The rapid expansion of the Sisters of Mercy in the six years 1835-1841 flowed from Catherine McAuley's ever generous response to human need.
She founded nine additional autonomous Convents of Mercy in Tullamore (1836), Charleville (1836), Carlow (1837), Cork (1837), Limerick (1838), Bermondsey, London (1839), Galway (1840), Birr (1840), and Birmingham (1841), and branch houses of the Dublin community in Kingstown (1835) and Booterstown (1838). She traveled with the founding parties by stage coach, canal boat, steam packet, and railway, humorously enduring the fatigue and inconvenience such travel entailed, and remained at least a month with each new community, anxious to "begin well," so the poor could be immediately served, and claiming: "God knows I would rather be cold and hungry than that the poor in Kingstown or elsewhere should be deprived of any consolation in our power to afford."
Back in Dublin her niece Catherine died of consumption in August 1837; a two-year controversy over appointment of a chaplain to serve the House of Mercy erupted with Dr. Walter Meyler; a lawsuit was unfairly settled against her for the cost of building a poor school in Kingstown; and her nephews Robert and James died in 1840 and 1841, respectively. In the midst of these sufferings and others, which she chose to embrace as the "Cross of Christ," she wrote hundreds of affectionate, even humorous, letters to the sisters in the new foundations, and submitted to officials in Rome her proposed Rule and Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy. By May 1841, Catherine now almost sixty-three, was worn out by her many labors for "Christ's dear poor" and "tormented" by a persistent cough.
March 24 1835
Catherine McAuley opens a branch house in Kingstown ( Dún Laoghaire ), as a place of convalescence for sick sisters at Baggot Street. She gives buildings on the property to create a school for the poor girls she sees "loitering about the roads". She will be subsequently charged with the entire cost of the renovation.
March 24 1835
The Holy See sends Dr Murray a letter commending the Sisters of Mercy and granting them its apostolic benediction. The community receives this welcome communication on May 3, 1835.
April 21 1836
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Tullamore, Ireland. Mary Ann Doyle is appointed superior.
October 29 1836
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Charleville, Ireland. Mary Angela Dunne is named superior.
February 5 1837
Anna Maria Harnett enters the community. She will receive the habit, taking the name Mary Vincent on July 1, 1837, and profess her vows on October 24, 1838.
April 11 1837
Catherine McAuley founds St. Leo's Convent of Mercy in Carlow, Ireland. Mary Frances Warde is appointed superior.
July 6 1837
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Cork. Mary Clare Moore is appointed superior.
August 7 1837
Catherine McAuley's niece, Mary Anne Agnes (Catherine) Macauley, dies at Baggot Street.
August 15 1837
Catherine McAuley's godchild, Teresa Byrn, who had been living at Baggot Street, enters the community. She will receive the habit and the name Mary Camillus on February 21, 1838, and profess her vows on May 4, 1841.
Daniel Burke, OSF, chaplain since 1829, resigns to accompany the new vicar apostolic of the Cape of Good Hope, Dr Patrick Griffith. A disagreement begins between Catherine McAuley and Walter Meyler over appointment of a regular, fulltime chaplain for the House of Mercy. November 1837 In Kingstown Catherine McAuley falls and breaks her wrist.
Catherine McAuley opens a branch house in Booterstown, as a replacement for the Kingstown convent, a lawsuit having been decided against her.
Receiving a legacy of £1000, Catherine McAuley decides to build a commercial laundry at Baggot Street, as income for the House of Mercy.
September 24 1838
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Limerick. Mary Elizabeth Moore is appointed superior.
The community withdraws from Kingstown, before they are evicted for non-payment of the debt (£400).
Catherine McAuley's nephew, William (Willie) Macauley, goes to sea. She loses contact with him, and later presumes that he has died at sea.
September 24 1838
The Carlow community founds a Convent of Mercy in Naas. Mary Josephine Trennor is appointed superior.
November 18 1838
Catherine McAuley, Mary Clare Moore, the two English sisters who made their novitiate in Cork, and others depart for Bermondsey, London arriving on the night of November 19.
November 21 1839
A Convent of Mercy is established in Bermondsey. Mary Clare Moore is appointed temporary superior.
Catherine McAuley sends to Rome for final approval and papal confirmation the text of the Rule and Constitution of the Sisters of Mercy.
January 4 1840
Catherine McAuley's nephew, Robert Macauley, dies of consumption.
Catherine McAuley returns to Dublin and is "confined to bed" for two weeks.
March 3 1840
Paul Gavino Secchi Murro, consultor of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, submits a positive report on the proposed Rule and Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy.
March 6 1840
With Dr. Murray's permission, Catherine McAuley appoints Mary de Pazzi Delany, to be her assistant; Mary Aloysius Scott, bursar, and Mary Cecilia Marmion, mistress of novices.
Catherine McAuley re-opens the house in Kingstown at Dr. Murray's request.
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Galway. Mary Teresa White is appointed superior.
July 20 1840
In Rome, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith approves the Rule and Constitution of the Sisters of Mercy and later forwards its recommendation to Pope Gregory XVI.
December 8 1840
The Carlow community founds a Convent of Mercy in Wexford. Mary Teresa Kelly is appointed superior.
December 27 1840
Catherine McAuley founds a Convent of Mercy in Birr. Mary Aloysius Scott is appointed superior.
March 31 1841
Fifty-two women and girls are crowded in the House of Mercy on Baggot Street at this time.
April 12 1841
Catherine McAuley writes: "My old cough is tormenting me."
April 29 1841
James Macauley, Catherine's eldest nephew, dies.
May 16 1841
Frances Gibson enters the Baggot Street community for an eventual foundation in Liverpool (1843).