A Legacy of Compassion and Service

The Sisters of Mercy, an international community of religious women, stand as a beacon of hope and service to those in need. Their mission, deeply rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church, is dedicated to serving people afflicted by poverty, sickness, and lack of education, with a particular focus on women and children.

The Founding by Catherine McAuley:

The foundation of the Sisters of Mercy dates back to the early 19th century, with the visionary efforts of Catherine McAuley, an Irish Catholic laywoman. Recognizing the dire needs of the economically disadvantaged in Ireland, she utilized her inheritance to establish the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, in 1827. This institution became a sanctuary for women and girls, offering them shelter, food, and education.

Initially, Catherine McAuley intended to create a lay community of Catholic social workers. However, the Archbishop of Dublin, inspired by her good works, suggested establishing a religious congregation. Catherine and two companions took their vows on December 12, 1831, marking the official founding of the Sisters of Mercy.

Catherine McAuley’s Early Life:

Born in September 1778 into a prosperous Catholic family in Dublin, Catherine McAuley was orphaned by 1798 and lived with relatives. In 1803, she moved into the home of William and Catherine Callaghan, where she inherited their estate upon Mr. Callaghan’s death in 1822. Using this fortune, Catherine established the House of Mercy, drawing other women to her cause and laying the groundwork for a new religious congregation.

Expansion and Enduring Influence:

The Sisters of Mercy rapidly expanded their reach, establishing numerous foundations in Ireland, England, and overseas. The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in the United States in 1843, invited by the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their commitment to serving the sick and economically poor resonated deeply, attracting many new members.

In Savannah, the Sisters of Mercy made a significant impact, founding St. Vincent’s Academy in 1845. They later expanded their mission to healthcare, operating the Forest City Marine Hospital, which evolved into today’s St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The Sisters of Mercy Today:

The Sisters of Mercy have evolved over the years, adapting to the changing needs of society. After the Second Vatican Council, they embraced new ministries beyond healthcare and education, addressing contemporary societal needs. In 1991, the Sisters of Mercy of the Union united to form the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, further consolidating their efforts in 2005-2009 into regional communities for a more effective mission.

Today, the Sisters of Mercy continue their work across the Americas, the Caribbean, Guam, and the Philippines, committed to serving those in need. They embody the spirit of Catherine McAuley, whose legacy lives on in their selfless service.

For more information about the Sisters of Mercy and their worldwide impact, please visit www.sistersofmercy.org. To learn more about the life and legacy of Catherine McAuley, visit www.mercyworld.org/foundress.

The Sisters of Mercy’s mission, values, and commitment to excellence, though no longer a daily part of Blessed Sacrament School’s operations, continue to inspire our community and guide our educational approach.