Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, was a young, upper-class Catholic woman who dedicated her life to teaching poor children and visiting the sick in Dublin's slums. When she inherited a large sum of money, Catherine decided to build a house in Dublin for servant girls and other homeless and abused women. This "House of Mercy" was constructed and formally opened on September 24, 1827. In addition to living space, there was also a school, job training programs for women and rooms for a number of ladies who joined Catherine in her mission. Because of her life-style the Bishop of Dublin suggested to Catherine that she either found a religious community of women or disband. In her strong faith, she and two of her devoted companions set out for the Presentation Convent to enter a novitiate to fulfill Church law for the foundation of the Sisters of Mercy. On December 12, 1831, the first Sisters of Mercy pronounced their vows.

Many women were attracted to join Catherine. When she died in 1841, there were fourteen Mercy foundations in Ireland and England. By 1856 the congregation had spread to Newfoundland, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

In 1991, 17 communities of Sisters of Mercy across the U.S. joined together to form the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. This union strengthens the influence of the Sisters of Mercy as they strive to carry out the commitments they established in the institute Direction Statement. This statement outlines the contemporary concerns of the Sisters of Mercy and guides the works of Mercy today.

As the Sisters of mercy are responding to the changing needs
of our times, partnerships are formed with a variety of organizations and individuals to more effectively continue the mission of Mercy that was begun in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland by the foundress, Catherine McAuley. In April 1990, in completion of one stage of the process by which the Catholic Church defines sainthood, Pope John Paul II declared Catherine McAuley venerable.

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas are an international
community of Roman Catholic women vowed to serve people who suffer from poverty, sickness and ignorance with a special concern for women and children. In innovative and traditional ways, they address human needs through collaborative efforts in education, healthcare, housing and pastoral and social services.

Membership: 6000 sisters and 1700 lay Mercy Associates; 50 Mercy Corps volunteers annually

Work: Cosponsor several hundred healthcare facilities, 20 elementary and pre-schools, 39 secondary schools, 20 colleges and universities; social centers, retreat centers, housing and justice ministries.

Location: North, South and Central America, Caribbean and islands in the Pacific; Sisters of Mercy work and live in 200 U.S. cities, in 48 states and the District of Columbia, and in 21 other countries.

Education: Through their new website, faculty, staff, students and parents can learn about Mercy Education, visit the sites and locations of all Mercy Schools, and much more.

Whenever you find a Sister of Mercy, you will find a woman committed to the welfare of the people in the community in which she works and lives.

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