heart flower (a bridge between life and death) is centered over the sun, a reminder that what you pour your heart into now, will live on. A rainbow echoes the curve of the sun, a radiant burst of color when light and water meet, which is a reminder of diversity and the beauty of variety.
The wind, represented by the swirling blue lines, is the soul, our soul but also the spirit of God. A gentle reminder of a life beyond the physical, a calling, a whisper, a drawing out one’s self to think about the mystery of life. The soul is also represented by the bleeding-heart plant, a connection between the past, present, and future.
The moon, a swirling mass of rock and metal, is a representation of our mind. It reflects the light of heart but is an element of great strength and beauty in and of itself. The gravitational pull of the moon impacts high and low tide, a reminder that what you think about has a physical impact on your body.
The wave is a powerful representation of strength, a personal strength to accomplish great things, but also a strength, that when working alongside one another becomes a collective force. Mary-Paula Cancienne, RSM, Ph.D. spoke during the Inaugural Dorothy A. Connolly Lecture on Monday, September 28 about how waves, a confluence of different currents, represent a collection of stories, beginning, ending, overlapping. We have a choice in the present, to use our strength for good, joining together on a common goal, and adding to the story of love.
“And above all put on love, which binds you together in perfect unity.” [Col 3:14]
Click here for the full list of Mercy Week events.
Blogger: Meagan Masti, Director of Marketing & Design