I recently received an email from a student doing a paper on Catherine McAuley. She asked if Catherine had any symbols associated with her. Not knowing off the top of my head, I headed to web sites of the Sisters of Mercy (whom Catherine founded in 1831). To my great delight, I discovered that one of the symbols associated with Catherine is “a comfortable cup of tea.” Here’s what I found on the web site of the Sisters of Mercy in Wellington, New Zealand:
Comfortable Cup of Tea When Catherine McAuley was dying, many of the sisters gathered around her bedside to say good-bye and to pray the prayers for the dying. Not long before she died, at the end of a long day of waiting, she said to one of the sisters: “Be sure you have a comfortable cup of tea for them when I am gone.” Ever since, the comfortable cup of tea has been a symbol of the warm and caring relationships which were at the heart of Catherine McAuley’s Mercy vision.
Not being a huge tea drinker, I think I will now look at my morning cup of coffee in a new light … my comfortable cup of coffee. And when I do, I’ll think of Catherine’s warmth and compassion … a great way to start the day.