Mercy at a Glance

Venerable Catherine McAuley followed in the footsteps of her father James (d. 1783) who reached out to the poor of Dublin and also catechised neighbourhood children in the Catholic faith. Catherine had the opportunity to expand her ministry when she was bequeathed the estate of William and Catherine Callaghan, with whom she lived for nearly twenty years from 1803 until 1822. She used the inheritance, which in today’s currency was worth around €3,000,000, to provide education and protection for servant girls and to care for poor women and children. She established the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin on 12 December 1831 and stated the principal aims of the Congregation were to educate poor girls, to lodge and maintain poor young women who are in danger...and to visit the sick and poor. Since that time Mercy has continued to minister throughout Ireland.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy was established in 1994 when 26 independent congregations in Ireland and the Sisters of Mercy in South Africa decided to form one congregation.

The Sisters of Mercy are engaged in a wide range of ministries in Ireland including: education; health care; pastoral care and parish work; spirituality, counseling, and retreat work; visitation of prisoners and the housebound and/or the lonely; ministry with refugees, asylum seekers, and those in recovery from addiction; ministry in support of family relationships; social justice advocacy and education; residential child care; addressing housing and homelessness needs; providing creative expressions of Christianity through art and sacred dance. In recent times a legal centre provides free legal aid to the poor and/or homeless.