Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Galway

Spanish Arch, Galway City

61, The Green, Galway
This house was purchased in 1990 by the Sisters of Mercy of the Archdiocese of Tuam.

Aisling Court – Ballyloughaun Road, Renmore, Co Galway
We are a small Community on Ballyloughaun Road, Renmore who came together from different Dioceses, Tuam, Achonry and Galway. We were formed in July/August 2005 as the Congregation acquired some Apartments in the newly built Aisling Court Complex which comprises of 35 two and three bedroom apartments. This development is built on the site of the former Group Homes, Aisling and Loyola, a residential childcare facility run by the Sisters of Mercy. The childcare enterprise was transferred to the HSE in 2002. The name Aisling was retained as the name of this development.

It is beautifully situated, just a few minutes walk from the beach and close to many facilities including church, hospital, hospice, post office, chemist and shops. We are extremely well served by Public Transport. We are sure of a bus to the city every 15 minutes. There are several others serving this side of the city but not as frequent. Some of these will take one across the city to University College Hospital and Knocknacarra.

We find ourselves very busy in our various Ministries, e.g. Spiritual Direction, Counselling, Music Therapy, Complementary Therapies, Voluntary work in the Congregation and in the wider community.

We meet regularly to share prayer, a cuppa and keep up to date with Current Affairs – both internal Congregation business and matters of National and International interest. We also celebrate special occasions together.

An Gáirdín, Portumna, Co Galway
Those of us in the Mercy Western Province who work in earth ministries believe in the interconnectedness of all of life. Our aim is to reflect this belief in our policies, practices and behaviours both communal and individual. Here at An Gáirdín we live out this objective.

We are aware of the urgent environmental crises of our times and so we strive to educate ourselves and others in the promotion of :
– sustainable living with prudent use of earth’s resources
– conservation of land
– the protection of all species on earth and their habitats

By engaging in such work, we believe that we are honouring the call to live in harmony with all of creation of which we are a part and on which we depend. We desire to live more simply for the sake of future generations – to be prophetic and proactive in our response to environmental issues.

Beech Haven, Ballinasloe, Co Galway
We are a small community in this picturesque town on the banks of the river suck. Our house was formerly a Bed and Breakfast and accommodated many people during the Galway races and the great October fair. When P.L.T announced the closure of Ballinasloe Convent in September 2004, they were faced with the arduous task of finding accommodation for eight Sisters in the locality. Fortunately after much deliberation and prayer two houses were purchased to accommodate the Sisters. Four Sisters took up residence at the above address on July 5th 2005.

We are fortunate to have a large field grazed by horses outside our back wall and our spirits are raised each morning as we watch many swans gliding along the river Suck. Our neighbours on either side are Romanians. They are beautiful young couples with small children, and we frequently exchange gatherings in each others houses. They call us (The Four Lovely Ladies) and appreciate our hospitality and friendship very much.

All living here presently are engaged in the following ministries Social Services, Chaplaincy, Local College and Teaching. Being in active ministry puts a certain amount of pressure on us to maintain our home at a required standard but thankfully all Sisters share in this important ministry.

Our car parking area is often availed of by Sisters travelling on public transport. You are very welcome to avail of this facility and join us for a cup of tea.

More and more, the wonderful creativity and talent among us is being unveiled.  When we celebrate each other for who she is, With her talents and giftedness and see this as an expression of Charism we are indeed, singing a new song – The Music of Mercy.

Eyrecourt Mercy Community, Galway
One Sister currently lives in Eyrecourt, a town bordering the banks of the Shannon and often called ‘Sleepy hollow’, has a community of three. Far from being sleepy, the Sisters have a tradition of being  are alive and actively involved in the parish community.  Through their working and praying, this is a place of Love, showing compassion and Mercy to all. You will always feel welcome here.

Gort
St. Patrick’s, Convent of Mercy, Gort was founded from St. Leo’s, Carlow on 5th November 1857. Our Foundress was Mother Aloysius Doyle who had nursed the wounded soldiers in the Crimean War shortly beforehand. We still live in the same building which was originally called Bridge House. The bridge, dated 1771, spans the Gort river which flows around the little island in our scenic grounds.

Our town has been called Little Rio because of its sizeable Brazilian population. In fact, it is often held up as a model of successful racial tolerance and integration. More than half of the pupils in our Primary School are foreign nationals, most of whom are Brazilians. This poses its own challenges which are ably dealt with by our dedicated staff.

The Sisters are engaged in teaching, community work, social services, heritage, church music, eucharistic ministry, visitation of homes and hospitals, school boards of management and vocation fostering. House ministry plays a large part in our lives and we share duties such as answering phone and door. This is known as doing our PhD!

Hospitality has always been important to us. As we live on a busy thoroughfare, many homeless people call for a meal, which is gladly given in the designated Hospitality Room. We are always happy to meet past students, past staff members, Sisters’ relatives and, in general, the world and his wife!

Community life is important to us but each person’s private space is also a priority. We keep up-to-date by reading and watching the news on T.V. Various tastes are catered for, from “soaps” to sport!

Our prayer life is paramount. We attend Mass in the parish church and recite Evening Prayer in common. It’s fair to say that our chapel is an architectural gem, embellished by the works of Joshua Clarke, Sarah Purser and the Pearse Brothers.We are human. We try to live as Mercy women. We need your support and you can count on us in turn to support you. You can find out more about our history in the book Near Quiet Waters, which we published on the occasion of our 150th anniversary in November 2007.

Mount Pleasant, Ballinasloe, Co Galway
The Mercy Sisters have a long history of service in this town. They have, for more than one hundred and fifty years, proved adept at responding to the changing needs of the needy. Shortly after the Great Famine they tended to the poor in the ‘Poor House’, visited and brought support to the homes of the most destitute, by degrees responded to people’s need for education, nursing and social services. Finally in the early days of the twenty first century they faced a new need – the need to accommodate the dwindling number of ageing Sisters whose residence, the Convent on Society Street, had become increasingly uneconomical and indeed unsuitable.

It closed – simultaneously we were on the look out for a house. Someone saw this fine detached dwelling in a quiet cul-de-sac, away from the main thoroughfare, within striking distance of the town with the tranquillity of the country, indeed a veritable ‘rus in urbe’. The frontage is a maroon cobble–lock surface with generous parking space. An attractive shrubbery is alive, with varying colours of red, yellow, pink and forty shades of green. A mature, though high-maintenance, Leylandii gives shelter from the North West winds. The lawn at the rear is kept in trim, and here also is a profusion of plants and shrubs, together with a mature tree and a pergola. Inside, our house is comfortable, well laid out and easy to maintain – a big bonus as without employees we are largely self-reliant. Thankfully the structure and appliances are enabling. There is opportunity for autonomy and independence in an interdependent setting. We said farewell to our former cherished Convent and came to this Garden of Eden July 1st, 2005.

With the house we inherited two cats, a mother and daughter. I’m tempted to term them layabouts, certainly they are leisurely disposed. In the morning they can be seen stretching in the East Wing; obviously they have had Yoga lessons – it is delightful to watch them stretch, arch, roll and curl up. During the day, they silently follow the sun westward. Each day they spend hours on making their elaborate toilette. Perhaps because of some tradition, (established before we came, when the house was vacant) they dine out, with our neighbour, everyday. Also they are neutered and so we have no caterwauling duets – fortunate for us, though how do they feel? Curled up together they seem meditatively absorbed in other worldly matters, perhaps they wonder what if……

As for ourselves, it seems each one of us is committed to caring for the other with loyalty and affection. But we are not for ourselves alone! We are attentive to the care of the earth, assiduous in our recycling, aware of our carbon print and also of the hungry, hence we are economical and avoid waste. We are engaged with the wider community in social inclusion programmes, Church liturgies, visiting the house-bound, on-going contact with a number of past pupils nurtured by us in their early years and distributing religious magazines. A few of us are part of the local Bridge Club, while others have masters in crosswords and sudoku. On the whole each of us has a positive attitude to ageing. We enjoy the golden years and are grateful for our new home and the health to enjoy life. I believe it is true to say we are blooming where God planted us.

Lake Road, Loughrea, Co Galway
The Sisters of Mercy worked in St. Brendan’s Hospital since the early days of the “Work House”, which was built in 1842. Later the Work Houses were amalgamated with one building in each county designated as a County Home. In 1940 the County Board of Health and Public Assistance ceased to exist and St. Brendan’s was administered by Galway Co. Council until The Western Health took over on April 1st 1971.

The Sisters lived in this building until 1999. The CEO at that time requested the Western Health Board to sell a site beside the Hospital to the Sisters, which they did, at a very reasonable rate, and for which we are very grateful. Now we have a comfortable, roomy house overlooking the lake and it is new life to us. We have a variety of scenic views from the kitchen, the dining room, the Community room and the Oratory, all of which are in the front of the house. Our bedrooms are simple but adequate.

We are involved in different Ministries in the local community from social work to prayer and house ministry.

It is an uplifting and spiritual experience to sit and reflect on the different aspects of the lake on any day. Sometimes it is a glorious sunrise or sunset, or at night a reflection of the moon on the water. At other times we are reminded of Padraig Pearse’s poem “His strong heart stirs the ever beating sea” when the waves are rough and high. To watch the fishermen in the boats or the youngsters playing and swimming at the “long Point” definitely gives us food for thought and reflection. We are grateful to God and to all responsible for providing us with a beautiful home.

Oughterard, Co Galway
We are a small community of four Sisters in the town of Oughterard. Our house is known as St. Joseph’s.

Briefly putting Mercy Oughterard in historical context, we date back to 1857 when the Mercy Galway moved to Oughterard and founded one of its’ branch houses. Previously though in 1839, January 6th – the night of the ‘Big Wind’ the Parish church had suffered severe damage. The then Parish Priest, Fr. Joseph Kirwan D.D. travelled to England gathering funds for the poor of Oughterard combined with his preaching.

During his visit he visited some convents and was very impressed by the Congregation of the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) whom he invited to Oughterard in 1842 and the Convent opened in 1843. Satisfied that their system of education, spiritual outlook, concerns for the poor and downtrodden would be a wonderful advantage to the poor people of Oughterard. Meanwhile, a small school opened and in 1843, feast of Corpus Christi, forty children made their First Holy Communion.

For the first three years the Sisters did trojan work for education. However, as the convent could not be self supporting, it was ultimately decided that the proper place for the foundation of the FCJ Sisters in Ireland was Limerick and in 1846 the FCJ left Oughterard.

In 1857 the Mercy Sisters Galway were invited to Oughterard and on November 1st, four Sisters from the Convent of Mercy, Galway took possession of a small house previously occupied by the FCJ. This house was quite convenient to the parish church. In a short time school children were gathered in and a school was opened. In 1888 the present National school was built. In 1964 the Secondary school was opened and classes were conducted in part of the convent since demolished and replaced by a block of apartments. The present Secondary school opened in December 1991 and the Sisters now live in the house, St. Joseph’s. We took up residence here on July 14th 1994.

We are involved in many areas of the community from teaching, social work, visitation, parish programmes and house ministry. Great changes have occurred over the years – a new Nursing Home, Family Resource Centre serve the needs of many people. Mini industries, candle factory, carpet factory, electric components, provide employment locally. Oughterard is very famous for its’ annual Agricultural Show which attracts many entries and much local participation. There has been quite an influx of foreign nationals and their children avail of the local primary and secondary schools.

If you decide to visit the scenic beauty of Connemara you will be very welcome to call to St. Joseph’s, Canrawer, Oughterard on the back road parallel to the Parish church.

St. Jarlath’s Court, Tuam, Co Galway
We live in a two storied apartment block known as St. Jarlath’s Court and located in the Glebe area of Tuam. The complex consists of forty four, one and two bedroom apartments surrounded by a green area and encompassing a courtyard. The land for the complex was donated by the Sisters of Mercy in the year 2000 and sisters were welcomed as a presence in the complex. On arrival at St. Jarlath’s Court we came into similar unfurnished apartments but now each one has its own individual character.

We are involved in varying ministries including parish ministry, counselling, art therapy, spiritual guidance and information technology.

As a community we are very happy here. We interact with other residents many of whom have lived in other countries. The age group varies which means we are often regaled by tales of bygone days. We take part in the in the many activities which are organised here – social , recreational and spiritual.

Other Mercy Sisters live quite close to us and we enjoy interacting with them on various occasions. We don’t have space for individual gardens but have ample opportunity to share in the beautification of the surrounding grounds. Classes are held in the complex during the winter months and to date we have enjoyed computing, art, exercise, personal development.  We look forward to more.

Cana, Garbally Drive, Ballinasloe, Co Galway
Cana Community came into existence as a result of an initiative taken by the Clonfert Mercy Sisters in the early 1990’s to establish small communities within the diocese. At that time much discernment took place among Sisters interested in being part of the movement from traditional convents to living in smaller communities.

CANA, founded on September 1st 1995. The house was purpose-built in a neighbourhood near Garbally Diocesan College. The site was purchased from the County Council and several other houses were built alongside ours, so many families were as new to the area as we were! Those early days of getting to know one another and the other families who had been in the area over twenty years are remembered fondly now!

From the outset, our objective was to strive to live an authentic community life and to share the fruits of this life with the people of the area.

Many wonder about the name chosen for the new community and the obvious association is with “vino” ! However, thus far, we have failed to change water into wine although we hope that through our prayer some minor miracles have been wrought! Actually, it took a long time to reach consensus on the house name which was inspired by Cardinal Maria Martini’s book: A Woman Among Her People. All Sisters agreed that like Mary at CANA in Galilee their aim, too, would be to develop a contemplative stance whereby they would be open to the healing love of Jesus in their own lives and seek to help others to recognise it in their lives also. As Mary did, they wished to see with the heart and be sensitive to delicate moments as they meet them in their daily lives. From the beginning, Martini’s insight into the Miracle of Cana formed the basis of the Vision Statement of the CANA Community and it still remains at its core.

Our community consists of active and retired Sisters. Ministries include administration within the Western Province, membership of a few Boards of Management of Secondary Schools, Adult Literacy and occasional tutoring of Secondary School pupils as well as Visitation of Sick in a local Hospital and Nursing Home. Some Sisters also accept an invitation to Eucharistic Ministry in the wards of the nearby hospital and they are occasionally called upon to proclaim the Word of God during Sunday Mass. Participation in one of the local Parish choirs is also included in the list of ministries.

A small group of Mercy Associates was established early on in the history of CANA and while they are few in number they are very faithful. Each year also since the foundation, the Sisters in CANA have hosted the Galway Hospice Coffee/Tea Fundraiser and the Mercy Associates are delighted to give them a helping hand. The popularity of this venture has grown over the years and the total collected is usually well in excess of a 1,000 Euro.

It was decided from the beginning that, in Catherine’s spirit, hospitality would be a core value in CANA and it is hoped that all find a good Irish welcome and a nice cup of tea awaiting them when they visit! Changes in membership over the years has meant that the original Clonfert group has experienced the cultures of counties other than Galway in their midst. It is wonderful that the basic bond is our Mercy heritage! Another enriching feature now is the presence of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood in the Garbally Drive area. A few years ago they built a large modern Convent for retired Sisters, many of them returned missionaries, close to CANA. They have extended the hand of friendship far beyond what might be expected and welcome their Mercy neighbours to daily Mass, days of reflection and various other celebrations. Such sharing is rated as part of the “hundredfold” in CANA!

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