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History of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. The Sisters of Mercy in Ireland were divided into 26 distinct congregations - one in every diocese. The Sisters of Mercy in South Africa were also members of this group - the 27th diocese! Each diocesan congregation had its own Mother General and Council and there was very little interaction between the congregations.

However, it was felt that a more unified organisation was preferable. So, plans were laid and after many years of negotiation and consultation, the 27 units joined together.

Many Irish Sisters of Mercy had gone to other countries to spread the Gospel and so, their countries of mission also became part of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy.


The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy was founded on 14th July 1994. On that day, about 3,500 people gathered in the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland to witness the 'Founding Event'. Most of the participants were Sisters of Mercy, joined by friends, associates and co-workers.

Today, our members live and work in the following countries - Brazil, Britain, Ireland, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, United States and Zambia

If you would like to read more about the Sisters of Mercy in any of those countries, you can click on the drop down menu for 'Countries and Provinces' at the top of the page.

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