During the weekend of the 12th and 13th December the Sisters of Mercy in Glasgow celebrated the one hundred and sixtieth anniversary of their coming to the city.
The foundation was made from St. Mary’s Convent, Bishop Street, Limerick, in 1849. A special invitation was issued to the Sisters in the Limerick area to join in the celebrations. Therese Barry from the Provincial Team, Anne O’Sullivan from Mt. St. Vincent’s Convent in Limerick, Mary Power and Teresa O’Neill from St. Mary’s Community were chosen by lottery to participate in the celebrations.
They travelled from Shannon to Prestwick where they were met by a Mercy Associate who chauffeured them from one celebration to another during the weekend.
The Glasgow Sisters had moved from their big house at Garnethill in October to a four-bed house in the city. Both houses were visited and celebrated. The main celebration was held on the morning of 12th December in St. Aloysius Church, Garnethill where Mass was said by Archbishop Mario Conti and over thirty priests concelebrated.
Archbishop Mario with some of the Sisters
A reception was held later for the Sisters and their friends and colleagues. Many Mercy stories were exchanged. A timeline of events from 1849 to 2009 was displayed which gave a wonderful overview of activities during the years. Much time during the weekend was spent reminiscing and retelling the Limerick story and finding out about present-day Limerick.
The resident Community were Srs. Bridget Monaghan from Tuam, Co Galway who had been in Glasgow for many years, Marie O’Dea from Co Clare, and Janet McKenna and Annette McCarton from Scotland. Annette had spent a year in Charlemont Dublin in the student house and had attended All Hallows College. She was quite familiar with the Irish scene and had met many Irish Sisters.
We know from our Archives that Sr. Catherine McNamara was the first Superior and five other Sisters from Limerick accompanied her on the foundation. The Annals of 1851 also state that “On the evening of the 17th May, Mother M. Catherine, three Professed Sisters, two Novices, and four Postulants returned from the Glasgow Foundation.” The Glasgow timeline states that “…during 1851 the original Sisters from Limerick were recalled home.” Happily the foundation flourished.
On the occasion of the 150th Jubilee the Limerick Sisters had also been invited and Srs. Mary Power and Mary Cahill attended then. Mary was able to renew many acquaintances and enjoyed the return visit. Cardinal Thomas Joseph Winning, a loved and revered Pastor, said the Jubilee Mass on that occasion.
We warmly congratulate the Glasgow Sisters on this one hundred and sixtieth anniversary and on the Mercy work that has been done in the meantime. May the spirit of Mercy long continue to flourish.
Teresa O’Neill rsm
South Central Province