Three years ago, Pat Storey became the first woman bishop in Ireland and the UK. Until the age of 19, however, she wasn’t even a Christian. She speaks here to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications about her life, her three years in office, her warm relationship with Roman Catholics, and her personal understanding and experience of mercy in this jubilee year as declared by Pope Francis.
She begins with a quote that speaks to her. “Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, mercy is not getting what you do deserve”. She says that has been very much her experience as a Christian who is at the receiving end of the mercy of God on a daily basis. This in turn leads her into a place of deep gratitude, a spiritual practice that is very much part of her everyday life and something she believes in inextricably linked to mercy.
So too is forgiveness, she says. She acknowledges that it can be a very demanding but nonetheless non-negotiable part of the life of any Christian. She is deeply committed to a justice-based faith but says that the scandal of God’s mercy is that it triumphs over justice every time.