On July 20, 1991, over 3,000 Sisters of Mercy from the Union and Federation spanning North, Central and South America, Guam, Jamaica, and the Philippines joyously entered the ballroom of the Convention Center in Buffalo, New York, in jubilant ceremony and ritual. As the doors to the room parted, and the sisters surged forward with energy and hope, a choir and instrument ensemble greeted them in joyous song. The gathering space was magnificently decorated, filled with leaders of song, dancers, animators, and many others.

A reading of the Founding Document opened the celebration. Sisters Judy Carle, Peggy Costa, and Amy Hoey—members of the Transitional Administrative Group—proclaimed for all to hear:

We, women of Mercy, have discovered a new relationship among us, and we pray that the bonds we formalize today will endure, will enliven us, and will serve our church and touch our world. We affirm this moment; we proclaim this reality; and we found this Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas on this 20th day of July 1991. In witness whereto we sign our names …     

The sisters then came forward in multiple processions to sign their names to a “Book of Founding,” and broke bread together as a symbol of their unity. Delegates to the first Institute Chapter (this general meeting) were called forth and blessed with the newly composed, soon-to-be Mercy anthem written by Sister Cynthia Serjak: “Amen, we affirm; amen, we encourage; amen, we bless and we celebrate, amen!” The next morning the First Institute Chapter of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas commenced.

The Chapter immediately set to work addressing several important issues: approval of the new Constitutions, election of a leadership team, and agreement on a direction statement that would guide the Institute’s activities for the next four years.

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