Dear President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,
As the United States and the world celebrate your inauguration as president and vice president of the United States the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, an international congregation of Roman Catholic women religious in the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Pacific and the United States, share with you our hopes for this new time in history and a blessing for the challenges you face in the days ahead.
You take up your new leadership roles in the midst of unprecedented national and international crises: a global pandemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands within the United States and millions across the globe, the continuous and devastating revelation of the depth and breadth of institutional racism within every structure in our society, the environmental destruction that threatens the future of our planet, and the violence and economic insecurity that drive people from their homelands and create the international instability that leads to war.
We are grateful for your willingness to accept the public trust at this time, which we believe is a turning point in our history and an opportunity for our country and for the world. We rejoice in the historic election of the first woman vice president, a woman of color and of immigrant parents and we hope this decision continues to empower those who have been voiceless in our government for too long.
As a community of women religious founded to care for persons who are made economically poor, we urge you to use your leadership skills and the authority of your positions to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable, to encourage a recommitment among all citizens to the common good, to foster a climate of civility and dialogue, and to lead this nation to the fullness of liberty and justice for all.
We are encouraged in the Scriptures to pray for those in authority (1Tm 2:1) and so, as women of faith, we want to offer both of you a blessing as you begin your new roles. Blessings have a long history in many faith traditions of offering strength, encouragement and protection to those who have been entrusted with important tasks for the sake of the community.
On January 20, we will ask all of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, who number a little over 2,300, as well as the thousands of lay men and woman who join with us in our mission as Associates and Companions of Mercy, to pray this blessing for you. May our prayers be a source of comfort for you. May you know and experience God’s strength and support in the days ahead.
The Institute Leadership Team
Patricia McDermott, RSM; Patricia Flynn, RSM; Judith Frikker, RSM; Áine O’Connor, RSM; and Anne Marie Miller, RSM