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This Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography is both a first and a beginning attempt to identify and describe articles and books focused on higher education as practiced or inspired by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.  Undertaken in the 2014-2015 academic year, the Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography was a project of Sister Joy Clough, R.S.M. in fulfillment of her responsibility, as the inaugural Mercy Fellow at Saint Xavier University, to produce “a tangible work that contributes to and enriches the Mercy intellectual tradition."[1]

Conversation with Dr. Moya Dittmeier, Executive Director of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE), confirmed that a resource of this type did not exist and that it held the potential to be quite helpful to others engaged in a variety of roles at Mercy-related colleges and universities.  Accordingly, CMHE agreed to host the Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography on its website.

What’s Here

With a background in education, communications, community leadership, and as Director of University Mission and Heritage at Saint Xavier University (2011-2014), Sister Joy envisioned the Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography (hereafter, Annotated Bibliography) as a resource for those seeking to understand and live the Mercy charism in their work at a Mercy college or university.  What does “charism” mean?  What is the Mercy charism?  Where did it come from?  What values are associated with or express that charism?  What do those values and the charism itself contribute to trustee deliberations, administrative decisions, academic program, student life activities, staff experience, and the overall ethos of an institution of higher learning founded or sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy?  How is the mission of the Sisters of Mercy – service of the poor, sick and ignorant; the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; the commitment to justice and compassion – reflected in a Mercy college or university?  What place is made for the principles of social justice, for the Catholic intellectual tradition, for the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns?

Articles and books that address such questions form the substance of this Annotated Bibliography.  Thus, it is organized into several sections following this Introduction:

  1. Bibliography
  2. Annotations
  3. Bibliographic Citations Related to Sponsorship, Catholic, Mission
  4. Bibliographic Citations Related to Mercy Charism, Mercy Values
  5. Bibliographic Citations Related to Academics
  6. Bibliographic Citations Related to Social Justice, Mercy’s Critical Concerns, Service Learning
  7. Bibliographic Citations Related to History, Catherine McAuley (as educator)

While these sections overlap at times, hopefully such categorization will facilitate users’ discovery of materials relevant to their specific concerns.

Each annotation has four parts: bibliographic information, content summary, possible applications/audiences, and in several instances, a note on availability.

The Annotated Bibliography includes entries from a variety of sources, but the preponderance of entries comes from The MAST Journal.  This peer-reviewed journal is published by the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology, and it was with The MAST Journal that CMHE partnered to publish the proceedings of its three national symposia on themes related to Mercy higher education.  Beyond those proceedings, The MAST Journal has consistently published articles concerned with mission, charism, social justice, and education.  Thus, a thorough review of past issues offered a rich start for the Annotated Bibliography entries.

What’s Not (Yet) Here

Both the author and the CMHE hope that this Annotated Bibliography will become a living resource, one which grows through additions submitted by other Mercy-related scholars.  Thus, this 2015 version would become a sort of “first edition” of an ever-expanding source of inspiration, information, and assistance for those committed to higher education in the Catholic, Mercy tradition.

In that on-going development, attention should focus soon on a very rich resource that is referenced but not fully developed here.  The Carlow Round Table, sponsored by Carlow University in Pittsburgh, regularly gathers educators from colleges and universities sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas for a theme-focused conference held in Ireland.  Proceedings from the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 Round Tables are highlighted but not yet annotated in these pages.  They are already available, however, at www.carlow.edu/carlow_roundtable_proceedings.aspx.

Other strong sources discovered but not yet included in this Annotated Bibliography include:

  1. past issues of the Journal of Catholic Higher Education, published by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities;
  2. Mercy Illuminates, a volume of essays derived from a symposium held at Salve Regina University, available at http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/mercy/; and
  3. dissertations and theses by or about Sisters of Mercy in relation to higher education.

In addition to some specific titles identified but not yet included here,[2] other promising sources suggested by persons interested in this project include the Sister of Mercy archives (Belmont, NC), including materials related to past higher education organizations such as the Association of Mercy Colleges and the Mercy Higher Education Colloquium; references cited in Sister Jeremy Daigler’s historical volume, Through the Windows; inaugural addresses by presidents at Mercy colleges and universities; and, of course, the archives of each of the various Mercy institutions of higher education.

*     *     *     *     *

Any worthwhile research project – and that is what preparation of this Annotated Bibliography has been – provides insights or answers but also raises new vistas and questions.  So it is with the Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography, 2015.  While it may be a first, it is also only a beginning.  In its existence and in its potential for growth, this Annotated Bibliography is a virtual reference library available to trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and supporters of Mercy-inspired education at the collegiate and post-graduate levels.  Further, through the resources it brings to the attention of Mercy educators, the Mercy Higher Education Annotated Bibliography may help bring to reality the intentions expressed by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in their Constitutions.[3] “We sponsor institutions to address our enduring concerns and to witness to Christ’s mission. Within these institutions we, together with our co-workers and those we serve, endeavor to model mercy and justice and to promote systemic change according to these ideals.”


[1] Letter of Appointment, June 11, 2014.  Conceived at Saint Xavier University as one way to enhance the presence and influence of the Sisters of Mercy at Mercy-sponsored colleges and universities, the Mercy Fellow is an invitational presidential appointment for a specified time period during which the Sister of Mercy serving as an institution’s Mercy Fellow fulfills previously agreed upon responsibilities that capitalize on her experience and expertise to enrich the lived charism of the institution as Catholic and Mercy.

[2] For example:  Burns, Sharon, R.S.M. “Mercy Spirituality and the Academic Ministry.” Review for Religious 40, no. 5 (September-October 1981): 717-729.  and Bouey, Mary Christina, R.S.M. “The Sisters of Mercy in American Higher Education.” Dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1962.

[3] Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Constitutions and Directory, paragraph 5.

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