The Giant’s Causeway
County Antrim, the north-east corner of Ireland, being separated from the Bann valley by the high Antrim Plateau, originally had its closest links with Scotland – with the Mull of Kintyre and Argyll. There is still a strong Scots element in the language and culture of the county, noticed in the Scots-Gaelic vocabulary which colours discourse and the Scottish lilt in speech, especially in the north-eastern corner, Dalriada, made famous by the spectacular Giant’s Causeway on the northern tip of the coast.
City Hall, Belfast
The hub of Co Antrim is the city of Belfast, in its picturesque setting between the Cave Hill and the beautiful shores of Belfast Lough. It was to this town (named a city only in 1888), with its developing industries and rapidly growing population, that the Sisters of Mercy came on 16 January 1854. Right away they set up classes for working girls and women and, later, schools for children.
St. Paul’s Convent, Crumlin Road – the former Mother House for the Diocese
They also engaged in care of homeless women, visitation of the poor, the sick, and the prisoners in the Belfast Jail and many other Works of Mercy as the need arose. Their apostolates expanded into Counties Antrim and Down.
Fidelity To The Mercy Spirit
Mater Infirmorum Hospital opened 23rd April 1900
This work continued in the schools, hospitals and visitation until the mid-1990s. From then onwards, and continuing in the spirit of the original charism of adapting to the needs of the times, the Sisters became involved in an expanded variety of religious and social occupations and in the ministry of education in whatever contexts this need manifested itself.
Convent Door – now linking the new McAuley Building to the original Mater Infirmorum Hospital
The retired and infirm Sisters, who can no longer take part in active ministry, give invaluable support through their prayer, encouragement and on-going interest in all that the active Sisters undertake.
Sisters in the Convent of Mercy, Beechmount
The Mercy vocation is lifelong
At present there are sisters living at different locations in North and West Belfast. They are engaged in the following ministries: