Standing on Their Shoulders (Newfoundland)
A biography written by Charlotte Fitzpatrick rsm
The story of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland is a story of valiant women, women of faith and vision, of courage and commitment, of hope and fidelity. It is a story pulsating with life and energy, a story to be remembered, celebrated and shared.
Although this story has its roots in Irish soil and in Irish hearts, it was from the rocky soil of Newfoundland that the lives of sixty Irish women brought forth a rich harvest, the bounty, fragrance and color of which has given Newfoundland Mercy its spirit and vigor.
Most of the women who crossed the Atlantic between 1842 and 1907 were between the ages of sixteen and twenty years, thus bringing the vibrancy and energy of youth, as well as the wisdom and fruitfulness of their later years to the Mercy mission in Newfoundland. In embarking on such a daring and challenging enterprise, these young women left a lasting legacy of compassion, courage, commitment and creativity to all who followed in their footsteps. It is on their shoulders that we stand. But to appreciate their significance in our Mercy story, we need to look back to our beginnings in Newfoundland in 1842.