Sisters of Mercy

"After the Battle of Gravelotte. Sisters of Mercy arriving on the battle field to succor the wounded." Unsigned lithograph, 1870 or 1871.

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.


Vows and activities

Sisters of Mercy are an international community of Roman Catholic women religious vowed to serve people who suffer from poverty, sickness and lack of education with a special concern for women and children. Members take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the evangelical counsels commonly vowed in religious life, and, in addition, 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.


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 sits today, as the Mercy International Centre.

In the year of 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.[1]


The Sisters of Mercy are constituted as religious and charitable organizations in a number of countries. Mercy International Association is a registered charity in the Republic of Ireland.[2] 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.[3]


The Order was condemned in an Irish government report on May 20, 2009 entitled the Ryan Report of "The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse." The Irish Sisters of Mercy, in company with the Irish Christian Brothers, were two of the principal religious orders named in the report as being the most abusive. The Report described the Mercy order's tolerating physical and sexual abuse of girls in its care in Ireland. Not only that, Mercy Sisters were accused in the report of physically, verbally and emotionally, and perhaps even sexually abusing, or allowing lay personnel to sexually abuse children under the care of the order.[4]

Schools founded or run by Sisters of Mercy




Convent of Mercy, Templemore, April 2010.JPG


New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States of America

Secondary schools

Colleges and universities

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Sisters of Mercy — Mercy Mer cy (m[ e]r s[y^]), n.; pl. {Mercies}. [OE. merci, F. merci, L. merces, mercedis, hire, pay, reward, LL., equiv. to misericordia pity, mercy. L. merces is probably akin to merere to deserve, acquire. See {Merit}, and cf. {Amerce}.] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sisters Of Mercy — nennen sich katholische Schwesterngemeinschaften, die im Schuldienst oder der Krankenpflege tätig sind. In Deutschland und Österreich für gewöhnlich als Barmherzige Schwestern bezeichnet, gibt es zahlreiche Kongregationen von ihnen. Oftmals leben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sisters of mercy — Members of female religious communities who tend the sick, etc • • • Main Entry: ↑mercy …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Sisters of Mercy — Mit Sisters of Mercy (engl.: Barmherzige Schwestern) werden bezeichnet: The Sisters of Mercy, eine britische Rockband Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy, katholischer Frauenorden Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zu …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sisters of Mercy — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sisters of Mercy, ordre religieux ; Sisters of Mercy, titre d une chanson de Leonard Cohen provenant de son premier album ; The Sisters of Mercy …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sisters of Mercy (disambiguation) — Sisters of Mercy may refer to:*Sisters of Mercy, a religious order *The Sisters of Mercy, a British rock band * Sisters of Mercy , the title of the 39th episode of the TV series Law Order * Sisters of Mercy , a song by Leonard Cohen on the album… …   Wikipedia

  • Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo —     Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo     Originally a pious association of ladies formed in 1626 for the care of the sick in the hospital of St. Charles at Nancy, but constituted a… …   Catholic encyclopedia

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