Words From Catherine

The following are quotations from the Writings of Catherine McAuley.

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Our charity is to be cordial. Now cordial signifies something that renews, invigorates and warms. Such should be the effect of our love for each other.

Cork Manuscript

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy which draw religious from a life of contemplation, so far from separating then from the love of God, unite them much more closely to Him and render them more valuable in His holy service.

The Spirit of the Institute

We must try to be like those rivers which enter into the sea without losing any of the sweetness of the water.

The Spirit of the Institute

Mercy, the principal path pointed out by Jesus Christ to those who are desirous of following Him, has in all ages of the Church excited the faithful in a particular manner to instruct and comfort the sick and dying poor, as in them they regarded the person of our divine Master…

Original Rule, in Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy, p. 297

How quietly the great God does all His mighty works! Darkness is spread over us, and light breaks in again, and there is no noise of drawing curtains or closing shutters.

Limerick Manuscript, in Sullivan, Catherine McAuey and the Tradition of Mercy, p. 174

Let us fly often to the foot of the cross and repose in the wounds of Jesus. He has written us in His hands. Shall we not write His wounds in our minds and hearts?

Familiar Instructions, pp.72-73

My legacy to the Institute is charity: If you preserve the peace and union which have never yet been violated among us, you will feel, even in this world, a happiness that will surprise you and be to you a foretaste of the bliss prepared for every one of you in heaven.

Quoted in Carroll, The Life of Catherine McAuley, p. 435

Will you tell the Sisters to get a good cup of tea…when I am gone and to comfort one another.

Letter of Mary Vincent Whitty to Cecilia Marmion in Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy, p. 243

The Sisters shall always have the warmest and most affectionate devotion to her, regarding her in a special manner as their Mother.

Original Rule, in Sullivan, Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy, p. 310

We can never say "it is enough".

Familiar Instructions, p. 2

What an ineffable consolation to serve Christ Himself, in the person of the poor, and to walk in the very same path He trod!

Familiar Instructions, p. 16

Our love ought to be so firm, so cordial and so solid that we should never refuse to do or to suffer anything for the good of our Sisters.

Familiar Instructions, p. 106

The most acceptable return a benefactor can receive from those on whom he bestows favors, is a countenance testifying the gratitude of the heart. How acceptable it must be to God when we make Him this return, showing to all, by a cheerful, happy countenance, the gratitude with which our hearts overflow towards Him for His many favors in this life, and His great promises for the life to come.

Familiar Instructions, p. 149

If we are humble and sincere, God will finish in us the work He has begun. He never refuses His grace to those who ask it.

Familiar Instructions, p. 148

When or how are we expected to take up our cross and follow Christ, if we are not to meet with it in those with whom we are associated?

Familiar Instructions, p. 147

Be ever ready to praise, to encourage, to stimulate, but slow to censure, and still more slow to condemn.

Familiar Instructions, p. 141

There are three things the poor prize more highly than gold, tho’ they cost the donor nothing; among these are the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows.

Familiar Instructions, p. 138

It is for God we serve the poor, and not for thanks.

Familiar Instructions, p. 140

Mercy receives the ungrateful again and again, and is never weary in pardoning them.

Familiar Instructions, p. 137

Confidence in God causes us to hope for everything comes from His paternal goodness.

Familiar Instructions, p. 137

It is better to relieve a hundred impostors – is there be any such – than to suffer one really distressed person to be sent away empty.

Familiar Instructions, p. 136

The Order is God’s work – not mine. It will do just as well without me.

Familiar Instructions, p. 136

The study of a Religious should be the life and maxims of Jesus Christ.

Familiar Instructions, p. 132

Let charity be our badge of honor…so that it may truly be said, there is in us but one heart and one soul in God.

Familiar Instructions, p. 107e

…What advantage are works to God? But our working hearts He longs for and He vouchsafes to plead for them with touching earnestness.

Familiar Instructions, p. 89

We are formed by God for Himself alone, to be united with Him here, by love and fidelity; and, hereafter, by enjoyment and beatitude.

Familiar Instructions, p. 103

Unless we live in Jesus Christ by holy recollection, we can never draw souls to His love and service.

Familiar Instructions, p. 103

…Of all other gifts, prayer must come from God: hence, we must beg it continually, with a profound humility and untiring patience.

Familiar Instructions, p. 52

Her dignity is expressed in one title - Mother of God.

Familiar Instructions, p. 83

We belong to God - all in us is His.

Familiar Instructions, p. 37

It is not sufficient that Jesus Christ be formed in us – he must be recognized in our conduct.

Retreat Instructions, p. 72

The practice of the presence of God is one-half of holiness.

Familiar Instructions, p. 36

...should we not then undertake our duties with great courage, for infinite is the love God bears to souls who repose in His protection.

Familiar Instructions, p. 11

Prayer is a plant the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian, but its growth entirely depends on the care we take to nourish it.

Retreat Instructions, p. 90

If we love God, we will undoubtedly love our neighbor also; they are as cause and effect.

Retreat Instructions, p. 147

If we do not form our minds on the maxims of Jesus Christ, we will never acquire His evangelical spirit.

Retreat Instructions, p. 88

Finally, … she gave her dying pledge, a promise that was prophecy. If the sisters would preserve union and charity among themselves they would know such happiness as would cause them wonder.

Appendix to the Retreat Instructions, p. 243

We should be as the compass that goes round its circle without stirring from its center – our center is God, from whom all our actions should spring as from their source.

Retreat Instructions, p. 154e

In silence and quiet the devout soul becomes familiar with God.

Retreat Instructions, p.187

No occupation should withdraw our minds from God. Our whole life should be a continual act of praise and prayer.

Retreat Instructions, p. 43

To obtain recollection, we must entertain a great love for silence.

Retreat Instructions, p. 187

How can we teach the love of God when our own hearts are cold?

Retreat Instructions, p. 154

Lord Jesus, implant your love in my heart. It is all I desire in this world or in the next!

Retreat Instructions, p. 178

Our charity must be in our hearts and from our hearts, and a charity such as Jesus Christ practiced while on earth.

Retreat Instructions, p. 148

If the love of God really reigns in your heart, it will quickly show itself in the exterior.

Retreat Instructions, p. 145

Each day is a step which we take toward Eternity and we shall continue thus from day to day until we take the last step bringing us into the Presence of God.

Retreat Instructions, p. 185

God does not look at the action but at the spirit motivating it, and he will judge and reward us accordingly.

Retreat Instructions, p. 82

God does not bestow all His choicest blessings on one person. He did not give to St. Peter what He gave to St. Paul nor to either what He gave to St. John.

Retreat Instructions, P. 182

Take what He will from us, He still leaves us His holy peace.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore Easter Monday, 1841

Prayer will do more [to solve our difficulties]… than all the money in the Bank of Ireland. Let us pray well and never grow weary.

Letter to Aloysius Scott July 20, 1841

…Since there is very little good can be accomplished or evil avoided without the aid of money, we must look after it in small as well as in great matters.

Letter to Father James Maher January 10, 1838

God bless and preserve you and send you every blessing.

Letter to Frances Warde August, 1841

It comforts me exceedingly to hear you are happy.

Letter to de Chantal McCann March, 1835

The union which exists among you will draw the favor and blessing of heaven…

Letter to Josephine Warde January 27, 1838

It is not a disposition to bestow gifts, like benevolent persons in the world, that bespeaks generosity of mind for the religious state. It is bestowing ourselves most freely and relying with unhesitating confidence on the providence of God.

Letter to Mary Ann Doyle July 24, 1841

How rapidly the days, weeks, and months are passing. Another month ended, that seemed but a few days begun. If we have not forfeited the friendship of almighty God, but have been trying to love Him more and more, and to serve Him faithfully, they were blessed days for us.

Letter to de Sales White February 28, 1841

May God bless the poor Sisters of Mercy and make them very humble that they may not be unworthy of the distinguished blessings God has bestowed upon them.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore July 28, 1840

The adage “never too old to learn” is a great comfort to me.

Letter to Frances Warde September 27, 1839

May God in His mercy bless and protect you all.

Letter to Teresa White November 1, 1838

May He bless and protect you, and make you the instrument of His glory.

Letter to Frances Warde June 16, 1838

Pray fervently to God to take all bitterness from me. I can scarcely think of what has been done to me without resentment. May God forgive me and make me humble before He calls me into His presence.

Letter to Frances Warde June 16, 1838

May God preserve and bless you all.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore August 31, 1837

Some joyful circumstance will soon prove that God is watching over your concerns, which are all His own, but without the Cross the real Crown cannot come. Some great things which He designs to accomplish would have been too much without a little bitter in the cup. Bless and love the fatherly hand which has hurt you. He will soon come with both hands filled with favors and blessings.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore March 21, 1840

May God preserve and bless you and grant you all the graces and precious gifts reserved for this holy season.

Letter to Frances Warde December 23, 1837

Won’t you pray fervently that we may all have a profitable holy retreat. May almighty God help us to make it well.

Letter to Aloysius Scott July 31, 1841

Pray for your portion of Easter Grace before the extra Treasury is closed. Pray fervently and constantly. Do not give up until all is given you.

Letter to de Sales White April 19, 1841

May He grant you every grace and blessing and make you one of His dearest and best beloved.

Letter to Mary Joseph Joyce October, 1841

Now and again bestow some praise.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore December 1838

The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands, at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides.

Letter to de Sales White February 28, 1841

May God bless and animate you with His own divine spirit, that you may prove it is Jesus Christ you love and serve with your whole heart.

Letter to Frances Warde October 23, 1837

This is your life, joys and sorrow mingled, one succeeding the other.

Letter to Frances Warde May 28, 1841

Try to meet all with peace and ease.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore December, 1838

I would like to tell you all the little cheering things that God permits to fall in our way.

Letter to de Pazzi Delaney October 3, 1837

Every place has its own particular ideas and feelings which must be yielded to when possible.

Letter to Frances Warde November 17, 1838

Put your whole confidence in God. He never will let you want necessaries for yourself or children.

Letter to Angela Dunne December 20, 1837

Thus we go on…flourishing in the very midst of the Cross, more than a common share of which has latterly fallen to my lot, thanks be to God. I humbly trust it is the cross of Christ. I endeavor to make it in some way like his by silence.

Letter to Frances Warde May 15, 1838

We have ever confided largely in Divine Providence and shall continue to do so.

Letter to Mary Ann Doyle September 24, 1841

The comfort comes soon after a well-received trial.

Letter to Frances Warde February 17, 1838

The Lord and Master of our House and Home is a faithful Provider. Let us never desire more than enough – He will give that and a blessing.

Letter to Teresa Purcell early 1841

[God] knows I would rather be cold and hungry than the poor in Kingston or elsewhere should be deprived of any consolation in our power to afford.

Letter to Teresa White November 1, 1838

One thing is remarkable, that no breach of Charity ever occurred amongst us. The sun never, I believe, went down on our anger.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore January 13, 1839

We have one solid comfort amidst this little tripping about: our hearts can always be in the same place, centered in God, for whom alone we go forward or stay back.

Letter to de Sales White December 20, 1840

Although I should be simple as a dove, I must also be prudent as a Serpent; and since there is very little good can be accomplished or evil avoided without the aid of money, we must look after it in small as well as in great matters.

Letter to Father James Maher January 10, 1838

There has been a most marked Providential Guidance which the want of prudence, vigilance, or judgment has not impeded, and it is here that we can most clearly see the designs of God.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore January 13, 1839

The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing, it should make all else pass into nothing….This is the spirit of the Order, indeed the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us…

Letter to Elizabeth Moore Easter Monday, 1841

Thousands of thanks and praises to His Holy Name.

Letter to Elizabeth Moore Easter Monday, 1841

Let us not think of the means [God] has employed to convey to us a portion of the Holy Cross, being ever mindful that it came from Himself.

Letter to Frances Warde May 28, 1841

Will we all meet in heaven? O what joy even to think of it.

Letter to Teresa White February 3, 1841

Hurra for foundations, makes the old young and the young merry.

Letter to Cecilia Marmion January 4, 1841

Do not fear offending anyone. Speak as your mind directs and always act with more courage when the “mammon of unrighteousness” is in question.

Letter to Mary Ann Doyle July 24, 1841

You must be cheerful and happy, animating all around you.

Letter to Frances Warde February 17, 1838