The Sisters of Mercy have released a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community for Pride Month, the latest step on the congregation’s committed path to building queer inclusion.
The statement, titled “Call to Inclusive Love and Abundant Justice” and released by the Sisters of Mercy’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Work Group (SOGI), celebrates the commitment of women religious and lay associates in advocating for the dignity of LGBTQ+ people:
“We rejoice in the many Mercy people who embrace SOGI’s work as their own, learning and teaching about the lives and loves of people who have been marginalized. We are deeply gratified that the broad and diverse community that is Mercy recognizes that there are no cookie cutter ways to handle justice issues. People in specific cultures and places are empowered to find their best ways forward, and so too with LGBTQ+ allies. In the spirit of encuentro we learn from colleagues across the Mercy map. Many strategies are needed to assure the safety and well-being of those whose very lives are in danger because of heterosexism and homohatred.”
The statement, which is also available in Spanish, not only honors the work undertaken by Mercy members, it acknowledges that this is a particularly difficult Pride Month for many queer people given an onslaught of anti-transgender legislation and hateful rhetoric:
“It is shocking that violence against trans people, especially trans people of color, is on the rise. It is dismaying that books on SOGI topics are banned in some school districts. It is painful that some church officials persist in uncharitable and often untrue statements about the lives of our siblings. It is distressing to realize that even in our own circles there are still people who fear the consequences of telling their own truth.”
The Sisters take an intersectional approach to anti-LGBTQ+ violence, and emphasize that Mercy community will not only be celebrating Pride but also actively discerning how their work can better include marginalized peoples:
“How do we make visible and welcome LGBTQ+ people in the midst of Mercy and beyond? How do we take seriously the racism that undergirds the many forms of oppression we seek to eradicate?”
For years, the Sisters of Mercy have been outspoken in their support of LGBTQ+ people. The congregation has already released several statements in past months speaking out against anti-trans legislation in state legislatures, including New Hampshire. On the Transgender Day of Visibility this year, the religious community explained the foundations of it’s LGBTQ-positive advocacy through the lens of the Mercy charism:
“We celebrate transgender people on this Day of Visibility. We stand as advocates with transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive persons for whom public acceptance is often wanting and violence is common. As part of our Mercy mission, we ‘strive to deepen our relationship with God and one another and to intensify our work with those seeking a more just and inclusive world’ (2017 Chapter Recommitment).”
Two Sisters of Mercy support New Ways Ministry as board members, too: Elizabeth Linehan, RSM, who chairs the Mercy SOGI working group, and Anne Marie Miller, RSM, of the Mercy Institute Leadership Team.
This Pride Month, the Sisters of Mercy again exemplify Christ’s compassionate solidarity with the marginalized by their advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Notably, their work is always rootedin the distinctive Mercy mission and charism, which illustrates the importance of religious orders and communities supporting their queer siblings under God in an organized manner.
—Andru Zodrow (he/him), New Ways Ministry, June 19, 2023