Earliest Pioneer Sisters of Mercy in the Americas

A biography written by Paula Diann Marlin rsm

In the fifteen years between 1843 and 1858, six groups of women left various convents in Ireland to come to the Americas. Most of the Sisters were under thirty years of age, many were recently professed, and some were still novices and postulants. Each departure was a new beginning.

While each foundation was unique, all the early foundations required courage, resourcefulness, and compassion. Upon their arrival, the early Sisters began visitation of the sick, comfort of the distressed, and Christian education programs for adults and children. They tackled unexpected obstacles such as numerous epidemics with creativity and ingenuity. Mobility and flexibility in service were keys in the expansion of the works of Mercy in schools, hospitals, and social services in urban and rural areas from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

1843 – From Carlow to Pittsburgh

  • Frances Warde
  • Josephine Cullen
  • Elizabeth Strange
  • Aloysia Strange
  • Philomena Reid
  • Veronica McDarby
  • Agatha O’Brien

 1846 – From Dublin to New York

  • Agnes O’Connor
  • Austin Horan
  • Angela Maher
  • Monica O’Doherty
  • Teresa Breen
  • Vincent Haire
  • Mary Ann Byrne
  • Camillus Byrne

1851 – From Naas to Little Rock

  • Teresa O’Farrell
  • Agnes Green
  • DeSales O’Keefe
  • Stanislaus Farrrell

1854 – From Kinsale to San Francisco

  • Baptist Russell
  • DeSales Reddan
  • Bernard O’Dwyer
  • Francis Benson
  • Mary Howley
  • Gabriel Brown
  • Paul Beechinor
  • Martha McCarthy

Mercy’s Coverlet of Compassion across the Americas by Sheila Carney, RSM and Helen Marie Burns, RSM. For more information, see www.sistersofmercy.org and links to Regional Communities.