Community of Care: Weekly letter from Sister Eileen

November 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

Recently I escorted a guest to her room at Mercy by the Sea and presented her with the view of Long Island Sound. Greatly relieved that she had some time to herself and stunned by the beauty, she began talking about the circumstances of her life and why she was here. She reflected on the Gospel miracle story about the ten lepers whom Jesus healed. In the story, one of the healed lepers returned to Jesus to thank him, but nine never expressed any gratitude. As we spoke, the guest looked at me and said, “I’m here because I just don’t want to be one of the nine who didn’t say thank you.” This hit home. “I just don’t want to be one of the nine who didn’t say thank you.”

This Thanksgiving will be in many ways unlike previous years’ celebrations, with fewer guests at the table, simpler menus perhaps, careful conversations due to acute political differences, masks and social distancing…or not. However we celebrate next week, it is important to realize how very sacred is this life of ours; that our families and those we love are our greatest gifts; that when we sit at the table to share any meal, that table is an altar and the meal, a sacrament.

This year the Thanksgiving season arrives at the right time, offering a chance to focus on things other than politics and the pandemic. It offers the opportunity to recognize once again the true gifts we have been given, and reminds us to say thank you to the One who is the Source of all good. That one healed leper about whom the guest reminded me returned to give thanks. May we do the same.

In the spirit of Mercy, 
Sister Eileen 


Life has become extraordinarily busy with lengthy to-do lists crammed with tasks that often get put off and put off yet again. Work-related duties, family responsibilities and social gatherings keep us running. And in the midst of our over-scheduled existence, we’re constantly bombarded by loud music while we shop, mobile devices demanding our attention, TV commercials with ear-splitting exhortations, and cable news blaring from TVs in airports and cabs in major cities. 

Yet we yearn for peace, for time to gather in our scattered energies to heal body, mind and spirit.  We hunger to really know ourselves. We thirst for a deeper relationship with God.

Enter Mercy by the Sea, an oasis of stillness; holy ground where one can experience the Sacred; a sanctuary where the Earth is respected, sustainability practiced and natural beauty abounds.

Mercy by the Sea, located on 33 acres on the shores of Long Island Sound, invites all irrespective of faith tradition to come and spend time “far from the madding crowd.” 

Mercy by the Sea offers:

  • A sanctuary for reflection and prayer
  • Programs through which you can explore new ways of being with self, others and the world at large
  • Conference rooms for church groups, nonprofit organizations and companies to take the time and space for creative thinking, fellowship, planning, etc.

Come for a day, a weekend or longer.  Come to participate in day and weekend programs, themed and directed retreats, sabbaticals, or professional spiritual direction formation. Come as a day guest to enjoy the grounds and the silence.

Come to “be still and know…”