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Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuleyThe Sisters of Mercy was founded by an Irish woman, Catherine McAuley, in 1831. Catherine used a sizeable inheritance to establish a house for the poor in the centre of Dublin and gathered around her a group of dedicated women who would eventually become the first Sisters of Mercy.

The Sisters, who became known as the walking nuns, left their convent to visit prisons, hospitals and homes. As nurses, social workers and teachers they provided care, compassion, solace and inspiration.

"Catherine McAuley and her fellow Sisters pursued their mission with innovation, collaboration and professionalism."

"Practical religion among the people was to be the key. Four principles, distilled from Catherine’s religious life, upbringing and experience of early nineteenth century life underpinned the Sisters of Mercy—mercy to the afflicted, union and charity among the Sisters, obedience and the discipline of common life."

–Extract from Expressions of Mercy—History of the Mater Hospitals, by Helen Gregory.

Catherine was also determined to maintain a charity-imbued simplicity in every Convent of Mercy, believing that single-minded kindliness should characterise every member of the congregation.

From their beginnings in Dublin the Sisters of Mercy have taken their mission to people all over the world.