Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuley
The Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley (born on September 29, 1778, at Stormanstown House, in Dublin, Ireland – died November 11, 1841, at the House of Mercy she had built on Baggot Street, Dublin) was an Irish nun, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. The Order has always been associated with teaching, especially in Ireland, where the nuns taught Catholics (and at times Protestants) at a time when education was mainly reserved for members of the established Church of Ireland. Catherine McAuley's father was prosperous, when she inherited a considerable fortune at the age of 48, she chose to use it to build a house where she and other compassionate women could take in homeless women and children to provide care and an education for them.
Source: Wikipedia

Sisters of Mercy, Carlow

The Sisters of Mercy were founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley, a woman who sought, through her service to the poor, the sick and the uneducated, to reveal the mercy of God in our world. Catherine’s particular concern for women manifested itself in her efforts to help women to recognize their inherent dignity, to become self-directing and self-sustaining. Education was at the heart of this effort as was a desire to meet needs not being addressed by others.

Thus, when the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pittsburgh in 1843, their first ministries arose from the needs presented by this burgeoning city – education and health care. Saint Mary’s Academy and the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh (now UPMC Mercy) were established within two years of their arrival.

In the late 1920’s, another need presented itself – the lack of baccalaureate level education for the Catholic women of the city. After consultation with the bishop and the heads of the already existing institutions of higher learning, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mount Mercy College (now Carlow University) on September 24, 1929.

These Mercy traditions of a particular focus on the concerns of women and of response to unmet needs have become hallmarks of the University.

Carlow University is now sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas through the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. (CMHE) This Conference, comprised of 16 Mercy sponsored colleges and universities was created for “the preservation and development of the core Catholic identity and mission of Mercy higher education in accord with the spirit, mission and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy”. (CMHE Mission Statement)

Sisters of Mercy, Pittsburgh

Seventeen years after the Sisters of Mercy order was founded in Carlow, Ireland, their pioneer in Pittsburgh, Sister Frances Warde with six others established the order here. The largest English-speaking order of religious women in the world, the order promptly attracted local girls with its activity. A private girls' school, St. Mary's Academy was opened in in addition to the order's primary mission in caring for the sick and poor. Lack of concern for the sick, a public issue at that time, was emphasized by epidemics of cholera, smallpox, and typhoid. The Sisters of Mercy took the initiative in proving a hospital for the sick of Pittsburgh.

This materialized, Jan. 1, 1847, when the first permanent hospital west of the Allegheny Mountains and the first Mercy Hospital in the world was opened by Frances Warde in the concert hall at St. Mary's. Over the next 16 months, more than 200 patients received care, many of them broken down from Mexican War service. The sisters did not fare as well as the patients, four of them dying in several weeks in early 1848, wiping out all the hospital staff except the administrator.

Other sisters took their places as a wave of public admiration for the sacrifice of the convent rose. On May 9, 1848, the Sisters of Mercy opened a new Mercy Hospital on Stevenson Street. In March 1966, when Pittsburgh celebrated its 150th anniversary as a city, Frances Warde was named as one of the 10 most outstanding women in its history. Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review c2007

Source: Terry Curran c2008

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