Mercy at a Glance
|Area of Ministries
|Education, Childcare/Children’s Homes, Training Centres
A Jamaican woman—Jessie Ripoll—used her money and contributions from friends to purchase 43 acres on which she could establish ministries for the poor of Jamaica. Two other Jamaican women joined her in her endeavors, and they opened an orphanage named ‘Alpha’ in May 1880. A decade after the opening of the orphanage, the numbers of children increased such that the women needed some additional assistance. They invited the Sisters of Mercy from Bermondsey, England, to come to Jamaica to join them in their works of mercy. Four Sisters of Mercy from Bermondsey, England, arrived in Jamaica in December 1890 and a few months later Jessie and her two companions were received into the congregation.
Today, 19 Sisters of Mercy and two candidates belonging to the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, CCASA Community (Caribbean, Central America, and South America Community) live and minister throughout the southern portion of Jamaica.
Alpha Boy’s Home is for boys ages 6 to 18 years. Alpha Boy’s School teaches the older teens a trade such as print press printing and bookbinding, woodworking, tailoring and band-making. It is most noted for its outstanding musical tradition.
The Jessie Ripoll Primary School for children ages 6 to 12 opened in 1979 as an extension of Alpha Primary School. It has 850 students.
The Sisters of Mercy run a number of other schools at all levels including training centres and children’s homes for abandoned or orphaned children or young offenders. Among these are St. Martin de Porres Trade Training Centre, Gordon Town, Laws Street Trade Training Centre in Kingston and St. John Bosco Children’s Home in Hatfield.