Mercy at a Glance

The first Sisters of Mercy to cross from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere were Ursula Frayne rsm and her six companions who traveled from Dublin on a ship called The Elizabeth. They arrived in western Australia in 1846, took a riverboat to Perth and established a new foundation in order to meet the educational needs of the pioneering society.

Sisters of Mercy minister in both urban and rural Australia. They are educators, theologians, scripture scholars, writers and publishers, researchers, archivists, historians, musicians, artists, environmentalists, ecologists, bio-ethicists, ecumenists, canon lawyers and lawyers. They minister in interfaith relations, with media and communication technologies, administrative institutions, and offer hospitality in a variety of ways. Specific peoples and ministerial concerns to which they are committed are: asylum seekers and refugees; women and poverty; eco-justice; and indigenous concerns.

Sisters of Mercy in Australia fulfill their ministry commitment in partnership with civic communities, other religious organizations, Associates and partners-in-ministry. They sponsor and co-sponsor ministries in the areas of education (including at least 14 schools, a library, a foundation supporting students in health care ethics, and housing and support services for teenage girls trying to finish their education); health care (including hospitals, aged care facilities, and organizations providing services to women with mental health issues), social services (including low cost accommodation facilities; organizations providing services to homeless women, families in domestic violence situations, and people with disabilities; respite care organization for stressed or lonely mothers; and other welfare agencies); spirituality (including retreat centres and a house of hospitality); communications media (through Fraynework); refugee services (through Mercy Refugee Service); and Mercy heritage centres.

In 2000, Mercy Works Inc. was established to further the justice, human rights and development work of the Sisters of Mercy and their ministry partners in Australia and elsewhere. Programmes Mercy Works Inc. currently supports in Australia are in the areas of community and school education, refugee support, and indigenous concerns.