Sisters of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy

The Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy (RSM) is an order of Catholic women founded by Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. As of 2003, the order has about 10,000 members worldwide, organized into a number of independent congregations.

Sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the evangelical counsels commonly vowed in religious life, and in additional, vows of service. They continue to participate in the life of the surrounding community. In keeping with their mission of serving the poor and needy, many sisters engage in teaching, medical care, and community programs. The organization is active in lobbying and politics as well.

The order began when McAuley used an inherited fortune to build a "House of Mercy" in Dublin that provided educational, religious, and social services for poor women and children. The House aroused local opposition, however, it being traditional for nuns rather than lay women to engage in this sort of activity. Eventually the church hierarchy agreed to the formation of a non-cloistered order, and the sisters became known informally as the "walking nuns" for their ability to care for the poor outside a convent. The house still stands today, as the Mercy International Centre.

In 1992, the leaders of the various congregations created the Mercy International Association to foster collaboration and cooperation. The purpose of the Association is to provide support and foster collaboration, organisation and inspiration for the ministries of Sisters of Mercy and their associates.


The Sisters of Mercy are constitued as religious and charitable organizations in a number of countries. Mercy International Association is a registered charity in the Republic of Ireland. In the United Kingdom, The Union of the Sisters of Mercy of Great Britain is a registered charity, and in 2006–7 had a gross income of £5.5million.

Schools founded or run by Sisters of Mercy


Ireland, Republic of

New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States of America

See also


External links

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