November 11: A Good Cup of Tea

Catherine McAuley’s words to Teresa Carton on her last day on earth were: “Now fearing that I might forget it again, will you tell the sisters to get a good cup of tea (I think the community room would be a good place) when I am gone and to comfort one another. But God will comfort them.”

Today, November 11, 2021, marks 180 years since the death of Catherine McAuley. One of my greatest joys in answering the call to come to Mercy by the Sea has been learning about her charism and that of the Sisters of Mercy, which she founded in 1831.

Today, Sister Shelia Carney wrote a piece reflecting upon Catherine’s last messages to the sisters. Her reflection reveals the depth of her trust in God’s providence and describes how she witnessed God’s love to her family, her sisters and her associates. I was particularly moved by Sister Carney’s interpretation of why Catherine expressed the desire after she was gone that the sisters should have a good cup of tea. She also explains that it is was in the community room where Catherine taught them to be sisters.

This was the place where they made life changing decisions together; where they laughed and played together and where, in her words, ‘not one cold, stiff soul appeared’; this was the place where they had shared an intimacy more familiar than what they had experienced at home.

It reminds me that the cup of tea is wrapped in hospitality and compassion. Something I hope everyone who comes to Mercy by the Sea experiences and takes away to share with others.

I encourage you to read the full article here and to enjoy a cup of tea with those who are need of your hospitality and compassion.

Dr. Cathy Collins