National Mercy Week Begins Today


The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the place beneath.

What Portia was saying in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is that mercy should flow naturally from the human heart. I find the word “mercy” a little difficult, but liken it to “compassion” – a quality that I wish we had more of in our hearts… and, as the Sisters of Mercy say, in our actions too.

Please see more details on Jamaica’s National Mercy Week, below…

National Mercy Week begins today, September 24.  Last year, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen made a Proclamation that each year the week in which Mercy Day, September 24 falls, will be National Mercy Week. This was in response to an appeal from the Sisters of Mercy, who noted that it is not enough to feel compassion, as it is action that will relieve the world’s social ills.

Serious talk: Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr. Hoesung Lee (left) in discussion with Professor Emeritus Anthony Chen at the IPCC Conference at the University of the West Indies last December. (My photo)
Highlights of the week are a Courtesy Call to the Governor General on Tuesday, September 26 at King’s House by representatives of the Mercy Sisters; and a Seminar in collaboration with the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Institute of Gender and Development Studies  and St Michael’s Theological College at 3pm later that day at McAuley Hall, Alpha, 26 South Camp Road. The theme is: The Wager of Faith: Choosing to Believe in a Scientific World with Keynote Speaker Professor Anthony Chen.

This is an excerpt from the Governor General’s Mercy Week Proclamation:

“Whereas, at this juncture in the Jamaican society, there is a constant call from citizens for justice tempered with mercy, in this global year of Mercy … and for the past 136 Years, Alpha has served as a place of safety and refuge, extending Mercy values … and whereas showing mercy will foster a more caring society in the island of Jamaica. I do hereby proclaim the week in which the 24th day of September falls annually, National Mercy Week, and urge all citizens to join with the Mercy Sisters and Associates in Jamaica, the originators of this observance, in recognition and thanksgiving for fostering works of mercy in our island, demonstrating the mercy of God to all humankind.”

The Sisters of Mercy, founded in Ireland, joined Jamaican Jessie Ripoll, her two companions, Josephine Ximines and Louise Dugiol ten years after they started the Alpha Orphanage on South Camp Road, Kingston in 1880. Jessie joined the religious order and was known as Mother Claver. Since then, the Sisters of Mercy have created homes and institutions throughout Jamaica, working arduously to address the country’s needs.

Sister Mary Claver (nee Jessie Ripoll) was a middle class Jamaican woman, who bought 43 acres of land on South Camp Road and took in the first orphan on May 1, 1880, founding the Alpha Orphanage.

close up of water droplets over wet surface

3 thoughts on “National Mercy Week Begins Today

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