2022 Foundation Day: CEO Message
On 12 December, Sisters of Mercy and Mercy women and men around the world celebrate the Foundation Day of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy. How could Catherine and her two companions, Mary Ann Doyle and Elizabeth Harley, have possibly imagined what would grow from the small beginning they made in returning to the House of Mercy in Baggot Street after taking their vows as the first Sisters of Mercy!
Were they really conscious of 12 December 1831 being a significant new beginning? Or were they more conscious of having taken a significant next step in ensuring a future for the Works of Mercy already commenced by Catherine many years before, and in which Mary Ann and Elizabeth were already engaged? Whatever was the reality for them, the day 12 December, provides Mercy People with an opportunity to reflect on beginnings and be deeply grateful for the generous commitment of these three women in establishing the Order.
Catherine was, at the time, already in her fifties, which was fairly elderly in that era, but she had the courage to respond to what she felt called to do. The new foundation was to become established very quickly, spread rapidly in Ireland, and quite soon extend well beyond Ireland. Catherine and her two companions had set up a structure that would be highly successful in taking the Works of Mercy into the future as the rapid expansion of the Order carried the Mercy beginnings far and wide.
Do our times call for yet another Foundation? All of us are aware of the many situations in which the Sisters of Mercy have handed on the leadership of Mercy Ministries to laywomen and men of Mercy. Will they need structures that will sustain them as they take these Works of Mercy into the future? This foundation day, I pray that we will all be alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit showing us the next few steps of the journey.