History of Mercy Education

Mercy education has a long and rich history. One finds its roots in Ireland in the ministry of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy and her co-workers. Mercy education, faithful to the tradition, continues to the present.

The tradition is marked by personal and communal decisions. History records: September 24, 1827 – Feast of our Lady of Mercy: the House on Baggot Street opens as a school for poor young girls and a residence for homeless girls and women. Anna Maria Doyle and Catherine Byrn move in and begin works of Mercy.

The founding of the Sisters of Mercy on December 12, 1831, with the profession of Catherine McAuley, Anna Maria Doyle and Elizabeth Harley marks a moment in time when courageous women responded to the needs of the time with a structural decision made to insure the continuance of the mission.

Further recollection that devoted lay women continued the ministry at the House of Mercy on Baggot Street during the period of preparation for the founding witnesses to partnership and collaboration core to the ministry from the beginning. Learn more.

The marks of Mercy education from the beginning to this day: Commitment to mission, structural creation and adaptation, partnership and collaboration, courage in the face of challenge, responding to the needs of the time.

The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy as recorded in its October 2014 letter, is faithful to these marks of the tradition: “The ILC affirmed that there will be one Mercy System of Education organized under the Institute Public Juridic Person with governance and administrative components.”

Mercy co-workers and Sisters of Mercy have faithfully sought the means and the structures for fidelity to the mission, core values and tradition of Mercy. The individual and communal history of the nearly 60 education ministries of MESA will include reference to Sister of Mercy independent congregations, provinces, regional communities, Communities and the Institute. The language and persons of sponsorship, e.g. Members, councils, boards, administration, permeate history committed to fidelity. All means and structures have represented the desire for unity and shared mission.

Structures for collaboration were initiated representing both grass roots leadership and Sister of Mercy Leadership, e.g. the Mercy Secondary Education Association, the Mercy Elementary Education Network, the Network for Mercy Education and each contributed to the formation of Mercy Education System of the Americas.

This system, Mercy Education System of the Americas officially opened on July 1, 2017. The system serves education ministries in Argentina, Belize, Guam, Honduras, Jamaica, the Philippines and the United States each faithful to the core values of Mercy education. It is dynamic, forged in trust and ever learning and developing.

Mercy Middletown CT
Catherine McAuley desk
Historical_Sisters at St. Vincent's Academy (002)