Inspired by the compassion expressed by Catherine McAuley that she would rather be cold and hungry than the poor of Dublin be denied anything in her power to afford them, students, faculty, and administrators from Mercy colleges and universities generously and selflessly provide service to others through service learning, alternative breaks, service days, and a variety of other forms of giving back not only to the communities in which they live, but also to those in need in other locations around the globe.
Each Mercy college/university has or is developing a service learning/community service component. And each has its own unique expression of service learning and compassionate mercy. Some initiatives currently are linked with the works of Sisters of Mercy both in the United States and elsewhere and others are offered in collaboration with other charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps.
To be a truly Mercy experience, service learning has to be grounded in Catholic Social Theory and the fundamental principles of Catholic Social Thought as it has developed over the last century. Therefore, strong preparation before the experience and deep, theological reflection after it are essential components of service learning on a Mercy campus. Moreover, such experiences need to be tied to the Mission and Direction Statement of the Sisters of Mercy to give it an authentic Mercy character.
One of the fundamental resources of Mercy service learning is the Introducing Students to Social Analysis and Theological Reflection: Foundations for Facilitators of Service-Learning at Colleges and Universities founded or sponsored by Sisters of Mercy, written by Dr. Jennifer Reed-Bouley and Ken Reed-Bouley. This work, commissioned by the Conference for Mercy Higher Education, is as useful for those who are just beginning a service learning program as it is for those seasoned professionals who have implemented several service learning experiences.
Click to view guide:
Introducing Students to Social Analysis and Theological Reflection: Foundations for Facilitators of Service-Learning at Colleges and Universities founded or sponsored by Sisters of Mercy
Top: Mount Mercy College student volunteers working in conjunction with Campus Ministry and Office of Volunteerism
Bottom: Carlow University Service Learning Day 2006
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