On Tuesday, December 5, a few of us met at the Sisters of Mercy Convent at Carlow University in Oakland to assist in making sandwiches for persons served by Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net. As we worked assembly-line fashion to spread the peanut butter and jelly, to decide what to do with the end pieces of the loaves of bread, and bag the sandwiches, we discussed the relevance of sandwich making, how it relates to our mission, what it meant to us personally, and what it means to work at Pittsburgh Mercy.
We talked about how such a simple task touches and serves so many people who can’t even afford one meal a day. It was as if those 100 sandwiches were like 100 prayers being answered for persons in need.
Joe Solomon and I were fortunate enough to go on Pittsburgh Mercy’s pilgrimage to Ireland to see where Catherine McAuley started the Sisters of Mercy. I must say, we always knew why we did what we do but going to Ireland and seeing where it all started brought me back to the roots of why I work at Pittsburgh Mercy. Actually, the pilgrimage was more powerful than I could have ever imagined!
We all provide a service for those in need, day-in and day-out but, while making the sandwiches, we reflected on how the Sisters of Mercy took it a step farther by going into communities, helping persons who were poor, sick, and uneducated. I went to Catholic school for 12 years and always saw the Sisters as educators. I never realized until recently that the Sisters of Mercy are not only educators, but they also live the true meaning of being social workers, pioneers in serving those in need in every way. I never felt closer to their spirit.
Frank A. Borelli is a senior director of Intellectual Disabilities Services at Pittsburgh Mercy. He has worked at Pittsburgh Mercy for 10 years.