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Sisters of Mercy join in Rome celebration

A group of 39 Sisters of Mercy and lay associates made a pilgrimage to the Holy Door of Mercy in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Divine Mercy Sunday, including a sister from Nebraska who once served in the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny said she and the others "carried the whole of our community of Mercy with us as we crossed the threshold of the Holy Door."

Born in Hastings, Sister Dobrovolny served with Mercy Housing in Omaha from 1997 to 1998. She was an assistant professor of theology at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha from 2007 to 2009, then moved to Dublin, Ireland, where she continues to work as assistant director of heritage and spirituality at Mercy International Center, site of foundress Catherine McAuley’s first ministry to the poor.

The Sisters of Mercy group prepared for the trip to Rome in part by creating, reflecting on and sharing with others 24 Stations of Mercy, based on the Stations of the Cross and the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy.

Once there, they prayed and sang as they walked to the Holy Door, participated in the sacrament of reconciliation, adoration of the Eucharist and other devotions. They also gathered with thousands of others on the basilica’s square for an April 2 prayer vigil and April 3 Divine Mercy Sunday Mass with Pope Francis.

"In our joint prayer together, we carried with us those in our home communities, and we carried with us the places of pain and division in our world," Sister Dobrovolny said. "We are all missioned to go forth from this experience of mercy to be a living embodiment of mercy in our world."

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