“Fidelity to our past helps us to develop new life in the spirit of the original vision.” Jan Geason
Responding to the needs of those who are poor and suffering is the special call of the Sisters of Mercy. Following the example of Jesus, Catherine McAuley responded to the needs in her day. Adapting to the needs of time and place, the service of Mercy has many faces but one heart. Always, it seeks to “relieve misery, to address its causes and to support all persons who struggle for full dignity.” We believe that it is the people we serve who teach us the meaning of mercy. Whether it is in our institutions which address our enduring concerns or on a one-to-one basis, it is the person who is poor, suffering or in need that claims our special care.
“We savour the stories of the founding women to search for wisdom to imagine how their creativity and courage might open the future to us” Deb Manasse
Today we are part of the global call to “Make Poverty History”. Catherine’s wish in the 1830s and 40s was to alleviate poverty and suffering.
Today the Sisters’ work has expanded and been adapted. Sisters are involved in many ministries – education, health, welfare, spiritual and personal development and various forms of youth and social ministry, ministry to refugees, to victims of violence and to prisoners, prayer ministry, care of the earth, ministry in adult and tertiary education, liturgical art, music and dance.
Over the years Diocesan amalgamations have taken place(see tables on Page 2). In 1985 a Mercy Ireland team was set up to explore the possibility of National Amalgamation. Gradually a new structure evolved, culminating in July 1994 with the formation of a Mercy Union of the sisters in Ireland and South Africa approved by the Holy See. The next step was the formation of provinces in Ireland in August 1994, dividing the country into four provinces.
The Diocese of Cloyne, Cork and Ross, Ferns, Kerry, Ossory, Waterford and Lismore joined to become the Southern Province of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Our present leadership structure has Central Leadership in Dublin, and our Provincial Leadership in Cork. This Provincial Heritage Centre here in Charleville is a focus for the history and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy of the Southern Province. The Mercy Heritage Centre will celebrate who we are and facilitate a more centralised co-ordination of our heritage.
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The following tables give an indication of how the Congregation developed after Diocesan and Provincial Amalgamation.