A Pilgrimage to Ireland

Simone Sawiris, Deputy Principal of Teaching & Learning, recently embarked on a long-awaited pilgrimage to Dublin, the home of the International House of Mercy and the birthplace of Catherine McAuley. Originally planned for 2020, the trip was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Simone had the opportunity to make this meaningful journey.

When asked about the inspiration behind the trip, Simone revealed that she had been eager to attend the Dublin pilgrimage ever since she first learned about it a decade ago.

Simone travelled to Dublin in the company of 30 other pilgrims, including individuals from various Mercy ministries across Australia. The group included board members, chairpersons, senior advisors, and leaders from the education and community services sectors.

Among the many experiences on the trip, Simone found visiting the International House of Mercy on Baggot Street to be particularly memorable. Being in the same spaces where Catherine McAuley had once been-whether it was a room, chapel, or garden, filled Simone with a profound sense of connection. Additionally, exploring the rich history of Dublin, left her in awe.

During her time in Dublin, Simone engaged in a range of activities. She embarked on a walking tour of ‘Catherine’s Dublin’, delving into the historical significance of the places associated with Catherine. Visiting Daniel McConnell’s home, an important part of Dublin’s history, was also a highlight. McConnell was an esteemed lawyer and liberator of Irish Catholics in the 1840s. He challenged English penal laws that kept Catholics poor and uneducated.

A day trip to the breathtakingly beautiful Glendalough left a lasting impression. The vibrant music and storytelling that echoed through the streets of Dublin added an extra layer of enjoyment to the journey.

Reflecting on the impact of the pilgrimage, Simone shared that it had deepened her spiritual and personal growth. It fostered a greater appreciation for the Sisters of Mercy’s legacy and reinforced their mission to keep Catherine McAuley’s story and vision alive. Recognising their crucial role in Mercy Education, Simone emphasised the importance of advocating for those in need and taking action against injustice. Living the Mercy values today meant carrying on Catherine’s legacy of courage and compassion, just as she had done in Dublin during the early 1800s.

Catherine McAuley’s commitment to uplifting impoverished women and children through her courageous actions continues to inspire us today. Simone and her fellow pilgrims were reminded of the enduring relevance of Catherine’s vision in striving for a better future for all who face adversity.

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