Catherine McAuley, Portrait by Cloy Kent, Iowa City, Iowa, 1981. Copyright (2014) Mercy Iowa City. Used with Permission

Driven by a deep faith and pragmatic sense of charity, Catherine McAuley opened an institution in 1827 for unemployed and impoverished women.

This proved to be the first step towards the foundation in 1831 of the Sisters of Mercy, an order now established throughout the world.

There are things that the poor prize more highly than gold, tho’ they cost the donor nothing; among these are the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look, and the patient hearing of their sorrows. Catherine McAuley

Arrival in Australia:In 1846 the Sisters of Mercy came to Australia under the leadership of Ursula Frayne. The foundation in Parramatta was the final group of sisters to come to New South Wales from Ireland. Mother Mary Clare Dunphy led eight other sisters to Australia from Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1888, at the invitation of Cardinal Moran, the then Archbishop of Sydney.

Parramatta Congregation: Sisters are involved in diverse areas of ministry: primary, secondary and adult education, education for social justice, counselling and spiritual renewal, parish ministry in urban and rural areas, social welfare, visitation, pastoral support of refugees, health care, aged care, history and art research and administration.