COMPASSIONATE SERVICE & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Mercy Volunteer Corps provides volunteers an experience to serve with and be present to those who are economically poor and marginalized. Mercy Volunteers join the entire Mercy Community including Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Associates, Companions in Mercy, and ministry partners in their commitment to achieving a more merciful and just world. Volunteers work in a full-time capacity at various social service agencies, health care facilities, and schools. MVC and the service sites call the volunteers to service characterized by mutuality, respect, and compassion. Rather than “giving to and doing for,” service with MVC is about the mutual empowerment of volunteers and clients, both giving and receiving, and advocating with instead of for the people they encounter daily in their service.
Volunteers witness the daily struggles of those who are poor and marginalized. Their own experiences and those of their community members challenge volunteers to consider the multiple systems contributing to the oppression and poverty their clients and students face each day. Together, we seek to respond with faith and creative actions to help bring justice and in turn peace to the global community.
Mercy Volunteers commit to:
- Working in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment with people who are poor or marginalized; and
- Striving to be merciful and just in their own attitudes, language, and actions to keep their work credible.
SIMPLE LIFESTYLE IN COMMUNITY
Volunteers live in community with others and commit to supporting a community characterized by mutual respect and encouragement of one another. Mercy Volunteer Corps challenges all volunteers to find a common framework within their community for sharing faith and making choices promoting a more merciful and just world.
Volunteers are challenged to form honest and open relationships. This challenge calls volunteers to confront tensions respectfully and address and celebrate differences among them. Learnings around communication and interdependence are often carried into a volunteer’s relationships, jobs, and life experiences beyond their MVC term of service.
The commitment to Mercy Volunteer Corps requires volunteers to live on small personal and food stipends and to contribute their food stipend to a community fund for food and household expenses. While the necessities are provided, volunteers must make conscious choices about their spending and use of resources. Careful consideration should also be given to bringing or leaving behind many material possessions or conveniences during the term of service. Mercy Volunteers are challenged to limit their use of conveniences (e.g., appliances, utilities, cars, TVs, computers, cell phones). Volunteers commit to living on their stipend and not supplementing it with personal savings or money from friends, family members, or other sources.
The simple, community lifestyle of Mercy Volunteer Corps allows volunteers to focus on people rather than possessions and to be more aware of the daily realities of the economically poor or marginalized persons with whom they work and encounter each day.
The commitment to a simple lifestyle calls volunteers individually and with their community members to examine personal and community purchases and choices around food, water usage, recycling, household items, social activities, appliance usage, utility usage, and so on. As part of their community lifestyle, volunteers must come to a consensus with their community members around the use of the common money for food and household items.
Volunteers have the opportunity to commit to:
- Seeking to live a life focused on persons and relationships rather than objects and acquisitions.
- Challenging one another and remaining open to challenges from others in discerning the concrete aspects of their communal lifestyle.
- Examining their role and the implications of their choices and actions within their broader neighborhood community, the environment, the local culture, and the global community.
- Live on their monthly food and personal stipends.
- Bringing openness and honesty to their community and a willingness to share their lives, experiences, and spirituality with community members.
- Taking part in community activities, including two community meals each week, weekly prayer and spiritual sharing, community business meetings, and informal and social times.
- Cooperating with the Guest Policies outlined by the sites/local communities providing housing and by the MVC policy regarding guests.
- Participating in community and individual meetings with their Support team.
- Accepting the support of their community, local support team, and the MVC staff.
Along with compassionate service and a simple lifestyle in community, volunteers have the opportunity to commit to personal and communal spiritual growth during their term of service. Serving with Mercy Volunteer Corps offers volunteers the opportunity to examine and integrate their faith with their experiences with and among economically poor or marginalized persons and in the context of a simple community lifestyle.
Volunteers have the opportunity to commit to personal reflection on the presence and movement of God in their daily experiences and to sharing these reflections and their own spirituality with their community.
Mercy Volunteer Corps draws its charism and spirituality from the Sisters of Mercy and their foundress Catherine McAuley. The Sisters of Mercy live an apostolic commitment of service to the Church and the world. They are called, in particular, to serve those who are poor, sick, and uneducated in society, especially women and children. As a lay ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Volunteer Corps calls volunteers to serve with them within this charism.
MVC welcomes people of all faiths. Therefore, part of sharing spirituality is an openness to and respect for differences in faith. This sharing can offer ways to pray together with those differences.
Volunteers have the opportunity to commit to:
- Striving toward spiritual growth, consistently spending time in personal reflection and prayer.
- Participating fully in and occasionally planning weekly community times of spiritual sharing, reflection, and prayer.
- Sharing their own gifts and cherishing the gifts of others.
- Participating actively in Mercy Volunteer Corps retreats by being on time and present to the planned activities and to the community of volunteers and staff.