On Mercy Day, Sept. 23, more than 500 Mount St. Mary Academy’s students, faculty and staff participated in a schoolwide annual day of community service projects at nearly 20 locations across central Arkansas.
Held each year on or near Sept. 24, the day of service commemorates the opening of Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley’s first House of Mercy in Ireland in 1827.
This year’s Mercy Day activities included cleaning and picking up trash, preparing meals, sorting clothing, and helping with various additional tasks at churches, schools and organizations that serve those in need. Work was completed at the following sites: The Allen School, Allsopp Park, Calvary Cemetery, Camp Aldersgate, CareLink, Central Arkansas Library System, Easterseals, Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Home for Healing, Jericho Way Day Resource Center, Little Rock Compassion Center, Live Thankfully Little Rock, Abba House, Museum of Discovery, Recycle Bikes for Kids, River City Ministry, St. Joseph Center of Arkansas, St. Theresa School, Stewpot, War Memorial Park and Mount St. Mary Academy.
Six seniors — Julie Anne Brown, Alexia Coca, Lilly Davis, Olivia Edwards, Anna Alyse Patterson and Lauren Satterfield — joined MSM controller Kate Davis to clean the headstones of the Sisters of Mercy at Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock.
Working in the school’s finance office, Davis doesn’t regularly interact with students at the all-girl school, but Mercy Day gives her that opportunity.
“Mercy Day is about service and serving the community and showing the girls how to have a servant's heart,” she said. “This is a day when the business office and the administration also gets in and serves alongside them. It’s really cool.”
Controller Davis said she asked to be assigned to serve in the cemetery.
“It’s calming. I just like it,” she said. “The sisters didn't have any children, so there's no one to come back and clean their graves for them. Mount girls are their descendants, and we’re honoring and praying for them today.”
Senior Lilly Davis said she relishes Mercy Day for the opportunity to connect with the school’s past and her fellow classmates.
“It’s important because it shows respect,” she said. “To clean up the sisters’ area of the cemetery claims them as ours because they don't have family members that can come out, honor and remember them.”
Patterson said the day is a reminder that faith is at the heart of the school.
“With the Sisters of Mercy, the center part of our education is about service and giving our time to others,” she said. “I think it shows to other people, as well as instills in us, the importance of service. I think it's great that we take our time, once a year, to go do service as a school. We're all working in different places, and then we come together for Mass.”
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