Little is known about her lifenprior to her entrance into the Sisters of Mercy at age 29 (1837). She was born in Dublin
on August 1st, 1808 to Protestant parents. She was the eldest child, being five and a half years older than her sister Georgiana who also entered the Sisters of Mercy. They had at least one brother whose date of birth is not known.

When Clare Augustine, then known by her birth name Mary Clare, was 9 and her sister Georgiana was 3, their father died (1817). Six years later (1823), their mother converted to Catholicism along with the children. September 1828, Georgiana (aged 14)
became the governess for Catherine’s 9 year old niece Catherine and 7 year old cousin Teresa Byrn. We know from early Mercy manuscripts that young Georgiana was proficient in reading both French and Latin when she became their governess. We do not know how either Mary Clare or Georgiana were educated, or how Mary Clare developed her talent for art.

In early 1829 Mary Clare met Catherine for the first time...

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