Wearing a school ring is an everlasting tradition for many high schools. It is a unifying experience that brings classmates together and creates a common bond that lasts long past graduation. The Mercy school rings are no exception to this. Engraved with whatever the student wants, commonly the initials and year of graduation, the rings can be worn every day to serve as a reminder of the years spent at Mercy.
Unlike the typical high school ring, Mercy school rings carry the shield instead of a gem. Ms. McCoy, coordinator of the school rings, described the design as, “emblazoned with the shield of the Sisters of Mercy”. She explained that the shield symbolizes the charisms of the Sisters of Mercy, specifically charity, love of God, courage, and wholesomeness. These characteristics were adopted by Catherine McAuley and because of this, the Mercy shield is engraved on the school rings.
The option for purchasing a school ring is open to all students starting their sophomore year, but any year following is able to order one too. It is even open to alumnae if they didn’t have the opportunity to buy one when they were in school.
To make the event of getting a school ring even more special, there is a ceremony held in the chapel for the girls to receive them. This year, there were forty girls purchasing a school ring and the ceremony was held on Tuesday November 27. The ceremony begins with an explanation of the meaning of the shield and then each girl is called forth to receive her ring. Prior to the ceremony, Fr. Salanitro, priest of Holy Cross, blessed the rings. The participants read a prayer together and complete the tradition of the turning of the rings. This tradition deals with the pillars of Mercy; faith, knowledge, and compassionate service. The girls literally turn the ring on their finger once for each pillar and then in the opposite direction to seal these characteristics into their lives.
Although optional, there is always a huge participation in school rings from the students. It’s an amazing way to carry Mercy around with you and always be reminded of the life lessons you learned while there. Ms. McCoy’s favorite aspect of the school ring program is that it “stands as a symbol of all that is needed as everyone strives to become a woman of Mercy.”. The rings serve as an everlasting symbol of the important place each girl has in the Mercy family.