A reflection from Caitlin Conneely rsm
March 20, 2012
“Speak the story, whisper to the Earth,
touch the moments, blessings of rebirth.
Taste the wonders, the fragrances, the fears,
See Love’s unfolding echo through the years.” 1
Those words from Miriam Martin came to mind as I prepared for the anniversary celebrations here in Brisbane. Anniversaries are celebrated because they enable us “be drawn into the circles and spirals of storytellers and storytelling.”2 Spoken or unspoken, stories are powerful containers for the energy of our lives. We live out of our stories and we respond over and over to their influence. Martin Buber, the philosopher, believed that telling a story expressively, can contribute powerfully to our insight, healing, and enlivenment. He pointed to this power in a story about a story
......My grandfather was lame. Once they asked him to tell a story about his teacher. And he related how this teacher used to hop and dance while he prayed. My grandfather rose as he spoke, and he was so swept away by his story that he began to hop and dance to show how the master had done. From that hour on he was cured of his lameness. 3
This morning it is my great privilege to tell the story of Catherine McAuley – a story that contains many stories. This morning it is my great privilege to tell the story of Catherine McAuley – a story that contains many stories. During the next three days stories from 19th century Ireland, the stories of our world today and our dream story for the future will be told. While we may not hop and dance in the telling, I trust that the stories will touch a place deep in our hearts so that the love, the compassion and the spirit of Catherine will continue to dance within us as we remember Vincent Whitty and her companions who crossed the sea from faraway Dublin to Queensland 150 years ago.
There are so many wonderful stories one could tell, so many aspects of Catherine’s life on which one could dwell. Today I am able to focus only on three of these. I wish to highlight the extraordinary way in which Catherine used her gifts and her own experience of life in pursuit of her life’s purpose. I shall then focus on the warm-hearted human woman who had, in her own words, “an ardent desire to be united to God and to serve the poor.”4 Finally I shall look at her relationship with her early companions and how this relationship helped in their growth and development as they continued her mission of showing God’s love and compassion to so many parts of the world.
Catherine McAuley, unlike most Catholics of her time, was born into a comfortably well off family towards the end of the Penal Laws era in Ireland. The object of the Penal Laws was threefold: "To deprive Catholics of all civil life; to reduce them to a condition of extreme, brutal ignorance; and, to disassociate them from the
soil.”5 Catherine’s own parents were not the ordinary poor Catholics of 19th century Dublin – her father availed of the concession in the Penal Laws which allowed Catholics to engage in trade and non-professional activities. At the time of Catherine’s birth, he owned land and several properties in Dublin. He was very committed to his faith and to the church and his love of God was expressed in his great love for the poor. Even though Catherine was only a child of five when he died, she retained vivid memories of his gathering of poor children from the area in their home, to feed them and to instruct them in their faith. She was deeply influenced by him and never forgot his great love for the poor.
Her mother Elinor came from a similar social background. She is described as young, attractive and vain but of little piety. She failed to appreciate the Christian charity which urged her husband to befriend the poor and to instruct their children in the house. She was gentle, fastidious and charming. Her mother’s influence and training contributed to Catherine’s independent mind, her great refinement, her graciousness and personal charm.
Following her father’s death the family moved several times before finally settling in the city where Catherine spent her teenage years. When her mother died she spent time with her relatives - the Conways and the Armstrongs. By the time Catherine was twenty her life was already chequered by transitions from wealth to poverty, to orphan hood, to being homeless, to reliance on other people’s charity and dependency on those who provided for her. She then moved in with the Callaghans who were to change the course of her life. She moved to Coolock with them and spent over twenty years of her adult life there.
Living in the quiet countryside away from the glamour and the sophistication of the city provided the atmosphere for God to speak to her heart. Catherine discovered anew the compassionate Jesus who drew her to him and gave her that heart to share with Dublin’s poorShe discovered anew the compassionate Jesus who drew her to him and gave her that heart to share with Dublin’s poor Here she also learned many skills, particularly in the area of management. The Callaghans held her in high esteem and William Callaghan left her the bulk of his wealth with no conditions attached.
At the age of 44 Catherine became an heiress. She did not follow her brother’s and friends’ advice, which would have enabled her to walk through the doors of fashionable society. Catherine was one who allowed the experiences of life to teach and to guide her. Sr. Sheila Carney says, “one who I like to say, was a recycler – taking what was given to her, wrapping it in the mercy of God, she had experienced, and then finding a way to pass it on.”6
She built on the experiences of her own childhood, her time in the city and her extended period of time in Coolock. Her experience of teaching poor children in the city convinced her that permanent improvement for Dublin’s slum dwellers could only come through the provision of education for the young people roaming the streets.
Besides her devotion to the sick and the poor she felt a keen sympathy for one class of persons particularly, young servant girls exposed to danger. Catherine had experienced their plight first hand when one such girl appealed to her for help. She could not help her on that occasion, but she was deeply affected by the experience. One day when Mr. Callaghan asked her what she would do after he died, she told him, quite frankly, that she would devote herself first to the protection of young servant girls through teaching them to support themselves and by guiding them in Christian living. The need to care for servant girls is no surprise as there were 18, 274 servant girls in the city of Dublin in 1841 by far the highest occupation at that time.7 The legacy from the Callaghans enabled Catherine to buy a site and to build a house on Baggot Street for various kinds of religious, educational and social services to help poor women and children.
Let us now focus on this warm hearted human woman who, in the words of Teresa White, “was rather tall, five feet five and had a queenly air.” 8 We discover her humanness and warmth above all through her Letters and from descriptions of her by those who knew her well. I would like to begin with the words of your own Vincent Whitty. . “If you had known her, how you would have loved and venerated her, and still be as familiar with her as with an intimate friend... “If you had known her, how you would have loved and venerated her, and still be as familiar with her as with an intimate friend... She was humble, yet dignified, so playful and witty, yet reserved and charitable, so pious and strict yet amiable and kind. But to me at least, the climax of her attractions was that she was always the same, always ready to listen.”9
The greatest gift one can offer another is the gift of true presence. In one of the first biographies of Catherine, Vincent Harnett noted that her eyes had a “penetrating but benign expression” and that her “deportment ….. was most kind and compassionate.”10 People immediately sensed her warmth and love reaching out to them and could relax in her presence. Vincent Harnett also comments: “She was gifted with great observation and she seemed to be intimately acquainted with the workings of the human heart; so that with ease she adapted her conversation either for edification or instruction to the circumstances of the moment and always agreeably and with dignity.”11 Teresa White, one of Catherine’s early companions and a close friend, described this open and welcoming attitude towards others to Sr. Austin Carroll. She says: “There was something about her so kind yet so discerning that you would fancy she read your heart. If you came to speak to her of the most trifling matter, although occupied with the most important affairs, she would instantly lay all aside and give you any satisfaction in her power.”12
Another feature of Catherine’s ability to make people feel ‘at home’ with her was her humility. We are told that she never put on ‘airs and graces’ but interacted with others as an equal. When she visited Carlow the sisters were deeply impressed by her humble manner and the Carlow annalist noted: “...the most amiable trait in her character which we believed we discerned was a total absence of everything in her manner telling, ‘I am the Foundress’.” 13
She humbly acknowledges her struggles and weaknesses. She touches our hearts when we discover she was unable to attend the reception on the day the chapel in Baggot Street was blessed. This was because of the way some of the clergy had treated her. The experience was more than she could bear. Later, during the chaplaincy dispute, she wrote to Frances Warde asking her to pray that she would let go of all resentment in her heart. “Pray fervently to God to take all bitterness from me.”14 She openly acknowledges to Frances her difficulty in dealing with the artistic nature of Clare Augustine Moore, “Sr. Mary Clare (Augustine) Moore is a character not suited to my taste or my ability to govern – though possessing many very estimable points....”15
Sr. Marianne Hieb has written of how the struggles and pressure that Catherine faced, at times brought her to a point where she felt “unable” to cope with the pain. She refers to this as the grace of unable and finds solace and encouragement in the humanness and vulnerability of Catherine.16 I recently attended a Conference in Dublin, dealing with the fallout from the Clerical Child Sex Abuse Scandal. The focus throughout the Conference was on the journey that is required if we are to move forward into a more wholesome future. The speakers emphasised, among other things, the urgent need to find a way to be truly human and sexual in our world today. I believe that call to be truly human would be very close to the heart of Catherine were she alive today.
Catherine’s call in life might best be expressed in her own words in the letter she wrote to Rev. Gerald Doyle describing the entrance requirements for the Sisters of Mercy. At the heart of those requirements was “an ardent desire to be united to God and to serve the poor." At the heart of those requirements was “an ardent desire to be united to God and to serve the poor. Those two aspects are so closely linked in Catherine’s life that one sees them not as two separate energies but as one life force flowing through her. The unity of prayer and service are embodied in Catherine’s life. Everything she did was blessed by her prayer. Her vision moved her to help others and her helping those in need made her turn to God for God’s help. She insists on the need for a profound spiritual life yet shows that the works of mercy are the business of our lives and are ways of union with God. Catherine quotes from someone to whom she refers as the “devout author” and says “each action is full of God, breathes God, shines with God, is fragrant of God.”17
For Catherine, Mercy was the path by which one follows Jesus. Burke Savage says of her it was this deep personal love of Christ that she wishes to be the heart and soul of her Institute “it was this deep personal love of Christ that she wishes to be the heart and soul of her Institute. Her immense charity to the poor was but an expression of that love, and in the exercise of it, she never lifted her gaze from Christ, whom she found in each poor sufferer.”18 The call of the dynamic between contemplation and action is difficult and calls for a deep integration in one’s life. It calls us to hold in graceful balance our lives of prayer and our lives of service. We see how Catherine managed this balance from another saying, “We have one solid comfort amidst this tripping about: our hearts can always be in the same place, centred in God, for whom alone we go forward - or stay back.”19 Catherine wrote this in a letter to Sr. deSales White in 1840 when she herself was extremely busy with constant travel to her foundations and with unrelenting demands. So while her body is exhausted and weary she is comfortable and at rest in the presence of God. On another occasion she says, “What advantage are our works to God? But our working hearts he longs for, and he pleads for with touching earnestness.” 20
Recently I heard a story that spontaneously brought Catherine to mind. A group of people had gathered in order to share their favourite poems and stories. One man recited the psalm The Lord is my Shepherd. He recited it beautifully and he was highly applauded after it. He was asked to repeat the psalm. The second recitation was equally applauded. The session continued and later in the evening another man slowly approached the microphone. He too chose the psalm The Lord is my shepherd. His voice was rather weak. When he finished there was no applause. There was utter silence and quiet. The whole atmosphere had changed. Eventually, the man who first recited the psalm said. “I knew the psalm The Lord is My Shepherd, and I know that I recited it very well but this man is different. This man knows the Shepherd, and that is the difference.”
Catherine knew the Shepherd. Is it any wonder that Bishop Michael Blake spoke of her “as holy, eminently holy.”21 Fr. Martin Nolan, a former postulator, said of her, “Catherine McAuley ... met the great challenges of her day with an unflagging faith and found its expression in an immense peace and playful light- heartedness. In all the travel and turmoil of her life as a Foundress, she was at home within herself with the indwelling Lord. She radiated the tranquillity of inner intimacy.”22 This aspect of Catherine’s life is one of today’s challenges to all of us. I agree with Sheila Carney who says, “perhaps one way we could be counter cultural in our world today, would be to stand against the frenzy and workaholism we see around us, and sometimes contribute to; to be in our hectic and clamorous world persons and places of deep peace; to bring to our service not the distraction of a hundred other things but to approach each person and each task with focus and reverence.” 23
Joanna Regan writes: “Catherine McAuley brought her heart to misery. By courageous contagious concern for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the poor, the sick and the ignorant, she broke through the impossibilities of her time. She animated many to walk with her. She animated others at centres of wealth, power and influence to share in her heroic efforts. She connected the rich to the poor, the healthy to the sick, the educated and skilled to the uninstructed, the influential to those of no consequence, the powerful to the weak to do the work of God on earth.” 24
Catherine loved the poor and while she saw the need for individual charity and almsgiving for the poor she also knew that this alone would not change the unjust structures in the wider society which locked them into a vicious cycle of grinding poverty. She saw the need to address the injustices that excluded the poor from accessing the services which would empower them to liberate themselves from this life of poverty. She developed a vision for the poor of Dublin which would empower them to take charge of their own lives.
Catherine was convinced that education in particular, especially for women, would be the means by which poor children would improve their lot. In the Original Rule she wrote: “The sisters shall feel convinced that no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of the poor, than the careful instruction of women since whatever be the station they are destined to fill, their example and their advice will always possess influence…”25 “The sisters shall feel convinced that no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of the poor, than the careful instruction of women since whatever be the station they are destined to fill, their example and their advice will always possess influence…” Consequently she used her resources, and she set out to establish schools for the poor in Dublin. We know that she went to France to learn the latest methods of Education. For Catherine, formation as well as information was an important element of education. People were trained not only in the moral virtues such as honesty and trustworthiness, but also in practical skills thus making her students “fit for heaven without being unfit for earth.” 26
She looked at people’s needs and saw how different circumstances required adaptation in the content of the curriculum. For example, in 1823, in Middle Abbey Street Parochial school, Catherine trained the children to do needlework and embroidery which she later enticed her wealthy friends to buy. When the house in Baggot Street was built, she introduced Arts and Crafts, and more advanced courses in home management in the House of Mercy. The students were trained in dress making, crochet, weaving, laundering and cooking. Domestic skills equipped girls to become servants and practical skills such as knitting, sewing, etc. helped to supplement their income.
In a way one could say that Baggot Street became an Institute of adult education, an employment Bureau and a sheltered workshop for many girls not yet employed. This was an achievement when one realizes that The Agricultural and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act was not passed until 1881. She was also ahead of her time in adopting a pupil-teacher system. In 1836, her school in Baggot Street had the status of a teacher-training centre from which young women were placed in employment two years before the establishment of the Central Training School in Marlborough Street Dublin in 1838, a training school which remained exclusively male until 1842. This was an extraordinary achievement in promoting the role of women in a male-dominated society and enabling them to take responsible positions in that society.
Catherine always aimed to bring the human face of suffering into the vision and consciousness of the well-to-do as a way of challenging them to share their resources with the poor. It was with this in mind that she built her convent in the up market area of Baggot Street. She also established pension schools, an initiative which caused some controversy at the time, one of her purposes being, to imbue the more well off students with a sense of responsibility for the poor.
Catherine had firsthand experience of sickness – she nursed her mother through her final illness and then Mrs. Callaghan. She visited the poor in wretched conditions in the back streets of Dublin and in the village of Coolock. She cared for her sister Mary and watched her young sisters die in Baggot Street. These experiences opened her heart to the needs of the sick, and she held a special place in her heart for the sick. This was expressed in the urgency with which she began the ministry to the hospitals and visitation to the hovels of Dublin as well as responding to the needs of the cholera victims. She added a chapter to the Rule dealing specifically with caring for the sick. “Great tenderness of all things” 27was her advice to Elizabeth Moore when requesting her to care for Sr. Sausse.
Catherine never envisaged going it alone. Her dream was that other women of means would spend some time with her in the service of the poor. At the beginning, this was how she operated in Baggot Street and then when the continuity of the ministry called for it, she agreed, however reluctantly, to found a religious congregation. “I never intended to become a nun, all I wanted was to serve the poor because this is what God seemed to be asking of me.”28 How Catherine worked with her team of women is worthy of consideration. We know that her early companions were the ones who left Baggot Street to establish convents in other parts of Ireland and England during Catherine’s lifetime and later to Newfoundland, the Americas and Australia. She included them in decision making in Baggot Street as early as 1830. “At this time she with his (Dr. Blake’s) advice and the permission of Most Rev. Dr. Murray sent to the different convents to request the loan of their rules which she carefully reviewed and read aloud to those who were to form the Institute. They all chose the Presentation Rule ....” 29
Catherine supported, encouraged, facilitated and thus enabled those young women with whom she worked in a variety of ways. She was a great believer in learning by experience and helped her Sisters to do this. When beginning a new foundation, she usually brought with her a novice/ postulant together with one or two experienced women for a few months so that the new group could gain from the experience of those already trained in the more established convents. In each new foundation, she herself stayed for a month at least, and more than that when needed, in order to support and encourage the new community. She kept in touch with the various foundations through circulars, imparting newsy details as well as good and sound advice, but she did this without interfering with the responsibility of the new local superior. Her support also included letters to these leaders, encouraging, cajoling, loving, and gently remonstrating when that was required.
Catherine’s capacity for enabling those women was most evident in her ability to recognize potential in her early companions and to challenge this to be called forth. This is most apparent in her appointment of the young women she chose as leaders in the new foundations. She seemed to know intuitively what each person and each situation needed and was delighted when she saw their gifts and talents blossoming. Her advice to young superiors coming out of her own experience was to “study the dispositions of all under her charge and employ them according to their abilities.” 30She also advised them to remember that “Every place has its own particular ideas and feelings which must be yielded to when possible.”31 She did not believe in pushing people beyond their limit and advised de Sales White in the following words. “Let us take one day only in hands - at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow. Thus we may hope to get on - taking short careful steps, not great strides.” 32 At the same time, her enablement of her Sisters also included checking or challenging them if she believed that this needed to be done. But always she did this in such a way that people were not put down and their confidence in themselves was not eroded.
Though young and inexperienced, Catherine’s companions managed to do extraordinary things. Mary Ann Doyle was shy, timid, cautious, serious and somewhat withdrawn in disposition. However, Catherine chose Mary Ann for the first foundation outside Dublin, and Mary Ann followed Catherine’s example in establishing foundations of her own. Elizabeth Moore was the woman, who began the foundation in Limerick, and about whom Catherine wrote to Frances Warde in the following words; “As for Sr. Elizabeth, with all her readiness to undertake it - we never sent forward such a feint-hearted soldier, now that she is in the field. She will do all interior & exterior work, but to meet on business – confer with the bishop – conclude with a sister – you might as well send the child that opens the door. I am sure this will surprise you. She gets white as death – and her eyes like fever. She is greatly liked – and when the alarms are a little over and a few in the House, I expect all will go on well.” 33 Elizabeth later went on to establish foundations in Ireland and Scotland, and she accomplished much besides.
Frances Warde, with whom Catherine had a deep friendship, was an energetic, strong and vivacious character, with remarkable prudence and a great head for management. Frances was chosen by Catherine for the Carlow foundation. She established three more convents in Ireland before crossing the sea to Pittsburgh in 1843, from there to Providence, Rhode Island (1851) and then to Manchester, New Hampshire (1858). From these foundations, she established almost 100 others. She faced enormous challenges: travelling across virgin territories in the United States, dealing with bigotry in the various regions and enduring many struggles with church authorities.
Vincent Whitty, your own foundress, had a special relationship with Catherine. Vincent entered on January 15 1839, was professed in on August 19, 1841- less than three months before Catherine’s death. Mary Vincent received much of her novitiate training and preparation for profession directly from Catherine. During Catherine’s final weeks, she had the role of head cook in the infirmary and looked after Catherine. She was with Catherine when she died and has left us with a description of Catherine’s final days. She served in the role of reverend mother and novice mistress and carried some considerable influence in Dublin before her departure for Brisbane. She established foundations, she sent sisters to France to study the structure and operation of large-scale hospitals for the poor, and she purchased land in Eccles Street and began the planning and development for the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Incidentally this Hospital is also celebrating its 150th anniversary on the 24th. Let us pause for a moment and send blessings to all in the Mater. Vincent assembled sisters to minister in the Crimean war. In Queensland she was instrumental over thirty years of her life in establishing a network of Mercy schools and social institutions, and she welcomed Catholics and Protestants in these institutions. Reflecting on the stories of these four women one is struck by Catherine’s influence on what they did and on how they did it.
While struggling with the aftermath of the Ryan Report in Ireland, which dealt with the sad saga of abuse and harsh regimes in our residential institutions, I have often pondered on the lives of Catherine and those early women who joined her and I wondered how what happened within our institutions could have happened.
The Congregation was only ten years old when Catherine died and her companions, who were greatly influenced by her carried forward her spirit. In time, however, it seems that Catherine’s spirit and her sound wisdom faded among the sisters; maybe because of the great demands placed upon them, by overwork, the expectations of bishops and others, the lack of sound training in spirituality and theology and an overemphasis on sacrifice. Somewhere that extraordinary humanity and compassion of Catherine got lost in the struggle to survive and was replaced at times by regimes of harshness and a preoccupation with the upkeep of the institutions rather than the care of the poor. The words of the poet W. B. Yeats come to mind, “Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.” 34This is a source of great pain to Mercy Sisters and calls us to be forever faithful to Catherine’s words: “There are three things the poor prize more highly than gold, tho’ they cost the donor nothing; among these are the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows.” “There are three things the poor prize more highly than gold, tho’ they cost the donor nothing; among these are the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows.” 35
Immediately following the publication of the Ryan Report, as I struggled with anger, denial, sadness, deep regret and shame, two women called to see the Director in Baggot Street. They were survivors of one of the Mercy orphanages. They wanted to express their suffering and their anger towards Mercy. Above all, they looked on the visit as an opportunity to let go of the past and to carry on with their lives. I felt extremely vulnerable as I listened to their story. I broke down in tears when I expressed my deep sorrow for the pain they had suffered in Mercy care. At that moment, one of the women came over and put her arms around me to ensure that I was okay. To me, at that moment, that woman was Catherine expressing the compassion of God. This was a powerful lesson for me and brought immense healing.
During my time as Director of Mercy International Centre, the most common regret expressed by pilgrims, sisters in particular, was the lack of emphasis on the life and story of Catherine in their training. On getting to know her better, they were deeply touched by her humanness and her compassion. They wished that they had been more aware of this aspect of her life during their early years and in their ministry. This anniversary celebration is an invitation to us to commit ourselves anew to a deeper knowledge of the story of Catherine and closeness to her spirit of tenderness and compassion.
Catherine did not know the future – the little group, gathered around her bed as she lay dying, looked very fragile indeed. She, more than anyone, knew their fragility. Yet she trusted in God and in the Constitutions and she did not name a successor. In Familiar Instructions she had written “The Order is God’s work – not mine. It will do as well without me.” 36 Today, as Sisters of Mercy, we may seem equally fragile. We are an ageing group of women but let us never forget that we are gifted with years of wisdom, experience and service. Are we, like Catherine, willing to trust the future into the hands of God and the hands of those of have walked faithfully with us over the years? Do we believe the words of the prophet Isaiah? “Behold I am doing a new thing. Even now it comes to light: Can you not see it?” 37
During this special day as we recall the arrival of the first Sisters of Mercy to Brisbane let us open ourselves to be gifted and challenged by the aspects of Catherine’s life focused on this morning; let us choose to use our gifts and experience in pursuit of our life’s purpose, let us be human and warm-hearted as we respond to the call of union with God and the service of the poor, and let us commit ourselves to always work in collaboration with others gathered around us. This will prepare us for the particular challenges facing us, our world and our universe as we continue this Conference.
I conclude with Frances Warde’s words about our beloved Catherine:
You never knew her.
I knew her better than I have known anybody in my life.
She was a woman of God and God made her a woman of vision.
She showed me what it means to be a Sister of Mercy,
To see the world and its people in terms of God’s love,
To love everyone who needed love,
To care for everyone who needed care.
Now her vision is driving me on.
May her vision continue to drive us on “moving us from compassion to contemplation to communion to creative commitment.”38
1.Miriam Martin, pbvm , Field of Compassion by Judy Cannato p. 14
2.Martin Buber, A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer p. 125 -126
3.Elaine Wainwright, rsm, Fire Cast on the Earth – Kindling, p. 140
4.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p.77
5.W.E.H. Lecky, History of Ireland in the 18th Century
6.Sheila Carney, rsm, Catherine’s Call, www.mercyworld.org Spirituality
7.Census of Ireland for the Year 1841 – Females, persons fifteen years old and upwards
8.Mary Austin Carroll, Annals Vol. 1, p. 49 -50
9.Mary C. Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy p. 240
10.Vincent Harnett, , The Life of Rev. Mother Catherine McAuley
11.Vincent Harnett, , The Life of Rev. Mother Catherine McAuley
12.Mary Austin Carroll, , Annals Vol. 1, p. 49 -50
13.Mary C. Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy p. 230
14.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 144
15.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 368
16.Marianne Hieb rsm, Catherine McAuley and the Grace of Unable, Mast Journal, Vol. 4, no. 1, 1993
17.Familiar Instruction of Rev. Mother McAuley, St. Louis: 1927, p. 88
18.Rev. R. Burke Savage, Catherine McAuley – The First Sister of Mercy
19.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p.332
20.Familiar Instructions, p. 103
21.Mary C. Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy p. 191
22.Martin Nolan, Former Postulator
23.Sheila Carney, rsm, Catherine’s Call, www.mercyworld.org Spirituality
24.Johanna Regan rsm, Tender Courage
25.Mary C. Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy p. 297
26.Mary Austin Carroll, Life of Catherine McAuley
27.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 90
28.Carmel Bourke rsm, A Woman Sings of Mercy p. 19
29.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 88
30.Quote from the Sayings and Statements of the Foundress, St. Maries of the Isle, Cork
31.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 168
32.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 365
33.Mary C. Sullivan, Ed., The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818 – 1841, p. 159
34.W. B. Yeats, Easter 1916
35.Familiar Instructions p. 136
36.A letter from Frances Warde to Sr. Gonzaga O’ Brien 1879
38. Francis Dorff, The Art of Passing Over p. 190