Sr Deirdre and the little book that took the world by storm

Sister Deirdre Mullan.
Sister Deirdre Mullan.

A Derry nun who now works for UNICEF in New York has revealed how a booklet she wrote as a guide for the Pope’s Jubilee of Mercy has been sent around the world.

Sister Deirdre Mullan initially had 5,000 copies of her Mercy GPS booklet printed, however demand for the book has been so great she has had to print 40,000 more.

It has now gone out to Samoa, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, the USA, the UK, and Australia.

At home in Derry for Christmas, the former Thornhill College teacher described the Mercy GPS as a “simple book with a simple message.”

But she admits that she never set out to write a book.

“I did a talk in the Mercy University in New Jersey,” she explained. “I called it the Mercy GPS, our global positioning system for 2016. The talk was a guide to keep each of us on the path of mercy.

Derry Journal reporter Erin Hutcheon with her former R.E. teacher from Thornhill College Sister Deirdre Mullan.

Derry Journal reporter Erin Hutcheon with her former R.E. teacher from Thornhill College Sister Deirdre Mullan.

“Afterwards some of the young people stayed behind and asked me if they could have a copy of the talk.

“And I thought to myself - ‘that talk has really resonated with them.’”

Instead of handing out copies, Sister Deirdre sent her speaking notes to the graphic designer in UNICEF and produced the booklet.

“We started with 5,000, then it went to 40,000,” she said. “The Mercy Hospital has ordered copies which have been given to every employee. It’s gone all over the world.”

But the Derry nun says she is particularly happy that the Mercy GPS will be given out to students in Derry schools.

“It’s the simplicity in the message,” she said. “The GPS is in the spirit of Pope Francis.

“It is about paying attention to people, it is about being grateful, it is about recognising that while we are local citizens we are also global citizens. It’s about the importance of being a merciful person.

“I always say - it‘s not enough to be compassionate - you must act.”

Sister Deirdre says she believes that if everyone took on the Mercy GPS it would make a real difference.

“We are all looking for ways forward,” she said.

There are six key messages in the booklet.

Firstly, Pay Attention - connect by talking to each other instead of emailing, tweeting or facebooking. Secondly, Move Your Gears Forward - be grateful for the sacrifice and support that has been given to you and take time to pray. Thirdly, Move in a direction that will nurture the global citizen within you. Fourthly, Take delight in the good fortune of others, Fifthly, Move with courage and integrity, and Lastly, Watch Out, emulate the life of Jesus.

Copies of the books can be obtained by emailing Sister Deirdre on