Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy


A Reflection On The Life Of The Sisters Of Mercy Over 175 Years

This commentary was narrated at the Mass in Kinsale Parish in St. John the Baptist Church, Kinsale on the 29th May 2019. It is a brief summary of the story of the Sisters in Kinsale.

A picture of the present Convent was brought by Sr. Colette, which is very different from the old Convent.  Then it was a centre where families, were educated and nourished.  Today many houses are built on the site of the old Convent, in a new housing estate called “Convent Garden”, and families continue to bring new life.

The Altar with gifts

Sr. Eleanor brought up the Mercy Cross.  This cross is of special significance to all Sisters of Mercy since our Foundress, Venerable Catherine McAuley said, “The Institute was founded on Calvary there to serve a Crucified Redeemer”.

Mrs. Áine Eaton brought a sample of the Limerick Lace made in Kinsale workshop.  This Lace continues to beautify and adorn garments worn by celebrities here and across the water

The Ministry of Education begun by the Sisters of Mercy in 1845 continues to day in our Educational InstitutesScoil Naomh Eltin, formerly St. Joseph’s Primary School and St. John’s Boys’ school has enrolment of 308 pupils and 37 teaching staff with Mrs Susan O’Hanrahan as Principal.  We are proud to record that this school welcomes all pupils.  The school now has pupils from 35 countries.

The Secondary Education began in Our Lady of the Rosary Secondary School Convent of Mercy.  Having being amalgamated with the Vocational School in time, it is known today as Kinsale Community School opened in 1996.  The first Principal was Sr. Mary O’Donovan.   Today it has an enrolment of 1051 pupils from a large catchment area and a teaching staff of 108 under the Principalship of Mr. Fergal McCarthy. This too carries pupils of other nationalities.   Mrs Susan O’Hanrahan, of Scoil Naomh Eltin presented a symbol of Education.

The Kinsale Hospital with its tradition of caring and nursing the poor, sick and infirm from   now continues that ministry under H. S. E. bringing care, healing and health to the aging population of Kinsale and hinterland.  Respite care provided by the Hospital gives a welcome break to families looking after sick members.   The Hospital also facilitates Day Care daily, where elderly people or those living alone can avail of personal care, companionship, a meal, entertainment and continue to share their own gifts and talents.

It is with great gratitude and appreciation that we acknowledge the dedication, commitment and selfless giving of our Doctors, Nurses, Caterers, Carers and Volunteers at the Hospital.     The Hospital is now under the direction of Claire O’Donovan who brought the symbol an old wicker weighing scales.

Susanne O`Leary brought a copy of Pope Francis’ Encyclical letter “Laudate Si” on the care of the environment.   We, the Sisters of Mercy collaborate with Pope Francis and all of society in the call to respond to climate change and as Pope Francis says, “To protect our common home”.

Left to Right:  Srs. Kathleen Sweeney, Mary Donovan and Celestine Forrest

The last symbol was a poster of the Ten Foundations made by the Kinsale Community when they went out from Kinsale to different parts of the world.    Thus, they answered the call of Jesus Himself “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to every creature.”         

  • Derby, England in 1849
  • San Francisco, USA in1854
  • Newry, Co Down in 1855
  • Clonakility, Co Cork in in1856
  • Cincinatii, USA in1858
  • Skibbereen, Co Cork in 1860
  • Doon, Co Limerick in 1865
  • Ballyshannon, Co Donegal in 1867
  • Delray Beach, Florida in 1955



Clare Fennel rsm & Josephine Keohane rsm
Southern Province

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