As I move towards retirement and see more of the past than future, it seems…
As I think over my years with Mercy, my mind goes back to my service year. My spouse, Mary, and I applied as a couple and served in Baltimore in 2005 and to this day we are grateful to MVC and the Sisters of Mercy for taking a chance on accepting us! First Sr. Eileen Campbell and Marie Schultz-Stebel and then Srs. Fran Demarco and Kate Bell went out of their way to welcome and place and house and love and support us throughout our year! We were blown away by these Catholic Sisters who were so radically living the Gospel of inclusion and empowering us to join them in their work of bringing God’s Mercy to those on the margins! And we rapidly got to know the Mercy Foundress – this “Catherine” – whom they all talked about like they’d had tea and scones with her the week prior! This Irish woman who had the courage to love so freely and stretch minds and hearts in her day and right down to the present soon became our trusted friend as well. And the Seed of Mercy has been planted in our hearts and growing there ever since!
When I joined the MVC staff as a Community Coordinator in 2016, it was with a feeling of having come full circle. Being a member of our amazing staff, teaming with such varied and quality service sites, working with the compassionate and committed St. Michaels and west coast support teams, supporting so many inspiring volunteers throughout the journeys of their own service years, reconnecting with so many wonderful MVC alumni and being and doing Mercy alongside the Sisters again, has truly been one of the greatest joys and most fulfilling ministries of my life. Being able to add my pronouns to my MVC email signature, attend Implicit Bias Trainings with my co-workers and participate in the Sisters’ Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) work, has assured me that the desire to continue to be stretched – my own, MVC’s and the Sisters’ – is alive and well. Getting to walk alongside others in Mercy who are LGBTQIA+ or POC or otherwise also on the margins, has been a privilege. As I leave my position in a few days, I do so with deep gratitude to Marian, Marie and the MVC staff I’ve worked with, past and present, for the profound experience these last five years have been. And I continue to cherish my identity as an MVC alum and member of this Circle of Mercy, relying on and looking forward to where you all and the Spirit of Catherine and the God of Mercy take us next! My prayer candle is burning bright for all of us as always! 🙂
Anne Boettcher – Community Coordinator