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Symposium - Getting to know Catherine McAuley

Saturday April 25th 2009 - 10.00am to 4.30pm

Iontas Centre, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan



Introduction to Catherine
Ms. Anne Reid

Coffee 11am-11.30am

Session One
Catherine’s Call
Address: Sr. Sheila Carney
Responder: Sr. Bonnie Brennan

Lunch 12.30pm-2pm

Session Two
Catherine the Enabler
Address: Sr. Caitlin Conneely
Responder: Ms. Mary English

Coffee 3pm-3.15pm

Session Three
Integrated Spirituality
Address: Sr. Sheila Carney
Responder: Sr. Aine Barrins



Photos and Profiles of the Symposium Speakers

Sheila Carney rsm is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas currently ministering as Special Assistant to the President for Mercy Heritage and Service at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With degrees in English and ministry, she has served in education at the elementary, secondary, baccalaureate and seminary levels and elementary administration. In addition, she has served her religious community in the incorporation of new members, the presidency of her regional community, retreat direction and membership on the Institute Leadership Team. Her special interest in the story of Catherine McAuley and the charism of Mercy has created the opportunity for her to travel the Mercy world, meeting sisters and associates, giving and receiving insights on our shared heritage. Sheila serves as vice-postulator for the cause for canonization for Catherine McAuley in the Americas.
Ms. Anne Reid is at present part of the team at Mercy International Centre, Baggot Street, Dublin. She is the author of 'Daring to be Different - The life of Catherine Elizabeth McAuley. Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.'
Bonnie Brennan rsm has long associations with Mercy life. Having been educated by the Sisters of Mercy at Primary and Secondary levels she entered the community at Kells, County Meath, Ireland in October 1951.

In 1973 Bonnie became involved in the development of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy – a merger of the twenty-six Irish Mercy Congregations with the Sisters of Mercy in South Africa, - and had the privilege of proclaiming the Rescript of Union at the Founding Event in Tallaght, on July 14, 1994.

Bonnie’s lifelong interest in the life of Catherine McAuley, and the early days in Baggot Street, led her to research the story of Mary Ann Doyle, which was published under the title, ‘ It commenced with two…,’ in June 2001.

In recent years, in response to a congregational invitation, to continually search out and create new ways of being life-giving Mercy communities in mission’, Bonnie became involved in the development of the Circle of Mercy movement in the Northern Province. Bonnie published According to Catherine in 2003.

Caitlin Conneely rsm is a member of the Western Province and is at present Director of Mercy International Centre, Baggot Street, Dublin. She was Provincial Leader of the Western Province from 1995 - 2001 and previous to that worked as Director of the Religious Formation and Leadership Programme for the Conference of Religious of Ireland.


Áine Barrins rsm is a member of the Western Province, and is at present in the ministry of vocations and formation. Her early years in ministry were spent in second level education when she taught Irish and Religion. Since the early nineties she has been involved in spirituality in one way or another – through spiritual direction, retreat work and faith development for adults. In the last few years Áine has had many opportunities to deepen her knowledge of and love for Catherine McAuley and regularly co-facilitates programmes in Mercy International Centre. She has given workshops and retreats on the Letters of Catherine McAuley in three of the Irish Provinces and in August of this year she led a six-day retreat in Baggot Street on the Letters.
Currently Provincial Leader of the Western Province of the Congregation, Sr. Elizabeth Manning's background is as a teacher and Guidance counsellor in Post-Primary school education in Ballymahon and Moate in the Irish Midlands. She served in various leadership roles and spent a short but enriching and enlightening time in parish work in Arigna in north Roscommon.

Elizabeth is breathing Mercy air and has had living contact with Sisters since going to boarding school at 12 years of age.

Elizabeth looks forward to this conference on Catherine McAuley whom she regards as truly a woman worth noting as well as being the one to whom we owe our wonderful charism of compassion. What would we be like without her spirit, she wonders? Think about it.
Mary English, Principal Teacher, Scoil Mhichíl Naofa, Athy, Co, Kildare was born and reared in Westport, Co. Mayo. She was steeped in a tradition of Mercy Education both in Primary and Secondary School and also has family connections in the Congregation.

Mary attended Carysfort Training College, Dublin from 1968 – 1970 and began her teaching career in Athy in 1970. Mary worked with four different School Principals who were Sisters of Mercy before becoming Principal herself in 1993. At present there are seven hundred and fifty eight pupils in the school and a total of 108 staff members.

As a lay person, Mary finds Catherine McAuley’s life inspirational. Her “sayings” are focused and positive and Mary refers to Catherine on a daily basis.


Download the Symposium poster and booking form

Directions for travelling by car to the Iontas Centre, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan or check out the Bus Eireann timetable.

For further details contact Sr. Anne Hannon, Riverside, Birr, Co. Offaly. Tel: 057 91 25951


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