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Eisenhauer, Joseph G. “Charism and Commerce: Business Education in the Mercy Context.” Journal of Catholic Higher Education 33, no. 1 (Winter 2014): 93–117.

In this engaging and practical article, the Dean of the College of Business at the University of Detroit Mercy examines “the relationship between business education and the Mercy mission from two perspectives” (94) – the importance of business skills to Mercy ministries and the importance of Mercy charism to business education.  The former is an intriguing review of the business acumen of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and of later Mercy sisters.  The latter examines elements of the Mercy ethos at play in all facets of business education – mission, faculty recruitment and development, research and publications, curricular and co-curricular activities, service, and alumni/alumnae involvement (105).  On all these points, the article reports the findings of a 2012 survey of sixteen Mercy-sponsored colleges/universities, and the survey form appears at the end of the author’s discussion of findings.  Citing the declining numbers of sisters present on Mercy campuses and the reliance on laity of diverse faiths to continue the mission of Mercy-sponsored educational institutions, the author opens and closes with emphasis on the importance of regularly undertaking “self-assessments to evaluate progress in implementing the Mercy mission” within business programs. (115)  

Application:  This article offers business program administrators and faculty members at Mercy-sponsored institutions a comprehensive view of program aspects that do – or could – embody the value-based education envisioned by the Sisters of Mercy.  Just the table displaying the specific programs and size of business education at the sixteen institutions of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education is a valuable resource. Additionally, substantive reference citations identify a host of resources on such topics as business ethics and Catholic social teaching.  Particularly original and engaging is the attention this article gives to the mutual interplay of “charism and commerce,” casting fresh light on Catherine McAuley’s observation that the spiritual and corporal works of mercy are “the business of our lives” for the Mercy congregation.  


Farley, Margaret, R.S.M. “Wisdom, Dignity, and Justice: Higher Education as a Work of Mercy.” Gwynedd-Mercy College, June 15, 2006.

As “the charismatic life-line of Mercy higher education” Farley identifies an “imperative for Mercy colleges and universities to be committed to education and action for justice.” (1)  On behalf of that claim she presents a three-fold argument: that wisdom, the “central goal of higher education,” demands “recognition of the dignity of human persons and the value of all creation”; that such recognition “yields imperatives of justice”; and that “justice both calls for and makes possible relationships of compassion or mercy.”  (2)  The text moves through considerations of wisdom, dignity, justice, and mercy – along the way imagining a university in which these qualities would hold sway and expanding beyond institutional life to the university’s responsibilities for “the advancement of human knowledge and wisdom, and response to the needs of other communities of which it is a part.” (19)  Of particular interest, perhaps, is Farley’s discussion of the interplay between justice and mercy which she sees, not as oppositional but as interdependent – “mercy enhances the knowledge that is needed for justice, and it motivates actions that respond to the claims of justice.” (17)

Application:  A scholar with over 45 years of higher education experience, particularly in ethics, Farley’s presentation/article offers trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff well-argued food for thought regarding the “hallmarks” of a Mercy-sponsored institution of higher education.  The title itself signals a set of intentional but organic – as distinct from artificially imposed – qualities that would, ideally, mark the academic, co-curricular and institutional life of a Mercy college or university. 

NOTE:  In a slightly abridged form, this text is also available as follows, along with the comments of two respondents at the original presentation.

Farley, Margaret, R.S.M. “Wisdom, Dignity, and Justice: Higher Education as a Work of

     Mercy.” Abridged.  The MAST Journal 16. No. 2 (2006): 3–8.

Until The MAST Journal is available on-line, individual copies of an article can be requested from the Mercy Heritage Center.  Contact the archivist Grant Gerlich at


Hayes, Diana L.  “Response to Dr. Margaret Farley.” 9-14.

Agreeing in principle with much of Farley’s presentation, this respondent brings an African American perspective to the concepts of wisdom, dignity, justice and mercy, drawing out implications for contemporary higher education in its context of increasing racial, ethnic, religious, and economic diversity.

McMillan, Elizabeth, RSM.  “Response to Margaret Farley.” 15-17. 

From the perspective of a Sister of Mercy who has served in Central America for fourteen years, this respondent invokes theologian Jon Sobrino’s work to emphasize the importance of compassion and the necessity of “’awakening from the sleep of inhumanity’” – an “awakening” that education must foster among both faculty and students.  (16)

Gottemoeller, Doris, R.S.M. “Higher Education and the 'Enduring Concerns' of the Sisters of Mercy.” The MAST Journal 6, no. 1 (1995): 33–36.

Set in the context of the Sisters of Mercy’s reorganization into one Institute (1991), this article asks how the formation of a single religious Institute might impact the then separately sponsored and governed Mercy colleges and universities.  It offers a statistical snapshot of Mercy higher education in 1995, references pan-Mercy organizations in higher education that pre-date the Conference for Mercy Higher Education, and provides background on the 1993 Institute Leadership Conference statement affirming the ministry of higher education for and by Sisters of Mercy – a statement which, in amended form, continues to be invoked in the present.  Additionally, the author of this article poses a host of probing and forward-looking questions about Mercy higher education and expresses the hope that greater collaboration might enhance this ministry and its impact in Church and society.   

Application:  This article’s primary value may be for scholars researching Mercy higher education.  However, others interested in the future rather than the past may find it interesting to scan this article for the thoughtful questions it raised 20 years ago, many of which remain relevant or have become more pressing in the past two decades.

NOTE:  Until The MAST Journal is available on-line, individual copies of an article can be requested from the Mercy Heritage Center.  Contact the archivist Grant Gerlich at

Hennessy, Jayme. “A Theological Statement: 'I Desire Mercy…': The Theological Foundations for Examining the Role of Mercy in Higher Education.” In Life within the Stream of Mercy. Published by the Conference for Mercy Higher Education, 13–23.

As its title suggests, this article explores the “relationship of Catherine McAuley’s vision and practice of mercy to the mission of Mercy colleges and universities.” (13)  The author proposes that “restoring human dignity” through education and other activities was at the heart of Catherine’s understanding and practice of mercy.  That understanding, then, prompts consideration of “the relationship of mercy to the restoration of human dignity…and a restorative vision of mercy for the mission of Mercy higher education.” (14)  The article draws briefly on key Scripture passages and the insights of several theologians, past and present, to highlight the concept of mercy in relation to human dignity, concluding more by implication than by assertion that education at Mercy-sponsored colleges and universities should dispose students to perceive, think, and act in ways that safeguard and promote human dignity and thereby, human community. (20)

Application:  Faculty, administrators, and staff at Mercy-sponsored colleges and universities will find this article both easy to read and worthy of reflection.  Its connection of mercy, each institution’s heritage, with the principle of God-given human dignity, a fundamental principle of Catholic social teaching, links the Mercy and Catholic realities of institutional identity in a way that is accessible to persons of varied faith traditions.


Jeffries, Rosemary, R.S.M., Patricia Koch, Ruth A. Burns, and Evelyn Quinn. “The Mercy University of New Jersey: Journey to Excellence.” The MAST Journal 16, no. 2 (2006): 27–32.

This article, an abridged version of a presentation at a Conference of Mercy Higher Education symposium, provides a “very tangible example of a college becoming a university.”  (27)  The authors trace the steps in the transformation of Georgian Court College, then on the cusp of its centennial, into a university popularly identified as the Mercy University of New Jersey.  The transformative steps include a visioning process, board engagement and a capital campaign, new buildings and campus improvements, marketing studies and branding, recruitment campaigns, revisions of the general education program, and expanding emphasis on women’s leadership and service in the global community.  The transformative educational aim and outcome of these efforts:  becoming ever more “capable of providing an atmosphere for students to engage in personal transformation by equipping them with the skills to transform our communities, our workplaces, and ultimately our world to be places of justice and mercy.” (32)

Application:  While this article focuses on one Mercy university, its overview of the elements of significant institutional change may well be of interest to other institutions at a strategic point in their history.  Additionally, scholars researching the history of Mercy higher education in the U.S. may find this article useful for their purposes.

NOTE:  Until The MAST Journal is available on-line, individual copies of an article can be requested from the Mercy Heritage Center.  Contact the archivist Grant Gerlich at

Jones, Michael B. “Global Feminism as an Effective Response to Terrorism, Political Extremism, and Poverty: Teaching a Non-Violent Alternative to the War on Terror.” The MAST Journal 20, no. 1 (2010): 31–36.

This article explores “the connections between male domination, women’s oppression, and terrorism.” (31)  The author asks how “the security of women influences the security of states” (33) and argues that attention to equality for women is an essential component of countering political extremism.  He traces the connections thus: “women and poverty, poverty and instability, instability and political extremism, political extremism and terrorism,” illustrating his argument with examples from various countries, organizations, and studies.  In conclusion, the article asserts that “the transformation of women’s roles, their liberation and equality, is a fundamental prerequisite for the realization of universal progress.”  (35)

Application:  In terms of global citizenship, this article cuts a wide path by discussing half (or more) of the world’s population in relation to the troubling reality of global terrorism.  Though the author does not invoke Catherine McAuley’s statement that “no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of the poor, than the careful instruction of women,” he certainly testifies to the enduring credibility of her position.

NOTE:  Until The MAST Journal is available on-line, individual copies of an article can be requested from the Mercy Heritage Center.  Contact the archivist Grant Gerlich at

Lefebvre, Christen, and Amber Berry. “Service Learning in Guyana: The Interconnectedness of Mission, Student Development, and Guyanese Community Enrichment.” The MAST Journal 18, no. 2 (2008): 27–31.

Offered by recent graduates of the nursing program at Saint Joseph College, this presentation offers a student perspective on an international service learning experience.  After preparatory sessions during the preceding semester, students participated in a two-week immersion in Guyana, South America.  There, their exposure to health care and hospitals, their visits to an orphanage, their engagement with the Sisters of Mercy serving in those institutions, and their experiences of local culture provided what one student voiced as “’culture shock when I arrived in Guyana and culture shock when we got back to the U.S….changing my outlook on the world, its people, and my own society.’” (31)

Application:  Faculty and staff who have accompanied students on international service trips will find much that is familiar in these students’ descriptions of their experience and its impact.  Those educators considering such opportunities for their institution may find inspiration, as well as ideas, to move plans into action.  Connecting with the Sisters of Mercy of and in other nations for such immersion experiences or service trips is an enriching (and sometimes reassuring) factor to be considered.

NOTE:  Until The MAST Journal is available on-line, individual copies of an article can be requested from the Mercy Heritage Center.  Contact the archivist Grant Gerlich at


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